The Reality of Working at a Float Center: Lessons of An Internship at Art of Floating
I remember the first time I floated, I had heard about it thru a friend who had listened to a podcast by Joe Rogan. I told myself I have to try this and went to task looking up float centers on the Internet in my area. That was 5 years ago, back then tank centers were few and far between. So, when my brother approached me with an impromptu road trip to the west coast I knew that tank centers were scattered up and down the coast. I told myself, this is my chance!
I found myself in Portland, Oregon, knowing that floating was popular there. I had many float centers to choose from and ended up floating in a tank that was in a chiropractic office. The owners had the idea that floating helps people in a sense that they get physical relief from floating and it could help his patients loosen up before he worked on them. And I’m sure that there were a few younger people that came in, such as myself, looking for “that experience”. After I floated, I was on a mission. I had to do that again. But there were no float centers near me back in Pennsylvania. What to do? I thought… Why not start my own? I could float myself whenever and give other people the experience as well. How hard could it be?
A year or so passed in time. I never forgot about my float and talked with several people that would be interested in starting up this float project with me. Needless to say it never happened. I have to say tho that until recently I never knew how much of a blessing that was.
Art of Floating opened 2 ½ years ago in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, two towns away from me, right in my back yard. I jumped at the opportunity after they opened and went to try floating again, but when I got there something was different about this place. As soon as I pulled in the driveway I could tell there was a level of professionalism that just was not present at the tank office in Portland. It was obvious just looking at the landscape and how perfectly the building sat it was almost as if it was always there, always a part of the community of Bloomsburg. I became a regular and began floating every week. It was so easy to talk with the staff that worked there and they treated me as family, or an old friend, even the first time I came in and I started to notice how they gave me different points of view of how I approached my life. It turns out that in doing that they were being friends to me in a way no one ever had.
I expressed to them that I wanted to open my own float center and they simply said “why don’t you work here?” They told me about the classes they offer through the Mental Arts Network and how they would give me the tools that I needed to work in a float office. I would be lying if I said that I knew what I was in for with those classes. With the experience I had, just taking the first class, “The Intro to the Art of Rewriting”, I started to see how big of an abstraction tank offices really were. The place I was at in Portland treated the tank as if it was a spa…come in, float, feel all warm and fuzzy, give me some cash and see ya later. Art of Floating had a totally different flow. I began to see that floating opened people up to parts of their thinking and beliefs that maybe they weren’t ready to look at, but had to look at, to move on with their lives. The staff at AOF had the training and experience to walk the people coming out of the tank, through these thought processes and actually give the people what they came in for…freedom, freedom from themselves, freedom from what they think their lives HAVE to be like.
After I took the Intro Class I was helping out at AOF and I started to see the gravity of what running a tank office really was. Decisions and simple conversations would weigh on you and eat up circuitry in your brain, putting you in a fog or frenzy. I would find myself going from exhausted to full blown energy bursts, wanting to run around the office, forgetting what I was talking about, losing things, wanting to take the longest nap of my life, but not getting any rest from it. This was overload, overload of other people’s beliefs that did not fit in with mine. What I began to experience was that as the clients came in and you talked with them they transmitted to you a particular belief of what their world is like. In a simple 3 second exchange with a client, they either pulled me into their world or I pulled them into mine, we call this interlock. Say you float 12 clients in one day. Everyone of those clients comes in with their own belief of what their world is like, and after a simple “how are you?” their sales pitch begins. Are you going to buy it? Should you feel sorry for them? If you do then you just stepped into their thought structure of what they believe the world is and 11 other new thought structures that aren’t yours are buzzing around in your head from the other clients that came to float that day as well.
This idea of how another person’s thoughts can clog the flow of your thoughts, might be a little bit of a shock to you, actually, I hope that it is. I assure you it is real and something to be considered, especially while working in a float center. How would one go about understanding this concept? The Mental Arts Network provides the training a float facilitator needs to understand the exchange of thought processes through a series of experiential classes. It is this training that divides their float centers from other float centers. It not only gives the Float Facilitators working at a Mental Arts float center tools needed to protect themselves, but it also gives the floaters coming in a safe place to float. You see, the exchange works both ways, floaters that go and float at your average float center that isn’t affiliated with The Mental Arts Network, have an experience were if they talk with the staff there they can walk out with a new thought structure that grinds up against what their beliefs in real are, how is that fair to the client coming in? They are coming in to relax or sort through some of their thinking of what stresses them out in their day to day life and maybe get a new view on things even if they aren’t aware of why they are there in the first place. If the staff at a center won’t even talk with a client then how are they able to work through that stuff on their own? If they do talk with a client and the staff member is not aware of how it is that they are loading their own thought structures of what they believe to be real into the client with things such as how stressed out the staff member believes they should be with their own life’s experiences with their mom, dad, significant other, boss, or even a New York Times article they read, whatever it may be. The client walking out of the float center is now having to sort through the staff members thoughts on top of their own day to day life stresses of work, family, interactions with friends that the client came to float to process and work through in the first place. Personally, I think that is cheating the client out of the experience and throwing them under the bus. How are they gaining anything of value with that transaction?
Maybe you are reading this article because you are considering opening a float center, maybe it’s just out of curiosity. Maybe you already work in a float center or own one and have experienced the fog of overload. Whatever it is for you, I say come and experience how The Mental Arts float centers differ from other float centers across the country. If you are interested in applying this training for yourself, contact them for classes. We’ll leave the door open for you, but it’s up to you to walk through it.