It was time I tried something new for once. If anything, I’m the very definition of insanity. Technically, the definition of insanity can be described as doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. Sound familiar? Well, I’m the king of it.
I’ve done this throughout my life, and continue to do so. Whether it is how I play a certain poker hand, trying to keep a workout schedule or even in how I perform at work sometimes. I have my go-to and think this is how it should be, and resort to becoming a zombie. I just act on autopilot and expect everything to be fine. That doesn’t always work though.
I’ve also done this in how I’ve been in relationships in the past, or thinking just one or two drinks and I’ll be fine later on. Maybe even piling on the plans with friends, knowing I’m putting “me time” on the side. As you can tell, almost every aspect of my life was affected because I was being insane. And therefore, being driven to insanity.
It’s not easy for me to admit this, but there are times when I just lose it. Not in an “angry-turn-into-The-Hulk” type of way, but in a “I-just-need-to-escape-from-everyone-and-everything” type of way. The cycle repeats itself. Sometimes it takes months to build up, sometimes it takes weeks. Either way, I let things fester inside my head and don’t deal with the issues at hand in the moment. Insanity. I do the same things over and over, expecting a different result.
I have realized this, and often times it is after the fact, and am regretful, but the best way to remedy the situation is to learn from it and move on. You know, not be insane. Not go insane. Do not let insanity win out. So, therapy can help, in terms of talking to a professional, and sometimes people medicate to help themselves deal with their problems. Me, I’ve never been one to take pills and am very against it, because I feel it just a cop out at times from doctors, but I fully support those it does indeed help and am in no way denying it can help people. Before everyone gets upset at me over saying I personally am against pills, that does not mean I am against you in taking them. To each their own. Whatever helps, right?
The other day, my cousin suggested a new way to get my thoughts out and to actually face my inner demons head on: Floating. Wait, what? You mean those rooms that have bathtubs in them and you just float for 30 minutes or whatever it is? Yes, floating. “Floating” is basically you and your thoughts, inside an enclosed room, with cool light and dark lighting (best way to describe it, honestly), low-key music for background ambiance and then working through whatever your mind comes up with.
No distractions. No cell phones(*). No clothes, even. Just you, stripped down to everything but an open mind on display for yourself to see. Or not see, because there are controls in which you can go from it seeming like you are in open water to a starry night sky to total blackness. You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face if you choose the latter.
(*)Side note: I understand the irony in saying no cell phones as I post pictures. To be fair, the pictures were all taken before I stepped foot inside and closed the doors behind me.
At first, I went with the cool blue lighting, taking in the surrounding tub with water sounds (I choose ocean waves as my musical choice). As I’m laying there, I noticed the lady who had given me the instructions and tips (again, I was a total newbie) was right, I was legitimately floating in a foot of water all because of their streams inside and the thin, foam head rest. I was sprawled out into what felt like open water, at night, with only the stars above me.
You can’t get that feeling anywhere else, besides maybe the ocean, but the water wouldn’t be as calm or as warm. Their are special salts in the water, along with UV lighting as well, so in that regard it comes close, but again, so far away. A completely unique experience on its own, for sure.
After getting acquainted with everything, I let myself go. I let my mind start to wonder, as I darkened my surroundings, ready to embrace what was about to go down. I was here to face my thoughts, issues and maybe even my fears. Get ready, it’s about to get weird.
I don’t know how or why, but my first thoughts as I stared into the night sky was about happiness and from there, what made me happy as a child? My thoughts about spending the next hour (Float Oasis in Brookfield, WI has specials right now for $39 an hour) were to go back to the beginning of my life. As I remembered it, I was once super into dinosaurs and anything dealing with Ancient Egyptian life. I remember being so in awe of these giant lizards and the things Egyptians were able to create, from millions of years ago to thousands of years ago.
Even back then, I knew that there were things of this world that we will never fully understand or even know what life was like back then. Go back even 150 years ago. Sure, there’s documentation and pictures and books and things like that, but no one alive right now knows what it was truly like to be in that time period. All we have to go on are stories and what we see or read, not actually being a part of it.
After that little reminder of my youth, I was again brought back to being in water, just floating in open water. As someone who loves being around water or in water, this is where I feel most at peace or at home. Whether I am swimming, or fishing or being in a boat or paddleboarding (most recent obsession) or even on a beach somewhere, I just feel best when I’m around water.
This time, I imagined myself being in an ocean, when suddenly it’s just me floating there. No boat. No life jacket. Nothing. Again, just me and my thoughts and now fear, of being stranded in open water, with no way to being rescued in sight. So, what do you do? How do you survive, and stay afloat? You keep your head up and tread water, using as little movement as possible, to conserve energy. After awhile, I realized I was in this mode in real life, as I was barely moving, but staying afloat.
And then the demonic ghost sharks appeared. I know, this sounds fucked up. But so is life, and I can’t control what pops into my head in a given moment. It was as if every fish or person I have buried in my profession (funeral director) suddenly appeared, and was circling me. All the ghosts in the water please. Ah yes, that many eh? Well, If I’m going down, I may as well atone for my sins. I have to accept that what I’ve done in life to this point, is what has defined me.
I was just waiting to die, basically. Except, I wasn’t. I was floating in a tank inside a small room, inside a building that was shared with a bank. Pretty cool, am I right? Back to that moment, with death literally circling me, it hit me: They weren’t doing anything but circling me. These ghosts were just there taunting me and reminding me, that one day you will perish. You will become one of us. But not today. Not yet, Noah. So, are you going to float there and die or are you going to get out of this situation, live on and become the best version you can of yourself?
After that, I suddenly wasn’t even in the water any longer. I was in a time from two months ago, when I was in the process of getting as much done in life as I could. The last time I truly felt happy.
I was taken to being up north, again, with just the elements and myself. Fishing, rowing, swimming, having campfires and beer of course. Not a care in the world. Pretty peaceful, if you ask me. We all have our own version of peace in life, and this is mine. After going up north (Mid-Western version of camping a few hours north in your state, by the way), I felt refreshed and rejuvenated.
I went back to the funeral home I had finished my apprenticeship at and first became a licensed director and life insurance agent at. The last time I was happy with waking up every day (and night, for those late night death calls) was being at this funeral home. When you work within a community you grew up in and know everyone, and the added benefit of having a great team, getting along greatly with everyone as well, it makes for a pretty good combination.
I was happy again in my daily work life, but I was also working out every day. Eating right. Journaling. Reading more often. I read and wrote so much during that time, that I went from having two chapters done in my poker book over a couple months time, to finishing it completely. The poker book has a total of 16 chapters in it and can be found here:
I was on a roll, and doing everything I wanted in my daily life. The cherry on top, was that I was then playing poker (sober and clear headed, mind you) at night and made over $6,000 within a couple weeks.
After going over that time period, I was reminded that, in order to achieve what you want in life, you have to be clear headed. You have to lead a healthy lifestyle. In all aspects, mind, body and soul. There are setbacks, absolutely, as nothing just comes out perfectly as planned, but I was putting in the work and things I cared about were coming to fruition.
As per the usual, it wasn’t long before insanity crept in and I stopped doing what was necessary and thought I was fine. I wasn’t going to any therapy. I wasn’t working out (skipping a day here or a day there adds up). I wasn’t eating properly (diet starts Monday). I wasn’t even playing poker sober (I can handle a few drinks while playing). I was self destructive and self sabotaging my life once again. Insanity.
I felt my body floating out of the water while those memories and regretful decisions crept back in my head, as if I was rising above it. Rise above it then, Noah! Do not let the past repeat itself. You used to be known as the Nite Runner. Put it to bed. Destroy it. Sabotage that, not your future. No longer will I be the Nite Runner, but Noah Watry. Create a legacy that lasts with respect to your name, not any less than you deserve.
I opened my eyes after that little flotation pep talk and was brought to total relaxation. About a minute later the bells were tolling for my floating to end. Wow, talk about good timing. And talk about working through some shit. That, my friends, cannot be replicated inside a doctor’s office or therapist’s chair. My cousin said it best, “No one knows yourself better than yourself, so face what you go through and get through it.” It’s tough. It’s not easy, and most of us take the easy way out, but I tried something new and it paid off.
I can honestly say that I will make “Floating” a regular thing. Maybe once a month or every other week if I feel I need it. It costs less than seeing a someone who doesn’t know me entirely vs. me living my life and truly knowing what is going on inside my head. I’m not knocking that type of therapy either, because I do need that for specific issues as well, but I tried something new, and for $39, it might be the best thing I spent money on all year. It was like a wild trip without drugs! If you’d like to join me in “Floating” here is where I went:
I highly recommend “Floating” for anyone wanting to just escape and feel disconnected from the world for as little as 30 minutes or for those who have so much going on in their head, that they literally do not take the time to sort through those issues. I leave you with the musical styling of the band Modest Mouse, as I couldn’t have said it any better myself, “Now don’t you worry, we’ll all float on alright… don’t worry, even if things end up a bit too heavy, we’ll all float on alright…”