Creativity; a mindful curiosity with floating
~ Jill Dalsin
It’s always interesting talking to people about creativity. Many minds tend to immediately go towards painting, or dancing, or writing, or whatever particular “artistic medium” out of thousands you could be working with, and I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard “well, I can’t draw, I’m just not a creative kind of person.”
I’m calling BS.
Keep with me here – I’m not saying that we all can just pick up a paint brush for an hour and some wonderful, magnificent, DaVinci-type masterpiece will take shape – I’m saying, we need to take a second look at the word “creativity,” and potentially shift our expectations about how creativity manifests in our lives.
Quite simply put, creativity can really just mean the ability to create…
and whether we notice or not, we are all constantly creating. Maybe you wake up each morning, and the first thing you do is make yourself a cup of coffee. Between bed and the kitchen, how many ideas have you already thought up? Have you started forming a plan for your day, what you need to do at work, what you need to do at home? Has your imagination already gone off in a bunch of different directions, searching for endless possibilities to scenarios that may or may not happen? Are you preparing yourself for how you’ll show up in particular interactions with co-workers, clients, or family?
We are constantly doing this! Forming new ideas, new solutions to the inevitable problems that pop up; we’re physically creating food, sounds, words, documents, etc. Our days are completely made up of putting ideas into actions and forming something new of value. However, I think we tend to see many of these processes as mundane, and so do not generally notice and acknowledge that our capacity for creativity is always with us.
So, where does floating come into the picture?
I’ve heard many amazing anecdotes about people who go for a float and are able to dive into a world of visions, colours, and sounds, somewhere near the level of a psychedelic journey, potentially sparking their inspiration and imagination for some creative project or endeavour. And I think, if this is your personal experience, that is truly wonderful.
Personally, I’ve never really had that. My tank sessions (generally) manifest as something a bit more subtle – a deeper drop into a quiet, meditative state of observation. I can feel my brainwaves slowing down, acknowledging that there is less sensory input to process in this type of environment. Along the way, things may feel a little out of focus, like I’m on the cusp of a dream, and random stories that don’t make sense weave in and out of my perception. Thoughts become fewer and farther between, and an awareness of the simple fact that I am just conscious begins to heighten. Suddenly, boom – the drop happens, and I’m quite simply sitting quietly with my own consciousness.
Nothing else. No crazy colours, or images, or messages - just the fundamental experience of being. It feels like a clean slate. There’s no pressure to be doing or becoming anything in this space. This is where I find the essence of me.
Being in the time-warp of the float tank, I don’t really know how long I’ve been in this state when I come out of it, but when I do, I feel a little more refreshed. Renewed. Clear.
I think this is a pretty common thread among floaters – regardless of what your actual experience inside the tank is like (and I whole-heartedly acknowledge that everyone’s personal journeys with floating come in a huge range of experiences that will differ completely from mine), most people seem to come out feeling a little more fresh.
We’re a little more sensitive to our senses, we’re a little more relaxed, and thoughts seem to form from a place of more clarity.
And that’s where my floating practice seems to give birth to a greater sense of creativity - going out into the world and acting, or creating, from that space of clarity. The mundane doesn’t feel as mundane anymore. The world has more, brighter colours, I’m more aware of my thoughts and actions and they seem to flow in a clearer, less chaotic way than before. It’s from this place that I feel more capable of observing and breaking patterns, forming new ideas and values that will move me through my life. I’m a little more present in my relationships. I can make decisions in this clarity with a little more surrender and a little less attachment to the outcome, because it feels right to move forward in this way, and not just move forward in a way that fits a routine or because “that’s just how it’s done”.
Often, on a day that I float, I will handle something in a new, unexpected way. I’m a little more open to trying new ways of doing things. And sometimes, I am a little more open to putting pen to paper; drawing, writing, or painting something with fewer expectations on how it’ll turn out.
So, my perception on floating for creativity boils down to this: in the float tank, I can observe a shift in my consciousness; I am able to move into a space of more internal mental, emotional, and physical clarity; I am more capable of shedding expectations and limitations; I am able to see that I can intentionally choose how I am going to interact with my day, and how these decisions in turn create my life. To me, this is tapping into the conscious creativity that is always flowing through us.
If any of this already resonates for you, that’s great! Keep that mindful curiosity when stepping into your next float, just observing what comes up as it comes up. Like I said, you might not feel like stepping into some super artsy project afterward, but maybe you notice your problem-solving skills begin to sharpen, or you feel a little more open to trying that new recipe for dinner, or you feel more capable of holding space for a loved one going through a difficult time.
Floating is a great tool for finding that clarity to be able to act a little more intentionally moving through life. We create everything around us, and I think that to be able to tap into realizing our capacity to create is constantly there, underlying everything we do, is what it’s all about.