I first heard of floating way back in the early 80's when hair was big, my body was thin and no part of me hurt. I remember being fascinated by the story of Samadhi tanks or sensory deprivation tanks. Immediately wanted to try it, but at that time all the float places were in Cali or private purchase. And the tanks reminded me of the big surgical autoclave at work - industrial steel and cold. Not a selling point. BTW - this company still exists and they still kinda look like that.
Fast forward 30 years.
I floated for the first time at a local place in a clean white space age looking pod. The blue light was marvelous. The music surreal. But when the lights went out and the music stopped, that's when the real magic happened. I spent the first 20 minutes or so playing in the pod - letting the salt water drip from my fingertips so I could hear the plinks of each droplet, gently using my feet and hands to push myself back and forth so I could enjoy the movement of my hair (turns out it moves slightly differently in the briny bath than in fresh water or the ocean. I stretched out my vertebrae until I heard a satisfying crack of adjustment. I tried different arm and leg positions. None were overtly uncomfortable, but some were much easier to rest in than others. I swept the water over my body in wavelets until I was slippery as a fish. I think this period of exploration and play was equally important at the still that followed.
I finally settled into the calm. I became overly conscious of my breathing, of the increasing humidity inside the pod created by my breath. I noticed how even the smallest motions caused by my breathing resulted in changes in direction. And I wondered if the same might hold true out in the world - that small movements result in changes in direction. I remember feeling at one point like a doll packaged in a foam insert and for a breath around that thought I couldn't move.
In the inky blackness, I was a blind cave fish slippery hard to catch. I was in the black of deep space and the spaces between molecules. My slide-y fish body able to swish its way around and between. Then I WAS the blackness, the void. No longer Mary. No longer fish. As if I had de-evolved back into the primordial soup.