Happy Monday, Loves,
After about a month of blissful peace and quiet, we are officially entering the busy season at work. I also overextended myself a bit with on-call hours – because I’ll be in San Francisco next weekend and in NJ (!!!!!) for a week, I traded shifts around and ended up on-call for too many weeks in a row, in exchange for six weeks of no on-call starting Monday – so I’m kind of spent. Very, very much looking forward to (and earning) my vacation. 🤗
For a long time, Santa Cruz – and most of California – desperately needed rain. Then it rained for, like, three weeks straight, and we desperately needed for it to stop. The mountains have literally been falling down all over the county (and Northern California). During a respite from the rain last weekend, Danny and I went hiking at Pogonip, and discovered that one of these HUGE redwoods came down. We’ve actually taken pictures of this tree before because it is so big. (Danny is 5’11” and look how tiny he is next to that base!) We climbed up it – and then had to come home afterward and immediately shower because there was poison oak everywhere – which was challenging and fun. And muddy. Everything was muddy, actually. The ground just doesn’t have enough plants in it to absorb all this rain.
Once a month, we have a supervisor process group at work facilitated by a wonderful woman named Evelyn. However, Evelyn is out of the country for the next two months, so she arranged for Rachel from Healing the Healer to come to our group. Honestly, I was skeptical. I thought it was going to be too artsy-fartsy/hippie-dippy for me, and I was feeling very self-conscious about my artistic abilities (or lack thereof).
I ended up totally loving it. Rachel was a CPS lawyer in LA for over a decade, so she’s got a lot of practicality and groundedness paired with the artistic hippie vibe. Her and her partner transformed the room with candles, artwork, music, tea, and snacks, and started by having us set our intention for the time. Mine was to let go of my inner critic and trust the process. They then led us through a guided meditation to find symbols for mind, spirit, body, and heart. And then we drew and painted our own self-care plans. There was a strong emphasis on ‘play’ like we did as children and I had such a good time that I am strongly contemplating buying an easel and watercolor paints. (In fact, as I type this, I realize that the only thing stopping me from doing so is that ‘I’m not a real artist.’ But, like, what does that even mean? I just want to play with paint and that is a totally acceptable reason to buy paint!)
On Saturday afternoon, I went to Equilibrium, the new floatation center about 0.3 miles from our apartment. Both Danny and my friends got me gift certificates there for my birthday, and I ended up totally *loving* it. Definitely my best float experience yet. I’m not sure if it was that the float tank was a huge cube that felt more like a float room, or if it was the atmosphere, or if it was because I was just on the right mindset for it, but I practically floated out of there on a zen cloud of serenity.
Floating is kind of weird, even to hippies and Santa Cruzians, and it’s been hard for me to fully understand people’s love for it. Until now. My entire body was so relaxed and all the kinks that come from sitting at a computer all week got worked out in the 90 minutes that I was in there. Plus, my skin feels so soft and New when I come out.
It’s also a therapeutic experience. I get anxious while I’m in there (how much time is left? What if they set the timer wrong and I’m in here forever? What am I supposed to be doing? Am I thinking about the right things?), and the float tank has taught me to recognize the physical feeling of anxiety and breathe through it better than any therapy session, book, or person. I had the revelation that I don’t actually need to respond to every impulse or react to my anxiety; I can just breathe through it and it will pass.
And, it’s kind of a spiritual experience. When you remove all your senses and external stimuli – like other people’s expectations and the pressures of the world – your mind is free to think about all sorts of other stuff. A lot of people find it to be a source of creativity and inspiration, and I definitely had some sort of existential experience in there.I’m going into a busy few weeks: my girlfriends and I are going to San Fran next weekend to see a couple of shows, then Danny and I are seeing The Growlers (😍) again the following Friday, and then we leave for NJ the next day. Love love LOVE.
Have a great week, Loves. Do some self-care; we need it more than ever.