In part of my “returning back to normal” process that many of us are entertaining at the moment, I booked a float for today. It’s my first time floating in at least three years—since I left Chicago—and even before I left I was probably doing so only a few times a year.

This, in contrast to when I first start floating (in Vancouver) when I’d go weekly. I was hooked and today reminded me why that happened.

For the uninitiated, floating is putting your body in a small pool or pod of heavily salted water, so heavily salted, in fact, that you float completely. The water is room temperature and the floating is easy. Once you lay back, it happens at once.

But that’s not all. To fully offer a unique experience, the pod you go in turns all dark and is soundproof. Many will use earplugs as well to dampen even the quietest sounds and the effect is what’s known as sensory deprivation.

And you do this for an hour. Or so.

It is claustrophobic. Yes. But you can get out whenever you’d like.

Many have asked me, what did you do in there?

The answer is not easy: I think. I stretch. I meditate. Sometimes I sleep. I count breaths. I move my body. I try to avoid touching my face because my salted hands will burn through my pores. I do so much and yet so little. But the world is locked out, as is my phone, email, whatever.

It’s serene and wonderful and every time I do it I come out feeling refreshed. Actually, it’s not quite refreshed. What is that feeling?

It’s hard to describe the feeling. It’s something akin to refreshed and renewed (or rejuvenated). I come out with more energy, a clearer head, a more limber body (being able to lay in this sort of zero-gravity is the best thing for my back when it’s feeling jammed).

Some in the floating “world” say that it can be a replacement for sleep or rest. But even that isn’t quite an approximate of the life in me when I leave. It’s something like having a filter cleared. Having some moss removed, or extra muons or atoms that are clinging to my body being unmoored from me. It reminds me of how Michael Pollan talks about our “modes” in his How to Change Your Mind book.

Today was no different. I can’t wait to go back. I’m so grateful we’ve recovered enough from this pandemic for me to be able to do things again like float.