A year ago over Labor day weekend, I had the opportunity to float three days in a row. Note, this isn’t floating down the Comal river in an inner tube. This is what’s known as REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) – aka Sensory deprivation tank floating.
I had been floating ~4-5 times a month for about 7 months for PTSD anxiety from a childhood trauma. That anxiety had been greatly reduced (thanks unlimited float membership). On that Labor day weekend though, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen.
First time in the new fancy technology tank I had been waiting a few months to try (Yay). Once in the tank, that technology happened to fail (Boo), but I resisted getting angry (but there was a bubble of annoyance in my head trying to erupt). Since I was only in for an hour, I made the best of it by closing my eyes and floating.
I was back in an older model tank where the staff had to turn off the cleaning cycle manually. As I laid my head back and felt the cleaning jets still on, I laughed at the two float failures I had in 2 consecutive days (BooYay?). I again decided to just float. However, the water jet stimulation on my head seemed to really help me solve several long term problems (I later specially requested to have the cleaning mode left on many months later and, while good, it didn’t have the punch that the surprise failure had).
Old tank again, but more normal float experience – no failures (Yay). I had been trying to develop a floatation mantra that included compassion and gratitude. And since college, I always loved Steven Covey’s “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” so understanding would likely be a part of it as well.
I was amazed (and again laughed) when a mantra presented itself to me in the tank in the form of Guacamole:
Gratitude, Understanding, Awareness, Compassion, Acceptance, Openness, Love, Evolving.
I cheerished my mantra in and out of the float tank and shared with close friends and family.
I attended the conference for the Association of Applied & Therapeutic Humor (AATH.org) in April 2018 where I experienced my first therapeutic laugh session. Shortly after that, the mantra expanded to include “Laughter” as a shared “L”. And during the summer “Light” was added as well.
A year later, and the week after Labor day, I realized I had to make this more regular than just a float mantra. On top of that, I wanted to make it more active and so the Guacamole Creed was born (also in a float tank).
The core of it is:
I am grateful….
I am understanding….
I am aware….
I am compassionate…
I am accepting….
I am mindful….
I am open….
I am loving & lovable….
I am laughter….
I am light….
I am ever evolving.
I say it as needed – definitely during floats, but also as I face adversity of some sort or when start to become overwhelmed with negative feelings (with floating and laughter this doesn’t happen too often). I fill in the sentences with whatever I am feeling at the time.