David Neuman is a frequent floater here at FLOAT STL. He was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview and talk about his early morning floating practice. We hope you enjoy reading along!
Welcome, David! How you originally learn about floating?
I learned about it in college in the early 80s and always felt interested in it. And then I read about it in an article in the NY times about a year ago. At that time, I decided to Google it. I saw FLOAT STL was in the area. So, I tried it and I’ve done it about every week since.
Was there something that peaked your interest at the time? Something that motivated you to Google it?
It was around that time that I was having some issues with the frontal lobe of my brain. And because of that, I’ve developed misophonia. I have it pretty bad.
I’m curious about how your floating experience impacts your misophonia, or vice versa?
Well, my misophonia makes me especially sensitive to sound, and the float just erases it all. It just erases everything. It erases your brain and you get to start again. I feel so much better after I float.
Do you remember your very first float?
Yes. I floated in one of the rooms here at Locust. It took me a bit to get relaxed and at times I wondered when it was going to be over. But since then, with each float, it’s easier. Now, I relax right away.
I wonder, what was it about your first experience that made you want to come back and try it again? I ask because it sounds like during your very first experience, it was hard to relax and you were very aware of the time, etc.
Well, I was happy when I was done. And it was like a cleansing thing. I remember walking out, and Kevin asked me, “well, what did you think?” And I said, “well, that was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.” He goes, “really?” (laughs). He was surprised I think because it was my first time.
That’s right, because it often takes a few floats to really feel that way. I wonder, has your experience translated into your larger life in some way?
Yes. It mostly has to do with the misophonia. Just last week, I was at an event and there were all these people talking. There was too much coming in. Too much light. Too much sound. So, I just closed my eyes and blocked it all out, and I felt better. Floating helps me clear out my head like this.
What you said reminds me of this great book we have called The Book on Floating, by Michael Hutchison. He says the more you experience that deeply relaxed state in a float, the more you can resource that state in your day to day life. It sounds to me like that’s what you’re talking about. During your floats, you experience an environment that helps you block things out and forces you to practice letting things go, and then when you’re in your day-to-day life, and your misophonia is bothering you, you can call upon your floating experience and create the boundaries you need to keep you from feeling inundated by sound or light or whatever is feeling very intrusive.
Yes, that’s right. It helps me shut things out. Floating has helped me get better at shutting things out. That’s what really helps with this sensitivity. Just blocking everything out. It works.
I’m really happy for you that floating has helped with your condition.
Yes, but it doesn’t happen right away. You have to give it a couple chances. Each time is a little different. I tell this to new floaters sometimes before I go in or after I come out. I also think that in order to have a positive experience during a float, you need to be willing to get comfortable with yourself. When you float, you notice your body. You notice your heartbeat, or you hear your stomach gurgling. Sometimes, I’ll sneeze. It’s like a bomb going off!
Ha-ha. Yes! And, David, your practice is to float in the mornings, right?
Yes, I love the mornings.
So, this is sort of a leading question. But, when you float in the morning, is your entire day at all different in comparison to days you do not float?
It’s definitely a calmer day. Once I did it in the evening. I had the same relaxing experience, but it almost felt like a waste because I couldn’t go ahead and have a calm day. The day was already over! So, I really love floating in the morning. I want to live through the afterglow instead of sleep through it. After a float, I feel like I am recharged, rejuvenated, and better equipped to get things done.
Wonderful to hear! David, Is there anything that I haven’t asked you about your floating experience that you want to share.
Just that every float is different. Sometimes the floats are not drastically different, but sometimes floats are especially good. Most of the time, everything just drives me crazy because of the misophonia. I used to be such a multi-tasker, and the misophonia has forced me to do just one thing at a time. So, the float allows me to think things through without any interruptions. It’s very therapeutic for me.
I’m so glad you experience it in that day. We all experience it as being therapeutic too! David, thank you again for sharing your float practice with us!