It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in the big city, my favourite city, the city that had always felt like home to me. Queen Street West was bustling and busy, as it always was, and I stood on the street outside of the float spa utterly awestruck.
The dizzying spectrum of colours that painted the walls, the cars, the pedestrians overwhelmed my senses like so many daggers. The deep bass of the power washer being applied to the parking lot to my right roared deafeningly in my ears, and the clang of the bell of the streetcar as it rolled by only added to the cacophony.
Never before this moment had I felt so utterly aware of the noise and clamour of the city. The sheer volume of sensory input was an assault on my senses, a white water rapids of sights, sounds, smells raging around me. I had visited this neighborhood countless times before and where once I had delighted in its vibrancy, I was now standing in open-mouthed awe of its chaotic cacophony.
I had been moving at the speed of this world when I walked into the spa, and now I was a dumbstruck bystander on the shores of a raging rapids. I felt as though I was seeing it for the first time with new eyes. Inside of me was a quiet deeper than I ever accessed before, having just stepped out of a float tank. And rather than shrinking away from the assault on my senses, I drank it in as though my eyes were onions that had just had a layer or ten peeled away.
I was in the world, but I wasn’t of the world anymore. It rushed on at its usual speed, while I had slowed almost to a standstill. The quiet spaciousness inside of me felt as though it could hold the whole universe, and I no longer felt dragged by the force of the tide to rejoin its flow.
I took a breath and turned east to catch the streetcar so I could head to the train station and catch my train home. The noise and chaos continued to flow past me, but I was undisturbed by it, no longer being pulled into it. I was floating along in my bubble of peace, and this feeling honestly has stayed with me ever since.
My time in the tank excavated a deeper level of inner awareness and grounding than I had yet been able to access, even with all my daily meditation and yoga.
I carried it with me to the train, relaxed, calm, almost serene on my trip home. Since then, I have found myself more committed to showing up for my practice and deepening it. Where before I would have shied away from the more deeply esoteric work, I now seek it out. I had been hesitant to separate myself from the world, afraid that in so doing I would alienate myself, and yet the opposite is showing itself to be true. The more I delve into yoga, meditation, energy work, and esoteric study, the more myself I feel, and the more people I am finding who have had similar experiences. Rather than being alienated, I am finding myself surrounded, supported, and seen.
I have found the process of spiritual growth and self-discovery to be rather like excavation. Yes, it elevates me, but in order to elevate, I need to excavate out of myself all that has been loaded onto me without my consent by my parents, my peers, and the culture that I live in. I have had to let go of all of my fear, jettison old hang-ups and habits, and just when I think I have gone as deep as I can go, I need to keep digging.
It frees me to be who I really am, and not what everyone and everything around me tells me I should be. And to be honest with you, I have hidden it for a long time. It’s deep and esoteric and weird, but the truth of the matter is that it’s been my journey, and if I really want you to know me, then I have to tell it.
I see so many people around me who are caught in the fierce tidal pull of the world, struggling, submerging, barely keeping their heads above the surface. They are living like they have been taught to live, and in so doing, they are continuously at risk of drowning. And they know it. I knew it when it was me, except that I knew no other way to live. It was only through following the trail of breadcrumbs that were lying unobtrusively under my feet that I found another way to live, riding the wave instead of being crushed by it. Overjoyed instead of overwhelmed.
I hid this story for a long time, kept it secret, held close to my heart as a reminder of why I do what I do every day. And I didn’t share it because I was afraid that no one would understand.
Do you ever feel this way? Like no one will get you if you show who you really are? I invite you to take the chance, be brave, and share your secret story with someone. It’s only by sharing my true self that I can be truly known. How to start? Call your bestie. Post in a group. Send it in an email to me. Be seen, it’s scary as fuck, but it’s the only way I have found to find the true connection that I have always longed for.