In this guest post, Kevin McCulloch explores the heart of floating and it’s power and potential to connect, heal, and grow individuals, relationships, and communities. Along with Jacob Resch and Marcio Guzman, Kevin is co-owner of FLOAT STL and co-organizer of Rise: Float Community Gathering.
Many thanks to Kevin, Jacob, and Marcio for putting this thoughtful piece together. There is also a link to a special discount at the end of this post.
We look forward to seeing many of you out at Rise!
Though there are many recognized benefits of having a floating practice, an underlying current that stands out to us is the experience of meaningful connection. Even when we approach the tank from a sense of familiarity and routine, once we are inside the tank, we can’t help but pierce the skin of our own internal universes and encounter our complex and connected spiritual nature. Our early experiences of floating taught us this. We remember them clearly, and they help us connect to the clarity, wonder, peace, and stillness that reside in the tank and in all beings.
The float is powerful. The float is joyful. The float is sacred.
FLOAT STL is our creative pursuit to develop an environment and experience that guides, supports, and enhances the practice of floating. This process is informed by our professional experiences as mental health counselors, in which we’ve traveled alongside many who were in pain and in need. We value and emphasize presence, non-judgement, attunement, openness, tenderness, vulnerability, and safety. Our goal is to carefully guide someone on their journey of reflection, honesty, forgiveness, acceptance, and release. This goal is the foundation upon which we conceptualize our service: to offer sincere acts of support and attendance to those who arrive at our centers. This commitment is at the center of who we are. For us, this is The Heart of Floating.
When we commit to The Heart of Floating, we form relationships and communities. We share experiences, we connect, we learn, we teach. We care.
Rise: Float Community Gathering is a place to connect to The Heart of Floating. Rise is an outgrowth of our desire to create, grow, maintain, and strengthen those bonds. It’s a place to meet, gather, and celebrate.
We’ve learned that sharing experiences and coming together in a collective space helps develop and strengthen community. The purpose of Rise is to highlight these deeply held values and hold space for community integration. Looking forward, the healthy growth of this industry can only occur if we collectively honor and feed its roots.
We subscribe to many of the community building and information sharing platforms that exist for the float industry, Art of the Float, Float Collective, and our own device manufacturer’s Facebook forum. We’ve found an invaluable amount of information and answers through these channels, and even some questions we didn’t know to ask, so these have played a huge role in establishing a sense of community through online channels. We’ve also learned that there are special bonds formed through shared physical space and shared experiences. Being together, talking in person, connecting on a personal level, face to face, is something that forms a foundation for those other modes of communication.
We really value that. Graham and Ashkahn played an impactful role in the beginning of our center – FLOAT STL Attending the first Float Conference back in 2012 was a turning point for us in our decision to move forward with more grounded inspiration, and this came as a result of having personal face to face contact with others at various points along a similar journey. Being able to share in and witness the successes of others, as well as learn in advance from their mistakes, has made traveling this road much more smooth and certain.
The Rise gathering was an idea that originated from our previous professional backgrounds. Each of us are trained as psychotherapists and have practiced for many years. We value the practice of creating relationships and experiences through a balance of space and structure, stillness and content. In developing the concept for our float centers, the concept of Rise was born – just on a different scale.
We have yet to finalize what Rise is or will be. Our aim is create a space where people are able to meet and connect, learn and share, and feel a sense of being part of a larger community.
Rise is for float center operators, interested float center operators, float enthusiasts, and other curious individuals. We’re open to allowing some freedom for this event to evolve into its own character as it grows. This is a similar philosophy that we’ve applied to our float centers.
Of course, it’s been an investment of time, energy, and attention to create this idea, and for this we are very grateful for our amazing team of individuals here at FLOAT STL. That teamwork and connection is what makes this all possible. We’ve placed a very strong focus on a sense of community and family within our organization, and through this focus we’ve been able to attract and develop some of the most creative, kind, intelligent, and warm people. These are the people who make up our FLOAT STL Tribe, and they are the ones who allow anything to be possible.
Relationships, Partnerships, Community – these are hugely important in sustainable creation, plus it’s much more fun!
We follow the rule of: if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. Right now, we’ve been able to create more demand than we can manage at our two centers, but our focus is on sustainable growth and an informed high quality experience. Our focus is on developing our tribe, not just our customer base.
When we first decided to move forward with the event, we really took a “Ready, Fire, Aim” mindset. This is something we have continued to focus our energy on as we progress. Similarly to when we opened our first center in early 2015, if we had answers to all of the questions we had before taking those first steps, it would have been too overwhelming to move forward.
So we knew we wanted to create an experience that brought people together to celebrate floating. We spent a good amount of time focusing on why this was important to us. This question served as our inspiration and moved us to clarify the vision. In our creative process, we use a lot of visualization, so we floated and dreamed until we found clarity.
Floating is our passion – we absolutely love it!
Bringing people together is another passion. We want to continue to create ways in which people can find themselves, find community, and grow. Creation and growth take energy, but we enjoy both the process and the fruit of that labor.
We are just getting started – always in the beginning – and our goal for this first event was to invite and welcome individuals who have played an impactful role in our journey. We hold deep gratitude and respect for their contributions, and are honored to have them here in Saint Louis for this float community event.
Kevin McCulloch, Jacob Resch, and Marcio Guzman
P.S. There is a special discount to Rise: Float Community Gathering for readers of the Float Tank Solutions blog. Take advantage of the savings and we’ll see you at the end of this month in St. Louis!