This story starts in 2010 when I was working as an accountant for an entertainment law firm in Los Angeles. I wasn’t in love with the job, but one perk was listening to podcasts while I worked and one of my favorites was Joe Rogan’s. He’s a standup comedian, the former host of Fear Factor, UFC commentator, and an avid kale-shake enthusiast. Joe in an extremely curious guy, explores fascinating topics, and questions all assumptions with a sense humor, so it’s usually both funny and enlightening. One day, Joe mentioned he had this thing called a float tank in his basement and I took notice because he spoke passionately about how much he loves it and how it’s the most important tool for developing his mind. It sounded pretty cool, but what really got me to try it was the conviction Joe had about it. I could tell that Joe truly loved floating, so I had to take a trip down to Float Lab in Venice to try this out for myself.
I didn’t quite know what to expect, but my plan was to practice mindful breathing, a meditation technique I’d read about. I showered, got in the tank, bounced around for a while, and was fascinated by how much I floated. After a while, I settled down, tried focusing on my breath, and started to notice that without gravity’s force on my body or having to deal with sensory input, my focus became much sharper and my inner-awareness seemed heightened. After what felt like 30 minutes, my thoughts started to slow down, my body had completely melted away, and I was achieving the meditative states I always hoped to reach, but never could. I felt euphoric, explored my mind and thought about my life in a noticeably more optimistic way. When my float ended, I got out and felt totally refreshed. When I left Float Lab and walked around, colors seemed more vivid, my body felt aligned, everything felt lighter, and it was like the volume on my mind was turned down. After that first float, I knew floating was for me and that it would always be a part of my life.
Let’s fast forward to the summer of 2011. Joe’s friend Chris Marcus came on the podcast and describes his experience taking a shamanic brew called ayuasca in Peru. Chris spoke passionately about how transformative and positive the experience was and it struck a cord with me. When I shared the video with my sister, she was captivated and was immediately game to take the trip down to Peru. There, I learned more about myself than I could ever imagine and was instilled with an incredibly powerful sense of self-belief.
After returning home I went back to Float Lab and had the most incredible float. The idea that I HAD to float more often was overwhelming. Previously, I had looked into building a float tank, but it looked difficult and I was no carpenter, so I talked myself out of it. After the ayauasca experience, I had this new sense of confidence and conviction of my passions, so I began building a float tank in my sister’s garage. It was like the ayahuasca had planted a seed and I became a conduit. I researched endlessly online, put together a custom design, got materials from Home Depot, bought a spa pump, a pond liner, and went to work. Her house was an hour and a half away, but I was beyond inspired and hyper-focused on the project. Four months of hard work later, a float tank emerged. Miraculously, it worked and I enjoyed countless hours of deep meditation and self-exploration in there, but more importantly, I had proven to myself that I could imagine something very complex in my mind, work on it to completion, and fully manifest it into reality.
The next chapter of my life was birthed in Costa Rica, winter of 2012. I was with my friends for new years and we all went around and said our new years resolutions. Mine was simple – to quit my 9-5 (or as another one of my favorite podcasters, Duncan Trussell, puts it, to “kill the vampire in my life.”) I needed to simply get out of my rut and perceive life from a new vantage point. Since I didn’t want to get another job I had no real passion for, I thought of an alternative plan – to backpack in Southeast Asia. I researched and found that it was cheap, beautiful, and looked like the perfect place to contemplate my future. Leading up to the trip, I’d tell people of my plan and they either thought I was a genius or a maniac. Luckily, it turned out to be the former.
Just two weeks into my trip, I found myself in the most enjoyable setting my mind could possibly imagine – a gathering of loving, care-free, world travelers on a pristine bay with great music playing. Amongst these friendly strangers, I felt as free as I’ve ever felt. No job. No rent. Nothing but a backpack, my experiences, and my consciousness. It was there that I decided that I would create my ideal future and chase it down with the same focus I used to build that float tank. Firstly, I knew I wanted to share floating with the world. It was both a personal passion and a powerful tool for health and personal evolution that would make me feel great about my place in the world. The second part was choosing where I wanted to start this endeavor. I was ready to move on from LA, had been visiting friends in San Francisco quite often, and every time I arrived, I felt like I was coming home. San Francisco always felt like it was full of people who were not only open minded, but who were interested in improving the world and I wanted to take part in that. When I got back to my bungalow, I opened my computer to an e-mail showing me a picture of my cousin’s newborn child, which was a hell of a way to cap off an already inspired night and it led to this Facebook post:
“Easily one of the best days of my life. On the same night as my cousin saw his firstborn boy get birthed into this world, I birthed the vision of my future. I will start a float center in San Francisco. I’m not sure how or when, but I now know what my primary, material, goal is and it has been illuminated in full technicolor. The path remains unclear, but traveling that path will be the journey.”
That was it. Right then, I planted my flag in the ground and there was no turning back. I told myself that my integrity would be stronger than my reasons to quit and I knew if I never gave up, this vision would eventually emerge and I could make my life about spreading awareness about this incredible healing therapy called floating.