You’d be hard pressed to find people who would openly admit their fears to the world – mostly because the majority would feel judged for what some might deem ‘irrational’ or ‘silly’. But being fearful of a couple things myself, I understand that no matter how silly some people might find your fear – it’s very real to you and it’s something that has happened to you in the past to traumatize you for the rest of your life. While I have no fears that are absolutely crippling, I think that a couple of my fears have really stopped me from living a bit of my life with more freedom.
One particular fear has been the fear of water. I’ve had points in my life where water has swept me in and being a very terrible swimmer, has almost claimed my life. I was very young when I first experienced this fear, but it was realized all over again on a trip to Maui not too long ago. I got swept into the undercurrent. While we all know that the ocean is a deep and dangerous place, it’s also filled with beautiful life and in some parts, is blue for days.
This past November (yes, this post is a tad bit on the late side), Ford Canada approached me to “go on an adventure” – equipped me with a car and some money to do so. While the weather was getting colder as the weeks went on and I watched my other fellow bloggers go on their adventures into the beautiful wild that is BC, I thought it would be great to go on an adventure more internally.
The first thing I did was head up to Cleveland Dam with Nathalie and Josh. Not necessarily facing any fears this moment, but wanted to check out one of North Vancouver’s nicest views. The Cleveland Dam is located at the head of Capilano River and holds some of our drinking water. When you arrive at the Dam, it’s a very serene and calm site. But as you walk closer to the falls area, the sheer sound of the water fall is deafening.
There is one area where you can walk down some stairs and have a different vantage point of the dam which you can also access from another part of the parking lot. This area made for a beautiful, ethereal moment with the rain and clouds hanging so low within the trees.
My ride for the week is the 2017 Ford Fusion. One of the really cool features was the Rotary Gear Shift Dial – call me basic but this replacing a stick shift blew my mind. There was no clunk from the car shifting, and you could barely hear the car running – thanks to it being a Hybrid. Another great feature of it being a Hybrid is the display on the dash on how efficient you’re driving your vehicle – which to a person with OCD like me enjoys profusely.
The interface with it’s GPS system, ability to connect to my smartphone and SiriusXM has spoiled me completely. The GPS system is actually quite smart and the chimes and navigational voice are actually quite charming. I really missed these features once we had to return the car.
What I do love about the Ford Fusion as well is how intelligent of a car it is. Not only does it help you stay in your lane, warn you before you get too close to an incoming car and comes equipped with a back up camera and sensors (for your blind spots), it also helps you park. Not just parallel park but even stall park. The car is smart enough to find a suitable space with a touch of a button and then parks for you. I’m curious as to why more cars don’t have this function, because this would save a lot of time and headaches for many people who may love to drive but hate to park or have anxiety when they park.
But back to my adventure. The next thing I did was book myself for two activities that would test my fears: 1) a FloatHouse session and 2) a DarkTable dinner reservation.
I chose to try out FloatHouse as I’ve heard some great things about floating – finding a better calm, seeing and experiencing things you may not normally experience and just the pure experience. I went to the Float House in Kitsilano and they were very welcoming as I made my way in for my late in the evening appointment. I was given the run down by the man at the desk and given a short video to watch since it was my first time floating. I was then taken to my room that held the sensory deprivation tank and housed a shower.
From here, you shower with non-perfumed and oiled soaps to prep for the tank. The tank is filled with 10” of water and 800 lbs of epsom salt which means there is absolutely no way you cannot float in here. The water inside the tank is heated to the same temperature as the surface of your skin and is light-proof, sound-proof and has no distinctive smell.
You can choose to have music playing in the background, or none at all (with the exception of the wakening music letting you know you have 10-15 minutes left in your float). You also have the option of keeping the tank slightly ajar with a pool noodle if you want.
I took a deep breath and climbed into the tank. The way you’re supposed to get to floating is to climb in and sit and then stretch out. I realized at that point in time that not only was I trying to overcome the fear of being in water, but also the dark and in a confined space. Although that being said, there is a LOT of room in the tank, so my fear of being in a small space wasn’t as realized. I tried to tell myself to relax and stop freaking out and that everything would be ok and it took a good 20-30 minutes to really calm myself down and let go. I kept the pool noodle wedged between the door so I would have a bit of light. For the first 10-15 minutes, I was trying to find a comfortable position to float and to breathe in deeply. I stopped once or twice to just sit up in the tank and tell myself I’d be ok. And after 20-30 minutes, I had calmed down enough so that I could enjoy the rest of my float.
Floating has many benefits to it, but I think the one I really took away from this experience was the ability to unplug and meditate in a quiet space. I’ve had a very busy year and to have a moment of peace – even if it was only for an hour – seemed to melt the stress of the year away. You definitely feel weightless and free – many people have told me it feels like you’re floating through space, but I didn’t have that experience my first time.
Float House has a couple of locations, I chose the Kitsilano one since I was going to Dark Table shortly after my float, but I was told that the Gastown one is even larger and has a variety of tanks to choose from. I’d definitely like to float again, it was a great experience and the people who work at Float House really helped my first experience be an enjoyable one.
Shortly thereafter, we drove a couple blocks down to Dark Table. Dark Table is a restaurant where you dine in the dark. The restaurant is serviced by blind servers. The original concept came from Switzerland, where a blind man blindfolded his guests to help them understand what it was like eating as a blind person. I think that once one of your senses is taken away, your other senses are heightened. I’m not entirely sure what brought on my fear of pure darkness (maybe too many scary movies growing up) – but it’s more so the fact I need to navigate my way and actually be able to function in pure darkness that intrigued me about Dark Table and seeing if I could help rationalize my fear in my mind.
We are greeted outside in a dimly lit area, where we choose our entrees and drinks before heading into the restaurant. We are then called by name and greeted by our server and led into the darkness. For someone who is afraid of the dark – like myself – it is a strange feeling. When we first sat down, I had a bit of a freak out. I was scared because I couldn’t see what was in front of me and couldn’t gauge what was around me. But after the first couple of minutes of me freaking out about being in the dark, I got adjusted and nervously made conversation with Nathalie. The restaurant is quite loud, so it’s not a scary experience where it’s absolutely dead silence.
During our dining experience, we developed techniques to map where our items on our tables were located. I ordered a bottled drink as I thought I might spill it if it were in a glass. I kept that close to the edge of my plate.
As I mentioned previously, with one sense gone (sight), other senses get heightened (smell, touch, hearing). And it surely felt like it had when our first dish arrived. At the restaurant, they keep the starter and dessert a surprise. So we had a salad that had a nice warm flavour to it and toasted corn nuts that were the most distinctive in flavour. For our entrees, Nathalie and I both ordered the Beef Tenderloin – they cut it up for you which is very helpful. The portions are quite good here. It was an interesting delight when putting food into your mouth because (besides the tenderloin) you never knew what you were going to get next. A mouth full of fingerling potatoes? Or yams? Carrots? Only the small details of sweetness or starchiness would help you distinguish what was what.
When Nathalie and I walked out of the restaurant, I felt a little bit better about myself. That I had taken one step forward in facing some of my fears and to enjoy places in Vancouver I may not have necessarily gone to voluntarily on my own. Yes, I’m still afraid of water, darkness and confined spaces, but I feel like I’ve really proven to myself that these fears can still be overcome – even if it’s with baby steps.
Disclosure: Please note, as mentioned in the post, I was sponsored by Ford Canada – given a car for a week and given gift cards to go on an adventure. All opinions and thoughts are my own.