I was unhappy. To reference Csikszentmihalyi‘s Flow Model, I’d fallen from flow at work and into constant anxiety with destructive apathy. The mental challenge was gone. My brain was rotting away. I know myself well enough to know that this leads to bad behavior. Friday morning exploded. The details of the catalytic moment could have one thousand variations. It was at this spot, before I took this photograph, that I realized something needed to change. The four-hour float tank session I’d scheduled for the next morning couldn’t have been better scheduled to help me figure out what I needed to do.
Conventional advice for meditation asks that you empty your mind. You ignore this thought and disregard this emotion. I don’t follow that. When I meditate, I explore all angles of a thought. If a thought is a house, I’m a robber trying to get inside that thought house, and nab the cheese.
When I got in the float tank, I asked myself, “why am I unhappy?”
I quickly nabbed it: I should quit my job. Now what’s the plan to get out of this mind palace? I’ve done enough one-hour floats to know my pace. I’d say it took me five minutes to nab the cheese and the remaining part of the hour or slightly longer to escape. Some ideas are great but it’s all passion and no execution and that’s why so many good ideas never arrive at fruition.
The rest of the float was just cleaning up the house.
A fellow floater recommended that I do a brain dump of my thoughts after the float. I omitted the obvious, because I was still summoning the courage, and now that I’m reading over these notes, I’m glad I took that advice. While I only executed about half of the ideas, I’ve been trying to break into these other thought house since, and there’s some nice cheese here.
I returned to work after the weekend and there was another meeting with more of the same from Friday. With eight minutes left in the meeting, I ate the cheese I nabbed in my mind palace, and announced that I was quitting. I didn’t have a clear plan in place. It was reckless. I just knew, to quote “Guerrilla Radio” by Rage Against The Machine, “what better place than here, what better time than now? All hell can’t stop us now.”
I don’t believe in fate or coincidence, but things sure did seem to fall into place after that decision. Weeks later on my last day of that job, a recruiter reached out to chat about a contract, and I signed the paperwork to begin work on that contract four business days later.
That float tank brainstorming session certainly had an impact.