A Love Affair with the Ocean

As a child, living on the west coast of Florida, I spent countless hours in the Gulf of Mexico, swimming with the fish, exploring, and snorkeling. My girlfriends and I would play house in the mangroves for hours. It was truly a magical time. The water was my refuge, my solace, my first love.

The first time I floated, the day was sunny and brisk. The water was cold enough to need a wetsuit. I remember feeling nervous and not knowing what to expect. Just moments after I lay back into the water, feeling the support of my pod mates (2 people), I felt a shift happening in my chest. I felt like a ball of heaviness was gently being lifted off the front of my chest. I started to feel lighter, brighter, warmer, but most of all I felt love—and lots of it. When I came out of the water, everything seemed internally crisper, my eyesight seemed more clear, and I wasn’t aware of any tension in my body. This experience gave me a physical experience of what an open heart feels like. I was reminded of the love I felt as a child while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. I wanted to share it.

Shelley Lynch Float

I am a mental health counselor and I share the magic of the water with clients through assisted floating. Imagine floating, feeling almost weightless, feeling the safety of two people supporting you as the the gentle current take your troubles away. The gentle caressing of the sun and salt provide a peaceful nirvana to help your mind and body let go of stress and tension. The combination of nature flowing, the heart presence of your supporters, and the salt water is the perfect formula for letting go and restoring balance.

My husband and I floated a lovely woman named Jamie in the crystal clear aqua water of the Bahamas one summer morning. During her float, two fish joined us: a large fish about a foot long chasing a smaller fish about 3 inches long around Jamie. The smaller fish found a safe haven between Jamie’s arm and body. The larger fish stayed for a long while before giving up and swimming away. After her float, she expressed feeling full of love and lighter. We shared how the little fish had found safety from her. Jamie said, “That is so interesting  because I am just learning how to be a safe haven for myself.” Her experience reflects the symbiotic relationship we have with the oceans.

Two years ago while living on the east coast of Florida, the toxic release from a nearby lake was causing the death of hundreds of birds, marine life, and algae. I was devastated to witness the death of the water I love so much. When I heard that this happens every year, and every year we expect the water and marine life to recover from the bacteria and poison, I was angry, shocked, and deeply disturbed. I wanted to be a part of the solution (and quickly), but didn’t know how.

Within a few weeks, I was divinely inspired to ’Float for the Fish’ and use the assisted floating technique as an event to help people connect to themselves and to the water. I shared my vision with my husband, who is a body worker and shares the same love for the water. He came up with name Float for Life, because we are floating for ocean health and personal well-being.

Shelley Lynch Float

There are many people working hard to help change the way we treat the environment. Many try to inspire with fear and anger; I wanted people to have a positive experience filled with compassion and love to inspire action.

The vision for the event was to have people float in groups of three for 10 minutes each.  Participants would have their intimate, private experience of floating while supported, allowing their bodies and minds to let go, connecting inward, with each other, and with the environment.  Within six short weeks we had our first successful event.

Our bodies on average are 70-90 percent water and the earth is covered by at least 75 percent water. This shows me that the human body and the oceans are a reflection of each other. Each have the role of supporting and maintaining life. Clean water, in our our body and in our oceans support our very existence, it connects us with every living thing on Earth.

Clean water is my passion, whether it is the water in the human body affected by our emotional pain, or the pollution clogging our beautiful rivers, lakes, and oceans. I believe they are inextricably connected. The time is now for us to make a conscious shift to stop polluting ourselves and our planet. Floating is a way to find our way back to connection, compassion, and love. After all, what we love is what we protect.

Shelley Lynch Float

About the Author | Shelley Lynch

Dr. Shelley Lynch is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. Dr. Lynch established her private practice in 1990. She earned her PhD in clinical mental health from Barry University in 2001. She utilizes assisted floating in her private practice and Float for Life events to improve mindfulness and conservation.

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