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Nirvana: Enter, The Storyteller

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

aka Floating Toward Inspiration...

There are many ways to tap into creativity. Some people build worlds with pigment or steel, others can awaken the spirit with tones and vibrations. A talented hand can coax life from a fabric, or enrapture the palate with one bite of some food, expertly prepared. Even still, there are storytellers - descended from bards and memory-keepers. In truth, artists come in infinite forms, inspiration channeled through the media that inspires them - like light exploding through a prism.

What might you give to be able to tap into your own font of expression?

A heuristic mainline directly to your creative source code. Imagine finding the ideal space to allow your body and mind to streamline your thoughts into this very endeavor.

Lovinder Gill is the larger-than-life, quick with a laugh, ever-moving founder of Nirvana Float in Collegeville, PA. As his sizable presence and high energy might suggest, he’s been an athlete all his life. He played various sports throughout high school and college. Although he has continued to stay active as an adult, he began noticing a few years ago that back pain was getting the best of him. The spasms were becoming debilitating. He tried massage and every other traditional modality he could think of to ease the pain. By chance, a friend recommended floating. Lovinder had never considered it before. With some research, he found that both elite athletes and brilliant artists (e.g. Steph Curry & Tom Brady to John Lennon & George Carlin) have benefited from this atypical practice. Being pretty open-minded, he decided to give it a shot.

“Hey, I’ll try anything once!” Especially if it might help to quell the pain.

Enter, the eminent, and oft-mentioned *Float Angel* -- Keri McGinn of Halcyon Floats in Philly. She gets mega shout-outs and float love from most people I talk to in the float community.

[Check out the Spa Spotlight on Relax Float Spa in Doylestown, PA for her first of many mentions. I'm looking forward to checking out her brand new Fishtown location next month!]

The initial verdict? Overall, the experience itself was...good. Pleasant. Relaxing. He went home having considered another option explored and crossed off his list.

Then overnight, his opinion evolved!

When he woke up the next morning after his float he felt such great relief that he was shocked. His back pain had subsided, and he could move freely again! (The mineral compound magnesium sulfate has incredible physical benefits, not the least of which include reducing inflammation, optimizing circulation, and drawing lactic acid buildup from muscles).

As he picked up the practice more regularly, his wife really noticed the benefits. She would encourage him to float more often, and would even check in to see when he would go again.

"Why?" he'd ask.

You’re happier on the days you do!” she would reply.

I found that to be so endearing that she noticed how good it was for him.

This starting him on the path to opening a spot of his own. You might not know this man's level of hustle! Let's just say that with some ingenuity, creativity, a deeply-ingrained entrepreneurial spirit, and a whole hell of a lot of drive, he made it so he could share floating with more of the world....

Nirvana Float opened its Collegeville location on 01-20-2020.

The spa is called Nirvana as a nod to his Indian culture and, naturally, the embodiment of how you will feel during and after a float: Transcendence above karma into a state of complete bliss - a quenching of all desire.

The logo was designed by the owner - blue to represent the sky, orange from the glow of the pod, and the subtle butterfly motif to symbolize a transformation within the float.

"Do you see the floater in the design?" He smiles.

"I do now.." I say, and smile back.

The physical space of the spa is thoughtfully curated. You walk into a lobby trimmed with reclaimed, exposed wooden rafters. Even the furniture beckons you to step in farther. Winding around the room is legitimately the World's Comfiest Couch Ever™. I oblige, kick off my shoes, and dive into the sumptuous cushions. A cool, sleek steamer trunk holds court in the center of the floor, It is huge and unmoving. This room is obviously made to accommodate giants, and I might just be a happy little human that stumbled into the middle of it all!

My eyes are instantly drawn to this piece of trippy, flowing, bifurcated art proudly showcased above the lounge -- a perfect place for our conversation to start. Katy, who works with Lovinder, is more than happy to praise the vision of the spa's client artists. The creator, I'm told, is local artist, Taylor Bielecki. The piece was conceived from a floating experience. To the left: turbulence, chaos, disquiet...and to the right:

calm, clarity, peace. The center between the two represents the blissful transformative nothingness of the float tank.

"So your clients are obviously really talented. Do you think floating helps nurture creativity in some way?" I ask casually.

That, as it turns out, was the right question.

Over the next hour, I got to learn about another of Lovinder's true passions: filmmaking. He is a talented screenwriter (as attested by Katy, who also works with him in this capacity -- She's pretty amazing herself!). With 20+ years of experience, Lovinder has committed to mentorship as a professor, a podcaster, creator, and an author within the screenwriting discipline. I had caught up with him on the eve of filming his next project, a film called Seclusion.

I am bursting at the seams relieving this epic retelling in my mind. No spoiler alerts here, but the pair did me the honor of unveiling the story to me. As Lovinder proceeded to wind me down the path of this suspenseful and exciting tale he had birthed, it dawned on me: Ah! He is a word-worker! Here is his particular magic. To say I was entranced is a bit of an understatement. I was on the edge of *The World's Comfiest Couch*, eyes wide for the next revelation.

Occasionally, the pair would pause to greet a guest - catching up with a regular client, or welcoming and getting to know a new face. And each time yet they'd pull me back into the story. My palms were literally squeezed against my face as I held my breath through another plot twist. It was like riding a roller coaster.

I get it now, I thought. I see his true form - at home here, deep within stories of his own invention.

And the most shocking part of it all was this kernel of truth: that Lovinder says this was one of floating's true gifts to him. More than the back pain relief, more than the opportunity to unwind after a hectic day...floating gave him this: the ability to create again. It helped heal a particularly stubborn case of writer's block that had been stalling him.

This is something I can completely relate to, and in all honestly, this is a majority of why I float. Floating gave writing back to me. It helped the words and ideas flow as my mind was able to quiet, center, and focus. A practice I thought I had all but lost through my life. This blog is my gift to you in gratitude to what floating has restored, and its a somewhat similar case with Lovinder and his films. He is able to create more freely when he allows himself the opportunity to become centered in floating.

Do yourself a favor and see Seclusion when it comes out. I know the ending [*teehee*] and I STILL can't wait to watch this vision unfold on the screen. (Thinking they should host a watch party at the spa on that ginormous couch of theirs.). Here's a link to work that Lovinder has had a hand in creating, through writing, production, and directing.

The float itself was great. It was my first time using a pod, as opposed to the cabin model I'm used to. The domed lid allows the room to feel large and unrestricted. Towering over 6 feet tall, Lovinder can attest that even those gifted with stature (aka *Not Me*) can nestle comfortably in the spacious pool. And to complete the process of melting from a hardened-of-the-world human into a blissful enlightened soul, I'll hit you with the 5-word knockout: Free. Giant. Massage. Chair. Session. (You're welcome.)

So thank you for accompanying me on this journey. From the beginning, with the winding tale and great conversation, to the end: blissed out satisfaction. And in the middle, as Taylor's art depicts - a space of dreamy and satisfying stillness, that can only be discovered through experience. A beautiful pause. An un-space. I invite you to visit and try for yourself. I cannot wait to hear what you're able to discover waiting inside of you.

- A

Thank you so much to Lovinder, Katy, and the Nirvana Float team for welcoming me. They are amazing people. Also, thanks for letting me use the logo throughout this piece! Here are some of their details at a glance:

Nirvana Float

Phone: 215.NIRVANA [215.647.8262]

Hours: 10am-10pm Daily [Closed Tuesday]


Providence Town Center

171 Market Street, Suite 2-A

Collegeville, PA 19426


Hey, so the one thing I didn't get to discuss here was the upcoming FLOAT CONFERENCE. Lovinder is on the planning board, and was able to give me some great insider info. I'm going to write a post specifically about this cool upcoming event, because it deserves its own space.

Be on the lookout for that post here in the next couple weeks!

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YOU, Ms. Alissa, are a Word Worker, too. It is now my privilege to say “I told you so!” This was your best post yet. Don’t ever dumb them down. Well done! With love, Yo’ Mama

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