Poetry Corner – Morning Commute

Morning Commute

    Tin snake, barely awake, twisted tunnels, pushed and funnelled, crammed in, tuna can, sea of frowns, furrowed brows, claustrophobic, body frozen, anxiety, stranger eyeing me, death stare, vacant glare, guy's sweaty, eyes heavy, morning breath, feel like death, faces glued to hand devices deathly afraid to look up for they may accidentally make eye contact: phone screens, Kindle screens, sudoku screens, newspaper screens, delay announcement, PA shouting, confused expressions, rising tension, gonna be late shit, won't make it, gonna be fired, brain is tired, missing my test, gonna get an F, Finch Station, arrived at my destination... A sigh of relief, now do it again five days a week

10P 10: How To Throw a GOOD Party This Summer

10P 10:

How To Throw a Good Party This Summer

written by Cameron Brtnik

44736842-diverse-summer-party-rooftop-fun-concept

“Make it a Potluck”
    We’re finally into the summer party season, and you’ll no doubt be celebrating at your cottage up North, hitting a patio downtown, or throwing a backyard BBQ. You will surely be stocked with cold beers, coolers, freshly rolled joints and other party favours to help keep your guests inebriated. And let’s not forget the staples: juicy burgers, sausages, and some unidentifiable vegan choice. You’ll probably have a couple card games on hand like Cards Against Humanity, or Uno. And this would all seem like enough..but often, it’s not – not if you want to make your party memorable. Here are some ideas to add some originality, fun and excitement to your shindig, and ensure your parties will be the most talked about this summer!
1. Get Decor – Buy some decor at a store. I know it seems tacky, but it’s better than nothing! Eg: Streamers, balloons, and other party favours. Tip: These can all be bought at Dollarama.
2. Plan Some Games – This may seem childish, but as I’m sure you’re well aware, a drunken crowd is a childish crowd. Some ideas: Pin the Tail On the Donkey, Twister (this will turn x-rated pretty quick, unless it’s a family function), Truth or Dare, Card Drinking Games like Kings Cup
3. Have Prizes – Don’t forget to have prizes for the winners. I usually like to have cheesy prizes ie. stuff you can get from the dollar bin, as it makes it funnier, promotes good sportsmanship, and will ultimately save some $. Some favourites: Bag-o-nuts, a pair of socks, or some kind of childish toy. It’s probably good to have a real prize for the harder games like Trivia. For this you can have nicer items like a bottle of Tequila or a movie Gift Certificate. Tip: For a great prize (and to save you more $) you could make a “Dinner for two with Me and You” gift card where you invite that guest and a plus one for a dinner night. They will love it cause they’ll get to spend more time with you!
4. Host a Trivia Game – Everyone likes to play trivia at the pub, but how about in your own living room? And have guests answering questions you designed yourself? Tip: Make it theme related ie. On a trip to Chicago you could include trivia about that city, or for a birthday you can find out trivia about the birthday boy (ask his girlfriend the answers beforehand so it makes it super subjective!)
5. Play Kings Cup – I mentioned this in #2, but I felt this game needed a whole category in itself. You know it – it’s that game you played in college where, by the end, you were either throwing up in the bathroom or making out with a stranger. Kings Cup is still the king of drinking games (see what I did there?) and what I love about it is that you can tweak the rules or even make up new ones along the way. “Kings! From now on no one can use the word ‘drink’ during the game.” Good luck with that one.
6. Entertain Your Guests – Invite at least one talented friend. This could be a musician, a dancer, a clown, or even a chef. It doesn’t matter, as long as they’re prepared to be put on the spot at some point in the night to put on a show. It’s a win-win: They entertain your crowd for free and they get invited to the next party.
7. Play Match-Maker – Know a couple of stand-up individuals in your circle of friends who haven’t found the right one (yet)? Perfect! Act as matchmaker. Whether or not they hit it off by the end of the night, they’ll thank you for your well-meaning efforts. You never know – they may just name their baby after you.
8. Throw a Dance Party – Halfway into the night guests will be chilling on the patio, deck, or huddled inside if the weather’s chilly… That’s when you ask Alexa to throw on some party tunes! Watch as your normally shy friends bust out the Floss. Ah DMX never sounded so good.
9. Make It a Potluck – Make the party a Potluck Party and that will certainly take a lot of the stress off of hosting. You can designate one cook, or guests may use the grill to cook their own food (this comes with an obvious warning).
10. BYOB – Ask guests to “Bring Your Own Booze.” This seems evident but it’s worth mentioning. Imagine the PR nightmare if you ran out of booze halfway through the event – apocalyptic. If everyone brings their own booze, you can relax knowing there’ll be plenty to gulp down for the duration of the event (and even leftovers for dinner the next day!). Oh the joys of hosting. Tip: To make the party amusing put out a bowl of edibles. WARNING: Make sure your guests know they’re edibles! If they’ve never tried them advise doing just a little so your guests don’t disappear halfway through the night. I recommend gummy bears, but just the head.

Cameron is a freelance writer based in Toronto and part-time party planner cbrtnik.com

Poetry Corner – The Bear

il_570xN.1055052364_4w4y

The Bear

by Cameron Brtnik

(based on my girlfriend's dream 3/22/18)


I had a dream, twas more like a 'mare

I had a dream I was chased by a bear


This big brown bear was chasing me

It chased me until I ran up a tree


I was safe there, at least for now

There's no way in hell that I'm coming down


Then the bear whipped out its claws

Five sharp knives on large white paws


It bared its fangs like sharpened blades

And shook the tree until it gave


Right then I jumped and made escape

I looked behind me and saw its shape


That's when the fear and dread arrived

Don't think I'll make it out alive


I ran and ran like rabbit game

Inside my fears I had to tame


I couldn't tell what's dream or real

I thought I'd be the bear's next meal


Frantic, panic, sweat and tears

All my doubts, anxiety, fears


Would I escape? I wasn't sure

Next thing that happened was a blur


I fell and stumbled, tried to reach high

My heart was pounding, I felt it cry


I tried to wake up, cried and moaned

No one to wake me, all alone


The bear bit down upon my head

I let him eat me, sure I was dead


Then suddenly, everything was fine

No more fear, it was a sign


From then on when the bear gave chase

I stood my ground, stared face to face


…..


Now don’t you see, I am the bear

The one being chased, the one that's scared


But now I can control it, see

And tame the bear that lives in me

SpotLight: Divine Light Wellness – Holistic Healing

SpotLight: Divine Light Wellness – Holistic Healing

Shannon Soules – Life Coach

Spiritual coaching and energy healing for personal growth and wellness

This was my first experience with meditation and Reiki. This is a true testimonial I wrote for her website. She is also the first to be featured in my new SpotLight series. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any mental or physical disorder, I sincerely recommend you try out her services. It really did work for me!

I’ve had two sessions with Shannon and…wow. It’s made a huge difference in my overall mood and mental state, and I’ve been much more clear-headed and focused. This year I’ve taken positive steps to get my life in order – mental health, career path, personal growth – by hiring a Life Coach and a Spiritual Coach and have been making incremental, yet great strides, in all three areas. I like the practical, straightforward advice from my life coach gives me which have produced immediate and perceptible results. To be honest, I was more skeptical of working with a “spiritual” coach, but at this point I was open to trying anything…

Shannon made the trip to Toronto for our first, in-person session. She has a nifty “mobile office” complete with massage table, sage and Tibetan bowls, so if you can’t make the trip to her in Georgetown she can come to you! She offered the whole gambit: guided meditation, Reiki and the mystical Tibetan Bowls, all of which were a first experience for me. If you’re a naturally skeptical person like me, right now you are probably saying to yourself, “Reiki? What the hell is that? Sounds like a Naruto jutsu.” But I knew that if I fully gave myself over to Shannon’s guidance and suggestions, I won’t regret it; it all works if you let your guard down and open yourself up to new experiences

One facet from our sessions I really appreciated was that Shannon took the time to transcribe everything I said and, more importantly, read them back to me; the strange thing is that it didn’t even sound like me! They were truly insightful reflections, all from deep within my own mind – if only we took time out of our “busy schedules” of watching Netflix and checking Instagram to meditate and do some self-reflection. If you have trouble focusing and meditating on your own like I do, booking a session with Shannon is the best way to begin! My ultimate goal is to eventually be able to do this on my own – but working with Shannon will inspire and get you motivated to start.

I had many insights in just two sessions – my second session was over Skype (this was “pre-zoom” era) as we couldn’t schedule a meetup that week. Yet surprisingly I was able to go into a meditative state as she guided me through our session over the screen. It was an equally gratifying session, although I still preferred our in-person session. I have since booked weekly sessions with Shannon, and I’m already looking forward to our next one. She has taught me that it’s possible to be still, even for just a moment, in this constantly engaging world and to start looking within.

Shannon also practices Poi and if you ask nicely, she may teach you! Check our her website here: http://www.divinelightwellness.com

Cameron is a freelance writer, blogger, and spiritual being based in Toronto. ***For your very own “SpotLight” just send me an email at cbrtnik@gmail.com or PM me on Instagram @instacam81

Poetry Corner – Deadline

original_hourglass-rose-gold-glitter-timer_1_
Deadline
  
I’m not tired
but I’m not awake
 I close my eyes wanting to
shut out everything and focus
 But I fall asleep once again
 behind schedule
Day's gone
  
 When I’m asleep
deadline's drift away
like sand in an ocean breeze
 Pray I don't wake up, to stay in limbo
Awoken again by the greed of day
I feel the instant deadline of
life waiting

Poetry Corner – Time

1540208830_955987_1540210198_noticia_normal

Time

Time
has no purpose
no start, no end
perpetually repeating itself
at an ever faster rate
so fast it makes clocks spin
knocking atoms along
rushing into the future
forgetting the past
rendering the future
obsolete

Upfront Reviews: Float Toronto

Upfront Reviews: Float Toronto

by Cameron Brtnik

    When you enter into Float Toronto, you’re entering into another world… If you haven’t “floated” yet, do yourself a favour and get buoyant! 

    If you haven’t tried it, you’ve most likely heard of it: known as “float pods,” “isolation tanks” or the more ominous sounding “sensory deprivation tanks,” they’ve started to amass a cult following amongst its practitioners. It has also been called “floatation therapy,” and is anecdotally said to cure a multitude of ailments. Joe Rogan claims he sleeps in one every night. As Float Toronto – one of the few venues that carry float tanks in Toronto – say in their promotional video, “Your experience in a float tank is about everything you won’t be doing.” I personally always go in with some intent: think on my goals, focus my energy, reflect on my actions or simply to meditate.

Welcome to Float Toronto!

    You are greeted by a chill receptionist who is more than happy to give you a tour of the spa. In fact, it’s more of a “do it yourself spa.” What comes to mind when you think of the word “spa?” Relaxation, meditation, and healing – and that’s exactly what you’ll get during your float. In fact, I’ve found floating to be far more relaxing than a traditional massage. I believe it’s because your body actually relaxes, I mean fully relaxes, without friction against your body, and your muscles for the first time can fully relax. That’s the problem with traditional massage: your body is still lying against another surface so it’s impossible for your body to completely relax. Because the water is heated to the same temperature as your body, you don’t really feel it after a while and your mind becomes “untethered” from the rest of you. As Joe Rogan says, “Your body is a distraction.” Now it’s time to travel to the centre of consciousness…

    As you enter your own private room complete with personal bench, tiled shower and your very own float pod, you’re overcome with a sense of relaxation before even stepping into the glimmering abyss… The dim lights and their sapphire glow make it feel as if you’re stepping into a spacecraft – and that’s exactly what you’re doing. After a soothing shower (there’s no rush as you have a whole hour to float), you step into your personal pod and it feels ethereal. At first you’ll feel slightly nervous to lie down on a bed of water. Don’t worry: each tank has a thousand pounds of epsom salt which gives the water a buoyancy akin to the Dead Sea. You fully lie back – yes you can even rest your head on the surface of the water – or you have the option of using the provided halo cushion for your neck. You have the option of earplugs if you get swimmer’s ear, soothing body cream to rub on your skin after your session, and your very own robe; you’ll feel like you’re staying at the Hilton. If you are claustrophobic, not to worry; the tanks are easy to exit at all times by just pushing up on the pod door. But don’t fret: Float Toronto’s tanks are much larger and voluminous than most, so even the most claustrophobic guest should’ve have a panic attack.

    There is heavenly zen music playing as you enter the glowing hull. As you descend into the warm glow of the lights, it’s nice to just lie in it for ten minutes to get fully immersed into the experience. You can control the settings from inside the tank if you want to control the lights and music, but this floater recommends trying the full experience: FULL SENSORY DEPRIVATION. Oh, and one very important tip: never rub your eyes! Don’t put your hands even near your eyes. Doing so will result in a disruption of your meditative state and quickly propel you back to reality. In case of this scenario, there is spray and a towel provided in the tank which will quickly remedy the situation. As you’re in a “sensory deprivation” tank, after about ten minutes you’re encouraged to turn all these distractions off…so you’re floating in pure blackness, like the blackness of space, the thick water fully supporting your weightless body. At first you may feel helpless, anxious, or even nervous…but slowly a relaxing feeling encompasses you like a warm blanket. As you lay there naked – oh yes, I forgot to mention you are encouraged to go “au naturel” to get the full experience – typically your mind will start racing to all the things you have to do that day: go to work, pick up milk, take the dog out, watch the season finale of Game of Thrones. In today’s age you may even have a full-on panic attack that you can’t whip out your phone to check your notifications and like your favourite insta posts. But eventually these thoughts fade and suddenly, for the first time in forever, your mind becomes empty…or at least void of any trivial thoughts. You begin noticing your environment and because there’s no light to “influence” your vision, you may even start hallucinating. I have envisioned that I am floating in space with stars hovering above me (these experiences are heightened by a quick hit on the ol’ vape before floating. I feel this enhances the experience but is not necessary.)

Top 5 Things I Like To Do While In The Tank 

  1. Listen to my knuckles crack underwater
  2. Hum and chant underwater. Your voice is intensified so that it sounds like it could fill a stadium. (One time floating with a friend he heard me chanting from an adjoining room. He thought he was hearing things in the tank!)
  3. Force myself to be creative. If I have an upcoming project that I haven’t reflected on yet, I simply focus on that one thing and – boom – ideas come streaming in
  4. Pretend I’m a frog swimming around in my own private pond
  5. Massage my body. The salty, viscous fluid helps with this

    Because you won’t be “fighting gravity,” it’s hard to tell where the water ends and your body begins… You became “one” with the water and the space around you, as if you’re a naked astronaut floating through space. I am usually fully relaxed halfway through the float, and that’s when my mind starts being creative. I like to use the tank time to think, create and brainstorm ideas – like a literal think tank! But each person’s experience is subjective, and you may prefer to just relax and enjoy the experience. With around twenty minutes to go, I often pass out due to feeling so relaxed. You may call that a waste of a float, but trust me when I say when you wake up you will feel like a new person, and I guarantee you will have never slept like that in a bed before. The music comes on again at the end, sort of like a heavenly alarm clock, to wake you. But if you find it hard to snap out of the trance you’re in, the water will start gushing around the tank to “nudge” you awake. You’ll want to take another shower to wash all that salt off your body. One thing you’ll notice is how smooth your skin feels: “Like a baby’s bottom,” is the best way to describe it. Another thing I find is that, ironically, my muscles are sore, almost like I just ran a marathon. I think it’s because they’ve never fully relaxed before. But it’s in a good way, like that feeling after a good workout at the gym.

    After getting dressed, you can enjoy some hot herbal tea in the lounge and share your experience with the staff. They even provide a journal where you can share your experience by writing a poem, drawing your visions, or writing a short diary of your experience. I’ve heard from people who have had very visual hallucinations (particularly one guy who did mushrooms in the tank. But I don’t recommend that, at least on your first float!), to those who have none and just find it to be a therapeutic experience. I recommend you book a float to find out what you’ll experience. They also sell bags of epsom salt in the lobby so you can enjoy the health benefits in the comfort of your own bath. Whatever your reasons for trying it are – therapeutic, spiritual or psychedelic – I believe floating is the best way to achieve it. Bon voyage!

Book your float here: https://float-toronto.com/ and use their online calendar

Recommendation: Book a package of ten floats and it’s almost half price! Tuesdays are “clean for float” days where you can volunteer to come in and clean for a few hours in exchange for a float! 

Float Toronto on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=3nHbY3lNOJI

Post-float reactions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI_EL3IvmKQ

Joe Rogan on Sensory Deprivation Tanks https://player.vimeo.com/video/97880537

Cameron Brtnik is a freelance writer and blogger based in Toronto, and a practicing “floater”

Poetry Corner – Walking Plague

ap,550x550,12x16,1,transparent,t.u1
Walking Plague


I am a walking plague


I bring death and disease everywhere I go


Where there is life there will eventually be death


I am a walking plague


For which there is no cure


Why hasn’t God created a cure to wipe me off the face of the earth?


I am a walking plague


I live in complete isolation from the world


I should be burnt into nothingness


I will die lonely


I am a walking plague

Poetry Corner – Hopelessness

740035._SX540_
 
Hopelessness


I’m tired of feeling like this


Where I see worth, I feel worthless


Where I see opportunity, I feel stuck


Where I see work, I feel useless


Where I see hope, I feel despair


Where I see light, I feel darkness


Where I see inspiration, I feel doubtful


Where I see life, I feel death


Where I see wealth, I feel poor


Now on to antidepressants