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

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 – Hopelessness

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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

Poetry Corner – Finding a Way To Love Everyone

Finding a Way
to love everyone

*Inspired by a homeless man's cardboard box sign with the quote, "Finding a way to love everyone" written on it

 Finding a Way to Love Everyone

 Finding a way to love Everyone, but alas I'm here on the street
 Finding a way to love Everyone, and I'm feeling exhausted and beat
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but I'm starving and in need of food
 Finding a way to love Everyone, acknowledge me no need to be rude 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but I have no shoes on my feet
 Finding a way to love Everyone, man I really need something to eat
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but it's cold and it's starting to rain
 Finding a way to love Everyone, my heart beats and shivers in pain 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but everyone just disappoints
 Finding a way to love Everyone, I'm trying but think what's the point?
 Finding a way to love everyone, but I'm tired and hungry as fuck
 Finding a way to love Everyone, could you spare some change, just a buck
 Finding a way to love Everyone, would you put something in my hat? 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, it'd be great if you'd stop to chat
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but not sure if I'll be here or how 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, there is no tomorrow, only now
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but I'm coughing and constantly sick 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, homeless or dead, take your pick
 Finding a way to love Everyone, but soon I'll be dead and gone 
 Finding a way to love Everyone, sadly realize life will go on

 ....

 I'm still trying to love Everyone.


Cameron is a writer living in Toronto and a volunteer with a local homeless outreach program. He is still "finding a way to love everyone."

Upfront Reviews: LookBack – The Wire

The Wire

by Cameron Brtnik

{WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

So I’ve finally finished The Wire (10 years late, I know). It will go down as one of the most memorable TV series I’ve ever seen (next to House – if you know me you know I’m a big fan of the mischievous MD). I’ll have many memories from the show: Mcnulty, Bunk, hoppers, runners, and of course Omar. But the story, or lesson, that will remain with me is that of Reginald’s, aka Bubbles, in Season 5. Out of anyone in the show, he made the biggest transformation. And isn’t that what we’re always looking for in characters, a transformation? More importantly in ourselves? He was the most notorious of drug addicts, a heavy user until he regrettably kills his “adopted son” by accidentally poisoning him. He actually quits using for good (not before unsuccessfully trying to hang himself). The lesson I learned was this…

Bubbles did three things:

1. He stopped blaming others for his problems.

2. He took one hundred percent responsibility for his problems.

3. He sought out help in his community.

All these steps combined helped him greatly in his transition, transformation, and sticking to it. Bubbles, or someone like him, may always struggle with addiction. But he took the steps necessary in battling it. He’ll always be a better man for doing so.

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Cameron is a freelance writer and fan for life of The Wire

cbrtnik.com