The power of the mind. I write about how awesome you will be. Fact. You should read this for tips and tricks on how to keep psychological health fine tuned to keep your performance at its best.

I’m not here to preach to the choir. Most of you that read my stuff get it. This is an outlet though, and I’m human… not everything is peachy. This stems from a bit of frustration I have had over the past well.. years, really. However, I had a good conversation with a really good friend today all about how authenticity and being absolutely vulnerable is a superpower that people fear taking ownership of. Not this guy.

I’m one that – I dunno – just feel it’s easier and way more cool being honest. Especially in consideration of the role I am in, typically looked up to as a source of knowledge, wisdom and the answers on how to pull through, be strong and stay positive – I’ll be the first to admit, I’m right there with you on seeking answers. I’m wicked human. I’m often in just as much of a tailspin as the next person. Often finding myself selling off things to make rent, buy groceries and dog food for my dog. Why? Series of poor financial decisions, poor judgement, poor financial education, poor control. I’m a disaster in some areas of my life. However, I’m proud of my mindset. Perspective changes outcomes. I’m an eternal optimist. And I’ll never change that. I will achieve big things.

I don’t confine myself to lanes. I read a quote from George Stroumboulopoulos the other day, check it out… follow this human on twitter and IG @strombo

Dawg2HrVwAAHqYj.jpg A lot of people, some, who feel they’re very close to me, just do not understand that part of my brain. My mind works in a special way, maybe some of you can relate to it. This is how I experience the thought process, my experience so don’t get hung up on the little things. These are just a few ways I live. Deemed successful or not, this is my creative mind and an explanation as to why I operate in the way that I do. Unfortunately, it’s ironic that the people that should read this won’t… but for those of you who do… pass it along. It’s helpful in understanding people that consider themselves artists, creators, musicians, authors or otherwise artsy and dreaming. Often times, these “dreamers” are the once that change the world.

  1. Say yes and then figure it out
    • Yup. This has definitely gotten me in a lot of shit financially speaking. However if I hadn’t taken risks without knowing the full outcome I wouldn’t be where I am today, good or bad. Rich or poor, I’m on a mission to improve the quality of life of the professionals in the music industry.
  2. Try everything at least once (with some exceptions. Don’t do drugs. We are talking experiences… and this flows into the next point)
    • Again, I tend to get distracted with things and find other things to move me further away from the end goal. As a creative, the fear of success is actually a reality. I don’t want to actually finish that song, finish that poem, finish that book… because then what? You know? From a creative’s mindset, the journey is what I really enjoy. Not the final project. That part sucks. That just means I have to face the music. It’s so much easier to just talk about the things I’m up to… you know? However, if you try a bunch of things, sure you’ll take some time… but much alike dating, you figure out what you’re meant to do. I’d rather do what I’m supposed to do in the world than hate my life waking up each day waiting for Friday, the vacation or bedtime.
  3. Do something that scares you!
    • If you’re only doing things that are in your wheelhouse, you’re only limiting yourself. Experience stuff that’ll expand your mind, expand your physical ability, expand your borders. Reach out and positively change some one else’s life.
  4. Absolutely own everything you do, good or bad.
    • You’ll feel empowered when you take control of your life. For example, let’s take your financial situation (believe me, I know… I’m working on turning that ship around). When you look at every situation you find yourself in and saying ” How is this situation completely 100% my fault?” good or bad.
  5. Say what you feel
    • Cut the passive aggressive BS out of your life and be direct. If you expect me to understand you better do a damn good job of explaining said thing. Otherwise, – well… what do they say about assuming things…

 

Thank you for reading. Please share this message. The more understanding and tolerance we give to others, the greater amount of respect between each other we’ll start to see. The funny thing about respect is that with generation gaps and value systems in the modern first world, older populations have a famed affinity with unconditional respect, regardless of whether or not it’s reciprocated. That’s right, respect your elders – even if they treat you like shit. They’re invincible. Well, I’m here to piss a few folks off, because they’re not invincible. They’re human. Just like me. Just like all of us, regardless of age, status, ethnicity, colour, gender, orientation… anything…

Let’s all just listen a little more and this world will fill up with love and respect in no time.

Peace and love, friends.

xoI am trying to hear you, but your actions are deafening

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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It’s actually amazing how you can rise to new heights the minute you lower your expectations…

Today has been special. I didn’t expect any of this…

Following the news of last night’s fatal bus crash involving the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos, it’s been a quiet day of reflection. As a former junior hockey player, the news came to me as a living nightmare. I don’t know how I could deal with that kind of trauma. I wish nothing but the best for the survivors, the families and the entire hockey community. This is a huge shock to the world and I’m not sure if the pain will ever go away for those families. It was an absolute tragedy.

Despite the sombre news, I made an earlier commitment to get up and move my legs after a couple hours of screen time – I’m working on writing a few big features for Canadian Musician Magazine and I wanted to get some fresh air and get Darwin out for a walk anyway. So I bundled up (Yes, Calgary is still -19 with a windchill because it’s January 75th apparently…) and headed down the hill into Bridgeland, a sleepy community in the heart of Calgary to grab a coffee and some bread for the week. They serve the best sourdough in town at Bridgeland Market. It’s made at a local bakery, called Citizen Bakery.

I leave Dar leashed off on his little bench beside the store as I go in. All the passersby know and love the goof so I wasn’t surprised to come back out to see a young family excited to pet the puppy. I noticed an elderly woman with a walking stick crossing 10th street as the family carried on their day and I went down to unleash Dar and head back home. As I did, I noticed the elderly woman remove her sunglasses and pause on the sidewalk, just within reach of Darwin’s curious nose and full on “body wag”. She spoke in a broken German accent, I couldn’t quite tell, but it sounded like a northern dialect (my mother was born in West Berlin and I at a time had conversational German). We got to talking about how her and her husband are the dog whisperers of the local off-leash park, and how she knows the type of person the keeper or handler is by the behaviour of the dog at the end of the leash…the dog is a beautiful creature that is just the extension of the owners soul. She spoke as an angel. Like you wouldn’t doubt a word she said. It was captivating.

Meanwhile, it clicked. I’m sitting there going, “Oh man, she’s judging me…” but she clearly meant it as a compliment as she praised Darwin’s amazing behaviour.

“He’s such a beautiful, happy, and strong pup,” she said, “he’s wise beyond his years and his energy for life will take him all the places he wants to go… you just have to let him be and trust him.”

I was blown away.

I then asked he where she was from. She quickly responded “Germany”, and then realized I knew that and was seeking what particular region. I told her of my family origin, of which I’m incredibly proud and she told me east of Hamburg, as part of the former Prussian empire. The conversation will never be replicated with the magic that existed in that moment, but after I learned that her family was a bunch of academics, and had to flee from the war-torn Germany or face Hitler’s wrath, she asked me about what I do.

I told her about my health and wellness career and she light up.

She started to tell me about human magnetism. Previous to her talking about this I had never heard of such things. She explained it in half German, half English and told me to look it up on my computer. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I plan on researching it more but I have a few more hours on this magazine article to get to first – http://www.spiritualgarden.net/info/human+magnetism.html

She was so excited to connect and tell stories and engage in a real conversation. I asked her what her name was. “Rosemary”. I said that wasn’t as German as I had expected. Then she put it into her German tongue. Absolutely beautiful.

She said it was especially important to have met because of her hip. She was injured when she was younger but it was okay because she exercised all her life – she loved swimming… ate very good food – herring from the Baltic Sea, vegetables, rabbit, you name it… she kept a healthy mind, read many books, and really the walking stick was just a “security thing”.  I learned so much from that moment with Rosemary…

She asked me my name.

“Michael” I replied.

“Michael, thank you for this. It has been wonderful to speak with you. I want you to research that human magnetism because it is in your field. You will enjoy it. It is fascinating. He [Darwin] would like to go walk now. I can wash my gloves, don’t worry (Darwin sheds a lot) and we will see you again.”

I’m not sure if I believed in angels before, but this was one heck of a sign that I am on the right path. Don’t let anyone – blood, stranger, best friend – doesn’t matter. No one can throw you off of your path. Follow your dreams, be persistent. Be humble. Be you. Affirmations like these will be there, you might not see them at first. But they’re there.

Rosemary, thank you for being a part of my life. Whether I see you again some time soon or not, that moment will forever be etched in my memory.

I always seem to comprehend experience through my art and when I came home the following few phrases just flowed out of me. So here you are. This may explain things clearer to some. And I hope they don’t fall deaf on others ears. I am working at it. Harder than you’ll ever know. And just because it’s not a path you chose, with all due respect and as Rosemary suggested, you have to let go. Let Darwin lead.

Thanks for reading.

M

xo

———————————————

Rosemary

Father was sent to flee

Packed the family and hit the road

Before the Germans came around

Bundled up on wisdom and a pocketful of hope

 

Her steel blue eyes, simply capsized

By oceans of night and day

Captured as fairytales from what I know

And what my mother had to say

 

The keeper’s hand down the leash

Can turn him beast or friend

It’s the soul inside and the heart that gives

Life or death in the end

 

Every word from every lip

Has some certain sense of grace

It’s all up to how you arrange

The letters in every place

 

Since ’72, her heritage true

An old German, like half of me

She lit right up, eyes wide shut

When I told her I help to free

 

Others from themselves inside

Sounds silly but she agreed

No amount of human magnetism 

Could polarize the seas

 

The good, the bad, the sick and loved

Ich liebe dich, meine freund

Du bist ein Engel, der zu mir geschickt wird

To mend this sobering wound

Photo by Alina Sofia on Unsplash

I’ve been asked countless times, “Mike, I’m eating well, I just can’t seem to lose the weight… what am I doing wrong?”

I’m usually quick to ask “What’s eating well look like to you?” As part of my coaching, I like to believe the best in everyone, but honestly, seeing is believing so I generally follow that question up with “Can you show me what each meal has been exactly in the past three days?”

Most often, that person cannot.

More often they say something to the effect of

“Well, it’s just really tough when the boys want to go out for wings and beer after the game… when my wife wants to do pizza and wine night on Friday and the kids are always on the go for band recital, soccer practice and other extra curricular events… I just don’t wanna be that guy, you know?”

I do. However, own it. You get to make that choice to get wings and beer, enjoy the pizza or choose to eat fast food from the drive thru en route to the kids practice… only you get that choice. And to piggyback on this, it’s not only to do with nutrition. If you find yourself in any less than ideal situation, maybe you just lost your job, maybe you’re considering starting your own business, maybe you want to pursue a passion – whatever it is, if you don’t have the social support, the likelihood of you achieving that dream significantly decreases.

It’s amazing how much we are influenced by the social circles that we are in. I found a very interesting article that explain the power of social support very clearly, from my friends and fellow coaches at Precision Nutrition. Take a read if you think you might know someone that’s got the right intentions but the wrong friends. Might be time to cut the line…. [Read the full article here]

Ciao, babes!

Xo

M

 

Featured Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

This is impromptu. Everything about this post goes against the grain. Everything goes against what we are taught in school. Be smart. Follow the process.

I’m here to shake that shit up.

I’m leading with my heart. The human being is complex. Our souls are complex… and they sure as eff don’t follow linear strategy.

It just makes sense to post now so you all just get a bonus post today. Hell, depending on where you’re at in the world this counts for tomorrow. Anyway, this one’s really spontaneous.

Everything happens for a reason. You and I put things out into the world subconsciously, allow the magic to happen and take what cards are dealt our way.

Here’s the spin…

Music has a very powerful way of channeling feelings, evoking emotion and setting the stage for what you’re in for. It can be scary. It can be wild. it can be whatever you want it to be. It’s the moment. It has no rules. There’s no meter. There are no right or wrong notes. Just go. Just play.

As I write this post the music keeps on flowing…

It’s almost like your “vibe attracts your tribe” extends to “the song is where you belong” – Music makes memories.

There was a reason I tuned in, Strombo. I didn’t know it at the time. I’d say you’d never know what that show did for me… but you just spoke to exactly what I was writing. I’d say that’s eerie, but that’s my whole point. Now you’ll read this and it’ll all make sense.

-sidenote-

If you don’t already, go follow The Strombo Show. @thestromboshow on the socials… this guy’s been golden since I first got into music and I’d strongly encourage you to have a look and see what he’s crafting up.

Also, CBC Radio 2, on point with all of your programming and discovery of amazing music.

Toronto… you have a compelling argument…

Til next time… here’s the thing that started this all. Metric’s “Empty”. A song that represents 2006-2007 to a tee for me, my growing up and my dual struggle with finding myself, and pleasing the rest of the world’s expectations of what was to become of me.  It was a song my girlfriend and I listened to in the car, and she was the first person that introduced me to Metric and I’ll forever be grateful for that. Thank you, Sarah.

Sleep well, loves.

M

xo

 

 

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

Whether it’s coming in and bossing out on the olympic platform, running a sprint for 3 minutes, or maxing out her previous record dead lift, my athlete of the month goes to Karen.

 

It’s crazy to think that this rock star has dropped about 40lbs in a year, started Olympic Lifting and setting Powerlift records nearly every time she touches the bar and – what I think is the most important change – has truly integrated a healthy lifestyle into the daily routine. Day in, day out.

I’m here to write about my experience of working with Karen. I can’t begin to tell you how much I feel as though she has helped me grow as a coach. Not just because I can basically toss any exercise at her and she’ll fine a way to get it done, but because how ridiculously determined she is. This is what it takes to make positive change in your life.

Let’s start with her dedication to getting comfortable in being uncomfortable.

Comfortable

She had never tried Olympic Lifting, let alone even really know what exactly it was one year ago.

I showed her how to throw a barbell over her head… the rest is history.

Just to put it in perspective she clean and jerked 105lbs (that’s shown in the video up there…)

She deadlifts, she runs, she squats, she makes everyone around her happier and she absolutely kills it at work. Sure she might dislike doing the exercise at times, but she puts her head down and goes.

Things sound pretty good, eh? It wasn’t an easy road. Combine daily (sometimes painstaking) lessons and habits to help refocus her relationship with food and her nutrition, overcoming scheduling bumps, vacations, sickness – all the typical excuses… with life’s general random “curveballs” and you’ve still got an individual that never missed a session. A date with herself. A date with change. A date with progress, over perfection.

I’m honoured to get to work with Karen towards her craziest goals. Together with her attitude and what skills I can pass along I really see the sky as the limit. it’s amazing what the power of the mind can do.

Thank you, Karen. Stoked to see what’s next and keep this going.

Stay sweet.

M

 

aaron-burden-133364-unsplash.jpg

It translate so beautifully,

If you slow down and stare,

No stops. Continue…

Life’s there to share.

 

We’ll make sure you’re covered,

For your time and expense,

She said so; confirming,

I won’t miss the rent.

Just play.

 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Okay, we have all been here before. Late at night, pull out the guitar…and … nothing.

What?!

“But this what I do.”

Nothing. No spark.

You can’t help but wonder what it is, pulling at every strand of self-doubt. Did I sleep funny? Maybe that pulled pork sandwich (or tempeh wrap for our plant based friends) had some funk to it… whatever the case may be. You’re just not feeling it.

Well, that does happen from time to time. However, for professional artists, that could mean sacrificing a paycheque or two. Not cool. Let’s discuss three effective remedies to kick that brain fog and get our performance back up to snuff so we can focus on doing what we do really well, creating music.

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    1. Reduce the screen time!
      We spend far too much time in front of time-wasters like Facebook,Instagram,
      Reddit and the like. If we took half the time we spent searching news feeds or watching cute cat videos as we did reading, painting, getting outside… imagine how much more effective our time on earth would be. The dopamine hits from hitting the like button and constantly being concerned about who is liking your posts and how many followers you have is an unhealthy way to live. I would encourage you to set a daily time limit and stick to it. No more than a couple hours. And shut ‘er down by 8 pm so you don’t screw up your sleep cycle. The anxious feeling we get from self-worth is heightened when we follow the social norm of online gratification, so remove yourself from that world and you’ll start to inspire creativity simply because you have more time to do so! Check my recent post about last weekend’s social detox I did here. Follow up post is in the works…images

 

  1. Move!
    • Seems simple, but activity has proven to excite the brain in areas related to creativity independent of mood. You can read the study here. According to the research, the study’s result show that exercise helped to improve mood in participants and also creativity independently. This is good news for folks who want to get out of “creative blocks”. My suggestion? Get up and walk around when you’re feeling a block on the creative flow. I’m actually hosting a clinic specifically designed to address inspiring artistic creativity through movement in Calgary. If you’re in town, check it out here! If not, that’s cool. Here’s the best warm up for getting some creative flow! Unknown-1
  2. Journal!

    Oftentimes I feel like garbage at the end of the day. I feel as though I haven’t done anything at all. Have you even been there? There is a really easy way to track how productive you have been. Keep a journal and just close the day down with some thoughts and points of the things you did. Over time you’ll start to see how (un) productive you were… that way, you can manage it. For most people, we don’t track things so while we think we’re doing productive things, we really aren’t. If you see this trend, you can work towards improving upon it. We can’t manage what we’re not tracking, right? So give yourself a chance. I also found it amazing how easy things came to me when I wrote them down as goals and took behaviours that’d be intentional toward accomplishing them. I compiled it all into a workbook journal to help others get their shit together. I am officially releasing it this May in Toronto at Canadian Music Week. If you’d like an advance copy, just let me know.  mike@mikeschwartz.ca

There you have it. Three cool little tricks of the trade for you to keep up the creative flow. For those of you that are into reading, my favourite book ever for crushing the creative roadblocks is called “The War of Art”Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Get it.

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Ok my friends. I’m out of here for now. I’m going to keep up the post per day to see what topics and time stick for the remainder of this week. I’m working through some things and have some exciting news to post about in due time, but until then… I hope your day or night is great.

Ciao,

M