…mean you see the stars the most.” – K.Flay

K.Flay is pure magic.

Let’s start with her show. From the controlled chaos in the live performance of “Black Wave” to the introspective and hope-filled lyrics of “Dreamers”, this ‘Frisco native was a late bloomer to her now quite obvious calling. The first time I saw her perform was in the summer of 2017 as an opening act for my favourites, Mother Mother. After the first 30 seconds of her opening song, I knew this was going to be a superstar. Mother Mother had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure…

She lit it up.

Huge highlight for me from that show was her impeccable lyricist ability and unreal flow. Her a Capella, free form rap, mixed in with edge electronica-fused alt rock was just something I’d never heard before. Stand out.

Diving in a little deeper, her story is quite impressive.

I want to look at a line in her opening track “Dreamers” off of her 2017 release Everywhere is Some Where

Dreamersimg_3311

I came to in a cold sweat with a nosebleed feeling hopeless
Thought I maybe might be dead til I got my pen sat down and wrote this 

Suddenly I felt fine inside a mind so full of ghosts
The darkest nights mean you see the stars the most

The endless hope in this line is the motivation for me to keep pushing. What’s it mean to you?

It’s Bell’s “Let’s Talk” Day here in Canada today. For every text, share and like on social media Bell donates a nickel to help the Canadian Mental Health Association bring awareness to something that affects the majority of us. Yet, we’re still blinded by a stigma that cripples lives. Join me in spreading the love, saying “what’s up” to someone today and asking how they are from a genuine place. If you suspect some one is dealing with mental health issues, don’t stand by. There are plenty of resources out there to help get people well. Mind and body.

Check out my friend, and former bandmate, Joel Porayko’s project video on bringing an end to the stigma. Big thanks to all of you put yourselves out there. My MusicFit crew, my RMH crew, your support is endless and I am forever grateful.

Contact any of these providers if you or someone you know is battling with mental illness. Together we can bring an end to the stigma. Get well. Stay well.

My Top Three Picks For Mental Health Wellness Counselling and Awareness

CMHA (Calgary) (local assistance programs, links and counselling)

Unison Benevolent Fund (national assistance program for musicians and industry)

Elephant Artist Relief (local artist relief organization, they also have a whole directory of related organizations in the US and Canada)

Until next time, namaste sweet. And open up that conversation…

M

 

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On Stillness:

Do you ever just sit down and tune out?

This has been fairly effective way for me to prioritize my thoughts and I had an awesome experience last night as I was packing things up from my parents farm out just east of the city.

The cold air made for a deafening silence and I only really heard the crunching under my feet. I was filled with love from having just played with my niece and nephew for three hours, totally surprise style visit as my ma and pa didn’t tell me Sean and the fam would be there… intentionally surprising me I’m sure, knowing how rough of a last couple weeks I have had and what seeing the kiddos would do to my heart.

Those two kids just have a way of warming up the room, but it was the reflection piece of that that got me the most this time. Playing with those kids, not being glued to my phone, all the work I could be doing, the news, the Instagram likes and Facebook news – none of that distraction… that was the stillness I needed.

On Productivity:

I’ve been up since 7am working away on a few different projects. Get up, stretch it out, train some clients, eat some food, have some meetings and get back at it. One of these projects I’m particularly proud of is something I had been sitting on since the fall, before MusicFit. Of course, another entrepreneurial expansion of my trades, Monkey Tree Marketing. It’s my Personality Marketing venture – Head here to find out what that’s all about.

And check out this video below to get an understanding of how I came up with the name, the brand and my experience from the ashes of some of the worst depression I have had since 2013. Enjoy. These guys are pivotal in my life, both musically but more importantly on a social construct kinda way…

Hug those you love, do good and be well.

Thanks for listening,

Again.

Today was a lot better. It’s a constant battle however, to delay the emotional suffering until you are in a safe place. You fight through. You kick. You almost have to wear it on your back instead of power it through your feet.

But that’s only sustainable for short amounts of time. The healing needs to take place and Flo says it best, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Keep chipping away and things will turn up. Keep chipping away and do things day by day. They will be better. It’s just around the corner, I promise. When it rains it pours, and things are going to get real good, real soon. Just chip away.

I’ll wear the Albatross for one more day.

 

I’m participating in Movember to help support men in the music industry that battle the depression, anxiety and mental illnesses like I have – feel free to check out our team page here – https://mobro.co/coachschwartzy?mc=1

Thanks for listening,

Ciao

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For some reason Florence + The Machine’s “Shake It Out” popped into my head and I was carefully cycling home tonight from work. I mean, yeah – I’m a little crazy for biking in -20. But today it’s out of necessity. And cycling is fucking therapeutic. Movement and motion is fucking therapy. I mean, I would have done it anyway if I did have gas in the Tiguan, but today wasn’t by choice because it was a nice day for a ride.

The line “It’s always darkest before the dawn” really echoes with me today.

I had $3 in change to pay for groceries today, thankfully I had $20 to redeem but I had to get crafty to hit just over $20 to be able to use that reward. $23.74. Thank God.

That’s how close to poverty I am right now. I just spent the weekend riddled with another bought of depression, triggered by memories of certain places within Calgary I hadn’t been to since my time with my now ex-wife, and former friends and family of mine. It was very abrupt. It was very cruel. And depression doesn’t give two shits if you’re ready to deal with it or not, it comes in waves. I truly felt like I was drowning.

However, the bike ride taught me a few things.

No matter how slow the go is, you just focus on one pedal stroke at a time and you’ll get there. Don’t focus on the result, focus on the process.

Being physically fit to ride across the city at any given time in any given season is fucking rad. I’m grateful for my physical ability and health.

Also, much like overcoming the darkness of mental health, even the most seemingly insignificant victories go a long, long way to the betterment of ones psyche. And you need to close down those past traumas and reinvent yourself.

So while to some the thought of biking home in the cold, dark winter of Calgary in November is just silly… to me it means a lot more.

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Thanks for listening. If you feel compelled, please consider helping to bring awareness to mens mental health issues in the music industry. I’m very proud to be a part of Mo Music. I’m fundraising for Movember and representing the men in the local music industry. Depression is a fickle bitch, anxiety is running rampant and the stats on men committing suicide are ridiculous. Help keep our music industry men healthy and let them get treatment and have the resources to stay away from the darkness.

After my bought last week I remember all too well how cold that darkness is. -20 on a bike in the dark at 9pm in Calgary has nothing on the deep freeze anxiety and depression has put on me. But I am working on that. I want others to know that they’re not alone.

Please support me and my homies of Mo Music here ———> https://mobro.co/coachschwartzy?mc=1

Every single dollar helps.

Thanks for listening,

 

 

*BONUS BLOG*

I felt that I had to write. I was compelled. So yours truly is putting e-pen to e-paper to get this off my mind. It’s been a heavy day…

Long story short, if you’re doing something that you’re not 100% FUCK YA about, you should reconsider why you’re doing it.

When I think of things that people subject themselves to in regards to sacrificing their own identity or integrity, immediately I think of money, time and relationships.

We tend to spend too much time on money and relationships. Think about it…

Is this you?

I won’t touch the relationships, well, actually I guess I will… since all three flow into one another. I’m pretty dead set on getting myself more financially comfortable. What that means though, I’m not entirely sure. However, amidst this “new Mike” working for the buck, long hours, hard work attitude, I feel as though I traded in my soul for a couple days. Definitely a temporary thing.

And thats just it. I’m of the camp to endure temporary pain. I am right now in a few areas; not seeing my dog all day, working 14 hours straight of hard, physica labour, bouncing in and out of very dark places with past depression episodes haunting me again, not focusing much energy on the MusicFit project, not even getting to the gym. These things all crush my soul. But they say your reaction to any given situation will influence that situation entirely, and by they, I mean me. I say that. And I need to take my own advice.

So I treat this as information. I know that my well-being, my dog, relationships, balance between working and the rest of life and being around people are key to my happiness and fulfilment. Not success.

There is a slight difference – I learned through these last couple days that my own success will only happen when I have a sense of fulfillment and full fledged happiness towards what I am doing.

I bet some people are okay with the hustle.

But is this why people are super fuckin’ depressed?

With the passing of yet another legend of popular culture, and another childhood hero of mine in Chester Bennington I have just one question: when are we going to wake up and start realizing there’s a problem and we need to do something to solve it?

I’m not suggesting rock stars get special treatment, but the level of fame, high stakes pressure and status is obviously taking its toll on the individuals we the public see as untouchable, perfect and with it all. These are the leaders that shape our youth and the stigma associated with mental health. If more celebrities, high profile artists and bands felt comfortable sharing their battles with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues then maybe the rest of us would feel better talking about it in an open forum much as we do about the flu, a rolled ankle or stubborn cough. It’s all sickness. Not optimized health. Mental vs. physical is irrelevant. It just needs to be discussed.

Clearly we are skipping steps. The industry needs to set up and advocate for a program of proactive health to which all areas of strength and confidence in both mental and physical wellbeing are treated. Here’s the thing:

I have the platform.

I wrote the book on it. Get it on Amazon – The Musician’s Guide To Surviving The Rock Star Lifestyle

I host the podcast to which we talk about it. Subscribe on iTunes – How To Survive The Rock Star Lifestyle Podcast

I train people to be fit, mentally, physically and emotionally. Check us out here – INLIV.com

All I need is the support.

Together we can help raise mental health awareness and break the stigma associated with depression, anxiety and addiction. Let’s talk, because I am sick of reading headlines like this every month or so about the rock idols that I grew up worshipping….

https://consequenceofsound.net/2017/07/r-i-p-chester-bennington-linkin-park-singer-has-died-at-age-of-41/

It’s getting really frustrating because it’s something we can fix by just opening up avenues of conversation.

Contact me here if you wish to speak on my podcast. You don’t have to be a rock star, musician or even musically inclined. However, if this story has made an impression, if you have been affected by mental health in any capacity, I want to offer you a platform to speak to it and inform others.

I am going to host a special edition podcast once we have some input in order to bring to light the darkness that is mental health awareness. It’s a safe, respectful, environment for those of you that wish to say anything about your experience with mental health. It can be a story, a specific experience you have had, how mental health has affected you or a friend/family member or how the loss of these amazing talents to something so silly has impacted your life…. anything at all. Even just a quick few sentences. I want your stories to help others realize there’s outlets for assistance. There are places to seek help and a community that supports you in your darkest of places. Together we can break the stigma. I’ve been down that road a couple times myself, but fortunately never to the point that some get to because I’ve had resources to help me through. Let’s showcase these resources for others that may not be aware. Let’s make it cool to talk about mental health.

I’m here to share your story. Please help me break the stigma!