I felt it as I gently nodded off.

So real, my screams of panic and terror muted by the overwhelming silence of loneliness, failure and disappointment.

Nobody cared anyway, so why should they now?

I was naive to think that even though I felt the pressure on my skin… my face… my chest compressed as my head felt as though it was going to explode into a million parts. My innocent nature wasn’t prepared for this brief nightmare, stretching my mind deep into my pillow, leaving the rest of my physical body to the vultures.

How foolish of me to operate like all systems go after nearly suffocating in the sadness of my past few years.

I know now that the nightmare that likely only lasted 12 seconds was an eternity of unaddressed trauma.

Time to wake up.

Advertisements

I’m on the brink of another mental breakdown. But this one is different. Nothing to worry about. Just actualization and reality setting in. This one I feel melancholy. Just okay with accepting that now my repetitive failures and unwillingness to make the necessary adjustments may have finally caught up to me. It wasn’t even a year ago when I went through a McDonalds drive thru to get a $1 coffee to be met with a NSF message on the terminal. Some of you probably remember reading about that. You’d think I’d course correct, right?

It stems from a problem I bury time and time again. I’ve been in this ongoing cycle since my now ex-wife, Christy walked out on me around 11:15 pm Friday November 21, 2015. I went into hysterics once the gravity of the situation hit me. And boy, did it hit me hard. Like a freight train to the chest or free falling into the ocean but still laying face up, reaching for the sunlight on the other side of the suffocating pressure of ten thousand waves of darkness crushing your heart, your soul and everything you know is right. Like the life was literally squeezed out of you.

It’s just easier to distract myself. First the speed skating. Sure it was a coping mechanism for the dark depression I wasn’t even aware I was experiencing. But after Christy left me, I deep dived that shit. At first the World Health work team was a positive atmosphere. A place where I could invest my time into what I loved, and when I wasn’t skating with my oval family I was working minimal hours of temporary escape from the pain that was in my heart. My rationale was to avoid exhaustion from training, which is what I was going to do. Hindsight shows me I was just trying to re-create a version of myself that I loved. The old version of me was still searching for answers from my runaway wife as to why her choice was to seek refuge elsewhere rather than solving the problems of our marriage that went by unannounced like an anchor, slowly pulling the relationship to a complete halt. This inevitably destructive path of low income, high investment was where I was headed. Although justified as training gear, coaching, food, recovery and the likeness of an athlete, my income didn’t even come close to sustaining this and before too long I was putting everything back on credit. Either MasterCard, my line of credit or my business VISA, it didn’t matter because I was an athlete. That’s what we did. One mentor once explained it to me that you have three priorities; your health, your relationships and your money. Along as one is still in operations you can continue to chase the podium. What shit advice that is when I look back and consider it from this perspective. But I didn’t care. Considering I was a fitness professional I sure wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. I was leading myself down a path of very poor health. Poor financial health.

Then came Europe. Again, masked as a trip to become a successful athlete to make up for the broken marriage and failure as a husband, I decided a month on another part of the planet without giving proper notice to work was a good idea. Not only that, but I was going to do it as an athlete so it was somehow more regal or something. Well, it certainly cost a lot. A lot that I didn’t have. And that was upfront. Never mind the expenses abroad. I didn’t care. It was in my head that I was going to move to Germany and skate full time.

That brings me to bad life decision number three, or four through 7 if you’re playing at home. Leave a secure job without an exit strategy. In my defence, I was coached to quit. However, I fully admit I did nothing to lessen the possibly catastrophic blow up at World Health. It was like my spirit wanted out of that space. The truly tragic part of this all was how naive I was to trust my former brother in law who was also my boss’s boss. When asked “How was that situation 100% your fault?” my answer could be “I let trust blur logic.” Of course he would side with his wife’s sister and rally an allegiance against me. Duh, his job was to protect his own name. Part of that was to remove the threat of me from potentially harming him and his family.  Why else has he gone and blocked every account, and persuaded everyone else – all my former friends to do the same? It’s hard to hear the truth if you’re always tuned into a different station. Before I knew it the rumours were flying about my moonlighting operations, my unfaithfulness to Christy and my integrity as a personal trainer. None of which were true, but it doesn’t matter. He had position.

Come to think of it. I’m not upset about the divorce at all. Christy was a hurt individual. Hurt people, hurt people. I just hope she finds peace with herself.

I’m more mystified by how Curtis turned on a dime and rallied all of my former friends to abandon me like my wife did just a year previously. I mean, impressive really – but how much anger do you have inside you and how much of a low life do you really have to be to to cause so much trauma on another human? If any of you reading this have contact with him, let him know on my behalf I hope he also finds peace. He doesn’t return any contact I’ve put out there with authentic means to find closure.

In any case, I left World Health without a plan. It didn’t matter though, I was going back to Germany to skate and make the olympics for Canada or Germany or something. Little did I know that Euro trip would be the greatest use of money spending I ever made. because when I came home I didn’t get the news I wanted from cardiology. Actually instead I was strongly encouraged to retire from competition due to medical concerns that my heart was going to blow up. Well, that was bullshit. But probably the only smart move I made because I’m at least still alive. Sad, but alive. Ensuing depression level skyrockets… now I wanted a puppy. He’ll love me. More money dumped on unneccesary things. However, Darwin is the light of my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d be with out him and his unconditional love. So I guess I was right, someone does love me. But then I decided that I didn’t wanna live with people. More money. Couple new bands I wanted to play drums for. So I got a new drum set. More money. Wheels started turning about music again. Oh how I loved music. I also loved training people though. It was crazy and so backwards that these two polar opposites excited me equally.

Meanwhile I had started running outdoor fitness bootcamps. Decided that was cool. Invested $300 into mobile training equipment like kettlebells and bands, $1200 into a Fitness Entrepreneurship Certification to try my hand at operating my own business in the summer of 2015. No more skating. New puppy, new position of importance. New lease on life. Always trying to prove something. See the cycle?

Now I want to get out of the diesel car that served me completely fine for almost exactly two years. Why? VW diesel emissions and a very good sales person. Long story short now I pay twice as much on half the vehicle. I let myself get sold. Poor life decisions surrounding money. There’s a theme. No thought process. Change for the sake of change. Then there’s that saying that I come back to “When you expect a different result from the same actions you’re certifiably insane.” Yeah. That’s my November 2015- Present.

Anyway, new car, no more skating, focus on business, ignore relationships, fall in love with every girl that spoke to you, gradually add more credit to an already growing debt without any real action plan to pay it down, hope for a big shot. This is 2016 to 2017 in a nutshell. Then I wrote a book. What? Yeah. I know.

That was the start of something good. You see, when I was in Germany in 2015 I helped the guitarist for a band called The Intergalactic Lovers with a knot in his back. I provided immediate relief from an ongoing source of pain for this guy. They wanted me to join them on the road, but I had a flight back home to Canada so I could pack up and live in Germany. And then it clicked. Musician wellness was a thing that hadn’t been tapped into. Why? It’s not like musicians like having a shitty quality of life.

And so I went on to change my brand towards musician wellness and since 2016 I have been focusing more and more on that target demographic. Having several published works, including two full self-published print books, 2 full feature articles in Canadian Musician Magazine and gained full time contributor status from 2016-2017 to Alberta Music E-News, playing a key role in Western Canada as the guy that knows health and wellness as it relates to the music industry lifestyle having lived both lives simultaneously… I’ve found myself developing into an educator, a coach and keynote speaking advocate for health and wellness in the industry. So, there’s a lot of positive stuff in here. So why am I so broke? Like borderline bankrupt?

I’ve never taken my own advice of holistic health.

My financial health is like stage 5 cancer. Code pink.

Jump ahead to now. I still have a completely maxed MasterCard, obnoxiously high debt load that I’ve ignored while it piled up. My income hasn’t been enough to even claim taxes on since 2015. So I’ve never really fully recovered from the unmarried era of my life, yet I still find ways to spend money…

Well, tonight I had an awakening. Well, really it started on Monday. When I realized a client who was originally prepared to make a payment that would offset rent didn’t. And won’t. Sending me into a mad dash to recover nearly $900. But today it’s actually coming to the surface.

I stopped in to the bank after promising my landlord the other half of rent as soon as a couple EFT payments came through. Little did I know a few auto-payments hadn’t yet come through, so I have more money going out than coming in. And I have no way to pay my credit card, internet and phone. Pretty bleak, right? Well the good news is Darwin has food, I’m still currently in a home with enough food to last awhile and my physical and mental wellbeing is intact. I’m expecting pay from Trolley 5 (a moonlighting door/host gig I picked up to earn some cash to start the revival), and two EFT payments coming in. So short term I will somehow get by, even if I’m a little late on some things. The difference is I have a long term game plan.

But it doesn’t involve Calgary.

So what’s the next step?

Well, as I alluded to when I opened this piece up, I’m melancholy. I’m okay with facing the music per se. I might miss rent. I might bounce auto payments that I should have done a better job of preparing for. And while I bounce off rock bottom one more time, I’m reminded of Florence + The Machine’s lyric “it’s always darkest before the dawn”.

I’m about to break through and do something huge. I have secured a well paying gig with a band that’s about to pop, I’m valued in Toronto as the authority of musician wellness and I have secured a training position at GoodLife Fitness in Toronto to earn a stable income while I transit to Leaf Nation.

Actually, the title of this post is a lyric from K.Flay’s “Dreamers”: one of my anthems.

Things are finally paying off. I can honestly say I’m okay with my current status because I am a rags to riches story in the making. There’s a reason I have pursued the musician wellness route so hard after all my trials and tribulations. From the skating gig not working out, to Christy walking out on me – all of these were signs that I wasn’t following the right path. This is my legacy. What I was meant to do; music and wellness. There’s a reason the band I’m now a part of is doing so well on the indigenous charts. My roots are coming into play. We knew we weren’t quite there, but now it’s coming together. I honestly just need a little kick to get me over the last little speed bump that’s in store until June 21. That’s when tour starts. Then I come home and drive Darwin and as many suitcases of drum hardware and clothes as I can fit in the overpriced Tiguan across the country to my new home base in Toronto.

It doesn’t matter to me if you feel compelled to help my cause. It’s not your cause, I’d never expect you to. Everyone has shit. Everyone’s shit is important. My story is one of many and many more people have it much worse than I do. I will keep on bouncing and keep on learning. I will learn from everything I have just put into perspective and with a detailed game plan of how to right the situation, I will make a difference in the world with a small army of support.

If you do have it in you somewhere to believe in me as a person and as a persistent, borderline stubborn son-of-a-gun that’s too stupid to quit on this dream to build a life from passion of music and helping others, I did set up a gofundme page that you can make a small donation to. It’s here gofundme.com/helpmikemovetotoronto

Some people have already expressed their distaste in my cause. Citing it coming off as too needy, not credible, and in poor taste as I’m not providing something immediately in return. I’m not one for taking handouts. My sense of humour and eternal optimism masks the dark depression I’ve battled since 2015, and is deeply rooted in what I do. Every contributor and every dollar that’s donated to me will help fund my transitional phase to course correct from the lessons I’ve learned and highlighted in this post. I’ve made a commitment to stabilize my income and earn what I am worth. The crowdfunding is not meant to downplay any other causes. This is what I’m doing with my life and while every dollar of the $1507 is greatly appreciated, the fact is $1500 is just the tip of the iceberg. That will float me into a position where I’m able to make changes and directly affect lives on a much larger scale. This cause is greater than just me and for anyone that needs a “what’s in it for me?” before supporting my quest to T.O isn’t on the same level of awareness anyway (there’s a reason no one has claimed any of my “things” to offset the money they contribute in donations yet…).

For those of you that made it this far, you get it. Or you’re just really bored and up for an invite to the deep, dark personal side of the kid that’s ordinarily excessively optimistic. The truth is I believe in what I am doing and while your support means the world and could accelerate the process significantly, one way or another I will find a way to make things happen.

Thank you for taking the deep dive into my mind with me tonight.

gofundme.com/helpmikemovetotoronto

See you in the stars,

xo

… of the Towers and Trees,

They hit up Sneaky Dee’s,

Now they wait in the YYC.

Connecting to the coast,

To the west they love the most,

The Westjet girl was s’posed,

To bring my coffee: darkest roast

Davey, Davey, Davey, can’t you see

Sometimes your D’s just hypnotize me.

Alright… a little context now, right?

Little did I know when I booked the earliest flight home to Calgary, I’d have the opportunity to sit with a couple of new best buds of Towers and Trees, the Dave’s. AKA: Double Dee’s.

I bought the dude that had the aisle seat with these two guys off with a copy of my book. (Turns out his name is Wes, and he loved the book. Works with heavy equipment and is always sore. Loves music. Wanted it autographed, so of course I was pumped to hear that. )

Point being, do well. It’s important to do good, but it’s more important to do well.

Be kind to everyone you interact with. I’m flying back in to TO in a couple weeks because of that exact mentality. Good hangs always win.

More to come in the next few days… just stay tuned. And try to keep up, it’s insane in my life these days. Good kinda insane.

Catch y’all soon!

Xo

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, I’m certain you’ve heard it all before.

“I can’t sleep.”

“I hit a wall after lunch.”

“I can’t get motivated to exercise.”

“I’m just not happy… I’m not sure what I want… I’m just not feeling it…”

Hell, maybe you’ve even caught yourself saying something like that…

These are common things I hear when I ask people “what brought you in today?” when they first meet with me to undergo a lifestyle overhaul.

I’ve noticed happiness and living stress-free go hand in hand, so I thought “who doesn’t wanna feel awesome?!”

Here are my three and a half pro tips for reducing stress and feeling happy, for most of your awake time in life.

1. Get moving. Get outside. Get moving outside.

IMG_3733

 

It’s science. Exercise improves mood. Sunlight also improves mood. Put them together for a smorgasbord of awesome. If you wanna be happy, forget about the deadline of that project for ten minutes and just tune out, go be with nature and take a stroll. It’ll be great. Come back at it harder with a fresh take. It also helps if you have a rad dog in your life. They make everything better.

2. Speak in positive, “architecture” language.

 

Instead of saying things like “can’t”, “don’t”, “won’t”… try affirming what you “can” do, “do” want and “will” get.

It’s amazing how much more energy you reserve at the end of the day when you only focus on the positives. That starts with language. (For more on this, check with my buddy, Mark England of Procabulary.org)

3. Breathe and Meditate

Breathing is easy. We all just suck at it. Try this when you’re feeling anxious. It’ll surely calm you down. Inhale for 7 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds. Repeat 7 times. Namasteyin’ chill?

For meditation, it’s not some voodoo crazy shit. It’s just focusing your intent. There’s a sweet app I use called Headspace IMG_3735if you’re looking for a gentle introduction to meditation. Dig it.

Try it out. If that’s not your jam, pick up a book, a pen and paper and write, draw, build something, create… sometimes that’s the best way to get those thoughts out into the universe.

Or try active meditation. Get your gym bag and hit some weights or get on the bike. I have my greatest ideas on long bike rides.

3.5 Alright, this one is tough. Live with intent.

 

For everything from waking up, eating, playing on your phone. If you find yourself distracted with many things, your focus will stray…take control of your life! Put the phone down. Be with yourself and just chill. Everyone will hit the like button for your witty post tomorrow. Be intentional.

That’s is from me. As always, thanks for reading. ‘Til next time, namaste sweet!

M

I was bumped up on the therapy wait list. I head in Friday morning instead of two weeks from now, and that’s exciting. I embrace talking about my experience. It helps me fit things in and take things out.

I (re) learned a lot last night:

Great friends are always thinking about you and will always have your back.

I had to reschedule my session last night with my two best pals. They sent me this in lieu:

They are both doing so well and even when their coach isn’t there, they still push it. Champions are doing the work when no one is watching. These two are champs. Thanks guys.

Music is powerful.

I don’t know where to start.

Jess and Robb, thank you. Music and Motion was a compete hit tonight and you guys were great. I can’t wait to get some pictures up from the House. For now –

@jessandrobbmusic

These two beauties came with me to the Ronald McDonald House and played an awesome set of music for the kids and their parents while the kids basically used me as a jungle gym. It was awesome. The families loved it, mom and dad got to relax, and that’s why I do this.

Then the show, K.Flay and Sir Sly both just killed it. The amazing thing about both of these artists is the poetic complexities. I’d strongly encourage you to take a listen to the hardships and the battles and the adversity in the art.

This is where the title comes from today. Borrowed and paraphrased K.Flay’s sign off before the last song she performed…”Remember, right now isn’t forever.”

That stuck.

placeholder://placeholder://

And leads me to wonder if the human condition has room to be fully complete…? or if the lifestyle choices and the drug use and addition and anxiety all lends itself to some higher form of the craft. Like seriously, what would we sing about? How would we relate to our audience if the new rock star lifestyle was about gluten free bread, hemp seeds and kombucha. Like how hard of a life is that?

Food for thought…

Children have so much to teach us, but we adults have a hard time with humility.

How come my nephew can squat, jump, balance and do bear crawls but my 20 something clients can’t?

Just an example…

Last night I was a human jungle gym for 6 kids 5-9 years old and feed a straight diet of sugar. And we got them all under control and relaxed. They respond well when you ask them to perform a task. They do not respond well when you tell them what not to do…

Thanks Mark England.

Child whisperer. That’s my alias.

Again, we await RMH photos for evidence.

We busy ourselves with what’s important. We prioritize our needs.

Or at least we should. Don’t take it personally, but do take it as a sign that the effort isn’t mutual and there’s a disconnect if you feel that you’re reaching and grabbing and the reciprocation is just not there.

Carry on.

Thank you for checking this out. Again, moral of the story is whatever you’re going through, highs and lows, it’s temporary. Nothing is a forever and you will be better off because of all the experiences you go through. Learn to embrace it and the journey is wicked fun.

Thanks for listening!

Til next time,

Stay sweet!

There are so many examples of this in every aspect of our lives.

It blows my mind sometimes.

Get this. My dog doesn’t eat his dog food when I give him the option of prime rib. Why? Well of course he gets more immediate gratification from the tasty human food.

Dog brain is oddly similar to human brain. It must be the animal in us…

Let’s look at broccoli versus donuts.

Immediate gratification – for sure the donut. The dopamine triggered from that high glycemic indexed, highly inflammatory food choice (I say choice because I don’t believe something that is contributing to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease etc should be in the same league as longevity-promoting, nutrient-rich real food) is unparalleled. You’re happy emotions are running high after that first bite. Much like the crackhead’s experience with their first hit of smack.

Here’s the thing. That feeling is as temporary as the satisfaction of a new instagram follower. It lasts for a few moments and then, like an addiction, you need more.

You wonder why you can’t seem to get into shape when January rolls around, yet you tend to avoid actually taking action and hiring a professional to keep you motivated and accountable.

You didn’t do anything drastic enough to incite change.

Would you try to build a house from scratch?

Your health is your foundation. It’s the only thing you have to live in your whole life.

So why the heck haven’t you hired a professional to help you take care of that?

It’s just incredible how people can go on thinking that things will magically happen for them. Without DRASTIC, IMMEDIATE and STRATEGIC action to any plan you might have, it’ll always be just that. Just a plan.

Again, thanks for stopping by.

Til Next Time,

Namaste sweet!

Ps. If you want to learn more about proper programming, exercise and fitness tips and don’t wanna break the bank, join me this Sunday! I’m going to host a free educational webinar on how to get in shape and stay there —-> click here to register

Starts at 6:07 pm MST

Hope to see ya there!