… 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

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So there’s a reason California and other Mediterranean, coastal or otherwise temperate, sunny climates are home to a generally more active demographic: they like to be outside!

I took nearly all of my sessions outside today when applicable, and boy oh boy was that ever a good call! Everyone pumps harder, doesn’t realize it and then wonders why the next few days their legs feel like linguine and they can’t reach above their heads.

We are meant to move in nature.

Go outside and immerse yourself.

Go play.

So, ironically enough I’m on my phone at 10:51 pm talking to you about how to sleep better… 😝🙄

Here are a few sleep aide supplements for those of you who would like a little more help alongside the sleep ritual. Always contact your trusted health practitioner first before taking any of these and of course use only as directed. Don’t take these with depressants or if you’re on meds or anything… please use common sense. These are meant for sleep deprived humans that are still struggling with sleep rituals. Stay on track and pay attention to week and weekend sleep patterns. You’ll do amazing things with proper zzzs. Just wanna give a big thanks to precision nutrition for the graphic and wisdom.

Sleep tight!

I feel as though I’m echoing a post I did a year or more ago about how pivotal rest and recovery is to a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.

Let’s face it, if we don’t sleep well our recovery suffers – both physically and physiologically. Here are some of the things I have found to be helpful in getting (and staying!) asleep.

Pick up magnesium gel and apply it to your neck and legs and any other sore spots before bed 

This stuff is nectar of the Gods. Magnesium is still touted as one of the highest deficiencies (next to Vitamin D) in the average North American diet. This is largely due to our unbelievable abundance and availability of processed food as opposed to raw foods, where the stuff comes from naturally. Apply it directly to the skin to have a higher absorption rate and immediate results. Ever had an Epson salt bath? Magnesium for the soul. Set a few alarms, you’re going be out like a light.

Take a hot shower

Heat increases the body’s ability to naturally produce melatonin, a secret sleepy drug that can help regulate your sleep/wake cycle. A nice hot show right before the sheets leaves me squeaky clean, refreshed and ready for the zzz’s.

Shut down ALL electronics 2 hours prior to your planned bedtime

This allows your body to wind down. White light from screens, tablets and phones, TVs and those super annoying fluorescent lights all trick your body into thinking its go-time. Nicht gut, for mein freunden that are now celebrated “Night Owls” (side note, aren’t most owls nocturnal…? making them all creatures of the night… seems redundant..)

Shut er’ down, read a book or write a poem or something to relax the mind.

ps. Fun Fact! They have done some studies on white light’s response on the body vs. the eye, as some people argued that only if your eyes notice it. However, have you ever randomly woken up when the sunlight cracks through your blinds? Bingo, body sense light, welcome to the circadian rhythm. We’re tuned with the sun. When the moon is out, your lights should be too. Here’s an article that supports this wild claim. 

There we go. Hopefully you fine folks sleep easy and get some rest now. It’s very much a part of the program!

Til next time, sleep tight… I mean, stay sweet!

Peace!

xo

M

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Stress. It’s a real thing. The last couple of months have shown us how important wellness really is. Unfortunately the repercussions of not being well, physically and/or mentally, have taken the lives of many of our beloved industry colleagues. The darkness of anxiety, depression and addiction is slowly coming to light. And for good reason. Nowadays it’s very rare to come across someone that says “no” when asked if they’re feeling stressed. It’s become engrained to the hustle-bustle, 60 hour work week we all know and love to hate. But does it have to be like this? Not a chance. Here are my top 3 picks to help alleviate stress and get you back to being the best version of yourself.

The number one thing you should do when you’re struggling with something is talk to a professional for help. Yes, your friends can lend an ear, but unless they’re trained professionals you’re not getting the full meal deal. Speaking to a professional counsellor, therapist and/or a psychiatrist will help you identify the root of the stress and they’ll then be able to provide you with the right resources to get you back in action, stat. I still go to therapy and I would recommend it to anyone who’s seeking direction, closure from a relationship, financial advice, how to conquer their fears or anything that’s got them feeling down, stressed, helpless or worse yet – suicidal. It’s serious. Below I’ve included a few links to some services ’round these parts and a brief description of what they do.

Elephant Artist Relief
  • Great local resource with everything from funding options, financial aid to counselling etc… connectors to all aspects of better well-being

Distress Centre 

  • 24/7 crisis support for Calgary and southern Alberta. These fine folks do not define crisis and are there for anyone at any time. This is their 24-Hour Crisis Line: 403.266.HELP (4357) and you can find them on the web at http://www.distresscentre.com/contact-us/

Unison Benevolent Fund

  • Non-Profit registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. They help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. Here’s their assistance number 1-855-986-4766 and website – http://unisonfund.ca
  • We actually have a “Mental Health and Wellbeing” Download session happening Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30pm in Calgary session for Alberta Music members. Amanda Power from Unison Benevolent Fund will be joining me on the panel, so be sure to head here to save your seat in Calgary (if you’re not a member, get on it! You get free access to the awesome programming – albertamusic.org/membership)
  • I actually had the treat of interviewing the Executive Director of Unison, Shiela Hamilton back last fall. Hear our conversation about Unison Benevolent Fund and how us artists can utilize their services here Shiela Hamilton – Unison Benevolent Fund 

2. Journal and Meditate 

Oftentimes, just putting the proverbial pen to paper (talk about alliteration!) can remedy a lot of stress in our lives. A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense. [Read the full article here]

As far as meditation goes, this is a favourite quote of mine:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

I personally like to use an app called “Headspace” for my mediation and another app called “Daylio” for tracking my mood and a daily journal entry.

However, I don’t like being on my phone. I find it’s actually quite contradictory to disconnecting and being mindful, as we spend so much time glued to the Snapface and Instabook already. So, if you’re like me, I’d recommend going out and grabbing a journal from a local bookstore for $25. Or better yet, I wrote a 21-Day Self-Love Journal. It’s easy to follow along and start placing gratitude, self-worth and consideration at the top of your charts… Super helpful if you’re struggling to get there on your own. Day by day you just implement the tools I prescribe and voila, you’re on your way to becoming the best version of yourself in just 21 days. Start reading it here for free – Start With U: 21 Day Self-Love Challenge

3. Exercise!

That’s right, in general, findings from research indicate that exercise is associated with improvements in mental health including mood state and self-esteem, although a causal link has not been established. Research on acute exercise indicates that 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity results in improvements in state anxiety and mood that persist for several hours. These transitory changes in mood occur in both individuals with normal or elevated levels of anxiety, but appear to be limited to aerobic forms of exercise. [Read the full article here]

So what’s the difference between aerobic exercise and all that other stuff? Well, aerobic exercise is exercise where your body’s cardiovascular system (the lungs and heart and circulatory system) work to provide the main source of energy to the body. Things like long walks, jogging, resistance circuit training (sorta), swimming, hiking, cycling, flow yoga and trail running are all examples of aerobic exercise.

We also have Anna Beaumont a voice teacher sitting in on the “Mental Health and Wellbeing” download session in March with myself and Amanda, so be sure to register if you’re interested in learning more about how mindset, meditation and movement can help your playing, reduce your stress and essentially help you to become the best version of yourself.

Here are a few other ways to get active, try something new and have fun:

Edmonton

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City Fit Shop – Whip around obstacles and play like a kid again in Edmonton’s premiere

obstacle course gym.

logoss.pngThe Surf Studio – Hang ten, dude. Get your surf on at this one-of-a-kind fitness experience. You’ll understand why those surfer dudes and babes are ripped! Holy core, Batman!

topVertically Inclined Rock Gym – If you’re not afraid of heights or awesome things this might be the ticket to getting a new activity down. Kids programs, adult programs and birthday party specials, this place has it all for veteran climbers and rookies.

Calgary

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Bodhi Tree Yoga – Looking for the best Yoga studio experiences in town? Look no further than Bodhi Tree. Plus Alberta Music’s own, Amy Thiessen teaches here. Incredible instructors and space so this spot is great for the seasoned yogi and first timers alike.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your yoga passes.

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Bike and BrewCalgary’s first cycle shop and cafe, these guys offer it all. Have a cup of the best brew in town, snack on some baking from Corbeaux Bakehouse or try a sandwich from locals vendors Peppino while you get your bike serviced. They also offer group rides, information sessions and product knowledge workshops so once the snow clears you’re all set to ride.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your caffeination and select merchandise. 

There are some musician specialty clinics happening in March and April as well:

Sunday, April 8 “How To Effective Load Gear”

Load Gear Without Fear

This is a musician wellness workshop that will focus on practical theory and knowledge combined with practical movement patterns to ensure you’re keeping your body in good form and avoiding injury. Limited space, AB Members only (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership") Price includes taxes and service fees.

C$59.00

Sunday March 25 “Down-regulatory exercise: Working-In”

How To Use Exercise To Inspire Creativity and Performance March 25 (AB Music Members Early Bird)

This specialty clinic will touch on effective down-regulatory exercise and stretching techniques to help alleviate pain, reduce stress and help you increase creativity and performance. You’ll be at 11. Why don’t you just make 10 louder? Because this one goes to eleven. AB Music members discount (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership) Limited space. Price includes taxes and service fees

C$59.00

Well folks, I hope you can take something valuable away from this. If you’re interested in a consult to determine how to organize parts of your lifestyle you’d like to improve, please reach out. For all Alberta Music Members I offer 50% off, all hour long consultations  and I can meet in person and via Facebook video every Friday. Contact me to book a spot.

Quick recap and I’ll get out of your hair:

  1. Talk to a professional if you’re having challenges in life.
  2. Journal your thoughts and take time to be with yourself.
  3. Exercise! There’s plenty of ways to move your body and they don’t all revolve around the gym…

As always, thanks for reading,

Namaste sweet!

Peace.

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Ps. Rad photo eh? Check my brother out on Facebook Sean Schwartz Photography

I know, right?

What a thing to say in a world that is so focused around getting to the next level, pushing and climbing your way to the top. And for what? Do you feel happy? Is that success?

I dunno, I must be getting soft in my old age, but now more than ever I’m more inclined to put myself in only the situations that bring my joy. When I’m happy, I thrive. I like feeling restored, energized, positively happy, and I really like to help others feel that way too. It’s super cool to help someone make that flip. That’s what we talked about in therapy this week; how to make that switch with as limited emotional duress as possible. A part of that is reflecting on my days and recognizing what I’m grateful for. Do you do something similar?

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The shadows show more than the eye can see as I ride back home up the monster hill. It’d been far too long. 

Today was a really nice day. I rode my bike for the first time seriously for commuting

purposes. I want to get back to that again. I just feel so much better. It’s freeing. And that’s what I want to write about, how once you find something that’s freeing, you should do it. And do it for as long as it brings you peace. One of those things for me is cycling.

 

 

 

 

This whole weekend was great actually. I’m very happy to be back enjoying movement again. Saturday I was invited by my friend, Jess Smith to accompany her for a Yoga class that’d feature us in the beautiful Yoga Passage, a gorgeous studio fulll of beautiful humans, here in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

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However, prior to the super mindful, health conscious Mike – the rock star lifestyle Mike happened…

unfortunately for my wellbeing, but par for the course (as an industry it’s not uncommon to be out all night) I had to “take one for the team”. I  ended staying out waaaaaay past my bed time after the Canada’s Music Incubator, AE West program wrapped up. Well, of course I’d like to go to the afterparty….

……

There’s a lot of stories. So I’ll give you a bit of Matt Blais… good friend of mine and our shenanigans with some food (that turned out to not even be ours!)

Let’s just focus on how great the music was. Canada, you have a lot of amazing talent coming up out of the West. I’m happy to help foster and develop all of these amazing talents.

This is Atlaas – she’s from Winnipeg and you should check out her EP. She’s an amazing soul. And that voice…

 

but yeah… and I got in around 4:30 am. Good thing I didn’t have any plans until Jess and I had yoga to cleanse the soul and stretch the mind and body…

Sunday I got up, headed over to a train an in-home couples training session and then ripped to the stairs to hit up Sunday Funday.

After the workout, I ripped home let Dar out and got down to toss a Teddy Bear on the ice at the Hitmen game. Here’s what that looks like. Must have been somewhere near 22,000 Teddy Bears out there.. it’s an annual thing. Super fun. I go every year.

I did have this weird revelation that I’ve had in passing before. I nearly bought an art set with canvas, an easel and something like 110 pieces. I have no idea how to art though. Are any of you artists? What would you recommend for someone who is looking to get into it? I feel pretty strongly about abstract art. I like rad stuff. I have a lot of energy and creativity and for some reason art seems like a really cool outlet when I don’t music.

Any recommendations for what to go for, what to look out for and the like would be awesome.

And in the meantime… find stuff that fuels your creativity, fuels your happiness and I really think. you’ll see that success thing everyone is always talking about. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t done this and feel silly for not figuring it out. Sometimes it takes getting out of your lane in order to find what you’re lane truly is.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay sweet.

M

As I stand here, warming up in the bomby -2.5C Calgarian November morning, I look around to see nothing but open park, glorious cityscape and a few tourists over the stairs at Crescent Heights. The same stairs that the team and I meet every Sunday, at 11:07.

Not this Sunday though. I was the lone wolf.

I heard lots of inquiries, lots of interest, some were unfortunately sick and others had previous engagements and that’s all fine. I’m okay if you don’t show up. I have zero influence on what people prioritize until they see what health and wellness will do for them.

Ironic because most of the excuses I hear revolve around “I’m tired, I’m gonna sleep in, I’ve been working nights, I’m getting sick, I have no time for that…” which all stem from the root of why you should be joining me every Sunday at 11:07!

I don’t do this because I like it all the time. I do it because I know the alternative of depression, anxiety, poor conditioning, sickness, lethargy, zero motivation, ambition and the feeling of insecurity far outweighs the shitty 35:07 of a little hard breathing, muscle soreness and pounding heart. Yeah. I show up.

I’d encourage you to do the same the next time you say you will. Physically and mentally. At the end of the day, you’re only letting yourself down.

I did my reps.