With today marking the 151st birthday of this great nation I am proud to call home, I wanted to write a little bit and pay homage to my homeland. As many of you know, I’m on the road with Midnight Shine, playing drums and living my dream (or one of them!) as a professional musician. I get back home to Calgary in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow, spend a couple days getting my life organized and then fuel up, pack the Tiguan and rip across the country to make a new home in Toronto. It seems fitting that I tip my hat to the beautiful nation I’ll soon be driving across (again) in a few short days. I’ve had a few flights these last few days that have taken me to places I’d never get to see otherwise, so I’m just paying my respect back to the lands.
In The Pocket
It’s surreal. These whole last few months have been. I’m ecstatic to see what’ next, but before I get too crazy, I wanted to tie in a term us drummer use for when you just lay low, let the music speak for itself and just groove. It’s called being in the pocket. A lot of drummers have a hard time staying in the back. A lot of very talented drummers especially want to showboat, impress the girls or I don’t even know what else… but they have a hard time serving the song.
I like to think of staying in the pocket as being neutral. Coasting; not forcing anything to happen. No outcome is right or wrong, just an opportunity to explore and be adventurous. Much like in say, jazz or reggae… the jam happens, much like life. The song could go anywhere… and if you have the wherewithal to just loosen up your grip on the sticks of life, you’ll get carried the right way out of the bridge. Just trust yourself.
I wanted to take the time to thank Midnight Shine and everyone that’s a part of the team for trusting me with the sacred project. No matter what happens next I have a lifetime of memories and lifelong friends. I’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with absolute legends of the music industry like Blue Rodeo and Colin James, shared drums with childhood heroes Wide Mouth Mason and I’ve met some seriously awesome humans on this stint. I am ever so grateful for the opportunities, but also recognize that I earned them.
It’s amazing what kind of song can form when you learn to stay in the pocket.
Thanks for listening,
Happy Canada Day.
PS. Here are some of the highlights from tour. For the full story, head to my Instagram account. Click the “tour” button and watch front to back the happenings on the road with Midnight Shine. @usetheschwartzy
Indigenous Day Live – Winnipeg, MB June 23
The Office, Winnipeg, MB June 23
The Office, “Stars and Thunder” Timmins, ON June 25
Marianas Trench, Timmins, ON “Stars and Thunder” June 26
The Office, Webequie, June 27
Hangin with ahold bud, Lliam in London, ON “The Village Idiot” (best record store!)
Virginia To Vegas, “Stars and Thunder”, June 26 Timmins, ON
The Office, “It’s Your Festival” Hamilton, ON
New whip, Timmins, ON June 27
Running Hills on the road, London, ON June 29
Wide Mouth Mason and I after we opened for them at ” It’s Your Festival in Hamilton June 30
Time after time we are taught to be kind. Be real. It’s still something I’m working on, but it is starting to show itself in my day to day life and tonight I would like to talk about the importance of putting the light out there and staying humble. Everything comes back tenfold, and it truly has. I’m 3 days in to my trip and I keep on saying “I can’t believe it.” But I really can so I’ve got to stop saying that. It’s everything that I’ve been working at. Someone famous once said, “stop discounting yourself. Accept the gifts and roll with it.”
On a much lighter note please check out my new and improved podcast: MikeDrop Radio. I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with some real beauties in the completely undiscovered world of traditional healing music, Ancient Echoes. Please take a listen and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to your podcasts.
New intro tune. Similar message. “Spinnin’ tracks and lifestyle hacks.” Tune in if you’re into health and wellness and good music. Or tune in if you have a heartbeat or if you’re breathing.
Pre-qualifiers, right? Haha.
Big day tomorrow… a potentially huge shift, pivotal in my career… but here’s the lesson I wanted to get across today.
Be kind, be positive and no matter how hard things seem, they will turn around. You always had the team around you and the time just has to be right for everyone to show up. The time is now for me and boy oh boy are people ever showing up.
Seemingly meaningless at the time, but right would be wrong. You’re put in to each situation to learn. To grow. To discover. To explore. To adventure. You meet the right people. You have the right chats. You see the right things. Just be open. Be you. Be cool.
Pay attention to people. You will learn when you accept that you know nothing at all.
So… roll with it. Adapt. Change. Be ready for anything.
The minute you lower your expectations, you rise to greater heights.
Especially when we have it right in the palm of our hands, everything just happens so quickly. But I’m firm in my belief (which has no correlation to truth) that if you’re feeling comfortable… you can move faster.
This weekend I made great strides and I’d like to talk briefly about how I set my intentions since I last wrote in an effort to help you use the next 7 days of 2018 to shape the remainder of the year for yourself. Let’s add more depth to the vision. More tangible goals to reach and most importantly, let’s identify the key players of your team. I call this, process “trimming the fat”.
What is “the fat”? (in business and success coaching, that is)
Fat is extra energy (sometime useless) energy. It can be good for a burst of distraction in the right setting, but generally speaking, fat will slow you down. It can be full of energy, but that energy typically pulls you away from your end goals. Distractions.
Fat also houses a metric shit tonne of toxins. Bad energy. No nutrients. Just cancer-ridden tissue that will ultimately poison you, slowly.
Top 5 Fats to Trim From Your Life If You’re Serious About Success
Facebook, Instagram and the rest of the social media gamut – Put your phone away and listen up. Actually make an effort to designate particular hours to be on your social media accounts checking the latest tweets. Otherwise, invest in self-control or look into a focus app (like Stay Focused for Chrome users, or Hey Focus for safari users). There’s a bunch of stuff out there and research shows productivity in the workplace is at an all time low, so don’t become a statistic. Stay driven!
Poor diet – If you’re feeling lethargic it’s likely a by product of your poor lifestyle. Carefully examine the fuel you’re putting into yourself and see how much of it is “real”. Your first clue is does it have a label? If your answer’s yes, you’d better start connecting the dots… Eating real food will help you get the right nutrients to the body and mind and keep your energy up and uselessness down. Boom. However, it’s also important to know how much to eat. Without getting too picky, this is a great way to measure out food. If you need a little help with how much of what you need on your plate, I can help you with that as part of my Precision Nutrition Coaching. Here’s a rad diagram for you to keep when you wanna take that 10oz steak down. Keep in mind you’re not a lion. Unless you are. Then carry on and feed the pride.
Relationships – AKA “Energy Vampires”. These people suck – quite literally – the life of you. Ever had a conversation with someone and you leave feeling exhausted? I have. Yeah, they need to go. Like, now. You are on your way to bigger and better things so you have to cut the dead weight that is holding you back and draining you of physical, emotional and psychological energy. Ever heard the expression “You’re the Sum of the 5 people you’re around the most?” While that’s pretty accurate, you’re also responsible to the beliefs that you hold. So the 5 beliefs you have (i.e.: you have to talk to so and so because they’re family/life-long friend/ girlfriend is a story you’ve been telling yourself. If that relationship only serves you in a negative headspace, you gotta cut ties.
Your conflict language (victim/blame game) – Practice ownership of every situation you’re ever in. I just taught a Musician Wellness course based off of my first book “The Musician’s Guide To Surviving The Rock Star Lifestyle” last week and when we got to the mindset section on the third night, the biggest takeaway for the class was that they’re usually completely responsible for all the shittiest things in their life and when they thought about it, they were also in complete control of how to rectify that situation and get the ship back on course. It starts with owning your language. Listen to a two part chat I had with Mark England, Co-Founder of Procabulary in Season 2 of the SchwartzCast if you’re interested in the power of words —> behaviour —> action. Listen here. Subscribe to my Podcast on iTunes or Google Play.
Sitting – Seriously one of the most cancerous fats you could possible exist in your world. If you’re sitting for more than 60% of your day, you’re slowly committing suicide. The compression of your spine, tendency to roll shoulders, slouch, tip your head forward, disengage your muscles in your back, butt and legs etc… The list goes on… are all huge factors that seriously cramp your postural style and thus need to go. Stat. Try getting up every 15 minutes or so and having a little stretch or meet Bob at the water cooler every 30 min for a high five. You know he’s good for it. Bob loves high fives. Check out a personal favourite of mine, Kelly Starrett at www.mobilitywod.com for a hundred more reasons why you shouldn’t be sitting. If you are right now, get up and walk around a bit. Seriously… I’ll wait….
Get a stretch in?
Let’s round this out with some closing thoughts.
So I took a serious look at these areas in my list on Thursday night and set an intention (with help from a major player in my life, Janis Isaman – check her out) to earn money every day. Since setting that and affirming it, and having Janis message me her grand successes, kept me on the straight and narrow each day since.
Another major help was a new friend, Mr. Mike Little, Producer, Songwriter and Studio Musician. Now, this dude is a heavyweight in the Canadian music scene. He’s probably played on more records than you’ve even listened to.
He’s a monster.
He’s been so kind to really add some business acumen to my company’s vision as well, and I’d like to close with that and how you could be a part of helping to create great music.
I’m in phase one of research. If you are a musician, even just dabble away at guitar, weekend warrior, used to sing, want to get back at it, I’m asking for your help.
I’m setting up a platform that will connect all musicians with unlimited, tailored access to world-class resources from leaders in the health and wellness world. We’re talking content, services, information, education, remote coaching, live events.. you name it… all to help bring to life musician wellness.
I’m just working out the kinks, because I am going to do this right. So here’s where you come in. I’d really appreciate it if you shared this link with every musician you know. Music has no borders and neither does MusicFit Collective: a resource pool of health and wellness service providers aimed to educate the entire music industry in all things proactive health. Please take a peek and share, share, share. It’s a dream of mine to make health education accessible to my music industry peers. Your support is appreciated.
I have had a reflective week. I am on a really good path to abundance and have found that a few key things have led to my success. I want to give back to the community that has given me so much in support so I am crafting up the “Start With U” journal to help others live with passion, intent and be better humans regardless of if they’re with themselves or with others. I am not charging anything for this awesome tool, but just ask that you pay for your shipping. I plan on having it out in the fall, so if you’re interested please click here. http://eepurl.com/cxDWIv
Heck, I’ll even send you a free kitchen rescue kit. Click it.
Here is my insight for the day – weigh in below. Each day, wake up and:
Positively affirm yourself. Language shapes behaviours which lead to actions. So intention is everything. Self-talk up how grateful you are for the day and what you will accomplish.
Move! When you start the day with a little movement (walk around the block, jump rope, do some yoga) you will help get your mind connected to your body and since we can all use a like “sweat once each day” therapy, this is just plain good for everyone and…
Pick up a book, a guitar a pen and paper and get to work. Always be learning and pushing the mental boundaries of what you know to be possible. Learn. Create and grow!
And just like that it could have been taken all away from me.
For some reason, I decided to loop back before entering the crosswalk on Monday. Mounted on “Big Red” my mountain bike converted to commuter to get to work and back and run errands around Calgary, my timely hesitation before rolling into the crosswalk may have very well been the half second that kept me alive that day.
The car careened into oncoming traffic stopped at the redlight facing westbound on 9th after t-boning the drivers side quarter panel of a car2go, smashing that car into the concrete wall bordering 4th st.
I was about a tire length from being steamrolled by that grey sedan, but instead, as I watched the car come to an abrupt stop right beside me in that oncoming traffic, passenger thug and his dog escape and cowardly flee the scene I took another breathe of oxygen. I was still standing.
Sometimes I guess that’s the world’s way of telling you “Not yet, man. You have some work to do.” And while it’s a long arduous battle these days, mom’s right – it could always be worse. I could have been under that car. Instead, I made a split decision after I took into account the scene was in good hands with EMS and Police. It was on.
Who knows what I would have done had I caught that bastard before he and his dog hijacked that black pick up, but shit I tell ya I’ve never pedalled so fast in my life. What a sketchy, coked-up piece of shit. His time will run out. I think he should consider himself lucky I didn’t catch him.
Probably for the best. Knowing me I’d be the one facing charges.
Now I can focus. Even though times are tough – no amount of money could put into perspective what it means to have the handful of people that flash through your mind after you gain perspective from a traumatic incident like Monday’s hit and run.
Family, my dog, close friends and my first love. It’s amazing to think it could all go so quickly. Amazing that she’s still in my head too. Back of the mind, yet still front of mind…
I’m happy to be here. I’m meant to do something more. And I’m more inspired (and impoverished, haha!) than ever to just light it up.
Tell those you care about how they make you feel. Trust in yourself and don’t ever give up. And no matter what… Chase the thug down, no matter how effin’ scared you are. Chase that mthrfkr down as hard as you can. Even if it’s right after hes nearly hit you with a stolen car in a crosswalk on your way to work. It’s good for your soul. Chase.