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.

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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

Wow, Toronto. We have a couple more days together before it’s back home to Calgary. Canadian Music Week has been amazing, our panel went great, I met so many artists and industry express their gratitude for the work I am doing with MusicFit Collective, artists’ health and wellness and everything in between and overall I have just really enjoyed all the new, lifelong relationships I have made.

Now, this week is a bit ironic in a sense. That’s right, I was invited out here to talk about the affect on creativity and performance from a physical and mental wellness standpoint. However, the conference itself isn’t set up to give attendees the ability to put into practice some of the insight I shared.

These 5 days are intense. Late nights catching bands, earlier mornings to attend conferences. Showing up for bed at 3am isn’t conducive to a 8am wake up, but alas – we hustle through it. I’m a part of it to. I’m no different. Right there with ’em all in the thick of it.

I do emphasize the importance of thinking progress over perfection. Choose the best route for you in the given situation, don’t shame yourself for what is the perfect choice as oftentimes it is unrealistic. If it’s temporary and you recognize that, take ease in knowing that you are accountable to your choices and clean the slate when given the chance.

We often get dealt an unfavourable hand, it’s all in how you choose to play the game.

1% every day

See you next time, stay sweet!

Xo

Hey folks, it’s been a minute. I know. Lots has gone on out here in Toronto, as I hear up for my panel on Thursday. So much excite. So much still to get done.

This city is beautiful. There’s something to be said about fitting in vs. belonging. One of my favourites, Simon Sinek dug up an article written by one David Mead that speaks to that eloquently right here: Fitting in vs. Belonging

I have had a bit of a time trying to stay mindful and in full practice of my habits and behaviours, but wowza! It’s tough in the road. I want to be better at just reading my lessons and staying in touch with my athletes, but it’s rather difficult living out of a suitcase. Pleasant reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing in the first place. I can only imagine the difficulty for an artist who’s not trained in this stuff.

I ran a 10km with my new friend and fellow panelist, Andre. That was certainly a bright point as far as fitness on the road went. Just under an hour too. There’s been a silly amount of walking (north of 10km every day…) but I just started running with Dre at his condo and once we started talking…

Goes to show the value of social support. And that’s where I’ll leave it today. If you’re immersed in an environment that doesn’t fully support your behaviour, your goals, your drive… the likelihood of you reaching your goals significantly falls. Keep that in mind when you receive a response that isn’t what you’d like from your tribe. It may be time to expand that tribe.

Cheers from TO,

XO

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.”

I’m rolling.

Thank you

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.

Copy of Mike drop radio

https://anchor.fm/mikedropradio/embed/episodes/Ancient-Echoes-Live-and-In-Conversation-e1dafh

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.

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Namaste sweet!

xo

 

M

So Toronto, you lovely mistress. You are my jam. The minute I landed, I felt something. Albeit, I didn’t sleep: kept up by the turbines of the plane and the anticipation of the panel… not knowing what to expect, but knowing that when you lower your expectations, you allow yourself to rise to greater heights. I was a part of a really powerful experience at the Tune Up Toronto: Focus on Jazz! panel, as put on by TD, CIMA and MusicOntario. We were in a great room at Hugh’s Room Live, Larnell Lewis was the Keynote, the G.O.A.T., there was food, the attendance was high and most importantly – engaged. Seven hours engaged. Take note Alberta…

It’s reaffirming. We are drawn to scenarios that we are supposed to be in. I’m meant to be here. It’s a great feeling and I really feel valued, understood and respected. I can connect with the individuals that want to listen and I have met some truly amazing people that are masters of their destiny. I want to be amongst that, fighting to change mindsets, lives and help others reach the next level.

You’re not a prophet in your own backyard.

Here are the three common points I took away from today:

1. Kindness rules

2. Authenticity rules

3. You have to want to love the music a disgustingly, unadulterated amount in order to succeed.

Here are some shots from the my first day in Toronto for the Tune Up Toronto Panel.

The eagle has landed…

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My new BFF, Midget.
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My AirBnB has great taste. Same record player. And she’s rad… #sigh
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Told you she’s rad.
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What a privilege to be on a panel with such amazing minds. Thanks Doc. Thanks Teresa. Thanks Rosalyn.