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.

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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!

We are a nation bound by the game. With nearly 7 Million dollars raised for the community of Humboldt at the time of me writing this, not even a week after the tragic events that took the life of 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos from their loved ones, we are given a light that brightens that awful darkness.

Support. Care. Understanding. Love.

We all feel something special because of a emotional connection. It’s hard to explain…

I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s the haunting reality of the events that as a hockey player growing up in small town southern Alberta, happens to draw me into this mix. My youth was sprinkled with close calls on icey highways, narrow backroads and the ability to name towns like Gleichen, Stettler, Wetaskawin, Leduc, Indus… etc. I can only imagine the living nightmare that must be going on inside the minds of those affected directly by the loss of one of their own.

“Big League” is an anthem to cherish memories of the lives that were lost and give hope to those that are in recovery. This will take years if not a lifetime to heal, but the outreach of support from complete strangers just like you’d expect from family is truly amazing. It embodies the sense of the hockey community. Of being Canadian. Of being human.

For me, “Pricklies” is an anthem that already meant the world to me. (If you ask my mom and dad they’ll tell you that I sang the chorus to Tom Cochrane & Red Riders hit “Big League” mistaking the words for “play in the pricklies”. I was 8. I didn’t know any better. I just loved the song.) I just loved waking up Saturday morning to drive to places like Indus, Gleichen, Hussar, Beiseker you name it… there’s not a barn I haven’t seen in Alberta… but more than the game, I loved to have time with my dad on the road. Listening to his (generally) sound advice on my positional play and overall thoughts on the game as we cruised from places like High River and Hanna left me with memories ever etched in my mind and associated with Tom Cochrane and the freedom you had as a kid growing up playing hockey for your hometown.

What I have learned from this horrific event, is that no matter where you’re at in life… the ones you love will come around. They may be mad. They may not even speak to you. But you’re still “gonna play in the Big League”. Life is way too short and whatever they’re doing, whether you get it or not is to help you and support you. Even though I didn’t know any of the players or family personally, I feel like experiences through hockey are shared universally. Humboldt represents a community inseparable by the bond of love for the game. I want to lend my hands and my heart to support the community of Humboldt in any way I can.

I don’t have much money to give, but I would be honoured to give my time and capture the stories of each Bronco involved in the crash to let the rest of the world know what the number on the back meant to the Bronco on the front. In due time I will see if this is something the community would like from an anonymous voice. It’s about Humboldt.

We are all in this one together. The hockey community, what it means to be Canadian and it goes to show how important life really is. Hug you kids, hug your parents, hug your brothers and sisters. Keep your stick on the ice and drive to hard to the net – you never know what will happen when you just put the puck on net. Make things happen.

Thank you for listening. Keep a stick out for Humboldt.

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Have you ever wanted just to numb the pain away?

But a car is spinning tires just outside Blush Lane

They ask for help, you – “of course!”, there is no other way

Their smiles make it hard, at least not today

Have you ever just wanted to grow up and blow away?

Up in the clouds where you’re dreaming almost every single day…

With blinders on you’ll never see or taste or hear them say,

Thanks for stopping to lend a hand so I can get up on my way

I just want to feel loved

Iwant to feel comfortable inside my skin

I want to feel loved (ahwoo!)

Gotta feel it from within

So now it all seems trivial, the things that I could say

Nostalgia of my childhood dreams, for them – just ripped away

Maybe when the time is right, we’ll drop the puck and play,

And kiss and hug and sing and dance as if we’re gone today

I just want to feel loved

I want to feel comfortable inside my skin

I want to feel loved (ahwoo!)

Gotta feel it from within

It’s actually amazing how you can rise to new heights the minute you lower your expectations…

Today has been special. I didn’t expect any of this…

Following the news of last night’s fatal bus crash involving the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos, it’s been a quiet day of reflection. As a former junior hockey player, the news came to me as a living nightmare. I don’t know how I could deal with that kind of trauma. I wish nothing but the best for the survivors, the families and the entire hockey community. This is a huge shock to the world and I’m not sure if the pain will ever go away for those families. It was an absolute tragedy.

Despite the sombre news, I made an earlier commitment to get up and move my legs after a couple hours of screen time – I’m working on writing a few big features for Canadian Musician Magazine and I wanted to get some fresh air and get Darwin out for a walk anyway. So I bundled up (Yes, Calgary is still -19 with a windchill because it’s January 75th apparently…) and headed down the hill into Bridgeland, a sleepy community in the heart of Calgary to grab a coffee and some bread for the week. They serve the best sourdough in town at Bridgeland Market. It’s made at a local bakery, called Citizen Bakery.

I leave Dar leashed off on his little bench beside the store as I go in. All the passersby know and love the goof so I wasn’t surprised to come back out to see a young family excited to pet the puppy. I noticed an elderly woman with a walking stick crossing 10th street as the family carried on their day and I went down to unleash Dar and head back home. As I did, I noticed the elderly woman remove her sunglasses and pause on the sidewalk, just within reach of Darwin’s curious nose and full on “body wag”. She spoke in a broken German accent, I couldn’t quite tell, but it sounded like a northern dialect (my mother was born in West Berlin and I at a time had conversational German). We got to talking about how her and her husband are the dog whisperers of the local off-leash park, and how she knows the type of person the keeper or handler is by the behaviour of the dog at the end of the leash…the dog is a beautiful creature that is just the extension of the owners soul. She spoke as an angel. Like you wouldn’t doubt a word she said. It was captivating.

Meanwhile, it clicked. I’m sitting there going, “Oh man, she’s judging me…” but she clearly meant it as a compliment as she praised Darwin’s amazing behaviour.

“He’s such a beautiful, happy, and strong pup,” she said, “he’s wise beyond his years and his energy for life will take him all the places he wants to go… you just have to let him be and trust him.”

I was blown away.

I then asked he where she was from. She quickly responded “Germany”, and then realized I knew that and was seeking what particular region. I told her of my family origin, of which I’m incredibly proud and she told me east of Hamburg, as part of the former Prussian empire. The conversation will never be replicated with the magic that existed in that moment, but after I learned that her family was a bunch of academics, and had to flee from the war-torn Germany or face Hitler’s wrath, she asked me about what I do.

I told her about my health and wellness career and she light up.

She started to tell me about human magnetism. Previous to her talking about this I had never heard of such things. She explained it in half German, half English and told me to look it up on my computer. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I plan on researching it more but I have a few more hours on this magazine article to get to first – http://www.spiritualgarden.net/info/human+magnetism.html

She was so excited to connect and tell stories and engage in a real conversation. I asked her what her name was. “Rosemary”. I said that wasn’t as German as I had expected. Then she put it into her German tongue. Absolutely beautiful.

She said it was especially important to have met because of her hip. She was injured when she was younger but it was okay because she exercised all her life – she loved swimming… ate very good food – herring from the Baltic Sea, vegetables, rabbit, you name it… she kept a healthy mind, read many books, and really the walking stick was just a “security thing”.  I learned so much from that moment with Rosemary…

She asked me my name.

“Michael” I replied.

“Michael, thank you for this. It has been wonderful to speak with you. I want you to research that human magnetism because it is in your field. You will enjoy it. It is fascinating. He [Darwin] would like to go walk now. I can wash my gloves, don’t worry (Darwin sheds a lot) and we will see you again.”

I’m not sure if I believed in angels before, but this was one heck of a sign that I am on the right path. Don’t let anyone – blood, stranger, best friend – doesn’t matter. No one can throw you off of your path. Follow your dreams, be persistent. Be humble. Be you. Affirmations like these will be there, you might not see them at first. But they’re there.

Rosemary, thank you for being a part of my life. Whether I see you again some time soon or not, that moment will forever be etched in my memory.

I always seem to comprehend experience through my art and when I came home the following few phrases just flowed out of me. So here you are. This may explain things clearer to some. And I hope they don’t fall deaf on others ears. I am working at it. Harder than you’ll ever know. And just because it’s not a path you chose, with all due respect and as Rosemary suggested, you have to let go. Let Darwin lead.

Thanks for reading.

M

xo

———————————————

Rosemary

Father was sent to flee

Packed the family and hit the road

Before the Germans came around

Bundled up on wisdom and a pocketful of hope

 

Her steel blue eyes, simply capsized

By oceans of night and day

Captured as fairytales from what I know

And what my mother had to say

 

The keeper’s hand down the leash

Can turn him beast or friend

It’s the soul inside and the heart that gives

Life or death in the end

 

Every word from every lip

Has some certain sense of grace

It’s all up to how you arrange

The letters in every place

 

Since ’72, her heritage true

An old German, like half of me

She lit right up, eyes wide shut

When I told her I help to free

 

Others from themselves inside

Sounds silly but she agreed

No amount of human magnetism 

Could polarize the seas

 

The good, the bad, the sick and loved

Ich liebe dich, meine freund

Du bist ein Engel, der zu mir geschickt wird

To mend this sobering wound

Photo by Alina Sofia on Unsplash

The relationship we have with our lifestyle is a learned skill. That means it can be changed. In order to foster and develop a healthy environment, one of the first things we must do is provide accessible education. By empowering individuals to make lifestyle choices for themselves, we will create a culture people will gravitate towards. That’s super rad.

Xo

M

A little context

The following is a piece of poetry I just wrote. Last night I was at the Our Lady Peace concert and before OLP closed the night off, they made sure to dedicate a song to Matt Good. To paraphrase Raine Maida, he’s been an amazingly strong voice and brave ambassador in the fight against the stigma of mental illness. “It doesn’t matter if you’re f*cked up here (points to his head) or if you break your arm, it’s all the same. And we need to support each other instead of running away and give each other a safe space while we get better.”

Talking about mental health is slowly becoming a more common occurrence and it’s platforms like this with influencers like OLP and Matt Good that can make a difference.

If you know someone suffering, please reach out and get them help. There are local distress centres in just about every major Canadian city, and if you’re an artist like me, there are specific organizations to help you continue to craft. You can call Unison Benevolent Fund to speak with a counsellor. Call emergency of course if it’s an emergency, but head to unisonfund.ca and register your free account so when you feel you need some help, support or emergency relief, they’re there for you. Completely confidential, completely on your side.

Like I said, this is a piece of poetry I just wrote. I’m working on a solo singer/songwriter project, learning to write and perform pieces like this on an acoustic as nice, safe outlet for my own self care and enjoyment. It also provides me with a platform to get my message out to the world. I hope you dig.

Soundtrack Of My Life LP

No matter if it’s all in your head

A broken arm,

or what pills you’ve been fed

We’ll be right there with you, baby

We can’t escape from a living hell

The chaotic neutral,

Disempowering spell

So we’ll be right there with you, baby.

Time ticks on

Can’t see

We’re blind

Can’t hear

The cries

Out for someone “help me please

I’ve fallen again, actually”

You see

It goes

You heard

The notes

Songs that bring hope to me

The soundtrack of my life LP