“I dunno.”

The only words to escape my empty mind at the time. Fast forward to a couple nights ago. Similar in approach to a tee.

“I dunno.”

See, human beings are fascinating creatures. Oftentimes we tend to think about all the things at the end of the road. Meanwhile, we have missed the beauty of the turns, the hills and the coastal view all along the way.

It’s right in front of you.

But only when you’re ready will your eyes clear the fog and let you see for yourself.

And that’s okay.

We’ve got all the time in the world. It just likes to chase us.

Thanks for listening, namaste sweet.

Goodnight. 😚

-ms

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What does it mean to down regulate?

Some people say yoga, stretch, relax, walk, meditate. Well, all of those things could be ways for you to down regulate, but really what I suggest is asking yourself the question – “What do I enjoy doing the most?” What activities do you do that bring a sense of calm, inner peace and a slowness to your breathe unlike anything else?

For me, it can be music or motion, creating, thinking, learning. Other activities that bring me ultimate freedom are when I go for a long bike ride, or a walk with Darwin, my pooch. I just feel like I’m not expecting anything, can embrace nature and live and breathe slowly and focus. It’s a cleansing type of feeling for sure. I hope you have something that makes you feel that way.

I really enjoyed my weekend of “chill vibes”. It was full of down reg. I was able to produce a couple videos, in which I played drums in my first drum cover (stay tuned to Wednesday’s post for the link to my YouTube if you’re into that…) and I was able to do some yoga-fused dynamic stretching, again making a video. Check it out below…

In any case, figure out what things bring you happiness. You can choose to move or sit still. It’s all about finding peace, quieting your mind and learning to breathe again.

Try it out. Please comment and let the rest of us know… How do you down regulate?

Til Wednesday, stay sweet!

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Featured image: Photo by Jamison McAndie on Unsplash

When you step you to that stage, what’s going through your head? How does your body feel?

Do you feel your chest tighten? Sweaty palms, throat closing up? How’s that feel?

 

If this sounds like you before a gig, you’re not alone. Of all the musicians I work with day in and day out, their stage performance anxiety tends to be a huge obstacle in the way of their success.

So what do we do?

I’ve picked up some tricks that help settle the mind, settle the body and keep my peers, my friends and my clients on the top of their game. While we could stay on this topic all night, I’ve narrowed it down to one simple exercise and a practice I have found effective to calm my bones prior to a show, a big presentation or a talk.

Ready?

Breathe.

That’s it. Here’s the drill: Breathe in for seven seconds through your nose, hold your breathe, then slowly exhale. Aim for working up to making each piece last for 7 seconds or longer. If you wanna take it to the next level, place one finger on your right nostril as you breathe in, then switch to place the finger on your left nostril as you breathe out. Repeat. That gets both sides of the brain working. Mind-body stuff is rad.

I’ve attached a little picture below for you to keep calm and rock on.

Breathe in

Tell your friends and if you have any other questions fire me a note at mike@mikeschwartz.ca or go public on Twitter or Instagram.

 

Til next time, stay sweet.

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My soul would be dead if I didn’t have that sultry temptress still slippin’ creativity in my drink of life each and every day like she’s trying to pick me up and take me home. I’ve caved, and thankfully so.

It is cliche, but it is the truth. Things seem to compound in the worst of times. It is for us to how we choose to handle them though. My band, The Sweets really helped me through today. We had a solid, focused rehearsal and after you read this blog, you’ll see why that was needed. My friends and family are therapeutic for me and especially this band, one I believe in so much – it was great to be around their beautiful souls tonight.

Then I just happened to catch an old friend, Lindsay Ell perform a perfect -in-the-moment-video for the world. Again, something so beautiful after my day today. Catch the video and please support Lindsay if you dig it. She’s another incredible human being.

Earlier today too I found myself reading about Ian Fletcher Thornley on his latest release, a solo debut (finally) made everything click as we come up to the anniversary of one of my most eventful – no – THE most eventful year of my life. Turns out Ian has shared a similar experience in his life. I was wondering why the album was almost a direct quote of my past year….

Music ties to memory and speaks in a way that encompasses all parts of our lives. Think about it. You have a favourite party anthem, a mellow tune or two when you’re all chill and cool… you have a song that reminds you of your first love, maybe your second and third too… and there’s songs that represent the darkest times in your life. For every one of those examples I can list the songs that tie to that memory. It’s amazing. And it’s likely a reason I have been engulfed so deeply in crafting music since i realized I was able to do so. I’m forever thankful I can communicate that way. It’s truly an art form I wouldn’t trade for the world as I see how much emotion it can incite in one’s soul. It’s the one language we all speak, regardless of our borders. This is the track that stuck with me from Mr. Thornley today. It’s called “Feel”

That said, I’m more motivated than ever. I am going through a very tough time with the finalization of my divorce. Not the situation itself, but the happy memories and the WTF kind of showstopper way it all came crashing down.. I’m still reeling from that. It’s most definitely a positive source of healing just to be able to write and compose songs and be therapeutic, and I’m on a much better course of life. It’s just still an emotional time of year.

Couple that with the recent news of a dear friend, Karsten my buddy I met through the Teen Mentorship Program. Unfortunately K, seems to be losing his battle against cancer and he’s already beat it once. He’s only 17 and that’s just not right. Please go and support in anyway you can.. http://www.karstenkickscancer.ca – even just looking at his Facebook page, you’ll understand why this has hit me so hard. Karsten is such a beautiful soul and just genuinely loves life. Please folks, don’t take life for granted. Not even for a moment. Take care of your health, your family and your friends. Some of us, like Karsten aren’t given a choice. I know damn well if it were all up to him he’d be playing for the Roughnecks in a couple years. The important lessons I’ve learned from him is to treasure life, let the folks that you love know that and always, always, always seek to be a positive influence in the room. There’s no time for negativity. Oh, and Colt 45 is a great song… he taught me that because he’s such a gangsta! (That song will be immortalized as our jam, brosef.)

Like I said, I am more than committed to change in my own life because of all of this and the vehicle I now have to express that is through speaking and communicating. Oftentimes that will involve music in one way or another, but I have been given the gift of diction and writing and communication so I am going to embark on fully utilizing my skills I have been gifted with. Expect more lectures, presentations and talks. I’m an Ambassador of Health and Wellness for the Mind, Body and Soul.

I will finish writing my book, dedicated to Karsten win or lose. It’s a mindset theory/biography based on the triumphs and pitfalls I’ve faced over the time I started my journey of skating. Had I not started that journey I’d have never been given the opportunity to meet K. Things aren’t great now, but I’m so happy I have had the chance to learn from him. I know it will be a hot read because there’s a bunch of hard-lined reality. Not like my challenges in picking up something new and trying to excel at it are bigger or crazier than anyone else’s, or that Karsten is the only kid having to fight cancer, or that when trusted relationships in your life pull the parachute and abandon you just like you never existed – no no. I’m not writing about this journey for that reason. It’s to provide an angle of hope. Hope for that even in the face of “failure” one can rise above and create success regardless of limitation. Furthermore, understanding that failure is necessary in order to really appreciate success. That’s a bit more of a synopsis than I was planing to give, but give me the year to wrap my head around how I want to present it and then I will see you on my book tour maybe in a workshop or lecture about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude to create your own success in the world of mindset economics.

I will continue to work on my guitar and craft my stories for sharing as it is the most powerful outlet for me to express my life.

I will continue to spread the positive message of pursuing whatever you dream up as hard and committed as you can. More than just interest. Interest gives you a safety net of only pursuing it when it’s convenient. Actually committing means you’re going to do whatever it takes to get to that level. Remember, you need to start the journey.

And I digress…

Music. Truly the one thing that has both been a creative outlet and source of nostalgia through the good, the bad and the ugly. I figure, “why stop now?”

Please stay tuned.

-Photo credit Sean Schwartz Photography

dont shy away from all that is the unknown. Embrace and entrust in knowing that you’re up for it, whatever it may be. 

It could be scary, yes. It could be hard, yes. Go in and make the most of it. Push yourself beyond your comfort, it will only better prepare you for whatever is next. 

Open your arms, tip your head back, face to the sky. You’re ready for anything. Kill it.

Open up your heart. 

There once was a time where the only way you felt you could defend yourself was by shutting down and closing off your heart. You don’t need to anymore. You don’t need to be afraid anymore. 

Lower your shield. Lose that heavy armour that once defended your heart. You have honesty, discipline and love now. You no longer need to be on guard. Rest assured with an open heart you will find strength to fulfill your aspirations. With an open heart you will have the control to be the master of your mindset. With an open heart, you will want to love again. 

Unguard. You have the heart. 

As I sit here waiting for my chicken to cook for my meals tomorrow I’m faced with a real hard career decision on the horizon.
I have a feasible shot at making qualifying times to apply to the Long Track Oval Program here in Calgary by about this time next year.
This is huge.
I will have to make some big, scary adult decisions fairly soon though that will ultimately set my course of direction.
The schedule would look like this:
Wake up 7am
At training by 9am
Train ’til noon
Go home and eat
Second session at 1 to 2
Go work a bit if I am up for it
Then train after hours for a couple hour bike ride if it’s still light out.
Repeat

While it’s very exciting to have the belief of my coach, my supporters, friends and family behind me. I’m still strangely torn because in my current role I get so much fulfillment.
Ultimately, I need to keep in mind that it’s part of my 4-year plan to be the best that I can be and I need to make decisions based on that mentality.
It’s just hard to make sacrifices like this when you’re so used to another way.