…mean you see the stars the most.” – K.Flay

K.Flay is pure magic.

Let’s start with her show. From the controlled chaos in the live performance of “Black Wave” to the introspective and hope-filled lyrics of “Dreamers”, this ‘Frisco native was a late bloomer to her now quite obvious calling. The first time I saw her perform was in the summer of 2017 as an opening act for my favourites, Mother Mother. After the first 30 seconds of her opening song, I knew this was going to be a superstar. Mother Mother had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure…

She lit it up.

Huge highlight for me from that show was her impeccable lyricist ability and unreal flow. Her a Capella, free form rap, mixed in with edge electronica-fused alt rock was just something I’d never heard before. Stand out.

Diving in a little deeper, her story is quite impressive.

I want to look at a line in her opening track “Dreamers” off of her 2017 release Everywhere is Some Where

Dreamersimg_3311

I came to in a cold sweat with a nosebleed feeling hopeless
Thought I maybe might be dead til I got my pen sat down and wrote this 

Suddenly I felt fine inside a mind so full of ghosts
The darkest nights mean you see the stars the most

The endless hope in this line is the motivation for me to keep pushing. What’s it mean to you?

It’s Bell’s “Let’s Talk” Day here in Canada today. For every text, share and like on social media Bell donates a nickel to help the Canadian Mental Health Association bring awareness to something that affects the majority of us. Yet, we’re still blinded by a stigma that cripples lives. Join me in spreading the love, saying “what’s up” to someone today and asking how they are from a genuine place. If you suspect some one is dealing with mental health issues, don’t stand by. There are plenty of resources out there to help get people well. Mind and body.

Check out my friend, and former bandmate, Joel Porayko’s project video on bringing an end to the stigma. Big thanks to all of you put yourselves out there. My MusicFit crew, my RMH crew, your support is endless and I am forever grateful.

Contact any of these providers if you or someone you know is battling with mental illness. Together we can bring an end to the stigma. Get well. Stay well.

My Top Three Picks For Mental Health Wellness Counselling and Awareness

CMHA (Calgary) (local assistance programs, links and counselling)

Unison Benevolent Fund (national assistance program for musicians and industry)

Elephant Artist Relief (local artist relief organization, they also have a whole directory of related organizations in the US and Canada)

Until next time, namaste sweet. And open up that conversation…

M

 

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Have you ever held on to something and felt like you were out of control? Like it was just out of reach… Ever so slowly, slipping out of your hands?

I thought I would feel that for the first time last week as I held on to my Omi’s hand as she lay motionless, helpless in her hospital bed in Cold Lake, Alberta. I did my best to pull out the golden-boy grandson routine of sheer comedic relief, but truth be told it was all a defence mechanism for me. I’ve never really experienced an up-close and personal encounter with the imminent signs of death and a loved one before. I mean, kind of back in 2010 when my dad ended up in the hospital over night from an aortic aneurysm. But hell, my now ex and I just showed up that Sunday morning by his bedside as he came to from the anaesthesia of post-surgery. It wasn’t as real as holding on to a hand that you’ve known all your life to give you all the support and love you could handle as a child. To hold on to that and to fear the moment when that grip finally slipped away… that was real. That, ironically is life.

However, I didn’t experience it.

My apparent good-willed humour and the presence of other loved ones such as my mother must have given Omi a renewed lease on life. A reminder as to why she was still kickin’. At 86 years old, she’s had one helluva time through the thick and the thin alongside my Opa, who is quite possibly the greatest man on this planet. Sure, they squabble, as any married couple will, but their undying love for one another was grossly magnified during the last week. A week I hadn’t prepared for and certainly didn’t expect to come out much wiser, stronger and empowered from.

I learned that the healing power of touch is awesomely underestimated. We went up to Cold Lake on Monday expecting to say farewell to my mother’s mother. Instead, our thoughtfulness, our compassion and our love incited a passion in Omi to hold on and stick around until next time we get to visit (which for my folks looks like about a month). And that’s okay. At this time, mini goals are all it takes. One step at a time. Day by day. One hospital meal of crushed ice and orange antibiotics at a time…

Make a plan. It’s there for you to use as a guide if nothing else. Clearly my Omi’s plan changed when we got there this past week. Eff, was she ever surprised. When you make a plan at least you can go off the grid a bit when you want to. Shake things up and understand the power of your presence around everyone, loved or not in your day to day interactions. The impact you have with the silliest things such as touch goes a really long way.

Thanks for hearing me out. And thanks for sharing

 

So today marked the first real CrossFit workout I’ve had since I went in Maui about 4 years ago. One word: Community.

Curtis Laughren, an old friend of mine has established his box as so much more than a place to lift heavy things and put them back down again. He’s grown a family of individuals that come together, support and rally each other through the toughest physical demands they can put their bodies through every time they step on the floor. What’s more is that today was a holiday! The floor was packed. Every one to the athletes came up and introduced themselves to me. It was quite a humbling experience to see so many encouraging, forward thinking and mindful athletes together in one space. I was back in my element today. Part of the team. A feeling I haven’t had for nearly two years since speed skating came to an abrupt end in the fall of 2015.

I walked in and immediately felt like I was home. The sweat-culture of sport, intensity and collaborative competition hit me like a hurricane the minute I stepped inside. Greeted by Curtis, peering through the Concept2 rowers (AKA death machines…) standing on end in “park”, to see who the new guy was. Huge smile and big handshake waiting for me, it was at that point I knew that this was the next step in my athletic career.

We spent the first 15 minutes in RAMP (for those wondering, that’s smart trainer talk for warm up [Range Of Motion, Activation, Movement Prep…]) and then we got to some warm up movements on the bar. The workout today was modelling the CrossFit Games workouts that just took place this past weekend, so today “Amanda” and a strength Powerlifting style 5-3-1+ sets of deadlifts was on the docket.

What’s Amanda?

It’s a drop set 9-7-5 series focused around two big, sexy movements. The Olympic Snatch and the Muscle Up. Rawr…

I’m pretty good with the bar, so the snatch wasn’t a problem (insert endless jokes here….), but my shoulders have never been right since I separated the left one making saves in football (soccer) nearly 10 years ago. Actually, side note – that’s one of the biggest motivations for me trying this box out. My overall goal is to be able to complete 10 Muscle Ups before 2018. For today, Curtis and I scaled them down to strict pull-ups so my Amanda was really like a “Mandy”…. The beta version 1.8 and still pretty cool.

I had a nice and light 75lbs on the bar just to go through the snatch patterning and pounded out my modified Amanda in a quick 4:18. In hindsight I should have thrown 115lbs on the bar, but I feel good about my first day. It can still be intimidating to walk into a gym where you’re the new guy…even for an experienced, multiple-certified trainer like myself, guys… so I was pumped to just experience today.

Then came the deads…

I crushed a 265lb deadlift today, which I just calculated to be about 113% of my previous best. So I set a PR on my deads today. Which is cool. But don’t tell my cardiologist yet. She’ll get worried again. I didn’t hold my breathe, Doc. Don’t worry. No Valsalva over here.

The point to my story is that the biggest determining factor of anything you do is your social support system. If you’re around a bunch of people that are in support of your actions, you’ll be much more likely to achieve. If you’re not, you won’t. Plain and simple. They say we are a product of the five people we hang out around the most. As a kid playing hockey I always wanted to play on the top line, I always wanted to be better. I wanted to be around the guys that were better than me. Nothing much has changed.

August 7, 2017 marks the actualization of bettering myself in the areas of my wellbeing that I’ve neglected for whatever reason… injury, laziness, lack of knowledge or special care. I’ve removed those excuses from the equation, and CrossFit Above All is the support system, the community, the family I have been lacking to drive me to progression in my personal and athletic growth. I am beyond stoked to see what happens. Thank you Curtis et al.

Do something awesome today. Until next time, stay sweet.

Peace.

-M

PS. If you’re in the Calgary area, check out www.crossfitaboveall.com

Curtis hosts multiple free classes each week for you to try out and see what it’s like to be a part of a common goal of personal growth and strength, both in the gym and out.

 

Great thoughts were shared yesterday from a true friend with an absolutely inspiring outlook on life. Things started to spark for me today, as I’m currently pushing through ongoing injuries. It seems as though each week there’s something new. Not crippling. Just there. I’ve come to terms that I’ll remain under 100% health for the strong majority of the next 3 years at least, but the most important takeaway is that I manage. It’s like playoff hockey. Everyone is playing hurt. Whether it’s a physical setback, state of mind or “funk” or just the unwillingness to push through, remaining positive with an optimistic vision on all situations will keep me from crumbling. 

End of the day, I asked for this. So when I have those moments a little voice kicks in and says – “Who told you it’d be easy?”

I’m immediately brought back to reality. 

The mind is very interesting. We tell ourselves we can or cannot do something and whatever we verbalize, generally comes true.

For me, mindset is huge. My newly shaped life has me yearning for a trusted companion that speaks the same language as me. Literally and figuratively…(guess I should brush up on my German, huh?) almost to the point of “I can’t tell who is talking” because the mindset, attitude, passion and zest to succeed and be happy is so overwhelmingly similar. That’s what I want. That’s who I am! That’s what I do!

Do we all have some intrinsic passion for something? I have my doubts, but that is a personal dilemma, best saved for another day. Only those who breathe that passion get it. I get it.
Recently, a lot of things have been happening, all very synced… And it’s nice to think that maybe… Just maybe… If I verbalize it. Manifesto.

Make it happen.

Cowboy handshake, right? Deal is done. Judgement of character. Both sides get it. Best deal is the Fair deal. This is how I was raised. A good deal is a fair deal. Well – I’m revved up right now… And I shouldn’t be. Have you ever been completely randomly attacked, over social media of all things…. By someone you’ve never actually met??? Crazy, I know. But when some lowly prick out of nowhere makes comment on a topic that is clearly out of his realm, in hopes of what exactly, I don’t know….A reaction, fuel for self-loathing tendencies. Just a bully move…? God only knows. What a piece of work…. That. Just. Happened.

Take this home, kids. Be a role model for the life you want others to lead. If you need to tear others down in order to build yourself up, you’re going about it all the wrong ways. If you want your angst-ridden, pregnant daughter to grow up and make good decisions, you should be on the forefront about the decisions you make. If you want to defend him like the sun you never had…. If you want to accuse me of not “having a life” because the one I have is seven times what you could have had.. Then that’s your prerogative. Pick your battles. If you hope for another family to embrace yours, dysfunction and all, you’d better not try to make war with the allies. Give your head a shake, and don’t think I will let it slide.
I don’t do well with being made to look like a fool. Assassination of character doesn’t fly here, man. Get real.