Okay, we have all been here before. Late at night, pull out the guitar…and … nothing.

What?!

“But this what I do.”

Nothing. No spark.

You can’t help but wonder what it is, pulling at every strand of self-doubt. Did I sleep funny? Maybe that pulled pork sandwich (or tempeh wrap for our plant based friends) had some funk to it… whatever the case may be. You’re just not feeling it.

Well, that does happen from time to time. However, for professional artists, that could mean sacrificing a paycheque or two. Not cool. Let’s discuss three effective remedies to kick that brain fog and get our performance back up to snuff so we can focus on doing what we do really well, creating music.

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    1. Reduce the screen time!
      We spend far too much time in front of time-wasters like Facebook,Instagram,
      Reddit and the like. If we took half the time we spent searching news feeds or watching cute cat videos as we did reading, painting, getting outside… imagine how much more effective our time on earth would be. The dopamine hits from hitting the like button and constantly being concerned about who is liking your posts and how many followers you have is an unhealthy way to live. I would encourage you to set a daily time limit and stick to it. No more than a couple hours. And shut ‘er down by 8 pm so you don’t screw up your sleep cycle. The anxious feeling we get from self-worth is heightened when we follow the social norm of online gratification, so remove yourself from that world and you’ll start to inspire creativity simply because you have more time to do so! Check my recent post about last weekend’s social detox I did here. Follow up post is in the works…images

 

  1. Move!
    • Seems simple, but activity has proven to excite the brain in areas related to creativity independent of mood. You can read the study here. According to the research, the study’s result show that exercise helped to improve mood in participants and also creativity independently. This is good news for folks who want to get out of “creative blocks”. My suggestion? Get up and walk around when you’re feeling a block on the creative flow. I’m actually hosting a clinic specifically designed to address inspiring artistic creativity through movement in Calgary. If you’re in town, check it out here! If not, that’s cool. Here’s the best warm up for getting some creative flow! Unknown-1
  2. Journal!

    Oftentimes I feel like garbage at the end of the day. I feel as though I haven’t done anything at all. Have you even been there? There is a really easy way to track how productive you have been. Keep a journal and just close the day down with some thoughts and points of the things you did. Over time you’ll start to see how (un) productive you were… that way, you can manage it. For most people, we don’t track things so while we think we’re doing productive things, we really aren’t. If you see this trend, you can work towards improving upon it. We can’t manage what we’re not tracking, right? So give yourself a chance. I also found it amazing how easy things came to me when I wrote them down as goals and took behaviours that’d be intentional toward accomplishing them. I compiled it all into a workbook journal to help others get their shit together. I am officially releasing it this May in Toronto at Canadian Music Week. If you’d like an advance copy, just let me know.  mike@mikeschwartz.ca

There you have it. Three cool little tricks of the trade for you to keep up the creative flow. For those of you that are into reading, my favourite book ever for crushing the creative roadblocks is called “The War of Art”Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Get it.

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Ok my friends. I’m out of here for now. I’m going to keep up the post per day to see what topics and time stick for the remainder of this week. I’m working through some things and have some exciting news to post about in due time, but until then… I hope your day or night is great.

Ciao,

M

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…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

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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

 

I was bumped up on the therapy wait list. I head in Friday morning instead of two weeks from now, and that’s exciting. I embrace talking about my experience. It helps me fit things in and take things out.

I (re) learned a lot last night:

Great friends are always thinking about you and will always have your back.

I had to reschedule my session last night with my two best pals. They sent me this in lieu:

They are both doing so well and even when their coach isn’t there, they still push it. Champions are doing the work when no one is watching. These two are champs. Thanks guys.

Music is powerful.

I don’t know where to start.

Jess and Robb, thank you. Music and Motion was a compete hit tonight and you guys were great. I can’t wait to get some pictures up from the House. For now –

@jessandrobbmusic

These two beauties came with me to the Ronald McDonald House and played an awesome set of music for the kids and their parents while the kids basically used me as a jungle gym. It was awesome. The families loved it, mom and dad got to relax, and that’s why I do this.

Then the show, K.Flay and Sir Sly both just killed it. The amazing thing about both of these artists is the poetic complexities. I’d strongly encourage you to take a listen to the hardships and the battles and the adversity in the art.

This is where the title comes from today. Borrowed and paraphrased K.Flay’s sign off before the last song she performed…”Remember, right now isn’t forever.”

That stuck.

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And leads me to wonder if the human condition has room to be fully complete…? or if the lifestyle choices and the drug use and addition and anxiety all lends itself to some higher form of the craft. Like seriously, what would we sing about? How would we relate to our audience if the new rock star lifestyle was about gluten free bread, hemp seeds and kombucha. Like how hard of a life is that?

Food for thought…

Children have so much to teach us, but we adults have a hard time with humility.

How come my nephew can squat, jump, balance and do bear crawls but my 20 something clients can’t?

Just an example…

Last night I was a human jungle gym for 6 kids 5-9 years old and feed a straight diet of sugar. And we got them all under control and relaxed. They respond well when you ask them to perform a task. They do not respond well when you tell them what not to do…

Thanks Mark England.

Child whisperer. That’s my alias.

Again, we await RMH photos for evidence.

We busy ourselves with what’s important. We prioritize our needs.

Or at least we should. Don’t take it personally, but do take it as a sign that the effort isn’t mutual and there’s a disconnect if you feel that you’re reaching and grabbing and the reciprocation is just not there.

Carry on.

Thank you for checking this out. Again, moral of the story is whatever you’re going through, highs and lows, it’s temporary. Nothing is a forever and you will be better off because of all the experiences you go through. Learn to embrace it and the journey is wicked fun.

Thanks for listening!

Til next time,

Stay sweet!

…Where are you in terms of your ideal self? Think lifestyle-wise: fitness, nutritional habits, physical appearance, sleep patterns, energy through out the day…etc.

Where are you on that scale?

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This is a cool practice I like to take with people that are new to my coaching to help put some perspective in their lives. Here’s the thing; a lot of people I start working with come to me to fix their problems. To shut off their mind and just do. And while I get that, that really doesn’t hold a lot of weight long-term. It’s not addressing the behaviours that got them to the point on the scale in the first place. If we truly want to correct lifestyle issues, we need to start at the source.

So, what number are you?

To borrow a practice I picked up in Precision Nutrition coaching curriculum, take that number and subtract it from 100.

There.

Now you only have ______ days until you’re at your ideal self if you focus only on improving 1% each day.

Perspective is interesting, isn’t it?


If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help change your mindset, attitude and behaviours to help increase your quality of life I have a couple options for you:

  1. For those of you in Calgary, Alberta – I’m hosting an interactive 3-day workshop geared specifically to help you improve your quality of life. While this workshop is geared to musicians and the music industry, it is an open invite to anyone to come and learn. The stuff I teach is applicable in just about anyone’s day to day livelihood. Here’s the link if you’re interested. ——> https://www.long-mcquade.com/news/3081 $149 for all three nights. Movement on Tuesday, Nutrition on Wednesday and Thursday we tackle Mindset. You get a copy of my first book as the text and you save $149 on any coaching with me upon registration. It’s a pretty sweet deal and you’ll be able to do so many more high kicks per performance.
  2. If you’re not in the Calgary area but would still like to work on curbing poor lifestyle habits and bringing that number up on the scale, check into my online coaching services. You get a comprehensive exercise and nutrition program that I tailor to your goals with the help of Precision Nutrition. Sleep better, have more energy to play with the kids and feel more confident every day with the year long curriculum. Make 2018 the year to become the greatest version of yourself yet. Just email me at mike@mikeschwartz.ca and we’ll get some more info and the specifics of what you’re looking to do.

I’d love to field some more questions and help direct you to some of my favourite resources and other health professionals so reach out and share this read with your friends and family if it resonates with you.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time, namaste sweet!

 

I know, right?

What a thing to say in a world that is so focused around getting to the next level, pushing and climbing your way to the top. And for what? Do you feel happy? Is that success?

I dunno, I must be getting soft in my old age, but now more than ever I’m more inclined to put myself in only the situations that bring my joy. When I’m happy, I thrive. I like feeling restored, energized, positively happy, and I really like to help others feel that way too. It’s super cool to help someone make that flip. That’s what we talked about in therapy this week; how to make that switch with as limited emotional duress as possible. A part of that is reflecting on my days and recognizing what I’m grateful for. Do you do something similar?

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The shadows show more than the eye can see as I ride back home up the monster hill. It’d been far too long. 

Today was a really nice day. I rode my bike for the first time seriously for commuting

purposes. I want to get back to that again. I just feel so much better. It’s freeing. And that’s what I want to write about, how once you find something that’s freeing, you should do it. And do it for as long as it brings you peace. One of those things for me is cycling.

 

 

 

 

This whole weekend was great actually. I’m very happy to be back enjoying movement again. Saturday I was invited by my friend, Jess Smith to accompany her for a Yoga class that’d feature us in the beautiful Yoga Passage, a gorgeous studio fulll of beautiful humans, here in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

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However, prior to the super mindful, health conscious Mike – the rock star lifestyle Mike happened…

unfortunately for my wellbeing, but par for the course (as an industry it’s not uncommon to be out all night) I had to “take one for the team”. I  ended staying out waaaaaay past my bed time after the Canada’s Music Incubator, AE West program wrapped up. Well, of course I’d like to go to the afterparty….

……

There’s a lot of stories. So I’ll give you a bit of Matt Blais… good friend of mine and our shenanigans with some food (that turned out to not even be ours!)

Let’s just focus on how great the music was. Canada, you have a lot of amazing talent coming up out of the West. I’m happy to help foster and develop all of these amazing talents.

This is Atlaas – she’s from Winnipeg and you should check out her EP. She’s an amazing soul. And that voice…

 

but yeah… and I got in around 4:30 am. Good thing I didn’t have any plans until Jess and I had yoga to cleanse the soul and stretch the mind and body…

Sunday I got up, headed over to a train an in-home couples training session and then ripped to the stairs to hit up Sunday Funday.

After the workout, I ripped home let Dar out and got down to toss a Teddy Bear on the ice at the Hitmen game. Here’s what that looks like. Must have been somewhere near 22,000 Teddy Bears out there.. it’s an annual thing. Super fun. I go every year.

I did have this weird revelation that I’ve had in passing before. I nearly bought an art set with canvas, an easel and something like 110 pieces. I have no idea how to art though. Are any of you artists? What would you recommend for someone who is looking to get into it? I feel pretty strongly about abstract art. I like rad stuff. I have a lot of energy and creativity and for some reason art seems like a really cool outlet when I don’t music.

Any recommendations for what to go for, what to look out for and the like would be awesome.

And in the meantime… find stuff that fuels your creativity, fuels your happiness and I really think. you’ll see that success thing everyone is always talking about. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t done this and feel silly for not figuring it out. Sometimes it takes getting out of your lane in order to find what you’re lane truly is.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay sweet.

M

As I stand here, warming up in the bomby -2.5C Calgarian November morning, I look around to see nothing but open park, glorious cityscape and a few tourists over the stairs at Crescent Heights. The same stairs that the team and I meet every Sunday, at 11:07.

Not this Sunday though. I was the lone wolf.

I heard lots of inquiries, lots of interest, some were unfortunately sick and others had previous engagements and that’s all fine. I’m okay if you don’t show up. I have zero influence on what people prioritize until they see what health and wellness will do for them.

Ironic because most of the excuses I hear revolve around “I’m tired, I’m gonna sleep in, I’ve been working nights, I’m getting sick, I have no time for that…” which all stem from the root of why you should be joining me every Sunday at 11:07!

I don’t do this because I like it all the time. I do it because I know the alternative of depression, anxiety, poor conditioning, sickness, lethargy, zero motivation, ambition and the feeling of insecurity far outweighs the shitty 35:07 of a little hard breathing, muscle soreness and pounding heart. Yeah. I show up.

I’d encourage you to do the same the next time you say you will. Physically and mentally. At the end of the day, you’re only letting yourself down.

I did my reps.

Again.

Today was a lot better. It’s a constant battle however, to delay the emotional suffering until you are in a safe place. You fight through. You kick. You almost have to wear it on your back instead of power it through your feet.

But that’s only sustainable for short amounts of time. The healing needs to take place and Flo says it best, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Keep chipping away and things will turn up. Keep chipping away and do things day by day. They will be better. It’s just around the corner, I promise. When it rains it pours, and things are going to get real good, real soon. Just chip away.

I’ll wear the Albatross for one more day.

 

I’m participating in Movember to help support men in the music industry that battle the depression, anxiety and mental illnesses like I have – feel free to check out our team page here – https://mobro.co/coachschwartzy?mc=1

Thanks for listening,

Ciao

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