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.
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Stress. It’s a real thing. The last couple of months have shown us how important wellness really is. Unfortunately the repercussions of not being well, physically and/or mentally, have taken the lives of many of our beloved industry colleagues. The darkness of anxiety, depression and addiction is slowly coming to light. And for good reason. Nowadays it’s very rare to come across someone that says “no” when asked if they’re feeling stressed. It’s become engrained to the hustle-bustle, 60 hour work week we all know and love to hate. But does it have to be like this? Not a chance. Here are my top 3 picks to help alleviate stress and get you back to being the best version of yourself.

The number one thing you should do when you’re struggling with something is talk to a professional for help. Yes, your friends can lend an ear, but unless they’re trained professionals you’re not getting the full meal deal. Speaking to a professional counsellor, therapist and/or a psychiatrist will help you identify the root of the stress and they’ll then be able to provide you with the right resources to get you back in action, stat. I still go to therapy and I would recommend it to anyone who’s seeking direction, closure from a relationship, financial advice, how to conquer their fears or anything that’s got them feeling down, stressed, helpless or worse yet – suicidal. It’s serious. Below I’ve included a few links to some services ’round these parts and a brief description of what they do.

Elephant Artist Relief
  • Great local resource with everything from funding options, financial aid to counselling etc… connectors to all aspects of better well-being

Distress Centre 

  • 24/7 crisis support for Calgary and southern Alberta. These fine folks do not define crisis and are there for anyone at any time. This is their 24-Hour Crisis Line: 403.266.HELP (4357) and you can find them on the web at http://www.distresscentre.com/contact-us/

Unison Benevolent Fund

  • Non-Profit registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. They help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. Here’s their assistance number 1-855-986-4766 and website – http://unisonfund.ca
  • We actually have a “Mental Health and Wellbeing” Download session happening Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30pm in Calgary session for Alberta Music members. Amanda Power from Unison Benevolent Fund will be joining me on the panel, so be sure to head here to save your seat in Calgary (if you’re not a member, get on it! You get free access to the awesome programming – albertamusic.org/membership)
  • I actually had the treat of interviewing the Executive Director of Unison, Shiela Hamilton back last fall. Hear our conversation about Unison Benevolent Fund and how us artists can utilize their services here Shiela Hamilton – Unison Benevolent Fund 

2. Journal and Meditate 

Oftentimes, just putting the proverbial pen to paper (talk about alliteration!) can remedy a lot of stress in our lives. A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense. [Read the full article here]

As far as meditation goes, this is a favourite quote of mine:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

I personally like to use an app called “Headspace” for my mediation and another app called “Daylio” for tracking my mood and a daily journal entry.

However, I don’t like being on my phone. I find it’s actually quite contradictory to disconnecting and being mindful, as we spend so much time glued to the Snapface and Instabook already. So, if you’re like me, I’d recommend going out and grabbing a journal from a local bookstore for $25. Or better yet, I wrote a 21-Day Self-Love Journal. It’s easy to follow along and start placing gratitude, self-worth and consideration at the top of your charts… Super helpful if you’re struggling to get there on your own. Day by day you just implement the tools I prescribe and voila, you’re on your way to becoming the best version of yourself in just 21 days. Start reading it here for free – Start With U: 21 Day Self-Love Challenge

3. Exercise!

That’s right, in general, findings from research indicate that exercise is associated with improvements in mental health including mood state and self-esteem, although a causal link has not been established. Research on acute exercise indicates that 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity results in improvements in state anxiety and mood that persist for several hours. These transitory changes in mood occur in both individuals with normal or elevated levels of anxiety, but appear to be limited to aerobic forms of exercise. [Read the full article here]

So what’s the difference between aerobic exercise and all that other stuff? Well, aerobic exercise is exercise where your body’s cardiovascular system (the lungs and heart and circulatory system) work to provide the main source of energy to the body. Things like long walks, jogging, resistance circuit training (sorta), swimming, hiking, cycling, flow yoga and trail running are all examples of aerobic exercise.

We also have Anna Beaumont a voice teacher sitting in on the “Mental Health and Wellbeing” download session in March with myself and Amanda, so be sure to register if you’re interested in learning more about how mindset, meditation and movement can help your playing, reduce your stress and essentially help you to become the best version of yourself.

Here are a few other ways to get active, try something new and have fun:

Edmonton

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City Fit Shop – Whip around obstacles and play like a kid again in Edmonton’s premiere

obstacle course gym.

logoss.pngThe Surf Studio – Hang ten, dude. Get your surf on at this one-of-a-kind fitness experience. You’ll understand why those surfer dudes and babes are ripped! Holy core, Batman!

topVertically Inclined Rock Gym – If you’re not afraid of heights or awesome things this might be the ticket to getting a new activity down. Kids programs, adult programs and birthday party specials, this place has it all for veteran climbers and rookies.

Calgary

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Bodhi Tree Yoga – Looking for the best Yoga studio experiences in town? Look no further than Bodhi Tree. Plus Alberta Music’s own, Amy Thiessen teaches here. Incredible instructors and space so this spot is great for the seasoned yogi and first timers alike.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your yoga passes.

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Bike and BrewCalgary’s first cycle shop and cafe, these guys offer it all. Have a cup of the best brew in town, snack on some baking from Corbeaux Bakehouse or try a sandwich from locals vendors Peppino while you get your bike serviced. They also offer group rides, information sessions and product knowledge workshops so once the snow clears you’re all set to ride.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your caffeination and select merchandise. 

There are some musician specialty clinics happening in March and April as well:

Sunday, April 8 “How To Effective Load Gear”

Load Gear Without Fear

This is a musician wellness workshop that will focus on practical theory and knowledge combined with practical movement patterns to ensure you’re keeping your body in good form and avoiding injury. Limited space, AB Members only (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership") Price includes taxes and service fees.

C$59.00

Sunday March 25 “Down-regulatory exercise: Working-In”

How To Use Exercise To Inspire Creativity and Performance March 25 (AB Music Members Early Bird)

This specialty clinic will touch on effective down-regulatory exercise and stretching techniques to help alleviate pain, reduce stress and help you increase creativity and performance. You’ll be at 11. Why don’t you just make 10 louder? Because this one goes to eleven. AB Music members discount (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership) Limited space. Price includes taxes and service fees

C$59.00

Well folks, I hope you can take something valuable away from this. If you’re interested in a consult to determine how to organize parts of your lifestyle you’d like to improve, please reach out. For all Alberta Music Members I offer 50% off, all hour long consultations  and I can meet in person and via Facebook video every Friday. Contact me to book a spot.

Quick recap and I’ll get out of your hair:

  1. Talk to a professional if you’re having challenges in life.
  2. Journal your thoughts and take time to be with yourself.
  3. Exercise! There’s plenty of ways to move your body and they don’t all revolve around the gym…

As always, thanks for reading,

Namaste sweet!

Peace.

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Ps. Rad photo eh? Check my brother out on Facebook Sean Schwartz Photography

When you’re lost in the woods it’s nice to come across that old bridge again.

The one that heads north –

Out past the river, to the meadow and into the sunshine, warmth and life of the universe.

Living proof that we as humans are meant to adapt and roll with change.

Please check out my interview with one, Josh Dech – local fitness professional and business savvy entrepreneur. He left his post as a paramedic – having to save lives that were on the brink to transitioning his health care skill set into that of preventative health – Personal Training. He’s now bettering quality of life so those individuals don’t see that brink for a real long time.

Josh just happened to call me while I was finishing up my opening segment tonight. Some things happen for a reason. I hadn’t lined up a guest for an interview for the show, but as luck would have it when I saw it was Josh calling me, I immediately thought “Sweet, I have a rad guest now.” As you can tell, he was happy to be a part of it.

My takeaway:

Learn structure, but be willing to adapt. Be wiling to learn. Life’s too short to take it seriously all the time. Dress in a onesie and walk around in public every now and again.

I also discuss the importance of revelling in your accomplishments, how to relieve your stress in just 21 seconds and an opportunity to support another amazing charity, Play It Forward. They’re holding an Online Media Auction until March 31st, 12:00 MST. Check it out here… https://www.32auctions.com/playitforward_auction2017

Gymtastics Play-it-Forward Projects is a charity that that helps underprivileged children grow through sport and play. To find out more please check out our website at  www.playitforward.ca  or our latest You Tube video at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyI8VzE–Wo&feature=youtu.be
I also dip back into the nostalgia in keeping with the theme of change and play one Calgary’s own, The Heist’s hits “Change”.
Don’t keep on climbing the mountain when you get to the top…
Stay sweet, folks. PAYCE!

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. 

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. 

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.