Don't Die With The Music Still In You: Soak Up The Summer

“As soon as I finish up all the tasks on my to do list, I will take the time to relax”. How familiar does this statement sound? So often, we spend our lives deferring what it is that we truly want. We convince ourselves that all the pressing demands from the external world around us come before our own needs.  
As I find myself sitting here, in the middle of a beautiful summer day, August 4 to be exact, I look back over the last four weeks of July and realize that much of my time has been spent working,

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One Decision Can Change your Life

Forty minutes out of town on a Friday night? My mind was caught up trying to make a decision as to whether or not I should take the trip north of Winnipeg to visit some new friends that I had recently met. I convinced myself that I would take the trip and the next thing I knew, I was in my car driving north on highway 7 on my way to Teulon, Manitoba. About forty minutes later, after a short drive down a gravel driveway, I found myself in complete paradise. As the sun beat down from the beautiful summer sky, I spent the next several hours in deep and inspiring conversation with my two new friends, Tracy and Maurice. Between the incredible conversations, the nature all around us and the canoe that we decided to immerse ourselves in, we found ourselves dreaming about new possibilities. We asked ourselves, “How amazing would it be to create a summer wellness festival on this site and bring together like-minded presenters to present on topical areas involving mind, body and soul”? What started as a canoe ride between three friends resulted in a wellness festival that is the first of its kind in Manitoba. We named it The I AM Festival. 

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Wayne's Guest List

There is magic in the air here as I sit and write to you from one of my favorite places on the planet, Maui, Hawaii. I was first drawn to this island several years ago when one of my mentors and teachers, Dr. Wayne Dyer first started doing weekend workshops here. I was fortunate to spend time studying with this man on topics including the Tao Te Ching, The Power of Intention and Unconditional Love. Wayne had an incredible way of making spirituality accessible to everyone. He always seemed to know exactly what to say at the right time and it always felt as if he was speaking directly to me. I find myself tonight on Maui reminiscing about this great soul that graced the planet and left too soon at the age of 75. Wayne left his body on August 29, 2015. Wayne often referenced his mentors being Ram Das and Abraham Maslow and although he never knew them very well, he still credits them as playing a significant role in his life. I feel this way about Wayne. One could perhaps say he is my “Ram Das”. Wayne would speak about writing his books on Maui and what an incredible flow he would get into here. Over the past week I have found myself here on Maui in this incredible flow of writing as I work on the first draft of my first book. It is a book on mindfulness and awareness. It has been flowing out of me as if a greater source has been writing it. I am beyond convinced that Wayne along with many other angels are playing a huge part in the creation of this work that is pouring out of me. On breaks from my writing, I have been wandering around the island of Maui connecting with the beauty and Aloha spirit that graces this place and although it seems impossible that Wayne is no longer here walking the Kaanapali boardwalk at the beach or swimming laps on the ocean everyday I know that his spirit is alive and well everywhere I look. In fact, I know this to be true because Wayne has offered me a spot on his guest list here in Maui… Let me explain! 

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Connecting To Gratitude

This is the time of year when we start seeing more people going to the gym, lots of new years resolutions being made and many new beginnings taking place. It is also a time of year when we reflect back on the year that has just past and begin to take stock on what we have gained and what we have lost. As 2015 comes to an end I am filled with gratitude for the incredible gift of this life. I feel extremely blessed to be here and conscious of this life taking place within me and around me. I look around and realize that there is so much to celebrate. I want to celebrate the life of Dr. Wayne Dyer and the profound impact he had on our planet. I want to celebrate my family and friends who continue to grow and inspire me everyday.

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The I AM Festival

I just wanted to take a moment and let you know about this exciting project that I have been working on with a few of my friends over the past couple of months.
Imagine a hot, summer weekend festival in the middle of nature surrounded by incredible musicians, yogis, inspirational speakers and a community of love and synergy. This dream is about to happen! This summer August 20-21, 2016 will be the first year of the I AM Festival, bringing together an incredible group of like-minded individuals to grow, heal and re-energize.

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Coming Together As One

I am always moved by the incredible spirit of people who commit their lives to the good service of helping those around them in need. A few years ago I met a woman name, Julie Epp and was immediately inspired by her creative spirit and generous heart. Since 2010, Julie has been involved with supporting the Kimisagara Orphanage in Rwanda. First bringing donations of shoes and then raising $18,000 to support various projects at the orphanage in 2013. She and her friend spent a couple months with the kids, and during that time, Julie connected deeply with one young man from the orphanage, Claude, who has become like a son. She is now trying to sponsor him to study and live with her in Winnipeg. He has his passport and has been accepted into school in January 2016. His Canada Study Visa application is in process now. 

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My Friend Fred: A Childhood Dream Fulfilled

When I was a kid one of my favourite things to do was pretend I was Fred Penner. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Fred Penner is a legendary Family and Children’s Entertainer who may be best known for his album, The Cat Came Back. At the age of five I would stand on the living room couch with a plunger stick as my microphone and a Fisher Price guitar and pretend I was Fred in concert. I remember going to watch Fred perform at my parent’s company Christmas party and then would go and see him at The Children’s Festival. This man has a magic about him and at the time I couldn’t really name it but I sure could feel it. Years later in grade seven, once again, Fred had a major impact on my life. I was asked to perform a song in front of my school in the gymnasium and decided to perform “The Cat Came Back”. I remember looking out at all the students singing along and thinking, ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life”. I didn’t realize it at the time but looking back now, I would have to say that Fred Penner played a major role in my decision to become a professional musician.  

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Fall Into Practice

I fell into the practice of yoga several years ago when a coupe of friends of mine had invited me to attend a Moksha Hot yoga class. I remember walking into the studio and feeling like I stepped into another planet. The culture was so different compared to what I had known outside the walls of that building. A calm came over me as I placed my mat down in the sweaty hot room and waited for class to begin. I remember feeling very self conscious as the instructor entered the room and started referencing words I had never heard of. “Savassana this and Udyana that”. My mind raced into overdrive as I didn’t want anyone to look over and see me in the corner trying to keep up with the next to impossible stretches the people around me seemed to be so easily doing and yet somehow after the experience, I couldn’t stop thinking about how good I felt. 

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My Challenge to Apple Music and Music Lovers

This week's blog post is an open letter and challenge that I recently sent to Apple's CEO, Tim Cook. It was really scary to push the "send" button and email this to him and it also feels very edgy for me to post this blog here on this topic. It is always edgy to write and express publicly what you believe because there is the fear of being judged. With that being said, I am sharing this in hopes to have an open discussion on this topic and am really looking forward to hearing your creative thoughts on how we can rejuvenate the current music industry for the artist.  

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Dear Chronic Workaholics...

Let’s face it- life can be really demanding of our time. It seems like there is never enough time to get everything done that we want to. Whether it is at work or in our our personal life- demands creep up and we tend to give over our control to the outside pressures. Do you ever find yourself like me rushing from one task to the next and not taking the time to stop and smell the roses? Over this past week I have been forced to take a hard look at my current lifestyle. Over the past year I have been suffering from a weak voice. 

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Having an Impact

This weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to collaborate with 24 high school students from across the city of Winnipeg at a leadership conference called Manitoba Alive. I attended this program when I was in high school myself and have gone back every year since as a councillor, guest speaker and now the program director. It is one of my favourite three days of the year. Imagine three days of your life where you experience no judgement, no competition, no self-doubt and a complete invitation to just be yourself completely. Manitoba Alive is exactly this. It is what I would compare to heaven on Earth for three days. During the weekend we support each other in developing our dreams and visions. We work on our life purpose. We gain knowledge and the tools to help us get to where we desire to go. This year in particular brought together a profound group of students that truly had vision, leadership and an authentic dynamic that made everyone feel included in the group. So often in our society we tend to look at high school students as trouble-makers, out of control, un-grateful, self-centred teenagers. I have once again been proven that these societal stereotypes are just not true. This weekend I witnessed profound love and acceptance like I haven’t in quite sometime. There were students at the conference that voiced that for the first time in their lives they felt what it means to be family. How is this possible over three days to get so close to those that were strangers only days before?

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Thoughts On Slowing Down

Slowing down is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is not an offset of being un-productive. In fact it seems that the most successful people on the planet have mastered the art of doing less and accomplishing more. How do they do it? How do they find that work/life balance? I sat with this question in meditation this week and this is the answer that came to me…

 

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Purchase Bewilderment

This past weekend I was having dinner with some friends and we started talking about astronomy. I have always been interested in this topic as it always amazes me when I look up to the sky on a clear evening and see billions of sparkling stars shining down above my head along with beams of white light streaming down from the moon and lighting up the silhouettes of trees and neighbouring houses in my neighbourhood. What is it that makes up our cosmos? Where do science and spirituality intersect? How is it that we can be in space and actually loose years of our life while it is simply the equivalent to a day experienced on Earth? How is it that we are conscious and experiencing all of these natural miracles unfolding around us?

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Asking Why

In a world that is driven by work, productivity, success and results it can be very difficult to slow down from the rush of it all and ask ourselves one of the most important questions of all questions- WHY? Why am I doing what I do? 
What is the driving force behind all of the actions I am taking on a daily basis? The question of why is a rarity in the rat-race and yet it is one of the most powerful questions to lead us deeper into what our true life purpose really is. For a number of years I wrote government grants for musicians. I would spend hours and hours of my time filling out forms, making phone calls and writing proposals on behalf of artists, to convince a jury of professionals that they should fund my client’s upcoming sound recording project. (Yes, in Canada our government is an incredible supporter of the arts and culture and actually offers government grants to musicians and artists). While working as a grant writer, I quickly realized that these skills were very lucrative and soon enough I was collecting more income then I had ever seen before while still slugging it out as a singer/songwriter. It was a very easy way for me to earn a living and still continue to be an artist. After about five years of intense paperwork I began to feel myself burning out. I would get calls to write grants and my chest would tighten up and my eyes would droop at the thought of having to stare at a computer screen, cut and paste files and write monotonous paragraphs of gibberish for the juries to assess. There was something in me that just didn’t feel right. I felt stuck because I did not know how I could possibly stop doing what was earning me the majority of my income. Have you ever found yourself up against these walls before, where you feel trapped in something you don’t want to be doing?

It was during this period of feeling stuck that I discovered one of the most powerful tools in shifting me out of the place I was in. I asked myself WHY? Why am I doing what I am doing? I sat with this question of WHY for several weeks and was shocked at how many answers to this questions came up for me that I did not want to initially acknowledge. It turned out that underneath my “doing” (writing the grants) I was actually unconsciously doing them because I didn’t believe that I could earn the same kind of living being exclusively an artist. I also realized that one of the major reasons that I was writing grants was because it was an easy escape from truly going towards what I like to call “the edge” of my life. “The edge” is that place that scares us to go towards but is truly the place we need to go in order to grow and fulfill our soul’s purpose for being on the planet. What I really was avoiding was diving in deeper towards my career as an artist and motivator. Upon realizing the answer to the question of why I was writing grants, I realized that my reasons why were just not strong enough to stay in this position. It took me a bit of time to diffuse the grant writing business and start diving in deeper towards being an artist but the final result is that I am SO glad I did. I now ask myself Why do I want to be an artist? The answers that have come up so far make me realize that I have no choice but to do this work on the planet. It is really my life purpose (despite how edgy it can be at times). I want to be an artist because I have the ability to inspire people, connect people and share experiences of transformation together. I want to be a channel of inspiration to assist people with living a happier, more fulfilled life through both music and words.

I have found that focusing on the “why” has really started to fuel my “doing” and as a result there is more alignment and fulfillment again. I leave you this week to ponder the question Why are you doing what you do? and if you are reading this feeling stuck in any part of your life right now, all the more reason to ask yourself; why are you doing what you do? If you don’t like the answer remember that you can change what you are doing to align more deeply with a WHY that fuels and inspires you.

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Dealing with Rejection: How a NO leads you closer to a YES!

Have you ever had the experience of putting yourself out on there on the line, risking it all for your dream of what you really want- only to get the answer back that it is a “NO”? If you are anything like me you have probably experienced at least twenty of these “no’s” for every “yes” that has happened in your life. Whether it is in our careers or our relationships with others, rejection can really hurt us on all levels. Nobody enjoys being told “no” for an answer. It is amazing how many of my decisions in life have been a dance around avoiding the experience this two-letter combination of the alphabet N-O!

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What Holds You Back?

In every single person there is an inner critic. A voice that second guesses. We have all had the experience now and then (or for some more often) feelings of doubt and shame for trying to live authentically. I have come to know this voice and feeling as “the saboteur”. This is the name I have given to the inner voice that comes up and tells us that we are not good enough or that we will never get to where we want to go. It is the part of our mind that sabotages us and keeps us trapped in the places of fear, doubt, worry and anxiety. In our world, so many of us struggle because we have become slaves to the saboteur. Many of us don’t even recognize that our saboteur is running the show and making our decisions for us.

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The World Is What You Think It Is

All healing happens within us. It is our own thinking patterns that determine whether we are sick or healthy. Most of us though have been conditioned to believe that some outside source beyond us is in charge of curing our diseases and illness but there has never been nor will there ever be such a remedy to cure our illnesses indefinitely. Yes, there are medications that will give temporary relief or assist us in changing our minds to believe that it is curing us but the real truth is that “the world is what your think it is”. It has been suggested that our body is made up of an extreme collection of thoughts. The thoughts we think about on a regular basis shape the world around us. Thinking is an inside job.

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