Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Michael Averill..Whats Life All About?

I had the honor of attending Michael Averill's album release fundraiser birthday party, I knew I had to meet him after the event. The event blew me away, and brought many emotions to my attention. The event represented a entire community and what they had to share.

Living your life to it's full potential, meeting a greater cause to leave your foot print, talent to share, and support as one large community.

The album is a collection of puzzle pieces, the pieces were an array of artist's coming together with a snit bit of there character, a word, a beat, a musical voice a rant or a speech on who they are. Michael describes how he came about this album in the YouTube video below.

 Michael also wanted to give back for his birthday, and had a array of his belongings on stage, items that have helped him grow and learn.

The speakers, artists, friend's and associates were all beautiful talent on stage. I was able to capture a bit of the talent on my little Nikon camera which I will try to place into the article later. I was very moved by the event, like none I had been to before. The community that came together to help Michael raise funds for his trek to Nepal, made me look at the great support groups we can have as a community and one person can make a difference.

Michael talked about his journey a little on how he came to be where he is today, and this was not a easy transition, it never is, when you start working for yourself. When you finally have such a huge accomplishment, its like why was I ever worried!

Michael is co-owner of simply organic studios.  Michael describes his work in his own words below;

Clarify my work


My “work,” is a mixed bag of activities, but it all centers around some key concepts.  I used to be a trainer/exercise physiologist where I did life coaching and counseling as part of my role, but I have never been an “official,” life coach, as people like to label it.

I left because I had been ignoring giving my truest passion the full attention it deserved, and it was starting to eat away at my soul, and I was withering away.  Again, there is much to say as far as what led to where I am now, but I don’t think there is enough room in your blog for all of it, so to summarize, this is what I do now:

-Active/Performing Singer/Songwriter (1 solo project, 1 band I write mostly for, and 2 other female led bands I play back up instruments for)

-Business Owner – Simply Organic Studios, partnered with Tim Weaver
There are 3 divisions of this business (Recording, Live Video Production, and Artist Development), but the goal is primarily to work with folk artists, and/or any artist really wanting a means of showcasing themselves in forms truest to who they really are.  Although I do little bits of recording and video production, my baby is in Artist Development, which is basically all the life coaching skills I gained in my other career applied to music.  Through this I run events that help singer/songwriters grow on and off stage, I work with artists one on one, I give educational seminars, and ultimately work to enhance the music community in Vancouver and beyond.  Everything I do here revolves around helping artists figure out who they are, why they are in music, and what it is they are actually trying to say, and then working on how best to deliver that to their audiences so that it is an unforgettable experience.  Through all of this, I have become a solid event planner/facilitator, and a specialist in community building and networking.  All in all, keeps me pretty busy, but it all centers around helping change peoples lives for the better, and I get more out of that than money could ever buy.

I met Michael again on a more intimate level, the earth day event at UBC in biology research building, a structure that is sustainable. Michael was there with two other artists and a hand full of performers.
We chatted afterward over cake and drink at capers in kits.

I had so many questions, but not enough time. Michael is only 29, known for these incredible hugs-
his soul is wise, its like he has already lived 60 yrs, and has been reinvented and thrown back down to the earth to start all over again.

Travel seems to be important to Michael on many levels, like most artist's, to travel is to add learning, so off he will go to learn traditions and cultures in Nepal. I have a feeling that Michael is an extremist, this is a person that will find the extreme ultimate challenge.

So my questions were, why are you doing this trek? tell me a little about what happened for you to change your life so drastically? Tell me about the cancer? In my mind I am also thinking..and are you single!

So this is what Michael had to share:

Why am I going on this trip? Where is it? Mission?

The trip – 1 month trekking in Nepal
The mission – A cultural observation of ancient mountain communities that live completely sustainable lives, and have done so for over 700 years.  Tourism has yet to touch these regions where a handful of westerners have traveled, but it is approaching and will probably hit within the next few years.

I was invited to join a mixed team of artists (photographer, painter, musician, videographer, etc.) to hike to these special areas in order to observe and learn about the values of life these people hold.  The idea is to note their state of happiness living with the bare basics we need as human beings, and be able to relate that  back to the western world in the form of a documentary, music, photos, etc, but mostly through outreaches in schools/universities.

Why I am going on this trip……

If you had asked me this a few months ago, I would have had a completely different answer.  The decision to go on this trip initially came out of pure curiosity and excitement of seeing a very special part of the world, and to interact with the people and cultures through my language of music…seemed no-brainer to me...and I was invited by a very close friend.  However, I couldn’t have imagined how much that choice was about to change my life.

This trip is self funded,  I needed to change the way I lived, the way I ate,  and the way I saw myself in the world.  I also needed to do something enormous in order to raise the money to go on the trip….which is what led to my album release show.  Having had $0 in my bank account, I had to maximize the art of resourcefulness, and worked non-stop from the beginning of December onwards to make it what it was, and to raise the funds to go.  There are a great deal of other stories of craziness that went on during this period, but I will save those details for the book!   Reflecting back on it all now, I feel I decided to go on this trip for what it would make me face in myself to actually make it a reality.  Who knows what the actual trip will bring..haha

As Michael talks about this here, I reflex so much of my own self and I have to add, over eight years ago, I realized I had 30 bags of designer clothing and was broke..lol, I did not even know what was happening in the world. I lost everything. Sometimes people need something to happen in life as a wake up call-cause life is lessons..right?

 I started to network, and write and I changed careers.  I was invited to work with the river kids along the amazon, and study in a research lab in Peru, for health reasons and money, I did not go. I think to be a artist it is important to have worldly knowledge-I do know as a writer this has to happen. Meeting Michael and many other people through Michael, I can say I am building my own support group, with people who live healthy, try to be sustainable and live and be in there passion of work.

So Michael achieved what I truly thought impossible, and friends and family and huge supporters and artist's all came together at the Denmen Theater to show support and help Michael on his way- So everything we think we cant do, Is doable!

So on a personal level with Michael, cause to find truth in everything, usually-something has happened as a wake up call, I knew the loss of his father was hard, but there is so much more.  Michael had cancer, I heard this mentioned here and there and was scared to ask a little, but I asked and this is Michael's explanation:

Overcoming cancer surgery:

Cancer surgery for me was a temporary admittance into a dark world.  I have had surgeries before under anesthetic, but this one took me somewhere else.  It felt like it reprogrammed my natural human system responses in that it refused to accept things like water, vegetables, general foods you would think the body needs to recover.  They actually made me sick to be in contact with….One of the most shocking experiences for me in this was the lack of desire to play music….I just couldn’t, and had no intent of doing anything.  This frightened me, as music has always been a symbol of expression.  Funny thing is I still went and played my regular gig at The Vancouver Art Gallery Café 2 days after my surgery, even though I couldn’t lift my right arm about nipple height.  The true feeling of it all didn’t hit until a day or two after that….

Through some unusually course of actions that I don’t really recall, I found out that my body really responded well to Gatorade and Tim Horton’s chili….so much so that that is the combo I took in non-stop for about 3 days, and it made me feel re-energized like you wouldn’t believe.

After a few weeks, I decided to go for a walk.  It was a beautiful day in late September, and I wandered up to Capers for a smoothie.  I had never bought one from there before, but I was drawn to it for some reason.  They had one that combined banana, blueberries, apple juice (my favourite smoothie combo) and greens.  Rather than sipping it right away, I took it with me on my walk until I reached a bench to sit on.  As I sat there, just observing life, I started to feel, or at least notice again, the heat of the sun.  It felt like I had lost the sense that it was even there until that moment.  I closed my eyes to take it in, and then took a sip of that drink…….That sip….felt like a shock with paddles these use in an emergency room to bring people back to life.  A complete explosion of flavour and energy in my body again, and it was magic.  So much so that I went directly into my apartment, picked up my guitar, and wrote the song “Simple Sensations,” which is on this album.  http:/michaelaverill.bandcamp.com/

From there on it was pretty much just plugging along, working on getting my range of motion back in my arm, but the whole thing was a big vision into the world of those who are on drugs or health care full time, and to get a glimpse of what they must feel all the time was very humbling.  Made me really appreciate the simple things around, but on a bigger scale, it made me look at what I had done in my life.  Although my cancer was minor, it put me in a contemplative place with regards to the potential it had to be much worse, and it made me think about how I would feel if my life was done.  Interesting thing was, I noticed that if I died the next day, I would have been satisfied with what I had accomplished, and all that I learned, and from this came a great sense of pressure release.  It changed how I have lived every day since, because as far as I am concerned, the rest is just bonus!

How could you not fall in love with this voice??...It all really makes you think...You may think you are just someone in the rush in Vancouver, Everyone is someone, and one can make a difference.

Michael is an example of bringing community together..and finding your dreams can become a reality..My original blog is called...Just A Girl. The title was because I was just venting and writing and really thinking, who the heck wants to hear my ramblings. Well my little blog reached over 100K in the first year.
I am not just a girl, I am a very funny girl, who gives you a hard real take on situations people and things, I do find people also, good people and now I want to show the world, Amazing people, that really will change your life when you meet them.

 Its up to you to let them in, or take a bold step and walk into the unknown. See what our city has to offer in events, you never know who you'll meet!

After this event, I had 8 more events to go to! One event which I hope will become larger in the future is yoga with music by Michael. The yoga is Haitha and Yin, I could not make this private event in Michael s home this time, however it is amazing what you can do when you have a network. I have a huge creative pool of idea's in my mind now and to be quite frank, I am excited!

When you meet new people, you never know what they may bring into your life. It can be a second, a moment, a hour, a season, or it may just be a lifetime. Take Chance's, and say Yes.

Lastly, Is Michael Single? Well Yes, I believe he is, However Michael is currently in Monk Mode-
This means, re frane from all outside sources that may pose threat to mission..lol..I am sure he has allot of love to give! However this is not on his immediate agenda:) See ya when you get back Michael!!

Its was a pleasure meeting you Michael!
Happy Birthday

Laura Gold

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