The model shop was the place where I first experienced a struggle of my internal landscape. Hobby Craft Models Ltd. I was working there with my buddy, Shane, selling model car kits, anything from a Corvette Stingray to a Ford pick-up truck, model airplanes, even vintage Second World War bombers and army tanks, model tractors, and we even had model grain elevators. Hell, we even expanded our range to include a few model Super Heroes – Spiderman, The Thing, The Hulk. I figured we were the leading model and model accessory business in Regina, and maybe even a contender for all of Saskatchewan. We were located up on Henderson Drive, prime storefront real estate in the industrial area of the Queen City. The year was 1988, the year the ‘white birch’ was adopted as the official tree of Saskatchewan. I was happy about that as there are always so many suckers and trees rooting from the seed pods of elm trees that were planted by settlers to green up the prairies. This proves that we are so much more than just elm trees.

Well anyway, I was making good on the local model supply circuit – a top dude, a spearhead, a confidence man. I had a bungalow in the south end, and I was making mortgage payments on time – easy. I drove a compact Datsun truck – paid for. I was going to Bregg Cleaners at least once a week to keep myself looking smooth and well turned out, sometimes twice a week if I was driving down to Oxbow or over to Swift Current to talk shop with the big players in the model car industry. Once a year we’d all get together for an annual “model car salesmen and distributor conference” in Yorkton, hit the casino for a few nights, hit the slopes, if you know what I mean. I was gettin’ it and I figured I had life by the balls. I really did.

My buddy Shane, from the model shop, he had the hots for another co-worker, Julie, and they were friends for years before he decided to put it all on the line and reveal his true feelings for her. Well, that my friends, turned out to be a classic story of unrequited love. Julie didn’t feel the same way and Shane took it hard. He quit his job, and well, he became a seriously thirsty individual. He’s in the “program” now – almost a year sober. Anyway, there I was, flying solo in the model shop industry, without Shane; but I was payin’ my bills, gettin’ it done, a one-man crew, having a couple of little things on the side, shoot from the hip, and all of that. Yeah, I had success, but I felt the tides shifting within my internal landscape, beckoning me, telling me that a renewed personhood was in order. One morning I woke up at the Travelodge Hotel on Albert Street south after a big company banquet. I was a real mess. I walked over to the mirror and saw the face of a man, 25 years old and already burned out. Came up too fast, ate with the pitbulls and now he had too much time on his hands – climbed the ladder too quickly. I mean, I was basically eating at the Diplomat every second Friday every month. I met John Candy there once, no lie. Last year the Riders were only 4th in the West and didn’t make the semi-finals. Twelve losses, man they need to shake things up. They got some good players for sure – Kent Austin, Ridgeway is such a great kicker, and Don Narcisse. They got to get it together. Anyway, I digress. My point is that when I looked in that mirror I saw a shell of a man, fragmented and no longer a whole person. Something was missing. Here is where my true journey began, when I realized that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. But what was my potential, I wondered. I had to find out.

After a long, hot shower and a shave, I’m downstairs in the coffee shop drinking my java, alternating with water to counter the acidity of my sour stomach, and reading the Java Jabber. Three poached eggs, white toast, home fries, 5 strips of bacon and a side of sausages, and I’m coming back to life. I look across the room and there’s a man staring at me. I notice he was wearing a nice beige suit, modern cut, and shiny black shoes – this was a major dude I thought. I could tell. He gets up and walks over to my table.

“You like my suit?” he asks. Now he’s sitting across from me, sipping a cup of tea that he brought with him.

I look puzzled and he said: “I apologize for not introducing myself properly. My name is Chet Collins – pleased to meet you”. He extends his arm and I shake his soft, clammy hand. He asks again: “Do you like my suit? I notice that you were checking it out”.

I gaze at Chet Collins’ rectangular-shaped, pink head and permed dirty blonde curls. He’s slick all right and I think he has something to tell me. “Yes I sure do like your suit”, I answered. “Linen isn’t it?” Of course I could see that his suit was top drawer, his sleeves pushed up his forearms, and while leaning back in the chair with his hands in his pants pocket pulling back his jacket, I noticed his red suspenders. He then bent forward and said, “Yup it’s linen all right”. He then reached into his inner jacket pocket and handed me a business card. I nodded and thanked him, but I didn’t look at it and he didn’t say anything more. I put it down on the table beside my plate and set to finish my breakfast. He got up and gave me a small salute and left.

Later that day I pulled the card out of my pocket and read: “Midas Gold Mining Development, Inc., Flin Flon, Manitoba. Chet Collins’ name was at the bottom: Chester (Chet) K. Collins, Public Relations Representative. So, Chet Collins offered me a stock tip. He could see that I was a potential player too and he was trying to draw me into the game, only he upped the ante – a stock tip in a gold mine. I carefully placed the card in my wallet for safekeeping.

I could sense the world was changing along with my internal landscape and I was caught in the middle of that change. If I was going to be a contender, then I knew that I would have to shift with the shifting sands. One thing I vowed to do was to know more about the bigger stage, learn more about world events. I made a set plan to watch the morning news while I enjoy my first cup of instant Maxwell House – 2 scoops of Coffee-Mate. I should be more informed, you know, maybe learn something about the stock market – read up on the TSX and find out what it was all about. My ego swelled as I envisioned a new possibility of taking myself to a whole new level on the proverbial corporate ladder.

Back at home and sitting on my couch, I found myself admiring the gleaming brass and glass coffee table in front of me. It was one of my big splurges. I was thinking of my future life and as I promised myself, I began to pay attention to the news and I understood something like the stock market collapsed last year but now it was on its way up again. Okay, maybe Chet Collins had something here. I could almost feel something big was going to happen and maybe I could be part of it. Also in the news, there was a story about a televangelist, Jimmy Swaggart who confessed to having an affair with a known prostitute. Every news station was reporting all the details about the scandal. The bigger they get, the harder they fall, I thought. I mean geez, after that Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye scandal and now he’s in jail. They had it all, their own television show, popularity, success and money… Well they got greedy…I guess.

I had a dream of getting rich and I thought about it a lot. I carefully removed Chet Collins’ card from my wallet one evening and sat beside the telephone, working up the courage to call and find out more about Midas Mines. I noticed in the section of the paper listing the TSX stocks that the mining company was legitimate and it was trading at about 90 cents to $1.00 per share. I needed to know more. After several false starts, I finally dialed Chet’s number and got his answering machine. He’s probably out somewhere wheeling and dealing, I thought. I left my name and phone number. I wondered if he had his own cellular telephone like I saw Sonny Crockett using in an episode on Miami Vice.

One evening as I was settling in for a night of football and a few beers, the phone rang. It was Chet Collins and he was going to be in Regina on the weekend and wanted to meet with me. I agreed to a breakfast meeting at the Travelodge where we had our first encounter. I was excited and scared at the same time. We met as arranged and he introduced me to a couple of “stock brokers”, one from Florida and the other one worked at a Regina brokerage firm, a French name -- “L E V E S Q U E AND B E - A U B I E N Securities”. I was listening closely as the conversation flowed around gold prices having risen 25 percent and how this little mining company was going to make investors very rich. The guy from Florida whose name was James Oliver, said he had been in the business for 20 years. He looked rich, wore a diamond and gold pinky ring and a chalk-like pin-striped suit with a red tie. His hair was combed straight back and he had a smooth-shaven face and a strong chin. I knew I was at the pinnacle of the financial world and I was hooked. The stockbroker from Regina, Bobby Farris, encouraged me to participate if I could and finally I opened up and told them that I didn’t have any savings, and the only equity I had was in my house. After some discussion, I agreed to invest $30,000, the whole of my home equity into Midas Gold Mining Development, Inc. The adrenalin was just pumping through my system – I couldn’t believe my luck.

Now that I was a player in the gold mining stock market, I felt a real sense of purpose when I opened up the Leader Post to the financial page. I was constantly checking to see how my investment was making out – tracking my stock holdings on the TSX. I was all set to sit back and get rich quick. I was elated to see the stock rising over the course of the next six months, and I even got a free weekend trip to Flin Flon to take a tour of the mine and its operations. I quit my job in fit of optimism. Anyway, I was ill-prepared for what happened next.

Chet Collins and Bobby Farris stopped calling me, and I was horrified when the mining shares plummeted. In fact, it seemed the problem was that there wasn’t enough gold to continue working the mine. The shares that I held were worthless. I tried calling James Oliver in Florida, but his phone was disconnected. Well, long story short, I lost my home and sold my truck. Nothing I could do. So I packed my duffel bag and boarded a Greyhound bus to Winnipeg, hungry for the “Winnipeg Dream”. Regina was fading from sight in the smudged rear-view mirror of the bus. While bone-shaking along the highway, my thoughts turned once again to discovering my true potential. I hadn’t thought of my internal landscape at all since playing the high stakes stock market. But first I had to get a job.

I arrive in Winnipeg and get a temporary place to stay at the YMCA. I get a job right away at the “Big Z” – Zellers. I’m stocking shelves and putting stuffed gorillas in the bargain bins and the new Warrant album with the tapes. It’s a humble position and a real drop from the fast lane of the model kit and model accessory industry and the dizzying heights of the stock market business. No more weekday warrior, no more pitbull, just me, myself and I. One dimensional Evan. You’ll never believe it though – I end up connecting with Shane again. I was at the lunch counter at Zellers, having a morning coffee break when I see Shane coming in for the Early Bird Breakfast Special. “Hey Shane Kinderchuk!” I yell. He breaks into a big smile and suddenly I don’t feel so all alone. He’s living in ‘The Peg’ and has his own apartment. He hangs out with these real interesting folks who hold spiritual ceremonies with candles, animal blood, stones and pot pourri. I went to a couple of their events – they were colourful but a bit ‘out there’ for my simple prairie boy taste. I mean, being there dead sober, listening to the chanting and watching the ceremonies, like drinking blood was just tense. It was literally tense!

One night, out of boredom, I decided to attend another one of these events and a guy named Eric told me to drop the LSD like everyone else. It was in the animal blood which was passed around in a shiny black goblet with inlaid sparkling purple gemstones. That night I drank the acid blood and everything was okay for awhile. Then the screaming and chanting grew louder and louder and I started thinking really bad things. I remember having a bit of a tantrum. Okay, maybe a total freak-out. In my mind, I was convinced that I had not locked the door when I left Zellers at the end of the day. I became fixated on the idea of needing to go back to Zellers to protect the store from imminent danger. I couldn’t take my fixation any longer and I head over to the store, and well, that’s when the story takes a nosedive, and my life fell apart. Hell, that’s the first time I ever experienced the penal system. I’m going to cut a corner here in my story – some of the details should be left out, but I can tell you that by March, 1990, after they released me from the Rossland Mental Health Facility, I basically decided to uproot again and go somewhere I could rebuild my life. Shane was still hanging out with the devil acid people and I still hadn’t reached my full potential, and I did not feel I had made any progress trying. Was Winnipeg the problem? I wondered. I had to get out.

Fast forward to September, 1990. I now live in Toronto, at Dupont and Brunswick. All I can say about living here is that nobody knows me and I have a chance to start again. I have never let go of the idea of wanting to reach my full potential. Now I am ready.

I got a job through an Unemployment Insurance posting – a request for carpentry skills. I wanted something that would keep my hands busy – you know what they say: idle hands do the devil’s work. I was always pretty good putting models together and I could build things, so I was lucky enough to get a contract job for a group of art galleries, building frames for art works and installing exhibitions, and I’m talking elaborate installations of all types. You should see some of the things that are called art today. I mean I am really learning some new things about the art scene and meeting some interesting people.

Anyway, after my stint in the model kit and model accessory field, and all that followed, the art community in Toronto in the early 1990s wasn’t much of big deal to me, not much to write home about, but it paid the bills, and the gallery folks really appreciated my carpentry skills and that I’m reliable. I’m making a niche for myself and getting back into the groove of things. I enjoy some of the finer things in life once again, a little Ontario red with my dinner and a few thumbs of upper shelf whisky now and again. I rescued a couple of cats, bought some ferns to decorate my apartment, and I splurged on a painting that I bought from a Yorkville cafe – it’s abstract and looks like a Pollock. I feel like I’m really developing a sophisticated urban groove and I’m even hip to all the best smooth jazz albums, like Kenny G, Sade, The Rippingtons. I don’t know much about art, but I listen very carefully at some of the art openings. Mostly I go to be of service, make sure everything is running smoothly. I’m also thinking of art and how to use it to express emotions, and how it can fit into my internal landscape on my journey of discovering my true potential.

One chilly evening when I was leaving an art show at Mercer Union, feeling quite tipsy, my life was about to suffer a setback. It was October, 1991, and I had been working overtime to install some large-scale drawings in the east gallery for an artist -- Carel Moiseiwitsch. It was a difficult installation, but it was quite eye-catching. I had been recruited to serve as bartender for the evening, so I was sucking on gallery beers. I had a cold thirty, maybe thirty-five chips in tips. Not bad for a kid from Regina. I was feeling loose so I picked up some hashish from a pusher near Queen and Landsdowne. After making the score, I was crossing the street half-cut, and that’s when I got hit by a van, a light blue Astro van. I recall looking up at the shiny Astro logo. A guy jumped out and he was real shook up. He asked if I was okay and I told him to fuck off. I could get awfully abusive when I had my glow on with liquor. He shrugged his shoulders and got back in his van and drove off, even before I had time to get up. When I attempted to stand up, I felt a sharp pain and I couldn’t put any pressure on my foot. Long story short, I’m in Toronto Western with a real twisted up ankle and a couple of cracked ribs. The doctor prescribed me some opiates for the pain, something called hydromorphone. Anyway, that was it – the first time I swallowed those suckers I felt like I’d been kissed on the dick by God. Now I know that drugs don’t make people addicted, the addiction is in the person. And I know that most people who take strong painkillers don’t go on to be hardcore substance abusers, but some do. And that’s what happened to me. I kid you not. Within three months after the doc cut me off from further prescriptions, I was snorting heroin in the darkest corners of Toronto. I could never do the needle thing – I was always squeamish about the whole rig. The other junkies would make fun of me, called me “tar nose” as they wrapped tourniquets around their arms. Eventually my psychosis got so bad that I created this ritual of sitting in Withrow Park every Friday night with raw fish meat on my chest, high on heroin, drinking a cocktail mix from a thermos, half-believing that I had reached my full potential. Deep down though, I suspected I had not.

Now it’s easy to feel good if you’re on a roll. The real test is making yourself feel good when you feel bad, or better yet, finding how to feel good in feeling bad. I don’t know – I’m just working this out in my head. Emotions are necessary survival tools and it’s important to be able to confront and breathe through all of them, often, several times a day. As I stood on the Dupont train track, snorting my last heroin lines off my smooth jazz cassettes that I was intending to pawn for drug money, I had a caldron of emotions swirling around deep in my internal landscape. I was lost. It still didn’t feel at all like I was meeting my full potential, whatever that was. Was Toronto the problem? NO! It couldn’t be, nor was it Winnipeg or Regina. A geographical cure clearly wasn’t the answer. I was the common denominator in all my conflicts of self-definition. It was time for a change. I mean a real, visceral change.

The next thing I did after I finished the last of the drugs was head down to the local detox center to get myself straight. I won’t go into all the details of my withdrawal; it was two weeks of violent anxiety and physical sickness. When I was finally able to eat and sleep a bit again, the detox center was sizing me up for discharge. There I was, just newly sober, sitting sheepishly in a room full of addicts and the cancelled, waiting to get thrown back on the cruel streets again, and still perplexed as to the nature of my full potential. I scanned the bulletin board filled with pamphlets, advertisements for therapies for a number of things like quitting smoking, addiction counselling and night school courses. Then my eye caught a poster that read: “DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A LIFE COACH?” Underneath it stated: “Earn the income you deserve”. Something inside me woke up. I remember what my friend Shane once told me at the model shop: “In order to master your craft, teach it!” He used to hold model kit workshops in the evening and they were in great demand, people building their dream car, models of nostalgia, models of place – like grain elevators, models of super-human strength – like super heroes. I figured I had so much colourful life experience that now it was time to reach out and talk about my life purpose and the journey that brought me to this point so that I could help others meet their full potential and discover their true purpose, vision and goals. I felt that I was now making an inspiring life transformation – life is my craft and I would perfect it by teaching others the strategies of something I will call “GRAND SYNERGY”.

I took all the money from selling everything I had of any value, even my painting that resembled a Pollock, and with the last cheque I earned from installing art shows, I enrolled in the advertised two-week course – a cool 600 bucks. Of course I had to downgrade my apartment – I’m in a basement bachelor suite at Wellesley and Jarvis, but it was 110 percent no hesitation, no second thoughts, no regret – the right decision.

I earned my Certified Professional Life Coach Certificate (CPC) and my instructors told me I’m a “natural”. Today I can say with confidence that I now live a life filled with purpose. A life of compassion. I AM SO JAZZED ABOUT TAKING THE MESSAGE OF GRAND SYNERGY TO THE WORLD!

These are only a few principles and virtues of “GRAND SYNERGY”. My program will absolutely work and I’m here to guide my fellow beings to self-actualization. I just get goosebumps when I say the words: GRAND SYNERGY.

Now I have one small problem. After I attained my CPC Certificate, I wrote a memoir. It synthesizes the ideas within my internal landscape that recounts my journey of life and discovering my true purpose to become a life coach. Now I realize that every good life coach needs to find a way to promote his services, let people know who I am and what I do. This is a whole new area that I am just learning about and that is how to take “GRAND SYNERGY” to the marketplace.

I can envision it all now – promoting and signing my book. I’ll market smooth jazz tapes for relaxation, as well as guided meditation cassettes. My daytimer will be filled with engagements, presentations, talk shows, radio interviews, and maybe I could even write an affirmation or positive message in a newspaper column. I would even put together a “daily instructional booklet”. So much to consider and where to begin?

Tony Robbins has a whole set of VHS tapes available – selling like hotcakes. Likewise, it’s my plan is to promote my own VHS tape, but first I need to film it. My friend Michael, who I met at one of the art openings – he’s an installer too -- well he works at the Danforth Music Hall on stage tech, and so he has access to the stage. I told him I was strapped for cash and I needed to record a demo tape to promote my career as a certified life coach. He agreed to help me out so I’m going to shoot my first life coach video there. Michael seems as pumped as I am, so we’re good to go. And there’s more good news! I was selected to write a weekly column for the Regina Java Jabber. Well it’s more like a weekly inspirational quote, but nonetheless, my first writing gig! I’m a bit of a hometown celebrity, I guess.

I’m standing on the edge of a new life, a new world, connecting to an infinite field that is the universe. We have an amazing potential to transform ourselves through art, music and vulnerability. Well, time to do a dry run – a dress rehearsal for my first ever promotional video.



Activate smoke machines….


I emerge from the shadows and walk out on the stage…

I say:

“Ladies and Gentlemen – My name is Evan Tyler and I am here to awaken you to your true potential. I give you GRAND SYNERGY!”