Canadian singer/songwriter Rich Aucoin has never been one to do things normally. On top of executing his musical releases in brilliant ways, such as how his debut EP Personal Publication syncs up perfectly with How The Grinch Stole Christmas, he is also an extraordinary person looking to give back to the community. He previously biked across Canada and back, running a half-marathon in every city and raising money for childhood leukemia research for The Childhood Cancer Foundation. As if that wasn’t enough, Aucoin decided on round two, an untraditional tour titled Press On where he rode his bicycle from Los Angeles to New York, raising awareness for mental health by donating 100% of tour proceeds to Mental Health America and The Canadian Mental Health Association.
Needless to say, when we heard about Rich Aucoin’s mission to raise money for mental health, we knew we had to ask him the question: If you were the sky, what kind of day would you be? You can read Aucoin’s Weather Report below.
If I were a sky, I would be a sunny day with scattered clouds and storms I guess to answer the Weather Report’s question. These kinds of days really remind one how good they have it with the sun rather than a not-a-cloud-in-the-sky kind of day where it’s easy to take the weather for granted. It’s certainly more optimistic than an overall cloudy day too where the fleeting moments of sun are the only moments of escape from the drudge. Though a cloudy day can be nice, though it takes more imagination knowing the sun is still shining on the other side of the weather.
My name is Rich Aucoin and I’ve been cycling across the states now for over a month as I go from coast to coast raising money and awareness for Mental Health America through pledges and performances. I’ve previously cycled across Canada for childhood leukaemia research for the Childhood Cancer Foundation and ran half-marathons for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada. I enjoy combining my performances and efforts for various charities and think that this mental health endeavour is particularly important in its awareness side of the mission as it, unlike the other charities I’ve raised awareness and money for, still has stigma and various misunderstanding around it that we’re learning to correct as a society.
Things like changing the way we talk about people with mental health conditions. Saying someone has mental health conditions or is a person living with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder instead of saying someone IS schizophrenic, bipolar, crazy, psycho or mentally ill. Also things are changing like more people having the courage to talk about their mental health and friends, co-workers and family can all help and support that individual as they would someone from any other illness.
With this sea-change in attitudes towards mental illness is coming better funding and support for those in need of help but we still have a long way to go so I’m happy to do what I can to support this task.
While I don’t live with a mental illness, we do all have a mental health and so various mental health issues are all a spectrum that we can all work towards a healthier side of. So things like exercise, mediation, outdoor time and breaks from our driving problem-solving minds are all important things to incorporate in our own lives.
I’m currently on a tour which combines a lot of those things while the hardest to balance for me is always turning off the working mind and/or trying to get to that next level of a career so that I can have some financial stability and/or know that I’ll be able to do what I love indefinitely. I feel like I’m always just striving for just that moment where I know that this life will continue. I’ll overwork myself hoping that if I could just get evidence of that, that I could then amend my future schedules to be a more balanced life knowing that I’ve “made it”. I’m actively fighting that impulse constantly tying to take breaks and stay in the moment as much as possible despite the uncertainty of my life.
So the day is mostly sunny, I’m very aware of my privilege and luck to be where I am and what I’m doing. There are clouds and storms which give me hangups and seem to gloom over when I’m in my lows but there’s always more sun to appreciate and only with that contrast is possible. The storms, and our heaviest moments, often cause the best moments of release when breakthroughs can occur as one goes from the storm to a sun-shower or rainbow.
For more on Rich Aucoin, head to http://www.richaucoin.ca.