From Last Bad Day to Rippling Kindness: The Accident that Could have Ended Everything
John Malanca 0:03
Hey everybody, John Malanca here with United Patients Group – Be Informed. Be Well and special guest today I know I always say special guest, but this one is really hits home. Because it’s someone that you know has had some good and the bad and the ugly happened but turning around what we all go through in life sometimes are more intense than others. Mine was losing Corinne, my wife to pancreatic cancer and still having to be here on this earth and surviving and, and not giving up and in turn, paying it forward. And I and that was something that I’ve done my whole life as well as what credit I why we started United Patients group, but paying it forward for those in need. And being that support system that bright light for many out there who need a bright light, I need a bright light. And so this guest today, Michael O’Brien, when his team reached out to me, there was no ifs, ands or buts. I’m like, I would love to have Michael on. And so, Michael, truly a pleasure having you here and I can’t wait for you to share your story with my audience of varieties and where we’re going. And before we start, I know you see a background here. I am in sunny Malibu, California, and I am I’ve been honored to film my podcast in cure medical spa, Dr. Lisa Benya is an osteopath here in Malibu, been down here for about 25 years very, very well known. But why I love here love hers because she is a Midwest girl. She’s actually married to one of my best friends. But takes a mid Midwest approach to medical meaning carrying the bag doing house calls and really taking care of the patients. So I just wanted to give a shout out here and I thought it was a perfect match for Michael to be here today. So Michael, you’re on my friend. How are you?
Michael O’Brien 1:59
Good, John, it’s so awesome to be with you. I know like when we first connected. For me, it was like, well, we could talk for hours. So totally, totally stoked to be here. I’m not in sunny Malibu. I am in I am in partly cloudy, New Jersey. But I do appreciate Midwestern values, you know, carrying the bag and getting a little dirt under the fingernails and all that good stuff. So I can’t wait to have a wonderful conversation and hopefully share a few curls or gems with those listening. So
John Malanca 2:40
as I mentioned, when Michael’s team reached out to me, my audience has known that I’m an avid health I guess not only a weekend warrior, but a health guru seven days a week and I’m a cyclist. And every time I get on the bike and everyone worries that something’s gonna happen either crashers you know, God forbid somebody a car sideswiped me and so that’s in the back of my head every day. I do have my little mirror I have my blinkers. I have everything even on my little computer showing me of cars coming up. You know? This happened to Mike. You know, a executive living life. Young, healthy, a going out and something awful. You go into the story, but that happened. Got it. 10 years ago. Hello. Yeah,
Michael O’Brien 3:38
but now now 22 years, right. 20 ology. 2001. So? Yeah, so you had it right, John. So I was 33 at the time. My wife and I had been married seven years. Come May of 2024. We be married 30 years. Our two girls were really young at the time, three and a half years old, seven months old. And I’ve been an avid cyclist. My whole life. Like I still remember. The first day I came out with training wheels. I was the last kid on the block to come off the training wheels. I was a little cautious and kids were tease me at least this is my memory. But I came off a training wheels. And I was like, wow, this is cool. I can go places. You know for me if I had to sum up what the bike means to me it’s freedom right a chance to explore and a little bit of solitude like Silent time. Maybe meditate if you will. And I know a lot of other cyclists can appreciate that and know you can and I had a little bit of an affair with running. Once I got into my professional life did a few marathons but After the birth of our second child, I wanted to get back into cycling more and actually get back to racing. And I brought my bike out to a company meeting out in New Mexico, which was north of Albuquerque, and south of Santa Fe. So it was in the middle of the desert in New Mexico, a new resort had been put up there, one of those Monday through Friday type of business meetings that we used to do back before the pandemic. And I have this goal of riding my bike and everyone in the 50 states. And New Mexico had not been conquered. So I brought my bike out and found a two mile loop out the back service road and then up the main drag and I thought it would do 10 laps 20 Miles breathe in the air of New Mexico and be sitting there as they tried to torture us with PowerPoint and teambuilding activities. But I would like to check out my ride in maybe multiple rides as the other guys were playing golf. And on the morning of July 11, I came around a bend and a Ford Explorer was coming right at me. The police estimate that I was going about 40 miles an hour. It was fully into my lane. And I was like he sees me right he’s gonna he’s he sees me he’s gonna swerve like what’s happening and all surreal, slow motion started to play into the picture, everything started to slow down. And he didn’t move. And I couldn’t move fast enough. And I remember the sound I made when I hit his grill sound I made as I went into the windshield, I still can recall the screech of his brakes, and then made a thud when I came down to the asphalt and I was knocked unconscious as you can imagine. And then I regained consciousness consciousness A few minutes later, surrounded by emergency. tacticians police ambulance fire, it was it was crazy. I was in the worst pain of my life. And what I did back then, when it was a little stressful, I would use a little humor to cut the tension. And I was like, I was my bike. And they were like, hey, like your bike, your bikes fine, sir. Just tried to breed. And my bike was not fine. I was not fine. And I just remember lying there as I waited for the metal back. Thinking, this is not how it’s supposed to end like this is this isn’t part of the script. Like, what the heck is happening like, this is this wasn’t supposed to happen. And I just remember willing myself to stay away because I thought if I lost consciousness again, I would never regain it. So I just was like, stay awake, stay awake, come on, stay awake, keep up. And then they flew me to Albuquerque for surgery took about 13 hours. The next few days, I was in ICU, my wife flew out with our youngest. And the doctor said, you know, your husband’s been in a very bad accident, we did the best we could the next 48 hours are going to be essential. And that’s when the recovery journey starts to begin. If crazy story, you know, it’s one of those things that you don’t you don’t think it’s going to happen to you? Oh boy, until it happens to you.
John Malanca 8:33
Yeah, you know, I read one, I’m glad the story has a better ending than others that I’ve heard out there. And thank you for sharing you talk about therapy and meditation and mindfulness and breathing and just being able to be taken away on your rides. And that’s that is a reason why I I ride it that’s my my therapy and I have a T shirt that my little goddaughter got me and said my therapist and it’s a bicycle. And you know, so again, if I think about it, have seen had close calls, just like what you you were experiencing and what you shared. So you’ve changed that was 2021 or 20 Excuse me 2001 we’re 2023 right now. And it wasn’t a quick recovery. I’d like you to get into that but also let’s talk about because you’ve changed your whole life your whole career, pretty much and to pay it forward and you call it your your your last bad day and pretty bad gone through something like an accident, illness, death grieving etc. You know you we always look back and you but we’ll never forget those days, those dates where you were what you felt like. I’m a numbers guy. And so I know date people say, How do you remember those dates? That’s like, those are the things you don’t know. Don’t forget, you know, the day your child is born the day you, you know, you you’re you get married, you know, it’s things like that hopefully you don’t forget your wife’s anniversary. You know, but let’s talk about not leaving from beautiful wife anniversary to what you call your last bad day. But if you go into that, share what you call your last bad day and what you have made out of that last bad day and where we are today.
Michael O’Brien 10:38
Awesome. Yeah, no, we definitely don’t want to forget critical birthdays, John, or anniversaries. Right? So, but hopefully, whoever your partner is, they have some grace. And in case you forget, right, so, so my last bad day, that the reason for that label is not because it’s all unicorns and rainbows and an endless supply of Skittles. It really is sort of foundationally in a parable, a Buddhist parable, called first arrow, second arrow. And so the way the parable The story goes, is that there is a great warrior, and she’s walking through the woods, and she gets hit by an arrow. And the forest is really dense. So she doesn’t see where the arrow comes from. It’s Chris’s arrow hits her. And it’s quite painful to be hit by an arrow. But then she starts thinking about who shot this arrow at me, where’d this come from? Why’d this happen? Can I get out of the forest? Oh, I’m in great pain. So the first arrow causes great pain and suffering. The second arrow is the one that she shoots at herself with all of her worry, and anxiety and rumination. And we do this all the time, like things happen in life, that are painful, they cause suffering, like my accident, you know, your wife’s passing, other things that have happened. And then we can add to it, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a motion, certainly. But what we want to be mindful of is, are we giving this moment more fuel than it deserves. So it can be like simple things like getting, you’re out in California getting stuck in traffic, and then you’re gonna be late, right? So first arrow is that traffic has happened a while, you know, like, hello, you’re in California. The second arrow is like, oh my god, I’m gonna be late. I can’t believe this. Why is this happening? Like, why is this traffic jam, you know, all that stuff, all that energy. So there was a moment in my recovery when a mentor called and I was trying to put on a brave face from the exterior. And then inside though I was a mess. I my identity got flipped upside down and was shaken violently I, the doctors painted a pretty grim picture of my future. They said, Listen, you’re gonna have a lot more surgeries, a life of dependency, you’re probably not going to walk well, ever again, you’ll probably never ride your bike again. I saw myself as you know, a father, a husband and executive but also an athlete. And I thought, a lot of that all that sort of was taken from me. It was all happening to me. And this mentor called, and he was like, how are you doing? I was like, you really want to know, because yeah, I really want to know, and I just, I backed up the dump truck, and I dumped it all. And he said, Listen, you have every right to feel like you’re the victim. And a lot of people are validating that you’re a victim because something horrific happened to you. But everything that happens to you is neutral, until you label it. And you get to choose your labels in life. And at first John, I was like, What are you? What are you talking about? Like everything is neutral until you label it was like what is this like Jedi mindset? mumbo jumbo? It’s like everything is neutral until you label it. And you get to choose your label. So it said you could you get to label this day and this experience any way you want. You can label yourself as a victim, or you can choose a different label. And I immediately I didn’t get that first like I was still pissed off at the world and but I let it sit and I realized okay, if this is true, everything is neutral. Viktor Frankl has a quote that’s often referenced on the internet. He wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, which is one of my favorite books. And he basically said that between stimulus and response, there’s a space and in that space is your freedom and freedom is your growth. And so, so he’s talking about just that space of neutrality between what happens in life, and then what you do about it. And so I was like, All right, well, you know what I’m gonna call that day, my last bad day. And foundationally one of the cornerstones is gratitude. And so the way I look at it is that I can have bad moments during the course of my day, first arrow, bad moments, but I’m going to be really mindful not to shoot a second arrow at my bad moments. So they turn into a bad day or longer. And the way I look at it, if I have people who love me, and I look back in my life, like my girls, my wife and friends and other family, then I can’t chalk the whole day off as a bad one. Because I still have people I love and who love me and my life. So yeah, so I’ve had plenty of bad moments, challenging moments, irritating ones, frustrating ones, the list can go on and on. But I’ve been really careful not to add fuel or shoot a second arrow at some of those moments. And it’s not completely literal, right. So if we have someone who’s that we, we we lose in life, right? That moment lasts a long time, we agree for a while, it’s just not a moment. But still, even in that grieving process. There are other brighter moments in the day to the day is a collection of different moments, and we get to choose how we want to label that day. So that’s how I came to be known as my last bad day. Again, it goes all the way back to that parable of first arrow and second arrow and the recovery to your point. It hasn’t been smooth. It certainly hasn’t been one year. I’ve had moments where I’ve made great progress, and moments where I’ve gone all the way back to go and I didn’t collect $200. So it’s been it’s been rough. But here’s the thing. I’m here today because of the people around me. So I put in the work, no doubt about it. I did the surgeries, I did the rehab, I had the self reflection, the navel gazing, all that, but I had a whole bunch of people, close friends, family, strangers, medical team members, that, you know, we were all sort of a, we were acting as one big peloton, as we went down the road. Sometimes your as you know, John, sometimes you’re out in front, blocking the wind for the other riders. And sometimes you just need to grab someone’s wheel. And most of the time I was grabbing onto someone’s wheel. But I like to think now 22 years later that I’m taking a poll or two and sharing the load a little bit more than I did. Maybe in the early days in my recovery.
John Malanca 18:11
You know, it takes teamwork and friends and family and you’re driving what’s the fire inside you? You know, hearing you and reliving what I’ve been through the last six years. I look at old pictures and I’m thinking man I don’t know. Some days I don’t even recognize that guy. You know and we had a you know, and it was I was happy, happy happy happy. And I look back and I’m thinking you know you’d like to go through the why me I did go through the anger How could this happen? Me How could this be the end of our chapter you know our book but I still get up every day and I’ve done a lot of that on my own I’ve done a lot of that with support not even not only with family and friends but grief support groups. And it’s everyone’s always cherished share with everyone going going through something like is is that we all have our journey you talk about little things Don’t piss me off as much they do they did on my bike I’m flying bom bom bom and it comes to a stoplight and now you know that that you know what I say? And I think even more so since I met you back in July which was an honor was it was actually your anniversary day when we first spoke. I come up and I see a stoplight green, yellow red and I stopped. I said you know what? Maybe that saved me from something. And the other day I kid you not I hit five stoplights that are out. Okay, take it down a notch. Take it down a notch. And so every day I learn and so hearing your story and sharing what keeps you going and do sometimes you’re leaving that path A ton of sometimes you just drafting and it’s and we’re here. I recently did, and I’m a runner as well. And I recently did a Spartan Race a couple months ago. And, you know, we’re the same age, I just turned 56 last month and but I was on this race, hot day, running up dunes obstacles, but I remember I was just gliding, I didn’t have any pain in my body. And I remember and when you you know, when I run and ride thoughts come in, not only with my personal stuff, but also with work. I’m like, oh my god, okay, this Hawk put the pieces together this, I could do this. But I remember doing it being on that run and going suns on me, I’m dripping sweat, I’m feeling great and gliding. And I said, I made it. I made it. You know, and I’m still trying to make it. But I made it, you know, after what, you know, going through diagnosis of Corinne. And what she went through ailment, passing, grieving, surviving, you know, so we all go through different recoveries, I should say, I know you did with your your pain and your recovery. A lot of times do with your when you talked about your therapist center, know who’s your mind therapists or body therapist. But sometimes, and I’m guilty of that is that it’s easier to share. Like, we don’t practice what we preach, sometimes, you know, and it’s easier to be able to like, be the light for someone else, and share and say, This is what you need to do. Why are you doing it? Then you look back, you’re like, Hell, I’m not even doing that I need to you know, I need to reread my book, my story. And so you know, so I learned a lot and I still learning. And so when we go through something like this, if it’s ailment losing a job, brief accident, what did you discover about yourself, you know, and others when you went through this
Michael O’Brien 22:08
whole, like a whole bunch. I love what you just shared, by the way, John. So sometimes we don’t take our own advice. And that’s why I do believe if we’re in the field of providing support as a coach, or therapists or podcast hosts, it’s, it’s good to have other people in our lives that we can bounce things off of, you know, just to keep us honest. Right. So there’s a there’s a lot, I think there’s a couple of different things that for me, like, in the early days of my career, I was, you know, this is sort of common common reference current day, but back then it was a little bit different. So 2000 was before the internet. As we know it today, yeah, that I was chasing my happiness, I was thought that, like, you get to a certain title or you get certain possessions. I wasn’t a huge, like, material possession kind of guy, except maybe bike equipment. So I’m not I wouldn’t consider myself a car guy. You know, I, I didn’t really want a huge house because I wanted a homey house like, so we were all together as a family. But I did want to like what I wanted, I wanted to feel heard. And so the unpacking I’ve done is when I had moments of tension, or stress or misalignment, I felt like I wasn’t being heard as a young kid, a high school college professional. And I thought if I got to a certain level of my company, people would finally hear me. And because a little Hello ego, I had so much goodness to share, right? And that that kept me striving and on this hamster wheel, this chase for status. And through my recovery, you know, and again, there were moments where I was like, alright, we’re in growth mode. And then there are some times we’re in recovery mode, because I’ve had multiple surgeries. And two years ago, I had my left knee totally replaced. So that was another recovery phase. But over the years, I’ve been able to unpack it. I like to say I’ve emptied rocks from my backpack. I think we all carry around a backpack. We are all on these journeys, as you mentioned, well when you’re on a journey, you have a backpack and we put a lot of rocks in our backpack. And those are old narratives or limiting beliefs or other narratives, who knows that we carry around with us and it feels just like well, that’s just how the backpack feels, but it really does weigh us down. And with a little bit of this reflective work, contemplative work, we can see Are unpacking some of the rocks that we’ve put in over the years for whatever reason, sometimes it’s a little T trauma, sometimes it’s big T trauma for other individuals. And then we can put in our backpack things that are a little bit more abundant, healthier, graceful, more compassionate, more kindness. And so what I wrestled with at first was like, Alright, where is this notion of not feeling heard? Where does it come from? And what’s a different way of approaching a different way of being, and so I’ve been able to unpack that. And that’s been really helpful, because as you know, in, in what you do, and what I do now, because there is social media, there are a whole bunch of metrics that will give you some indication, are people listening to you, and what what I’ve done and has been able to say, like, I’m just going to put as much goodness and kindness out into the world. And I have faith, it’s going to reach who it needs to reach. And I’m not going to get all wrapped up around the axle about how many followers or have or what the engagement is, and all that jazz like that. I have moments because that me human, where someone will post something and be like, Why is that so popular? I don’t get it. But I come back to my breath is still held down, I realized, alright, just put out your goodness, and, and hopefully use this accident this last bad day, as a story to help other people avoid having their big moment. Because I do believe we can change without going through some of the things that are more extreme. Like the passing of your wife, my accident and other things, I do believe that we all have the power of change. And we don’t have to go through something so dramatic in order to take that first step. And so I share my story. And I tried to role model, what I’d like to see in the world, I want the world to be kinder, I think a kinder world is more peaceful, and with more peace, more people can be heard and seen and loved. And I think that puts us in a better position of solving the complex problems that face us today, and certainly will be here tomorrow and beyond.
John Malanca 27:23
You think having this change, mindset change sometimes happens to individuals like us when something extreme would happen to the two of us changes our mindset is like, like, little things don’t set me off anymore. Red light, you know, I know that you’re into mindfulness and breathing, I catch myself, you know, doing your 1234 or five, and it works. And I share that and have shared that go outside take us, you know, close your eyes, take in the sunlight, inch slices, just breathe, take your five breaths, and then come back. And I share that with even couples. I don’t know why I’m a couples counselor, but I become that with my friends. It’s like John out. And but I would say stop. Have a safe word, walk outside count to five, count to 10 count to 20. If you need some time and come back and say where were we Michael? You know. And then so I know that you have been doing this since 2000 2001. And now it’s starting to catch on because I have other friends that are into this. And it’s like, this is old news. This has been going on for I mean, we’ve been doing this for years. And now you guys are talking about and now you’re seeing a lot of these conventional medical institutions that are incorporating this and it’s like, really, you know, come on. Now you’re doing it when you thought we were a bunch of Kooks before you go into this. But can you talk about how you incorporate the mindfulness and the mind switch minds? The mind? I guess switch as well for mindfulness and breathing and how that benefits you to keep calm?
Michael O’Brien 29:08
Yeah, great question, John. So this all began when I was still in the hospital. And I, I was at a point in my recovery where I wasn’t making the type of progress I wanted to make though. Keep in mind, I was still like, type a charge executive gets stuff done. Why am I not getting better faster? Like why are these other people getting better faster than me? Comparison itis like all that stuff. So that was still like a big part of who I was back then. And then I took a page out of my athletic book and I was like, you just got to slow you got to slow down rather, like you got to breathe. Going back to what the EMTs said to me. When I asked them how is your how’s my bike, grieved? And and as athlete. Now I was just watching, like over the weekend, the World Cup, the Women’s World Cup, and they went independently kicks. And then before each penalty kick, each player took her breath. And so I knew big before big shots before big moments and all my athletic endeavors I would breathe in. So I didn’t know really anything about mindfulness or meditation back in 2001. What I did know about it again, very little, I thought was a little corny, a little hippie dippie. thing, no offense to California. I use that term. It was, you know, some people would say woowoo. Anyway, I would describe it was like, it’s not something a serious executive would do. But something told me that you had to slow it down. Because my, my recovery was so overwhelming, there were so much to it. I, sometimes they just didn’t know what to do, I was stuck. Because I was so overwhelmed. So the next morning, I went to a quiet place in the hospital, I got out of my hospital bed into my wheelchair, roll myself to a quiet place. And I did a box breathing pattern for the first time. Now I was like, Well, okay, that felt good. And I set my intentions for the morning. And
John Malanca 31:22
can you share? What can you share with the audience? What that box breathing pattern is?
Michael O’Brien 31:28
Yeah, it’s a really simple one, it’s the the Navy SEALs do it as well. So it’s, I think a lot of its theme, probably, current day gets associated with them. But it’s a simple breathe up for a count of four, maybe five, hold your breath for a count of four or five, exhale, for a count of four, or five and hold again, for four or five. So that is supposed to say take 16 seconds to go a whole box. So you’re making a box with your breath. And I did that for about five minutes. And I went on later to call these my pause, breathe, reflect brakes. So it was just, you know, in pause was significant because I wasn’t necessarily stopping. Because I still had stuff to do, right? You know, I was just, it’s only a pause, I’m still going to make progress. I’m going to pause. I’m going to breathe. And then the reflect piece is a big one. The reflect piece is that space to say okay, Michael, how how do you want to approach your day? How do you want to show up? How do you want to be what kind of ripple you want to put out into the world. So my my feeling is this is that if 8 billion of us on this big blue marble that we all share, took one minute each day to pause, take some nice, healthy inhales and slow releasing exhale, and reflected about what we wish to ripple into the world, we would have a more peaceful loving planet, we’re just rushing too much. We’re going way too fast. And when we go so fast, you can’t hear see and love each other like we can be saved. You know, these things, these things aren’t helping technology in general, is moving the pace. It’s like that one cyclist you ride with, it’s always trying to push the pace and you’re trying to keep up and you’re breathing quite heavy and, and a lot of us have been able to keep up but a lot of people have been like left behind because it’s been way too much. So pause braid reflect became the first start of my mindfulness and meditation gratitude practice. And then I went later on to study Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, became a qualified teacher. And then just recently launched my app called pause, breathe, reflect. And it’s really designed for busy professionals who say, are just busy people, you don’t even have to be a professional, whatever that is current day. But just people that have busy lives to say, You know what I’ve heard about this mindfulness and meditation thing. I don’t have 10 minutes in the morning to do this, like my mornings are like, crazy busy. And I’m like, Cool. Mine are too. So if you don’t have 10 minutes in the morning, I bet you have 10 times throughout the day where you have one minute, because over the years, I’ve met a whole bunch of people that might have a yoga practice, which is a good body breath alignment, contemplative practice, or a meditation practice. They do it in the morning, but by 1030 There’s a whole bunch of drama or we’re not meeting the world like we want to. And so my feeling is I want to give people a chance to take a very contemplative practice that can help you stress law And sleep better, and weave it throughout your day. So it’s not just a transaction that you do in the morning to say check the box, I worked out in a meditative and now good. I want to invite people to come back to their breath to slow it down throughout the day. So you can still remain intentional about how you want to show up for the people in your life, whether they’re colleagues or family members, or just a moment to yourself on your bike, I just said, to me, it’s that embodiment that I want to promote, again, making it part of how you live as opposed to how we tend to gamify everything nowadays, and we even gamify meditation with like, you know, your streak and this, that another thing, I want it to be a way of living, that just is just what I do I pause, breathe, reflect, because I can feel when it gets stressful. And I’m just going to pump the brakes, take a few breaths, and then reflect on how do I want to show up next?
John Malanca 36:06
Well, it’s definitely caught on because on your website, you can see that the pause, breathe, reflect, hashtag has really taken off.
Michael O’Brien 36:18
And it’s getting there we’re getting there was it’s a,
John Malanca 36:22
hopefully, you know, with with the you being here, and I’ll definitely be passing that around. But it’s nice. And it’s nice to work with like minded people that have gone through trauma or just want to experience, you know, a brighter light. I mean, we all as you mentioned, the world is nonstop, and it’s doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down. And so that’s the part where I say go outside, you know, we’re sitting there glued to our computers, go outside for five minutes, set your timer outside for private and move your feet, I moved my feet all day long, I actually have a standing desk, and I’m standing 99% of the day, and it doesn’t bother me. And I remember not to get away from the your thing. But I remember doing a blood test. And I’m a big fan of seeing where your blood work is, especially when we get to our age. What we’re high on what we’re low on what’s going on, and I remember this is back, I want to say seven, eight years ago, I did it and my doctor said actually was longer it was when we started United patient group, it was 2010 I think and I was working, just starting this company, and sitting in front my computer for 1518 hours not working out not running, not writing, you know, and I remember I look at old pitch, I’m like holy moly. But you know using glued your you know, and thank goodness, you know, Corinne was with me 24/7 We started this company, but I was able to have my relationship. And at the same time, but I remember my doctor did a blood test. And she said, You know, I can tell you sit all day. So why the oxygen in your blood is low, you’ll see you’re only using half the capacity of your lung. Why do your hips hurt your back hurt as your backer and I said yeah, and that was the moment I bought two standup desks for credit myself. And I said Never again, never again. So movement is very important. And as you’re saying, Michael, the third, you know, pause and breathe, reflect the thing I do in the morning, I don’t go to grab my phone and check my emails because I would I would do that and my anxiety would go cool. Immediately. So now I don’t touch it for I don’t know half hour I get up have my little routine make little breakfast we either go for a walk, but before that, then I’ll look at it and I just can ease myself. So why go from your REM sleep to peaceful morning. Snow White seven doors. Birds chirping that email and also, you know, your intense right into the day. And so that’s something that I that I personally do and then I share. But breathing counting is important. And you know just tried to I write things down now meaning a list. That was because of Corinne. I was I’m so stressed. I’m so sad. Why are you stressing so much saying so many things to do? Write it down. And when you’re done, you can see let’s cross it off. Oh my god, I had 10 things. I had six of them today but I crossed them out. Cool. I’ll put those four on the top and add to it for the next day. And so I think doing a little of everything to make us balance homeostasis. It will make us as individuals and be able to do that ripple effect. I love that when I read your bio about ripple effect because I’ve always used that with education and the line of work that that I’m in is it’s not for everyone. My you know United patient group and medical cannabis are their top taste of alternative medicine or even met dictation or breathing, you know, but I was talking about the pebble in the pond with the ripple effect. And if it gets up in hits one person, Michael, and Michael said, Hey, I was on a podcast with your John with a podcast with Michael and I learned about the box breathing. You know, and I’ll go tonight, you know, as friends. I’m like, Hey, there’s something I learned today. And again, that is the ripple effect of going out. So thank you for sharing that. Let me know, How’s your health today? I know you mentioned you had a recent knee replacement. But you made a point of your bucket list to ride in all 50 states? Is that something that you’re still doing? Are you still on your bike? Where are we today?
Michael O’Brien 40:41
Yeah, so health today is really strong. Last year, I rode my bike across the country. So I still have a few of the states in the US to visit. Like I haven’t been to Alaska, I have to go to the Dakotas. So But last year, my wife drove the RV I rode the bike, we hit 13 states 41 days and about 100 miles a day on a total knee replacement that was about only 11 months old. Pretty incredible. Yeah. And so riding, still riding road today, I’ll be riding my bike across New York state come September. So still active still doing events. I believe that every day I get to ride is a way to thank the people who saved my life. The doctors told my wife, hey, we’re really not sure how your husband survived, he really is a bit of a miracle given the extent of his injuries. Because when the left femur shattered it lacerated the femoral artery of my left leg. So that’s, that’s really what put me in critical condition because I lost so much blood. So and I do you know, I, I’ve become much like yourself, John, even more, more curious about other aspects of health. So I do my own blood work, I use insidetracker to do bloodwork every like six months, it’s a much more comprehensive blood panel than I can get from, say, a primary care physician. So I’m really trying to monitor that plant, a plant based athlete. So that’s something that’s come with me through my recovery. And I do believe to your point is like, there are a lot of great tools out there. And not every tool is for everyone. I believe, obviously in western medicine. But I believe in holistic medicine and Eastern modality. So I try to take the good of all of it, like Western medicine, like surgery, I needed a couple surgeries, but I do believe and the stuff that you promote, I do acupuncture, I obviously do meditation. So I have my own formula. And when I talk to people, I I try to share like this is what I’ve done. Along the way, here are some things that have worked, here are some things that haven’t worked. But I’m not saying that this formula is going to work for you. I want to encourage people to be curious with like, what recipe what formula would work for them. Because we’re all we’re very similar. But we’re all we’re all different in our own ways. And I just want to invite people to bring mindfulness to their everyday moments so they can, they can fully live and appreciate this wonderful gifts that we have been given by whomever you choose to believe, give it to us. And really, like, lean into it. And when we’re mindful, we can pay attention to how we’re showing up, we can be present so we can connect with people connect with ourselves. And to your point, the whole ripple effect, we can put a good ripple out there, good energy out there that can make a significant difference when a whole bunch of us are rippling goodness, when we bring light hearted people who are open to different mindedness together. I believe we can change the world in a very positive way and treat Mother Earth with kindness and treat each other with kindness and hopefully have more peace out there.
John Malanca 44:33
What a great message. And that’s what I tried to do in I’ll be part of your rip. Well how about that because that’s perfect.
Michael O’Brien 44:41
Well, I’m part of your as John So we’re, you know, since we’ve done this interview, we’re stuck together now. So you know, like, I will be coming out to California and will turn the pedals together in some form or fashion.
John Malanca 44:53
On that note, I do have branded United Nations group Cycling jerseys. And so
Unknown Speaker 45:02
Oh, wow, very cool.
John Malanca 45:03
I like the blue. I’ll be, I’ll be sending one of these to you. And so all right, well, I will do a little
Michael O’Brien 45:09
photo op. Awesome. Awesome. No. And I’ll, I’ll try to make sure that looks like I’m going fast. Even though I will say, even though I will say slow is fast when I talked about my meditation practice, but you know, we’ll, we’ll wear will wear the jersey with a lot of pride. And we’ll make sure it stands out amongst the local cyclists here in the New York area.
John Malanca 45:34
I love it. And so I’m gonna take you up on that, I’d love to love to get a ride in with you, as well, but be safe. And I appreciate you sharing your story. I appreciate your team reaching out, I get a lot of requests. And when your team reached out, I wrote back right away and like I’m in, I’m in sleep, please let Michael know, I’d love to have a conversation. And we jumped on the call. And here we are today. And so thank you for your telling your story. Thank you for sharing and sharing your heart, your family. And your passionate because, you know, there’s a we’re here, and we’re still here. And there’s a reason why we’re still here. There’s a lot of good in this world. And, you know, I think being great human ambassadors for this planet, mothers, and I’ll get the little hippie dippie California anime, but it’s important. And when I do travel that I do that, I’m very fortunate that I am a I am able to travel and ride when I go. It’s nice to meet other people and nice to meet other people in different cultures that have the same mindset and just like this. And so I appreciate technology to put us together. And and I look forward to seeing you as well. And I appreciate your time. And if you want to share with my audience one more time about your app. And little more about it, though, please.
Michael O’Brien 47:08
Thanks, John. And yeah, I can’t wait to live we’ll definitely a ride together is definitely in our future. So no doubt about that. So people can find me they can go to pause, breathe reflect.com, they can go into that app store or Google Play and download the app. It’s also called pause, breathe, reflect. And, again, very much designed for people who are busy people who are not really sure about this meditation we I show people how to do it without any judgement. In a very loving community. We do a live practice Monday through Friday, plus all the different medications on the app and I try to make it really relatable. I believe we can drop in and come back to our breath, regardless of where we are. It could be Midtown Manhattan or on the beach at Malibu, like it doesn’t have to be in this pristine meditation spa like environment. We used to be able to come back to our breath. It’s something that we all share, and slow down and be more thoughtful about how we’re approaching this wonderful thing called by satellite. Thanks again, John, for having me on and you keep paddling, Brother,
John Malanca 48:26
keep pedaling. And I’ll be thinking about you with the wind in my face as well. And so, everyone Michael Bryan, thank you very much, John Malanca here with United Patients group be informed in V will and be safe. Wishing you a blessed day. We’ll see you soon. Have a great day.