HBM: Tell us how a wakeboarding accident changed your life.
JS: “In 2015, I set off on a summer morning in Colorado to wakeboard with some friends. I would’ve never known that a few hours in I would launch off my board to get big air, faceplant, and then ultimately have a near-death experience. I knew when I hit the water something was wrong, but it wasn’t until I came out of the MRI in the hospital and saw a white figure and six black shadow figures approach me telling me that I had more work to do in the world would I really know how much my life was about to change.
The doctors thought my neck may have been broken and that I may have been paralyzed and I just remember saying in my out-of-body experience that I didn’t want to come back as a vegetable. I remember being then zapped back in my body and feeling an energy forge my neck back together and shoot down my spine. When I woke up back in my body, everything felt different. It was like I came back running on a 1000-volt battery rather than a 10-volt I had been running on. Over the coming months I literally had to learn how to integrate this new energy or ‘battery’ into my physical body. It was definitely a huge awakening. I no longer felt afraid of death and felt like I was brought back with an accelerated purpose. I started to see success as coming through me rather than driven by me. I started listening, slowing down, and becoming more patient and ultimately more present. It has completely shifted how I see the world and what I have been called to create.”
HBM: What is your process for writing music?
JS: “After my near-death experience, I started to realize more and more that I am a channel. I have always had a gift of being able to make up full songs on the spot, improving to any instrumental rift. It wasn’t until after my NDE that I started to really understand how my gift of writing really works. I draw off the energy of what is happening around me, either in myself or if I am with an audience. I co-create with what I feel from them. I have done these ‘channeled sets’ in places all around the world and at big places like the UN or for a Grammys pre-party, not knowing what I was going to sing or in what key, just that I would allow the words to transmit and create in the moment. I then record those ‘transmissions’ that flow out in the moment, whether live or when I am writing on my piano or ukulele and my voice is recorded. I go back and listen, transcribe them, and then fill in any lyrical gaps and those become songs. I have learned to not try and understand or interpret what is coming through, but to be a conduit for it and to be the best translator of the gift as I can.”
HBM: So many people are struggling right now. How do you use music to heal?
JS: “For me, I see music as vibration. It is energy. It is feeling. It is a shortcut that bypasses the logical mind and goes straight to the heart. I realized that when I channel songs, they are carrying a frequency with them that is inherently healing. The place the lyrics and the songs come from is through me and so many people have described the raw sounds to be very healing. Music also connects us. It can transport us and allow us to access parts of ourselves that sometimes we forget about when we are down, or sad, or busy, or things feel uncertain. I think music and sound have the power to heal the world.”
HBM: Talk about your recent focus on creating a safe space to discuss mental health. How are you doing that and how did it become important to you?
JS: “I remember being in Bali last November after an intense CrossFit workout. I was literally lying in a pool of sweat when I heard the words ‘In the dark’ that is where you are meant to tell the stories of next. Pull back the curtain on top performers’ mental health. At the time, the idea felt like a lightning bolt and one that I don’t think I was fully ready to actualize until recently when I was in a conversation with some friends in San Diego and I brought it up and it really resonated with where people are at.
For me, I have struggled with mental health my whole life. The more success I accumulate, the more contraction, low, and darkness I felt on the other side. I just started to expect it. As the success became bigger, I realized it became even harder to manage the down swing, where over the last six months or so the down got so big I sought additional help outside of my tools and resources. I was diagnosed bi-polar 2 and spent the last many months understanding and looking at what that means and what that means for me.
It really showed me through witnessing what I have been experiencing happening in myself and through the conversations of other high achievers how many of us struggle with the same things. It showed how hard it can feel when you have so many eyes on you to have the space to acknowledge, be supported, seen, and heal from it. It made me realize how important creating the space is for other high achievers and beyond to be able to pause and feel permission that it’s okay to talk about and that in talking about it we are opening the space for others to feel less alone and to learn new tools for integrative healing.”
HBM: What does it mean to live an “unconventional life?”
JS: “For me, living an unconventional life is living a life by your own design. It is being a yes to consciously choosing to create your life however you want it. To be in radical relationship and responsibility for all that comes into your life and your field, both the things that you want and the things that you don’t. It is recognizing in any given moment you may not have control, but you do have choice. Choice is powerful. I believe that anything can be created or destroyed because of choice.
I also believe that anything is possible when we choose it. When we say so. We don’t have limits or ceilings, only the ones we choose for ourself or believe based on past experience, conditioning, or circumstance. The unconventional life is living your life in the driver’s seat, prioritizing your greatest source of joy and passion, and designing your lifestyle to reflect your full self-expression.”
HBM: Talk about your “unconventional life” podcast.
JS: “I started the podcast at the beginning of 2016 with Forbes 30U30. I pitched them on my idea to tell stories of millennials following non-traditional paths and partnered with them to do 5 episodes and blogs each month telling stories of people from all over the world. I would have never imagined it would have reached millions of people in over 75 different countries. I feature guests who are doing life on their own terms no matter what that looks like. The interview is more like a conversation where we look at who the ‘human’ is behind the accolades so that each one of us can have more permission, ‘per-my-mission’ in ourselves to go for it in whatever form going for it might mean.”
HBM: Tell us about the events you have led in the past and how you are changing things up now that we’re having to socially distance.
JS: “For the last 5 years, I have led 5-day life and business accelerators in exotic locations all over the world for Olympic athletes, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs. I have done events in Bali, a private island in Madagascar, tree houses in Nicaragua, a safari in South Africa, castles in Italy, and many others. We were going to bring 500 together for a collaborative experience on a luxury cruise ship this past June. With everything up in the air with travel right now, all of that is on pause. Instead of focusing on how to keep doing events, the focus has been more on how to keep strengthening and supporting the community. I find that by staying committed to the function of the events, which is connection, we can then support people in other ways through virtual groups, summits, and events.”
HBM: What’s next for you?
JS: “I’m releasing an album this fall called Restless Soul, which is a series of songs written and recorded in Vancouver, Canada. I am also in the process of doing the first round of interviews and pilot for In the Dark, which will be a series of episodes interviewing musicians on their own mental health journey and ending with an unplugged music performance. If any one feels called to support or be a part of the In The Dark mission, please reach out via email at www.julesschroeder.com.