Often, it is in tough moments in life that we find our purpose. Guest Michael Tranmer experienced a life transformation following the end of his marriage. Dealing with heartaches, Michael found himself awakening to his calling and now, fearlessly sharing his journey of self-discovery in his book, satori ananda: awaken to happiness. In this episode, he joins host, Gerry Foster, to share his powerful memoir, taking us into his life’s story of how he used his pain to find a greater purpose in life. What do you do when you feel like your life has lost all meaning? How do you rebuild yourself and your identity after hitting rock bottom? Michael reveals the answers as he tells us of his own awakening.
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Awaken To Happiness With Michael Tranmer
One of the things that I always love to mention at the start of any of my shows when I have the opportunity to interview someone is that I am excited about bringing the best of the best people that I know. People that I come across who are doing extraordinary things in the world, who have a gift, talent, skill and ability, and they are out there making a huge difference and a contribution to the planet, community, and they serve a tool on a particular marketplace. We have one of those individuals. I met this guy at a virtual summit that he and I were both participating in. I had the opportunity to speak with him later on by phone.
I was impressed with who he is, what he is about and I cannot help but to say I am thrilled and excited to have Michael Tranmer as my special guest. Before I bring Michael on, let me tell you a little bit about this young man. Michael is the author Satori Ananda: Awaken To Happiness, a memoir about the life transformation he experienced following the sudden end of his marriage. In his book, Michael fearlessly shares his journey of self-discovery to his consciousness awakening after the trauma of the breakup. In his raw and powerful memoir, Michael shares how he used his pain to find a greater purpose in life. Michael also works as an engineer in the highly specialized field of coastal engineering, where he designs and builds infrastructure along the British Columbia Coast. Michael embodies and speaks on transcendent leadership, join on experiences from his personal and professional life.
Keep going, Gerry. Things sound great. Let’s leave it like that. I’m wonderful. I’m grateful to be here with you, your time, to be introduced to you and your community. I know you as well as the people that you attract are, for sure, rockstars as but so grateful for all of us.
Thank you. I’m all about big branding and people who take they have and do something extraordinary about it from a branding perspective. In your case, you have such a transformational story. You were an engineer by trade, you’re great at your job although unfulfilled and happily married and then everything changed. What was the catalyst that changed everything? Tell me more about that.
I’m going to speak about this from a branding perspective a little bit because your audience would appreciate that. The catalyst was the breakup and the real pain that I felt after that. It was all sudden. We were in the relationship, it was good but not great. When it came to a sudden end and she chose to leave and blindside me, I was crushed. I had this vision that things weren’t perfect for us. I have the job, I had the relationship, and we had the place to live, the condo in Vancouver. I had all the boxes ticked but then all of a sudden it was gone. I had this blank slate that I did not want but that’s what I had. It was a combination of this space or opening that I could do anything, be anything, or go anywhere but also this pain that helped unlock this thing, connect these new neurons, and do all that amazing stuff. That became the blast and the catalyst for my transformation.
How did you get clear and know what direction you want it to go in? A lot of us, as part of this thing called life, we suffer breakdowns, breakups, and all types of things that can hold us back. As far as being kicked to the curb and dumped by someone, I can relate to that one myself. I bought the t-shirt, the DVD, and the mug. I know exactly what you’re saying. Tell me more about how you get clear on that direction.
It was a real process. I don’t want people to think it happen instantly because it was a process which I talk about in the book. At the highest level, it was getting back to who I was. The things that you talk you’ve mentioned at the beginning, the engineering, the speaking, and the writing, two of those things I never did before the breakup. I was the engineer but I was unfulfilled. We can almost take that one away. It was a real unraveling and coming back to who I was, what I loved, and how I loved to express myself to realize, “I can do engineering and I can do it in a different way, love it. It turns out that I like to speak, share my words and my knowledge. This is useful to write and put things down on paper and help organize my thoughts.” To answer your question, how I got clear on that, it was a real process of both shedding, the old me and ego, and then also spending a lot of time in the meditation and the nature to ask myself what did I want to create next?
Was it hard for your friends and family to wrap their heads around your 180-degree shift? How hard was it for you to wrap your head around that as well? It sounded like your life was on a good path. All of a sudden, something happens. Tell me more about that. How did that all unfold for everyone else?
I’m glad you asked that question, Gerry. It was challenging for everyone. For the most part, I was on the other side of the country in British Columbia. After about half a year or so, I started to feel good because I was getting to a better place, I had done the work, processed what had happened, stopped being a victim to what had happened, I was moving forward, and I was learning all these things. I was working with a coach on my own, I was starting to express myself, and share all that I was learning.
I returned to a place of content that I was at before but I was having these spikes in these Satori moments of going beyond, which was great but you can appreciate what was happening on the other side of the country where people are going, “Are you sure? Are you putting on a show? Is this fake? What’s going on? Why are you putting videos on the internet? Why are you expressing yourself like that?” I could feel that tension every time I went to do a post or express myself. I knew in my heart that I was onto something good and I had to keep sharing it.
When you say satori moment, what exactly does that mean?
The definition in my book is called Satori Ananda: Awaken To Happiness. The awakened to happiness is the part that I put on the end to fold those two words together. Satori is Japanese. It means flash of enlightenment. Ananda is Sanskrit. It means the bliss of being. When I talk about the Satori moments, it was early on in that process where after the separation, I was trying to get happy again and recover my life. I spent months in the city of Vancouver, in the Pacific Northwest. For people that are familiar with that, they appreciate what the winters are like. They’re dark, they’re wet, I was lonely, cold, and crying in the streets. I wanted to move beyond that. It was important to feel those things and process those thoughts but I was ready to move forward. When I started spending time in nature and meditating, I would have these real moments of being in the present moment that were beautiful. I felt this real flash of understanding about what had happened but also who I was and what I wanted to create going forward.
I love that breakthrough. I’m curious, are the two of you still friends? What happened with the relationship?
I write about it in the book because it was important for me to forgive and understand that we both did the best that we could at that time with the tools that we had. If I’m going to be honest with you, we didn’t have many tools. Both of us were living cage versions of ourselves. We were two incomplete pieces that weren’t grounded in who we were trying to come together and that didn’t work out but she saw me sharing and unfolding all that I was going through. At the same time, she was reaching her own truths and coming to her understanding.
We were supporting each other on that journey. We’re friends, we love each other, and we touch base every now and then but we’ve also for years given each other the space to move on and we’ll always support each other. This was incredible, Gerry. I can’t believe this is how things worked out. My book launched on what would have been our anniversary. That wasn’t planned. Someone said things have come full circle but I don’t see it like that. I see it as more of an infinity sign because we’re going to be part of each other’s lives still and our relationship is going to go on but in a new way.
Satori Ananda: Awaken to Happiness
What was it like to write a book about this whole process? Most people don’t end up writing a book although some people write sad songs. What was that like for you to turn around and write a book about this, expose it, and help other people?
It was great. It’s been a journey. I’ve learned so much. It was this pull and that this calling to do this. Before the breakup, I had never written, journaled, or anything but right after when I was right in the midst of that pain, I felt called to, as an engineer, organize my thoughts and write them down. I had these journals that my dad had been given me for years and years that I had taken and thrown in the closet. I had never used them before. One of the first things I got in the midst of that breakup to help understand. The process for writing, the way it worked out was about half a year after the actual separation. It took two and a half months to go through Central America, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. It was such a beautiful time. I was surfing, meditating, doing yoga, loving myself, and practicing so much self-love. At the same time, I’d spent 2 to 3 hours a day going through this volume of journals that I had accumulated. I was processing the thoughts but I was writing. It eventually becomes the manuscript for the book.
How did you handle the self-esteem issue? For a lot of people, when they go through this kind of breakup or whatever, it can mess with your psyche. When about my own life and people that I’ve known, friends, and whatnot, and what they’ve gone through, it makes them start questioning their own self-worth and self-esteem. Talk about that a bit for me, if you don’t mind.
My whole identity was crushed. The relationship, everything had been set up and then an instant, it was gone. That was one of the first questions. How did this happen to me? Who am I? How am I going to generate the courage to pick myself back up? It was a process of tuning out all the noise, coming back to who I am, doing the things that I love, doing all the sports, spending the time outside, and doing things that are good for me. Self-love is not selfish. Many people get that backwards.
They think that spending time on their selves, going to yoga, or doing whatever you want to do, whatever your hobby may be, they think that is selfish and they should be serving others 100% of the time. The problem is when you’re withdrawing from that bank account if you will, it’s going to go empty unless you’re putting things into it or making deposits into yourself love account. For me, that process of building up my self-esteem, getting grounded again, who I was, what I believed in, and what I wanted to create going forward, it was tied into that whole self-love piece.
I liked that because what comes up for me when I hear that, and that is powerful, is a whole idea of not allowing yourself to be a victim again. For a lot of people, when they go through that trauma on a personal relationship, it’s one thing to feel hurt. However, it can lead to a lot of mind chatter that doesn’t serve any of us because we start wondering, is there something wrong with me? Is there something about me that is going to push someone away from me? How did you handle the mind chatter part? Tell me more about how you’ve been able to get into this joyful state. My sense of you is that not only did you overcome the hurt, you’ve been able to source what’s at the root of all that and open up something as a new possibility for others which is great about you. Your brand is about being able to help people get into that joyful state regardless of what happened to them. Can you speak about that for a minute?
Getting into the joyful state 100%, you nailed it right on there. There are two things. There’s the victimhood but then there’s also controlling the thoughts. If I go back to those early days where I was oscillating back and forth between pain, and then these Satori moments, I was all over the place. I was complete hurt and crying one day and then this is such a beautiful moment. I was going back and forth and I was like, “Where are these extreme thoughts and feelings coming from? Why can’t I keep them on the gas pedal over on the good side?” It was that questioning of what is going on? What is this? What are these thoughts bouncing around myself?
It was that 1-millimeter step back of how are these thoughts coming into my mind? Which ones can I let and how am I separate from them? How am I the one who is aware of these thoughts? That’s it. When we get that appreciation of we are not our thoughts, we are the awareness of our thoughts. I’m going to go a little Eckhart Tolle because this is exactly the conversations that need to happen for people to reach this lasting joy. When you appreciate that and you can do whatever you need to do to make that visualization that we are not our thoughts.
We are the ones who are aware of them. When those ones that come up, the self-doubt, fears, insecurities, and anxiety, we can be aware of that but that is not us. We can let those ones float by and then we can spend more of our focus and our energy on the beautiful thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I had the most beautiful morning, Gerry. I was at my mom’s place. I was meditating with the sunrise on Lake Ontario. I went for the most brilliant run, it was cold, it was crisp, and the leaves are changing colors. It was a regular Saturday morning and it was unbelievable.
What I’m also hearing is how we have to reprogram the story that we can often make as a result of the breakup. I don’t know if that’s the right word but something happens, we turned it into a story and that story may resolve in someone feeling as if they’re not good enough or something is wrong with it. What you are getting to is how we all have the power to not buy into the story because if we buy into the story, it leads to a lack of self-esteem of self-confidence which then leads to a loss of identity. The next thing you know, we become needy and codependent on other people. You are able to get beyond all the hurt, sadness, and insecurity. What are some tips for people who are reading this in terms of how they can get past all of that and regain their self-worth quickly?
You nailed it, Gerry. I realized that we can write our own story. I started doing that in the manuscript which became the book. Now I’m living what I wrote in the book. I’m a bestselling author, I’m speaking, I’m having incredible conscious conversations with brilliant humans and passionate heart-centered amazing creatures like yourself, Gerry. This is what I got clear on and now I am living it. The one biggest tip and the one thing that I did in this process was about being a victim to everything.
When I switched my mindset from being a victim to what had happened to me to shifting that all of this happened for me, this is such a real gift to help me awake into my best self. I start going beyond, start helping, and sharing people to create their own dream lives as well. This is a real gift. This victimhood, not only does it show up on big things in our lives like devastating breakups, job losses, fires, or whatever it may be but it can show up in little new things on a daily basis in people’s lives. When you become aware that you are projecting yourself as a victim, you can be aware of that, you can turn it around, and leave that mindset behind. Free yourself to live a joyful life.
What you’re also getting to is the importance of discovering your own value to never settle for less to be able to ignite your own identity, self-esteem, and self-confidence to serve you in such a way whereby I can have that same love again or perhaps even something better. I once heard you mentioned is about the imposter syndrome. What do you mean by that? You said a lot of people fall into that.
The imposter syndrome is projecting this version of yourself that is not true. If you’re projecting something over here and you don’t have the confidence or the skills but you’re over here, the gap in between is stress. For me, one of the greatest things I’ve learned for years is to be humble and ask for help all the time. I’m glad this came up because this ties back to the branding perspective and building a personal brand. To be humble, ask for help, and not be projecting something you’re not because I had never written a book. I’ve spoken on stages before but not like I do now. I had never coached people, so I had imposter syndrome for all of those things.
I was, not always, but eventually humble enough to ask for help, pay for programs, pay for coaches to build the strengths and the skills that I knew I needed to up-level and continue to up-level for where I’m going next, Gerry. I’m pulling all the help for where this party is going. Once I know where I am and grounded in what my skills are or whatever it may be then you stop trying to pretend to be something you’re not and that eliminates so much stress.
Do people form some love identity? You’re helping people transform their identity with this thing called love. Love for ourselves, love for other people, the ability to be loved, and to give love. This is so great that you do what you do because there are millions of people out there who can relate to this topic. It can devastate us that we wonder, is true love even possible for me? Isn’t even possible because that “woman” or that “man” whoever we’re talking to, whatever that significant other, oftentimes we look at that person as the one and only. When we think that she or he was the one that was meant for me, this is the one and then the one breaks up with you. That can be life share. Anything you want to share with our audience about that? That’s what knocks us off our feet. That’s what takes the wind out of the sails which is, “That was my dream girl. That was my dream guy.” Anything in the future is going to be less than that. What are your thoughts?
Awaken To Happiness: Switching your mindset from being a victim, from “what had happened to me”, to “all of this happened for me”, will help you awaken to your best self.
For you, Gerry, you’re your dream guy and for me, I’m my dream guy. What that means is we can’t depend on others to complete us and to complete this love triangle but we have to be grounded and vibrating with this love within us. This love for life, connection, and for who we are at a soul level. The process was peeling back all these masks that I had accumulated over the years because of society, programming, and all of that stuff. Getting back to that base case where we are born from or birthed into this universe because the universe is base case, based vibration where it wants to hum at his love. When we start there and then life happens, we get far away from that.
Everything I do is to get back to that source, infinite knowledge, and vibration of love. When it’s in me, around me, and all these different ways then the amazing opportunities and people get attracted to me like yourself, this moment, this show, this book, the hundreds of people that supported me with my book launch. They have all got to know me in this state over the years because I’ve been sharing what I’ve been going through, sharing about writing the book, all the roadblocks I hit writing the book. I had been authentic, I express myself, I had shown my soul, and I put it all out there but I’ve all done it from a space of love.
You are a role model for others. If the Michael a few years ago met the Michael now, what would he think and what do you believe in?
He’d go, “How do you look younger than me? How did you do that?” Let me tell you, I’m reverse aging but that’s a conversation for another time but I love that question because I often speak to him. This is such an important thing in branding is to speak to who we were and what we’ve learned in our transformation and in whatever capacity that may be. That’s tough because I don’t know if he would have listened. I wouldn’t know if I had got it and I would give him a hug. I’d say, “You’re doing the best you can with the tools that you have.” I don’t know if he would have resonated with a lot of the things I’m doing and saying. That’s true because I speak to people through my writing and speaking that are in the same state. All I can do is keep sharing my message in the way that I do it, doing the sports, doing the writing. I can go extreme casual then I can put the suit on and rock it like that too. All I can do is be me and whoever is out there that gets a more soul of wisdom out of that, that’s all that matters.
What advice would you give to our audience to get unstuck and follow your passion? You are laying out an incredible path for someone to follow.
You have to shake it up. I talk about this for 3/4 of the way through the book. We’re not going to go on neuroscience but you have to form these new pathways in your brain. We use this tiny little piece of our brain over here and there’s this whole other capacity that is available to us. The way that you unlock it is simply by doing new things. It can be walking a new way to the grocery store, rearranging the apps on your phone, running a different route, driving a new way home, or hanging out with new people. Try to be open and courageous to try these new things and experiences, and then process what’s going on with those and see how that feels. You build courage by doing courageous acts. You’re okay if you drive a new way home. You’re going to be okay if you go to a new grocery store. This is why travel is amazing. People don’t even realize but this is why they love going on trips because they’re doing something new and they’re waking up their brain.
You made that sound so simple but there is the F word. We know what the F word is which are our fears. How do we confront our fears and go through them? This whole idea of doing something new is what scares many of us. What do we do?
Do you know what’s scarier, Gerry? Getting to the end of the road, wherever you believe that we go and meeting the person we could have become. That is scarier to me than fear but I’m grateful because I survived hitting that ultimate fear that I was confronted with. I become a little bit fearless but people can build their own fear by starting small and doing these tiny things that we talked about and realizing, “I’m going to be all right if I take a new path.” Life is going to go on.
Speaking about fears, I read that you are an Ironman guy. You’re at the top of my list because I admire anyone, male or female, that can do an Ironman event. What was that like? Can you talk about that to switch gears in talking in relation to fears?
That’s scary to spend all day doing something like that. In terms of fear, my mother had been doing them for a dozen years. I had been doing triathlons at the shorter distance for a while but eventually, I should see what all the fuss is about and get over this fear of swimming 3.8K, biking 180 kilometers, and then running a marathon. It was tiny little steps each and every day in that direction to be able to build up to the event. I write about this in the book.
The most interesting thing about the race was how empty I felt at the end. I was looking around, I thought I was going to do this huge race and have this real breakthrough in life. It wasn’t like that at all. I got to the finish line and I was like, “That took all day,” and I’m extremely tired but it was this real, incredible awareness of that not being the pathway, the awakening to where I needed to go so I had to switch gears and be open to where life took me next.
You’re this incredible guy. You have a lot of wisdom, perspectives, and insights. People who are reading and someone could say, “I love what he’s saying, however, he hasn’t gone through what I’ve been through or he seems someone enlightened that he knows how to rise above all of the crap in life.” Is there anything that you’re struggling with now?
Everyone has their own challenges but we’re all human. We all feel pain and we all get crushed in different ways. Mine happened the way it did. At the soul level, these are all emotions that connect us and we can all relate to each other. What I’m struggling with, I’ve had a couple of good days so I’m feeling good but that’s going to keep swinging, I had to check in with myself even after getting up, checking the phone, checking the book sales, and checking the computer because I have a spot that I know that the book will get you but I know I have to be patient. I had two words that I’m going to remind myself. I wrote a sticky note down for them, patience and gratitude.
Those two things are I’m going to have to keep on pulling in over and over on this journey. The book is going to do what it does and the time that is required but I need to keep this good energy about it. I have to be grateful for the support that I get every day whether it’s one person buying a book or two or one person posting about it. I have to be patient and enjoy this journey for the book to get to where it needs to go. For me, patience and gratitude, all about keeping the energy high and attracting again, as we talked about earlier, all the dreams that we want to live in this life.
That also gets back to codependency. This will circle back to the whole relationship issue. A lot of times when we love someone and we care so much about that person, our happiness, quite often, it’s based on that person. That person makes me feel X, that person goes away, or this person does this, that person does that. It can devastate us in terms of incredible sadness and depression. I like what you said about patience and gratitude because that might be the breakthrough for someone which is instead of allowing yourself to be depended upon, that person making you feel a certain way, why not instead acknowledge the person for who they are, the love, the joy, and everything they bring into your life. Don’t let that be the thing that you become so dependent on instead of be grateful because if it’s to be, it’s to be even if that person “completes me.” That’s a good lesson. Any last words do you want to share about this whole thing about codependency, finding your joy, finding your blitz.
I’m glad you scratched on that one as well because even on launch day, I had this little tinge of disappointment because this expectation that I had for someone that post and help about it didn’t happen. I had all these stories in my head about why they didn’t do it the way we do things like that. I had to pull myself back and be grateful for all the people that were supporting me and not drain on my energy for the one person who eventually got around to it. That 24 hours making up stories was a waste of energy. I’m glad that you brought that up. For me, it’s going to be patience and gratitude. In terms of relationships, it all comes back to us, filling ourselves up and cups up so we don’t have to be dependent on someone else to do that for us.
Awaken To Happiness: In terms of relationships, it all comes back to us filling ourselves up, so we don’t have to be dependent on someone else to do that for us.
Are there any inspirational books that you’d like to recommend to our audience?
I read a ton and I have thirteen books listed in the back that I was reading and talking about on this journey. The first one where my journey started was Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul. I gravitated to that because it helped me understand what we spoke about how we are not our thoughts. We are the one that is aware of them.
How can people find out more about you in terms of social media and whatnot?
I want to thank you so much, Gerry, for making this happen and connecting me with your incredible community. I’m easy to find. It’s @Michael.Tranmer, I spend most of my time on Instagram or Facebook. If you go to my website, MichaelTranmer.com, the social links are on there. I’d love to connect with your readers.
This has been a joy and it was healing for many people to hear that there is this thing in life because there are all types of trauma, we all know that. The world of space and incredible trauma with this pandemic and whatnot. Whatever insights that someone can get from someone like yourself who’s been there, done that, got through it, got to the other side is awesome for everyone. I want to thank you for being here. For our readers out there, if you’d like to learn more about Michael in addition to what he’d shared, feel free to come to my website, GerryFosterBranding.com. Grab onto this guy as far as what he offers his wisdom in this thing called relationship and soak it all up. Michael, thank you. Take care. Bye.
Michael holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master’s degree in Coastal Engineering, and is a Project Management Professional. As a Professional Engineer, Michael specializes in the complex field of Coastal Engineering, leading multidisciplinary teams on multimillion-dollar projects throughout coastal British Columbia. Michael’s specialty is facilitating effective communication and coaching team members to transcend beyond their limitations to achieve personal and professional greatness.
His personal development training includes the Evolutionary Business Council’s Certified Master Trainer Program, the Power of Success with Tony Robbins, and High-Performance Academy & Experts Academy with Brendon Burchard. Michael is a TEDx speaking coach and a Certified Coach Practitioner with the Certified Coaches Federation.
Michael embodies and speaks on Transcendent Leadership, drawing on experiences from overcoming challenges in his personal and professional life. He has spoken on stages throughout North America and is known for mixing personal development into his technical presentations (e.g., guiding a room full of engineers through project-specific meditations).
Michael is passionate about empowering young professionals to become the Transcendent Leaders of tomorrow. His signature talk—Bridging the gap between the generations in the workplace—explores how each generation can better understand other generations, and how the differences between generations can be used to an organization’s advantage.
Michael lives and breathes a high-performance lifestyle as an Ironman finisher, adventure athlete, and past member of the Canadian Youth Sailing Team.
Based in Vancouver, BC, Michael has found his dharma of living and creating his dream life while helping others do the same. satori ananda is his first book.
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