Guest Blog: Chimaira Frontman Mark Hunter, “Intention"
Mark Hunter is the vocalist and founding member of Cleveland metal act Chimaira. For more than a decade, Chimaira has been imposing its gravity on the metal community by continually touring the globe and selling more than a million albums worldwide. Their brand of heavy music has evolved and transcended both itself and the trends while maintaining its persistent, bludgeoning force. The band released its newest album, Crown of Phantoms, last year. Watch the video for “Wrapped in Violence” at the bottom of this post.
“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”–Seneca
The year was 2000 and my band Chimaira squeezed into a Winnebago from the seventies to officially embark on our first tour.
We were paid $50 a night to play seedy corner bars and venues that had the charm and warmth you'd find deep in the heart of Mogadishu.
Aspirations were high. Attendances were low.
Luckily, we befriended the band we shared the stage with, Colepitz. Their presence alone helped make the tour that much more enjoyable.
A funny group of guys who also taught us the ropes. We had a blast together. Listening to Death and eating real deal Maine lobster were highlights.
Despite the tour being a financial disaster, a ton of positive things came from it. The biggest was that record labels, agents, and the rest of the music industry saw that we were a band that had good intentions.
Our intent was to become professional musicians and be taken seriously. We didn't want to be another local band who occasionally played regional gigs on the weekend. We wanted to do what the bands we listened to were doing. Tour and entertain the world.
By keeping our eyes on the prize, we eventually would do just that.
Fast forward fifteen wildly insane years, and I find myself on the phone with the singer of Colepitz, Rob Korhonen. Thankfully, we remained friends and still share similar ideologies. Our phone conversations get super cerebral and heartfelt which I rather enjoy.
Rob brought up the word "intent." In the context, we were discussing my coaching career and weight loss. He mentioned that a good question for many who struggle with food would be, "What do you intend to do with this meal?” Whoa.
Now, if you're the spiritual type, study esoteric philosophy, or dabble with psychedelics--that question may have hit you the way it hit me, like a ton of bricks. For those that don't revel in the epic vastness that is that question, I can only break it down by briefly explaining how it applied to my life for the following weeks to come.
It started with the original discussion and how intent related to food. I eat extremely fast, which sometimes results in an upset stomach. By taking a few seconds to think about my meal, how I wanted to enjoy it and savor every bite, my internal biology instantly started to change. The "food is fuel" way of life I had grown accustomed to would flip on its head overnight.
I started snacking less. If my intent is to grow a massive pair of hog tits, snacking on pretzels after a huge meal is the way to go. But if I want to stay in shape...you get the idea.
I then went on to apply the same principles to my thoughts and actions. I reminisced on the moments of my life where I perceived failure and thought about my intentions during those times. It was an eye opener.
There were many moments in my life where intentions weren't clear and often clouded with self-gain. Then there were the moments where I could see successes and noticed the intent behind them focused more into a universal love.
What was my intent when talking with friends or family? At the core, was I swinging an axe or communicating with compassion? By having this awareness, I was able to stop myself before saying something I'd usually regret and ruminate over.
Taking a few extra moments to think before I spoke or acted. What a brilliant concept. Amazing, I never thought of that before...
Joking aside, to feel the impact took a lot of thought and practice.
All this insight from one word. Pretty cool.
I intend to keep "intention" on the top of my long list of self-empowering life hacks. Try it for yourself. Next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself, "What do I intend to do with this meal?" and see if that doesn't open up Pandora's Box.