The Bobby Rock Newsletter #45 (2-11-2022) - The Ecstasy of Isolation
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #45 (2-11-2022) - The Ecstasy of Isolation
Greetings one and all!
Welcome back, everyone. Let’s jump right into it this week.
In this issue:
- What can we glean from the "elective isolation” of both a rock cruise and a lockdown?
- Taking a closer look at the infamous SOS—Sugar/Oil/Salt—and why we should attempt to amend our diets of taking in so much of them
- Drum Vid Vault: This week’s vid is an excerpt from a drum solo at a Lita show in Norway, circa 2013
About to step out on this adventure...
The Ecstasy of Isolation
As we are preparing to set sail for the Rock Legends Cruise on Monday (with Lita Ford and the gang), I was prompted to reflect on the last cruise we played… which happened to bump right up against the initial COVID lock-down of 2020. Fortunately, I was able to document that experience in fairly decent detail, and if you’ve ever wondered what a cruise was like from a musician’s perspective (well, at least this musician’s perspective, which is probably NOT the norm!), it’s a worthy read.
But for our purposes here, I couldn’t help but notice the poignant parallels between taking advantage of the “isolation” inherent to cruising, and trying to make the best of the isolation we were all about to step into (to varying degrees) over the next two years. Here’s a slice of the set-up:
Once we set sail on Sunday, and even as I was catching wind of the “global unraveling” that was beginning to go down, I chose to remain almost completely off-the-grid for as much of the trip as possible, particularly for the first five days. (Yes, even more so than usual!) Not as an act of reality denial because, after all, what could I do about anything from out there? But more in an effort to take a much-needed digital/communication sabbatical: no texts, calls, emails, internet, TV, or social media posts for virtually the entire trip.
Additionally, I tried to roam the ship anonymously whenever possible, like a ghost: zipping around mostly at odd hours, and/or through lesser-traveled thoroughfares, trying to minimize all forms of interaction. Not because I don’t enjoy talking to people, but because this seemed to pair well with the mental-exile theme of the week: Minimize external input, and maximize internal silence. That said, whenever I had a chance to talk to someone, it was welcomed. Folks were super cool out there. It’s just that I wouldn’t go out of my way to socialize, based on this directive.
Couple this with some solitary pursuits—lotsa random reflection, more-than-usual journaling, lotsa reading and writing (especially in the library, my favorite spot on the ship), in-room practice pad work to keep the chops up, and several “medies” (meditation sessions) tossed in throughout the day—and… well, it was essentially the mental equivalent of a nutrition cleanse: a zeroing out, a cleaning house of the mind, a stripping down of the inessential… all so my brain could have some extra leeway to do its glorious thing: Fire on all eight cylinders, rather than trying to juggle and process so much shit all the time that it’s running on five or six!
It was magnificent… rejuvenating… exhilarating… just to feel the full crackle of my brain’s neurocircuitry, connecting and reconnecting in ways that inspire a grander brand of thinking. Moving forward, I no doubt need to double down on this “airplane mode” way of living.
From there, I describe a lot about the cruise, the shows, the training, etc. (Tons of pics and vids on the blog.)
Yes, I really am wearing that apparatus of feathers (via a harness), but no,
I didn’t wind up doing the show with it (for, hopefully, obvious reasons!).
St. Thomas beckons along the way...
But then I end the blog with my suggestions for successful “quarantining”… although I don’t think that word was quite yet in our common vernacular. (I called it “elective isolation.”) My greater point? These directives seem like pretty good daily practices, COVID times or not. Or is that just me?
Here's a peek at my closing sentiments:
Now, here we are nearly one week later, in a time of great uncertainty… particularly here in California, where this new “stay at home” mandate just kicked in. So, in reflection of these unusual days ahead—and given my recent experience in relative isolation—I guess what I would say to anyone interested in an “isolationist’s” perspective is…
- Take advantage of the potential solitude in “elective isolation” (if you’re going that route). Your mind—when unencumbered by all of the screens, hoopla, worry, and distraction—is your most powerful ally right now;
- Try to minimize exposure to the 24-hour news cycle. Five minutes of that shit a couple times a day will keep you plenty informed. Beyond that, it’s all designed to soften your mind;
- Don’t forget to breathe… deeply… throughout the day, as you take a few “deep-belly” breaths whenever you think about it. I’m guessing that, with our current situation here, we all have a subliminal tendency to breathe shallowly, so as not to potentially inhale anything harmful in our environment. And yet, breathing deeply is one of our best stress reducers and body/brain energizers—as any Buddhist monk would tell us;
- And most of all, embrace this unparalleled opportunity at hand to see everything through an illuminating new filter in these days ahead.
These are extraordinary times, the likes of which we may never see again.
True, we may never see them again in our lifetime. But who could have imagined the COVID thing would still be going on a full two years later?
Again, here’s the link to the whole post at the original BR blog:
Perhaps I’ll be able to do a follow-up post based on the Cruise we are about to embark on…
Beware of the SOS
You’ve likely heard me carrying on about the importance of keeping track of your overall SOS consumption: Sugar/Oil/Salt. I’ve noticed that many health experts like to zero in on the hazards of just one of these three things, vilifying, for example, sugar as the primary cause of our obesity epidemic, or oil and other fats as the leading contributor to heart disease, or salt (sodium) for its role in jacking up folk’s blood pressure levels. And while there is plenty of evidence to support these claims, here’s what I’ve discovered through the years: when you carefully examine what actually happens in the bloodstream—on a molecular level— as a result of modern eating, you can’t help but notice the synergistic implications of how we eat. In other words, it isn’t just the individual issues with sugar/oil/salt here: it’s how they combine together to create the “toxic soup“ that our bloodstream becomes for roughly 6 hours after the typical meal or snack.
Am I saying avoid all three at all costs? In a perfect world, sure! But since this isn’t a perfect world, I would simply advise that you take an informal, ongoing inventory of how much sugar, oil (along with animal-based fats), and salt (sodium) are in your diet over a multi-day period. You will be astounded at how many common foods, drinks, condiments, etc, are riddled with added sugar, oil, and salt.
Next up, we’ll zero on how to minimize “The Big Three” for superior health and wellness.
Drum Vid Vault: Norway - Lita Ford - 2013
In the spirit of trying to archive more of my “secret” videos that I have amassed in embarrassing quantities through the years, here’s a solo excerpt from a rowdy Lita Ford show, somewhere in Norway. European audiences are consistently great to play for… a perfect combo of exuberant and appreciative. That summer 2013 run through Norway and Sweden was no exception. Also, as per usual, Euro runs usually cover the gambit from huge festivals to mid-sized clubs. Both are cool in their own way, but this clip was from the latter. Enjoy...
Scope the Vault HERE. Scroll down to item #6.
Thanks again, everybody. Connect next week!
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