The Bobby Rock Newsletter #75 (9-10-22) - A Quick Guide to a Freer Mind
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #75 (9-10-22) - A Quick Guide to a Freer Mind
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Greetings from the road, gang -
Great to be with you guys again for another issue here. This week, I find myself in a hotel room in Marion, Ohio, not far from Columbus. We will be headlining some kind of festival here tonight, so all daily road protocols are in action today. Does this shit ever get old? In a word… no!
In real time...
Hope you all are well. Let’s dive in…
In this Issue:
- A Freer Mind Awaits… just as soon as we decide to stop reacting to all the stimuli around us. Viktor Frankl wisdom ahead...
- Build Strength, Speed, and Stamina… with my own favorite take on interval training in the weight room.
- Big Screen Drum Solos? I say Fuck Yes! in our latest installment of Drum Vid Vault.
A Quick Guide to a Freer Mind
Famed author/psychologist, Viktor Frankl, is one of the true badasses of the 20th century. Not only did he manage to survive the atrocities of concentration camp imprisonment, but he managed to thrive in the aftermath of his survival, with significant contributions to humanity as an inspiring thought leader and author.
To pull this off, he had to "keep hold of his marbles,” which is to say, keep his mind strong, even as his body buckled and withered under the most horrific of conditions at the camp. And to do that, he had to embrace the only form of freedom he really had in there: the power to respond to daily events on his own terms, and to assign his own meaning to these events, even as he watched his compadres die all around him. This is a superhuman proposition, to be sure. But to do otherwise would’ve enslaved him to the same fate to which his body was subjected, and this likely would’ve been the end of the story.
One of my favorite Frankl quotes speaks directly to this notion, and it seems clear that he walked the talk all the way to his eventual liberation:
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
In Frankl’s case, the stimuli in question was the endless horror show that played out around him every day. And he knew if he responded in the most typical way, he would essentially be handing over his mind (and therefore his freedom) to his perpetrators. Instead, he recognized the value in that space—the “gap,” if you will—between his observation of said events and how he might choose to respond to them. Then he would respond (or not) in a way that was measured, mindful, and of his own choosing: not with knee-jerk emotion, outrage, or hopeless resignation, even though any of these would’ve been the more “natural” way to react. (And remember, even an apparent non-response is still a response.)
Of course, most of us will not likely be playing the game of life with the same kind of stakes that Frankl experienced, nor will it be playing out every day in a cold, grey drudge of despair and despondency. Our stimulus/response reality unfolds in a way that is virtually the opposite: a 24/7 carousel of digital input—entertainment, information, distraction, and communication—which serves as a neon backdrop to a fast-paced lifestyle where, quite literally, we are often reacting to the various stimuli, night and day, without any level of intention or mindfulness. And, of course, most of this stimuli is not unpleasant… hence our compulsion to keep on consuming it!
And even when our stimuli doesn’t directly involve technology (someone cuts us off in traffic, something breaks, somebody says something asinine, etc), if the stimulus/response cycle does not include a moment in "the gap" to acknowledge an intention behind our reaction, we hand over yet another piece of our life experience to conditions outside of our own control. And since freedom is ultimately in the mind—as Frankl so aptly demonstrated—when our minds become temporarily enraptured with such events, we give up a small slice of freedom in the process, enslaved by the whims of random circumstance.
Personally, I find that I generally do well in the gap with big stuff. I can usually stay calm and unaffected by things where I once would have lost my shit. However, if it involves the Dodgers, or (“useless") green bananas at the grocery store, or something that threatens the sacrosanct routines of daily process… a spirited “Motherfucker!” will often follow, even as I know, in the moment, that it’s a gross overreaction. But that’s just me.
In general, though, I’ve had good luck integrating this idea through the mindfulness practice of nonjudgment… through the idea of proceeding through life as a neutral observer of events. So, for example, if I find myself in an unexpected surge of traffic, a moment in the gap will remind me that I live in LA, there is always something going on to cause traffic, and I choose to have no opinion about it at the moment. It is what it is. Done.
But it’s a practice we must engage regularly, not a destination of enlightenment where, once we arrive, we’re set for life. No. We must practice, often. And even if we decide to offer up a spirited reaction to something, that’s fine, so long as we do it consciously, with intention.
The good news? Modern life offers plenty of opportunities to practice, that’s for sure. Here’s to your successful time in the gap.
Build Strength, Speed, and Stamina with Interval Training
Here’s another ass-kicking training technique that continues to bear good results. It works great for traditional weightlifting exercises, but can also be used in “weightless” exercise scenarios (pushups, crunches, bodyweight squats, etc). The idea hinges around interval training where, in this case, you will perform sets of a given movement under a timed lift/rest structure. For example, if it’s a 20/30 pattern, you will perform the movement for 20 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for a predetermined number of sets.
To pull this off, I recommend using an interval timer app like Bit Timer, my personal fave. The interface is super clean and simple.
You just set the work and rest times, then decide on the number of sets, and you are off.
Structured interval training is a super-efficient way to get a great pump. In the above scenario, you are only looking at 6:40 for the entire sequence. This makes interval training an excellent choice for when you are limited on time, or are just trying to maximize your workout time. Also, it’s simple to follow. You don’t even have to count reps! Just lift steadily throughout the work phase.
Here are a few more parameters to consider:
- I usually only do an interval sequence like this during one exercise per session, and I don’t do it all the time. In this way, it brings that “shock factor” to your training and keeps the body guessing.
- Ease into this sequence. Do plenty of warm-up sets first.
- Interval training can be deceivingly difficult because it involves a short recovery time, so try starting off with slightly lighter weight. By the third or fourth set, you should really be feeling it!
- If you get so fatigued that you have trouble completing the lifting segment, lower the weight as needed. The idea is, you will want to lift through the full work cycle.
Hot Tip: For an extra burn, try alternating two different exercises that work the same muscle group, with one of them being lighter. Here’s an example using our sequence pattern above, as it might apply to chest:
20 seconds: set of flat-bench dumbbell presses
30 seconds: rest
20 seconds: set of push-ups
30 seconds: rest
Repeat this sequence 4 times for 8 total sets.
Try some different time and exercise combinations with this concept… and get ready for a real burn!
Drum Vid Vault: Big Screen Solos
From time to time, production at certain shows will feature big screens on either side of the stage, which project vid cam footage being shot in real-time. This gives the audience a close-up view of the action.
In today’s vid, one of the screens was actually behind me. And while I don't recall the venue here, I think it's an interesting effect when the audience can see two distinct drumming vantage points happening simultaneously, especially during a solo, when there are many more intricacies going on. Scope the link HERE, then scroll down to #16.
Thanks again, everybody. Connect next week!
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