One thing in particular that stands out as difficult while on the road is keeping rituals. I noticed something important this morning about myself. Because of daily rituals I forced myself into while I was home for the winter, (and eventually began to look forward to and even enjoy..) it was easier to get up before 10 am after two very late nights out in Chicago. Not only did I get up, I stretched, went to the hotel gym, didn't wuss out at the gym, stayed hydrated, and took care of my body. Full disclosure, I drank too much the last two nights. It's too fucking easy to stay sauced on the road. Shows, bars, meetings, greetings, hair of the dog, repeat, etc.. However, you can counter that somewhat, with ritual and repetition. I noticed the effect this morning, and to be honest, I think just that realization gave me a couple points of endorphin boost. I felt great about the work I put in training my mind and body to know the benefits of ritual and self preservation.
I didn't stop there. While home, I also started willing, and finally training myself to write everyday. In my journal, on my computer, on my phone, wherever I could. Short, long, stupid, brilliant... doesn't matter. Just get in the habit. Because this feels good too, and I know it. But it becomes so easy for me to push it aside for an extra hour of sleep, a big fatty breakfast, coffee, and no exercise or mental and physical stimulation. I've had good mentors. My friend Jeremy Goldberg at Long Distance Love Bombs puts the fire on me every day, and Andrea Balt at Creative Rehab is a force of nature in willpower and taking care of the self.
At the end of last year, I had become a slave of sorts to a year of bad habits, and my way of life was full of bodily pain, slight depression, and I broke down. My voice abandoned me in the scariest way, and I feel lucky that I didn't permanently damage it. I saw a specialist, and got on the rehab train. It took over a month to have my full range again. I took my instrument and money maker for granted, and I had a glimpse of what life would be if I lost it. That wasn't lost on me, at all.
And so, I vowed to become a man of ritual. I'm not a spring chicken. Not old by any means, but there's absolutely not doubt that I can't rely on anyone but myself to take care of myself in the ways that are important for sanity on the road. So here I am at the new inaugural Virgin Hotel lounge, feeling pretty fresh. The sun just came out in Chicago in the wintertime. I met and spoke briefly with Richard Branson two nights ago in this very spot, so I figured it the perfect place to begin the day, and continue my rituals towards a successful life that I can both be proud of and survive.