My mind is clouded with the fog of a cold right now. It reminds me of one of my two childhood best friends, Louis, who once described to me the feeling of smoking pot as “like having a pillow around your brain.”

It’s a surprisingly sunny morning. Quiet, cold air is gently blowing through a crack in the window.

I have a new song on the way. It’s as though I’m standing on the side of the road with a suitcase in the desert, and I know that in some time, maybe an hour, maybe a day, a car will arrive to pick me up. The waiting is scary though. Trusting in something you can’t see is always scary.
I recently, for a few days, took to writing some reminders on my hand every day. At first it was ‘DIS’ – discipline. I had read multiple places that week that discipline leads to happiness. It helped to remember it – like a verse of the Dhammapada which sticks with me: “Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it likes and does what it wants.”

Then I added ‘TRU’ – trust. Specifically it is in reference to self-trust. Recently I’ve been writing more songs. I even wrote one good one, which I’ve played live a few times to good effect. The writing and positive reception of that song was immediately followed by thoughts such as “well, I guess you just had one good one left in you,” “now you have to write more songs like that,” and “that song just came to me as I was walking off a train, how am I supposed to write that again?” It was my wife, Al, who told me, unrelatedly, that I should trust myself. Sometimes her powers of intuition are fearsome.
Finally I wrote INT – intelligence. It came at the end of a long thought-train on the nature of humans as intelligent beings, and how intelligence itself is something of a marvel. We recently, on our two-year wedding anniversary, drove up to a coffee shop which has lots of books. In the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations I read “morals rule the world, but at short distances the senses are despotic,” attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Conversely I read a quotation, whose author I forget, which read (paraphrasing) “if we are given these bodies with all of our faculties, and supposed not to use them, then we are like a fish that is told never to swim.”

To that I would say, let a fish swim, but if a fish has a choice to hurt or not to hurt another fish, and it has the awareness to make such a decision, let it refrain.