Anyway I've set the alarm for 7am. This is the first day of my five month art boot-camp. A neighbour has let me use his empty apartment to paint in. I'm a space addict. I come alive in big spaces and this one is magnificent. I've painted on floors of rented rooms in London, in derelict buildings from hell, so this is a dream.

First thing is what to eat to keep trauma triggers nice and calm: start with mugs of warm water and lemon juice, eat fresh ginger, knock back some herbs like Swedish Bitters, Hawthorn berries, Astragalus, Echinacea, then eat lean semi-veg fuel, organic brown rice as a basis, sort of Daoist foods.

Second thing, put paintings over the mirrors, say a brief Buddhist prayer, then chew on a piece of fresh ginger and leave the outer world behind.

On a good day I can feel some creative confidence. On a bad day I feel small as a mouse. Speaking of mice, it was Herbert who taught me Zen. I rescued him on Dartmoor (Devon, UK) during a storm. I had put a row of sunflower seeds just outside the door to his straw house that I'd made until I relocated him on Dartmoor. Then I watched as he gently took one seed and slowly went back inside. One sunflower seed at a time. That's how I did the five month art boot-camp. One brush stroke at a time. I get easily overwhelmed by too much stimuli. Herbert taught me to slow everything down.

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