the more I give...

The more I give the more I receive, the more I receive the more I give.

That's a good mantra for meditation.

I never understood how to meditate, why to meditate, what to do when I meditated.

I'm getting it now.

It's a trance like state of prayer.

I have always prayed.

When I was a small child my mother taught me to kneel at my bedside and say the "now I lay me down to sleep..." one.

It has that stuff about "if I die before I wake...".

Die before I wake?!

To pray that prayer every night suggested to my child's mind that the chances of dying before you wake must be pretty good if you had to pray it wouldn't happen every time you went to bed.

When I joined the church choir at age eight, which was the singular most self directed act of my childhood, I learned many more prayers and I learned the Lutheran Liturgy which I loved. My parents didn't want me to join the choir because they didn't want to have to drive me across town for the rehearsals and they didn't want to have to come see me sing. They were actually cursing the fateful Christmas Eve when we all got dressed up and went to church and the children's choir began their procession with their battery candles and their white robes and my soul spontaneously combusted and I started grabbing at my parents' arms and demanding to know "how did they get to do that?????" My parents were happy going to church once or twice a year at most, and because of me they were driving to the church twice a week. When I started singing in the choir my dad would drive me early on Sunday mornings in his bathrobe. He'd ask me if I had a solo. If I did, he'd groan and say, "All right, we'll be there."

If I didn't have a solo he went home and went back to bed 'til noon and then came back to get me in his Levi's as he liked to call them, and a sweater. No church unless I was singing a solo. That's kind of cool to me now. I really think my dad did love me. I loved him too.

Back to praying and meditation.

If you find something to say over and over again that soothes you somehow, say it.

For me, out of all the metaphysical itches I can try to scratch, this one is the most satisfying.

It's circular like a round in music.

You sing one part, someone else sings another, it keeps going around in a circle.

It's also like a good chord progression for a song.

If you play C to Am to F to G on the guitar and start over again, you will feel happy, I guarantee it.

The more times you go around in that little circle of chords, the happier you'll be.

Make up words and sing along.

Eureka! Instant happiness.

I think this mantra does the same.

So this week I took my friend out for dinner to thank her for telling me about the Tofte Lake Wilderness Retreat Artist Award.

She told me about it like the day before the last day to apply.

She told me she thought she was supposed to tell me to apply for this, like it was for me.

I obeyed. I took her feeling about it seriously.

I won the award! I told her and she said "I knew it!"

So I saved up all my tip money from last week and paid for dinner for us.

She offered to pay the tip because the dinner ended up costing all the money I had.

It was worth it in every way.

Then Rob got a flat tire during the coldest day and night and I drove out in the middle of the night and picked him up where he was stranded at a closed gas station that didn't have an air pump working.

All roadside assistance was backed up in the city and he couldn't get help for his flat tire, so on the coldest day of the year or maybe even the decade, I drove him around in my trusty Jeep. He took the tire off his car, out in the cold at the gas station parking lot..the high was like -13 I think. We drove his tire to a tire store, waited for two hours in line but got it fixed, drove back to the parking lot and Rob got his new tire put on. Our friend who owns a restaurant sent out a buy one get one free offer for spaghetti and meatballs on that cold night and Rob took me there and paid for the fun dinner.

Now the man who is in charge of my Tofte Award has emailed me offering to take me out to dinner next week to meet me and congratulate me on being the 2019 artist award winner.

Then my really fun good friend who has been an angel of mercy to me many times on this road to becoming a full time artist sent me a message saying that in honor of my birthday next week she is bringing me dinner when Rob is on tour in Spain with another artist he works with next week.

The more I give the more I receive, the more I receive the more I give.

Amen.

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