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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

BEGINNINGS: Or The Land of the Purple Glove





BEGINNINGS

 Or The Land of the Purple Glove

I’m losing three people from my homefront. Two neighbors, including Shirley, whom I’ve known since I was nine and with whom I’m quite close, are moving to senior housing. Additionally, my building’s warm and wonderful superintendent of fifteen years is leaving. The impending changes were revealed to me within days of each other, and are occurring back to back. While no one has died, their departures feel like a death. It’s the end of an era, and I feel left behind.

Within four months Vanity, 57, Bowie, 69 and Prince, 57, died.  Shocking and sad for many of us (though probably not my senior neighbors and Irish superintendent).  

I grew up with Bowie, Vanity and Prince, the latter two boosting my burgeoning sense of sexuality. The announcement of their three deaths, along with my three friends’ imminent departures threw me for a loop. Why do things like this come in threes? Why does change sometimes happen all at once?  Beats me.  

After I cried, I decided that their change was my change, too.  If new things were coming to them, then new things were coming to me, too.  Every death is a rebirth.  Whether we perceive it, life is constantly transforming.  Nothing is static.  The weather shifts. Our cells die, new cells are born. We crave stability and security and put locks on our homes and even decorate our pocketbooks with them.  But you can’t lock out change.  It is the very nature of life.  So why are we resistant to it? 

In short order I was able to turn things around for myself. Mind you, in the distant past, when my mother got sick with cancer and died from it, I was not able to turn it around.  I was depressed for years, and experienced significant grief before and after her death to boot.  But I have persevered, forged ahead, and become resilient.  

Since I want change in my own life on many frontiers, I’m metaphorically packing my bags.  Cleaning house.  Cleaning up.  Getting my affairs and papers in order.  I’m preparing.  

This is where my hard work over the years has paid off.  When you’ve processed your emotions, your thoughts, your issues, you clean the slate to prepare for the new.  You can’t do that if you haven’t worked through your stuff.  You just bring your baggage with you.  But I’ve worked long and hard to become happier, freer, and am primed to move toward new vistas.  Change is here.

For one, I am increasingly psychic, and this is a great and good thing. I’ve learned to trust myself, and have turned inward for answers instead of following the modern fixation of seeking relief from a pill, expert, partner, activity, job, or a child to fill the voids.  This has connected me to my own powerful core. 

I have taken the recent “deaths” and turned them into my rebirth.  For starters, I’m burning birthday candles.  Shirley gave me her stash of yahrtzeit candles, tea lights, and other assorted candles she kept around in case of a blackout, including birthday cake candles in a decomposing box marked “10 Cents” (what century were those from?)

It’s still cold in New York, even though it’s May, and I need their warmth. Candles instill a great sense of peace in me.  I’m burning all of them, including the memorial yahrzeit candles for the dead.  Birthday and memorial lights burn simultaneously.

I have a forest of candles around me now as I write.  I light the tiny birthday candles one after another like I’m chain smoking. There’s no cake. They’re in a metal dish.  I light the new wick from the candle burning down then melt its bottom so it adheres to the dish.  I’m burning them all to cut down on clutter.  Besides, who wants 100 year old candles on an actual cake?  The bonfire warms my soul.  

I’ll give you examples of what blossoming psychic ability looks like.  One morning I thought of an old friend I’ve been out of touch with.  She wrote me that night to say her uncle died that morning. 

I noticed I was missing an earring right before I was about to lead a private session with a client.  I concentrated on where I could have lost it, came to a conclusion regarding where it probably was (in a park one block away) and made a mad dash in the ten minutes I had left to go find it.  It was buried in dirt, but I found it, and made it back in time for my appointment.  You could argue that I used logical discernment, but once I did, I “knew” where it was and lickety-split retrieved it.  My intuitive vision is focused like a laser beam. I’m psychically “online”.  

A few months ago I lost a purple chenille glove in Central Park when I was with my dog.  Aside from the “lost” earring (which was pulled from my ear by a roughhousing puppy, unnoticed by me at the time) I’m not a person who loses things.  But somewhere along our three-hour walk spanning several miles, I dropped a glove.  Disappointed, I backtracked a bit. In the past, I might have backtracked all the way home.  But I have a looser grip on life now, and after ten minutes, I let it go.  I put the remaining glove in a bag for charity.  There’s another Michael Jackson out there somewhere who’s gonna love it.

The next day Milo (my pooch) and I went to the park again. Since we generally follow the same route, I lightheartedly set the intention to find my missing glove, despite the fact that the park is 843 acres.  Why not?  Setting intentions is a way of playing with the Universe, and discovering your own co-creative abilities. When we got to the park I joked to Milo “Go fetch my glove!”  He didn’t. 

I did.  I found it in the middle of a green field, an ultraviolet chenille flower lying perfectly preserved from the day before.  This is a field that is perpetually filled with people, picnics, and dogs. Heck, a squirrel could have grabbed it to pad his nest in the past 24 hours. But there was no one around on this beautiful day.  The glove was waiting for me, untouched.  I glowed. The find was symbolic and inspired a new mantra: I am a person who finds things. 

In fact, I was never someone who lost things.  Until lately, when I’ve been losing things left right and center (I still haven’t found my umbrella).  The reason I’ve been losing is to show myself just how well I retrieve.  I’m a psychic detective.

The stakes were raised when I lost my iPhone.  I was in an all day class in the Wall Street area on a Saturday, took a walk during lunch, put it in my bag, and when I got back to class…gone. 

I ripped my bag apart to no avail.  The ramifications of the loss hit me hard.  Was I still under contract with Verizon?  (Yes. They own me for another year).  I would have to buy another phone at full price (the cost of a car).  I couldn’t contemplate that so my mind started looking for solutions.  Was it stolen?  Did I drop it?  Could I find it?  I’m so damn good at finding things; I’ll just go find my phone! Wall Street is pretty quiet on the weekend.  The phone’s bright red cover would make it easy to spot and I could easily retrace the steps of my short walk. But there were two more hours of class left and I couldn’t concentrate for the life of me.

So I took action.  I walked to the front desk and asked if anyone had turned in a red iPhone.  No.  Would he call the downstairs guard and ask him? I waited while he called.  No go.  I asked to use his phone to call Apple Care.  Apple was useless.  “For security reasons” they wouldn’t help me, the owner.  If banks can establish security questions to determine I am who I am, so can Apple, for Christ’s sake.  It’s my car.  I’ve paid Apple very good money over the years, and when push comes to shove, they told me to find someone with an iPhone to find my iPhone.  Thanks for nothing.

Who had an iPhone? I recalled that a girl in my class brought her MacBook Air that day. Bingo. I approached her quietly and asked if I could use it.  She offered me her iPhone instead. It located my iPhone all right, which was now on the move.  My stomach dropped.  Someone had found it.  I could watch it walking along Broome Street in Soho.  Was it having a good time?

My thoughts started swirling again. What if the people who’d found it were returning it to the Apple store on Prince Street?  If they’d stolen it (how I don’t know) would they be shopping in Soho (a pricey neighborhood)?  All bets were off.  I commanded my phone’s automated message to display  “This phone has been lost.  Please call…” I entered my home phone number.  Having done everything I could logically do, I settled down and was able to pay attention for the rest of class.    

When class ended I ran to call my home phone to retrieve the message about my lost phone. I couldn’t remember my damn password.  When I listened later from home I heard my own recording, “I can’t remember my password!”

One of the gals in my class told me that the cops could help me. When she’d taught school, a student’s phone was stolen, and the cops were able to track it to the home it was taken to.  This would never have occurred to me.

My adrenaline was pumping hard. I was on fire with the powerful intention to retrieve my phone.  My plan of action was to go to the Apple store on Prince Street to see if someone turned it in.  If it wasn’t there, I would make a beeline to my local precinct uptown and enlist their help. 

When class ended I bolted out like a bat out of hell.  I saw a cop.  Great! “Where’s the local precinct?”  He had no idea.  He wasn’t NYPD.  He was with The Fed (the Federal Reserve, which is not a governmental agency. Just so you know, the joint that controls the US. money supply is a private agency.  Hmmm….) “Okay. Where’s the subway?” He was of no use there, either.  I kept running, trusting my radar to find a station.  I found a huge station with a zillion trains and never stopped, my eyes and brain kept recalculating my trajectory and destination.  I jumped on an express, my heart racing.  It didn’t go to Prince Street, so I had to jump off at Brooklyn Bridge and hop on a local.  But before I did, I saw something very intriguing in my car.  A young Japanese lady dressed all in pink with bunny rabbit shoes (you know what I’m talking about?  These kids dress like stuffed animals…) Anyway, she was like a little doll herself, perfect and pretty and…holding a red iPhone.  I took it all in and understood what I was seeing.  A sign.  Two, actually. Follow the White (or pink) Rabbit.  Follow the red iPhone.  I smiled.  I was on the right track. 

I hopped off on Spring Street, trying to remember if the store was on Spring or Prince, but really, just followed my body.  It knew where to go, even if my mind was a bit confused.  Unlike empty Wall Street, there were hordes of people in Soho on a Saturday, and I wove through them like a guided missile.  I dashed into the store.  “Where’s your lost and found?  Did anyone turn in a red iPhone? ” I blurted.  “We’ll have to call downstairs.”  I was still pumped with adrenaline.  He called downstairs.  Shook his head.  Nothing.  Another guy bent down under the counter and reappeared holding my phone.  I screamed “My phone!”  I danced, twirled, and hugged several employees, one of whom did not appreciate the gesture.  But Justin, who was wearing a plaid skirt, welcomed my enthusiasm.  He was the one holding my phone.  They needed to make sure I knew the security code.  I passed the test.  Mind you, did they notice the message on my phone saying, “This phone is lost, please call...”?  If I hadn't picked up my phone in person, I somehow doubt they ever would have bothered.

Bottom line, I had the phone back in my hot little hands 30 minutes after I raced from Wall Street, two and a half hours after I lost it.  My body knew where to go and what to do.  It has its own wisdom.  I was an iPhone-seeking missile.  Was there logic involved in retrieving my phone?  Yes.  But there was more than logic. 

In the month that I knew Shirley was leaving I checked on her daily and helped frequently.  Shirley snapped at me several times, once so harshly that I burst into tears after she hung up on me.  In the past I might have shut her out, refusing to assist further if she’s going to bite the hand that feeds her.  I thought about telling her how I felt, however she’s pushing 90, so were we really going to have a meaningful conversation, especially when she’s so stressed and overwhelmed?  I was able to let it go, and it was obvious from her fawning behavior shortly after the fact that she knew she’d done me wrong.  I accepted her wordless apology, and was happy to continue helping her.  These were my last days with her, after all, and we did have a close kinship.

I came to realize something.  When my mother died, Shirley stepped to the fore and in ancillary fashion served as pseudo surrogate.   She provided the adult relationship I never had with my mom, since I was still in college when Mom died.  I had helped my mother in many ways, and was able to help Shirley (I was her handy-man and computer expert among other things).  Shirley also helped me, taking me out on my birthday and holding my mail when I went away.  So her departure signaled a rite of passage, even though I’m a “big girl”.

Despite her assiduously prepping for her move with daily lists and chores, when I checked on her the afternoon before the move she was grossly unprepared.  So, I stepped up.  “What needs doing?”  I did it.  She was exhausted, slumped over, and couldn’t even look me in the face.  The lunch out she had promised me days before never happened, nor did the dinner out she had offered.  I told her it didn’t matter, now was the time to pack and prepare.  Our last night she couldn’t even order food in.  She was nauseous, and I wasn’t interested in a Last Supper.  I was seeing her off to Summer Camp with the Seniors. 

I was up til 1am that night, packing, lifting and organizing her personal effects after two consecutive days of strenuous gym workouts.  I was a zombie.   But despite her constant insomnia, she was afraid of sleeping in on this most important of days.  She had packed all her alarm clocks.  I was up at 6 and called her, and was back helping her by 7. 

When the mover arrived at 9 the guy beamed from ear to ear and said to Shirley.  “You did all my work!  I was supposed to pack for you! This’ll be easy, thanks!”  I stared at him, dumbfounded.  I did all your work.”  He got paid for my backbreaking labor.  Shirley had left a few plates in the kitchen and a few garments hanging in the closet for them to pack, but had entirely misunderstood the agreement (and what she had paid for).  They were to pack everything, including her dishes and garments. With the movers there, I was again “in her hair” and she made it clear my presence was not wanted.   I went home and cried, not from being dismissed, I was used to that from her by now, but from sheer exhaustion and from finding out that what I had spent the last 18 hours breaking my back doing was utterly unnecessary.

This put me in mind of an incident years ago, when my sister and I visited our grandmother in her nursing home.  She was pretty frail, and so tiny the nurse called her Peanut.  My grandmother was German, and so was her roommate, a tall, willowy woman who called me Schatze and begged of me while gripping my hand, “Bitte. Kaffee?”  She wanted a cup of coffee with cream and sugar.  I got it for her.  The nurse yelled at her when she caught her with the contraband.  For some stupid ass reason, this simplest of pleasures (in a Styrofoam cup, no less) was denied a very old woman.  Ridiculous.

My grandmother’s dentures were out on the bathroom shelf.  They were disgusting, covered with all sorts of muck.  I bit the bullet, grabbed them, and scrubbed them with toothbrush and toothpaste until they were… less disgusting.  Very proud of my bravery, I emerged from the bathroom and told my sister what I had just done.  She replied, “What are you talking about?  Nana’s dentures are in her mouth.”   I had just cleaned her roommate’s teeth. 

The feeling of shock and dismay was about the same with the movers.  

Shirley left two notes written on paper towels.  One was to the movers, “DO NOT REMOVE ROBE, HAMPER OR SHOWER CURTAIN” (these were going to the Salvation Army, via me) and the other was to me, “VALERIE, WORDS CANNOT CONVEY MY ETERNAL GRATITUDE. I WILL CALL TONITE. SO M…“ 

Like Joseph of Arimathea’s unfinished Aramaic message carved on the cave wall in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, “Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Arimathea, ‘He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the castle of Aaaargh….!’”  I discerned the intended meaning of Shirley’s last few letters.  “So much love.”

I don’t regret packing Shirley’s things.  It was an intense night, and it represented our final hours together, with me helping her.  I saved her life that night.  She was in a “state”, believing that she was unprepared, and I prepared her. 

While looking for years, she didn’t tell me of her plan to move until just a month prior.  She shared her reason for moving to a home for independent living thusly.  The building that we've lived in since the 1970s has changed vastly over the years.  There are lots of young couples with babies, nannies and maids galore.  Then there are the old timers, some of whom are in wheelchairs and walkers (I’m somewhere in between the two demographics.) Shirley referenced someone who’d died in the building and said, “I don’t want to leave the lobby on a stretcher”. 

My final gift to Shirley came in the form of words. I found her still in the lobby (after the movers packed her teacup and blouse) waiting to be picked up by a relative and driven to her new home.  I was just back from yet another workout I couldn’t believe I had the strength for, but adrenaline was still pumping through me and I needed the release after all the stress.  Shirley was drained of all energy, and she sat slumped on a chair by the front door. 

She was sinking into a quicksand comprised of exhaustion, stress and insomnia.  Hunched over like a 9000-year-old mummy, she could not even look at me; she looked only at the ground.  The night before I had repeatedly commanded her to stand up straight and look at me since she was withdrawing into herself like a traumatized person.  I imitated her atrocious demeanor, hunched over, eyes down. Despite how spent she was I reminded her that I was doing all the work, and when she snapped at me yet once more, I finally stood up to her.  “Are you complaining?”  That shut her right up.

I looked at her seated in the lobby.  “You remember what you said to me?  You don’t want to leave this lobby on a stretcher?  Well, you’re not.  Stand up straight, chin up.  You’re walking out of this building.” 

Shirley bequeathed me a bag of frozen peas and a can of string beans.  I also inherited her string, ribbon, and plastic and paper bag collections.  She took her plastic bag ties (already twisted and used) with her.   My foyer is filled with 20 bags of her unwanted stuff awaiting the Salvation Army’s pickup in a month.  

Shirley is now up north eating endless lox with the “walker brigade”.  It’ll probably take her a year to unpack. Despite her virtual “death”, she called from her new haven, and we had a lovely chat.  I’ve often felt abandoned when people moved, and wrote off the relationships. Hearing from Shirley was like hearing from a ghost.  I enjoyed the ghostly conversation thoroughly.

I’ve had another realization about my relationship with Shirley since she “departed”.  After years of looking after my mother, and looking in on Shirley, I'm not on call anymore. I’ve no one to care for now but myself.  And that’s a good thing.  I’m free. 

I’m softening, and this too, is a part of my mystic and spiritual opening.  The Land of the Purple Glove, The Orange Earring, and The Red iPhone is an expansive place. My heart continues to open and wonder abounds.  I am a person who finds things. 

© Valerie Gilbert 2016 All Rights Reserved

Valerie is the author of RAVING VIOLET, MEMORIES, DREAMS & DEFLECTIONS: My Odyssey Through Emotional Indigestion, and SWAMI SOUP. The books are available in print, e-book, and audio book, narrated by the author. 

Valerie leads Psychic Development/Guided Meditation/Healing/Past Life Regression Workshops at Namaste Healing Center, and privately, in New York City.  

For more information on Valerie's full lineup: http://valeriegilbert.weebly.com

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

GOING DEEP: Mining the Gold Within



I received a warning from Spirit, a threat, if you will, that I needed to up the ante regarding my meditation “practice” (which was a hobby at best). I’d received channeled messages from On High for decades about the value in my meditating daily.  You know, like seriously meditating, not the way I had been, sometimes for a minute, sometimes for twenty, and sometimes not for weeks. Spirit pulled out the big guns and pointed one right at my head.  I needed help with something but they weren’t gonna give unless I paid up first. 

I had dabbled with meditation for years.  I even took a class, but fell asleep in the darkened room until I was awakened by a bang.  It was my head hitting the desk I was seated at.   Or was that automatic writing class?  At any rate, my days of meditating recreationally were over.

I was at yet another standstill in my life, financially, socially, you name the category, on the surface, things were dead.  Impatient for change, I was told the change would come from within, only when I meditated.  “Nothing will move in your life until you meditate longer and with regularity.  This is the only way your Higher Self can get your attention” my pal Nicole, a channeler (www.teachingsofthemasters.org) said. They were done with hinting and suggesting to their recalcitrant ward.  Instead, they held my life ransom. I guess even God has Her limits when she’s got an agenda that needs tending to.

I’ve been threatened by Spirit before.  While many people think God wants us to behave, I’d once been admonished by Spirit to become sexually active.  I was too old to be on the shelf.  Depressed over the death of my second parent in my early twenties, I just wasn’t feeling jiggy.  The message from Spirit went roughly:  “It almost doesn’t matter who, what, when or where, but do something, for God’s sake! Don’t sit around waiting for the love of your life”.  Which I was. 

This is the very reason I have to start smoking each New Years.  I live alone and work at home.  I know an 80 year old nun in Houston who has a more active social life than I do. I’m so squeaky clean (save for cursing and drinking) that I have nothing to give up.

Except not-meditating.   

Well, I took this threat from Spirit as a real challenge.  “You want me to meditate?  God damn it, I’ll meditate!”  I sat down that very day and did something I’d never done before.  I meditated for nearly three hours.  Not all at once.  I did it in three separate sessions.  But I did it.  I fucking did it.  I could hear the spirits cheer “Hallelujah” when I finished my final session late that night.  And yes, after decades of ignoring their pleas for me to hunker down and “sit”, I felt very accomplished having finally “sat”, as if I’d just run a marathon.  Even though I just sat on my ass.

Spirit knows how to throw its weight around with me.  I pull cards from various tarot type decks every morning. There’s an angel card (or some shit) from one deck or another that admonishes GOD IS IN CHARGE.  Whenever I pull it, I think, “Jeez, what a control freak.  Alright, God, knock yourself out.  You're pushy, though!”  (God appreciates my perky personality.) 

The fact is, there are things that are out of our control and things (when fate pounds on our door) that behoove us to confront.  Even activities as simple as doing the dishes, laundry, or vacuuming.  We may not particularly want to do them, but when we do, we feel better.  We restore order to chaos.   And we don't smell. 

When I finally face the music these undesirable invitations inevitably produce transformation, despite my preliminary fear, trepidation, resentment, heel-dragging, and cursing.  On the day I asked when things would change for me, God played the Mafioso.  A black car pulled up.  The door was opened, a gun was waved. “Get in the back. ” Given my need for help, I was in no position to argue.  I went along for the ride.  I was good and sober when they threw me out of the car.  They meant business.

So what happened when I took my marching orders and started to meditate in earnest?

It was interesting.

Exhilarating.

A wave of experiences washed over and through me.

I worked through all those little things you’d expect, like restlessness, boredom, discomfort, thoughts like “This isn’t working”  “I have to blow my nose” “I have to pee”  “My nose itches”.  And you know how I dealt with them?  I went to the bathroom, blew my nose, and scratched when necessary.  I’m not into suffering.  I’m not an ascetic. And I don’t believe denial is the path to heaven, enlightenment, higher dimensions or higher consciousness.  Transcendence is not about killing our human aspect, or the ego.  It’s about taming it.  Civilizing it.  Incorporating it into the bigger, non-physical aspect of ourselves. Consciously connecting the human to the divine, effecting a powerful weave of the two. Once I addressed the issues of my nose and bladder, I hunkered back down to hook up with the higher dimensions.

Determined, I kept at this meditation thing thrice daily.  Spirit gave me a challenge and I accepted.  I sat and sat and sat some more.  And I got somewhere.  I started to experience different sensations, different states of consciousness.  Some were ecstatic.  Some were peaceful.  Some phases even seemed “thoughtless”, “empty” or “mindless” something I had deemed impossible.  I know now it’s possible to still the mind, and I won’t qualify it further than to say it’s a mystical experience and you’ll see for yourself when you get there. 

Time started to fly, then it disappeared altogether.  I enjoyed being alone in my soundproofed work studio, my top priority to be with myself and open up to higher states of being.  All the anxiety of needing to do, to get, to prove, to change, to fix, to produce, to procure, went out the window.  My only desired connection was to Me.  I was the experiment, the archeologist and excavation site, peeling away layers of my persona and the contrived construct of our “reality”.

I kept this up every day. 

I felt accomplished.  More peaceful and content.  Happier.

I was going places while going nowhere at all.   

I even purchased a magic carpet (a purple meditation pad and pillow) to continue my travels.  

While meditating, I allowed myself to play.  I started thinking happy thoughts. My goal was never to still the mind, it was simply to “go within” and engage myself on a deeper level. I indulged in daydreaming and creative visualization.  My varieties of experience were very much like watching clouds drift by.  I both allowed and created.  There were moments of bliss. 

Whereas previously I had looked elsewhere and outside for things to do, suddenly I was the activity. I had a date with myself, three times a day, and I did this religiously for at least a week.  The hunger for more outside was gone.  My questing was internal.  

I also experienced physical and energetic sensations, tingling in the palms of my hands, heat in my body, tingling in my third eye and head generally.  This is the good stuff, when you know circuits are firing and that psychic and spiritual energy is being activated and moved.  I was building my internal fire. 

Within a week I booked a job, my first audio book narration in almost a year.  Spirit was true to its word.  

Then more audio book recording work poured in, time returned and the clock started ticking.  My peace flew out the window as I booked job after job. My breathing became shallow and anxiety returned, the compulsion to audition for more jobs and to complete the ones I had creating mounting stress.  I realized I had to figure out a way to meld both worlds, one of productivity, the other of being. 

When I first started recording audio books a few years ago, two of my pets had just died back to back. My grief was profound, and I worked long and hard at the computer to distract from it. I was so stressed that I fell apart (carpal tunnel, compromised eyesight, back and shoulder pain, massive ear infections that exploded my head, and a thyroid condition).  When I stopped booking jobs I was relieved.  I needed to recover.  But then, I needed money. 

So, this was round two of recording books.  I was an experienced narrator and producer by now.  I had more pets. And I had new meditating skills. I was determined not to stress myself into sickness and despair.

I know that being healthy and happy is as important as earning money and being productive.  I had to find the balance.  But I wasn’t going to take an hour off to just “sit”, not now that I had ants in my pants with so much work to do. Performing and producing felt diametrically opposed to just being.  Additionally, when I’m recording, I don’t write.  That’s a different frequency as well. In fact, writing is a form of meditation for me.  Receiving ideas from the ethers requires being open to them.  It is both active and receptive, the very way I experience meditation.

While I wasn’t meditating as long and hard as I’d initially done to prove my mettle to Spirit, I was still dabbling, and I knew this was okay (I’m not a Rules Girl).  I also wasn’t working as long and hard as I’d done the last time I made myself sick from stress.   I was pacing myself.  Those were magic words.  I’d stop.  Take a walk with my dog.  Have a cup of tea.  Stretch.  I couldn’t work as hard as I’d done before.  That way lay madness.

I completed all my recording work and decided to enjoy my freedom, to start meditating in earnest again, and to write.  That’s when another recording project came in.  Sigh. I couldn’t stop the press again.  Life is not all or nothing. So, yet again, I had the opportunity to weave the worlds together and figure out some kind of comfortable flow between being and doing. I worked even more slowly this time (it was one book, vs. six projects, or fourteen, as I once simultaneously had). 

I’m also finessing my Zen calm. For instance, when there are interruptions or noises as I’m recording (they are legion) I’m not as upset as I used to get, and find I’m able to remain neutral at times, and better yet, sometimes even smile or laugh about the disturbance.  These are the benefits of meditation.  You go within to your ever-present center of peace and calm, and come out refreshed.   It’s your very own isolation tank, full night of sleep, walk in the woods, super food smoothie (or double espresso).

When we’re calm and centered we can weave through dimensions like we weave through traffic.  Learning to go from high stress human mode to peaceful meditation mode is not unlike shifting gears when you drive, learning to upshift to and downshift from the higher realms, and not become derailed altogether when you get in an accident, stuck in traffic, or barely escape a scrape.  As you deepen your practice you will adapt more quickly to the shifts.  There is an acclimation period as we meld the human and the divine aspects of ourselves, but it’s no different from getting out of the water after swimming, or cooling down after a long run.  The more frequently and deeply we connect with our eternal aspects, the easier it is to be Human.

Flexibility is the key to success.  If you can’t meditate one day, don’t beat yourself up.  Some days you don’t get enough sleep, or any exercise.  The more accepting you are of your changing needs and life’s fluctuations the easier it is to get back on track.

If you’re just not in the mood, don’t do something.  Yet sometimes if you just nudge yourself (to meditate, clear your desk, do your taxes, do the dishes) you can move through the activity into a place of peace. The more you get in alignment with yourself, and work with your moods, the more life flows easily and effortlessly. See if you can take things (and yourself) less seriously. 

If you’re feeling stressed, slow down.  No, stop, altogether and take stock of yourself. Walk out of the room. Take a nap.  Take a shower.  Take a walk. Listen to music. Have tea.  Coffee. A glass of wine.  Meditate.  There’s no right or wrong answer.  Trust your wanting. 

We need a balance of rest, play, work, time with others and time alone.  It’s never the same percentage each day.  Things are always shifting, morphing and moving, even when they seem still.

As I go deeper and higher in meditation, I still experience challenges in my personal life.  Meditation and spiritual growth don’t make your problems go away.  Your practice will dredge up issues in order to further clear your plate. Now that you’re revving your engine, what are you going to do with your Zen skills?  You’re going to race the Indy 500.  Challenge is the medium in which personal growth is cultured.   As your core strengthens, road blocks that seemed insurmountable turn into gentle speed bumps.  And speed bumps are good, because they remind us fast paced lunatics to slow down. 

My challenges have been legion, from work to money, health and social relationships, you name it.  However, my ability to bounce back to a happy or comfortable place, to have perspective, to not get upset or as engaged in drama as I used to, is greater due to the fact that I am regularly entering the higher realms and forging alliances there.  Think of your meditation practice as a secret garden, an inner sanctum, a country cottage, your private island.  Contemplate that there is an energetic team within and around you ready to serve your needs.  We all have an etheric entourage, but they cannot help us unless we solicit their guidance.   There is gold within, but you have to mine it. 

Think of the Dalai Lama’s bright energy, his endless enthusiasm, his frequent laughter.  They do not diminish the fact that the man works hard and travels frequently.  He’s old.  His country has been devastated by the Chinese, his friends and countrymen murdered, his temples destroyed.   Of course it weighs on him.  But he is resilient. 

The stronger a connection I create with Spirit, my Self, the more power and endurance I have to deal with the visible world of conflict and challenge. 

There’s a saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”  The world doesn’t change.  You change.  As you do, your experience of the world changes, and the world responds to your transformation.  Nothing exemplifies this better than Bill Murray’s character Phil in the movie Groundhog Day. Same shit, different day.  Rinse, repeat.  Life is just one boring humdrum hollow non-event for Phil. He keeps hitting his head against the wall with his cranky, pessimistic, selfish attitude, and it keeps him in the doghouse. When he starts playing with life, approaching it like an experiment, he engages himself passionately in the world.  By taking piano lessons, helping others, participating in social events, by truly living, he becomes happy, fulfilled and a hero. 

As I continue to ace my tests life becomes easier and better by the day.  The challenges fall away, for they’re not there to punish you.  They’re there to grow you.  I still walk into rooms and find that, for instance, my cat is eating my duvet (aided and abetted by her sister who ripped the thing open, exposing the feathers).  Instead of overreacting, I interrupted her mid-meal and repaired the duvet.

When we get into the flow of life, the machine starts working optimally.  Meditation is one of the most powerful ways we can lubricate our divine motorworks.  It revs the engine and raises our vibration so we can forge our human and divine selves into a dynamic driver/vehicle partnership. Our Soul, our Higher Self is simply a piece of God.  A chip off the old block.   It’s us in higher vibrational format.  Or consider the spectrum of light, some of which is invisible.  The human self is one end of the spectrum, the divine at the other.  However, they are connected. 

I’ve been on a conscious spiritual path my whole life, but as I up the ante by doing the inner work (which includes but is not limited to meditation) my psychic abilities have increased.  I have myriad signs, symbols and synchronicities happening on a daily basis, and it is a sheer pleasure to have the Universe interact with me in this playful and informative manner.  It’s because I’ve gone “online”.  I activated the connection.

A few short examples.  I was in the post office on April 21st.  As I was leaving, at 11:30 AM, I looked down to see a red Fender guitar pick on the ground.  I picked it up and contemplated it.  Why would I find this?  I’ve dated a few guitar players,  my mind scrolled through that Rolodex and settled on one who once toured with Prince.  I put the pick in my change purse, walked away and let the thought go.  Two hours later I discovered Prince was dead.  Yeah, I know, the pick should have been purple.

I dreamt of a pair of shoes belonging to a friend of mine who passed away this year.  They were red, used (kinda falling apart, actually) and smaller in size than I believe she actually wore.  When I checked email shortly after waking, I discovered her husband had organized a walk in her memory. 

I wrote a friend last week and when I didn’t hear back from her wondered what was up.  I dreamt about her this morning, she was speed-walking through a tunnel to get to me.  When I checked email this morning she had finally written back.   These are small things, but they are accurate, and I enjoy the heads up from the inner realm about their connection (and mine) to both worlds. 

And finally, a slightly bigger and more amusing example of how the Universe plays with us when we’re game.

While hunkering down to meditate, I employed a technique I’d read about and was intrigued by.  I invoked the words “Reveal Thyself” to whoever was listening, working with me, and encouraging my spiritual growth.  I’m not naming names.

I wanted to up the ante.  For while I can relax, center, and reach higher, deeper states of consciousness while meditating, I was hungry for more.  I wanted some flash, some pizzazz, you know, some psychic phenomena, like a vision, or a message I could hear with my ears, or in my mind.  It was Friday night.  I wanted fireworks.

While seated in meditation in a dark room I spoke the words aloud, “Reveal thyself to me. Show your face.  Make yourself useful!”  Yada yada.  No sooner had the words been spoken than my room blazed with light.  So brilliant was this radiance that it stunned me out of my reverie. Talk about “Ask and it is given.”  Was it a burning bush in the middle of the room? My eyes popped open.  My wall of windows was illuminated by a blinding light so intense it could have beamed from a spaceship waiting to see if I needed a lift. 

I was peacefully meditating, asking for a stronger connection with higher dimensions, when God switched the lights on.  “Surprise”!  The room was electrified.

I must add that these windows haven’t been washed in so long that Zero Mostel’s line from Mel Brooks’1968 film The Producers comes to mind when I look at them, “Window’s so dirty you can’t tell if it’s day or night.”  He tosses some of his black coffee on the glass to “clean it” then casually swipes the mess with his tie. 

I don’t clean my windows often because I live on a busy thoroughfare in Manhattan and as soon as you clean them, soot instantly reappears. Cleaning the windows in NYC is an uphill battle that I gave up long ago.  Despite the grime, this UFO, or my Higher Self, was able to break through the crud. 

I leaped up and jumped to the window to see what was going on out there.  A light shone from the main thoroughfare near me, a big cross street in Manhattan, high up on a crane.  My first thought was that they were making a movie.  But why would they be shining the light in my apartment?  

The light swiveled. Perhaps they were doing road work? (a constant in this city).  I was curious to find out.  I grabbed my dog and went to see who was responsible for this “act of God”. 

The Good Wife was shooting down the block.  I spoke with a production assistant, a young man who meditates himself, and appreciated my humorous account of asking for “more” from Spirit and receiving it via network TV.  I then chatted with the two gaffers operating the crane that had temporarily focused on my apartment and asked how many watts were required to light up the night sky.  18,000. 

The following day I went to Central Park with my dog.  We bumped into a neighbor who had just been there and she warned, “It’s filled with assholes.” 

Milo and I waded through the hordes of selfie-taking shopaholic tourists in the park. A little boy lunged to grab my puppy, who bolted in terror. I blurted, “Don’t chase my dog!”  His grandma defended the little terror by lying. “It wasn’t intentional.  He tripped!” 

We passed a couple who just got engaged and a couple of bridal parties taking photos.  A ballerina en pointe posed for photos by Bethesda fountain.  A mostly toothless older Latino man wore torn fishnets and chipped nail polish.  He waved happily at me.  I waved back. 

It wasn’t until our walk in the park was coming to a close that I realized the full impact of the Burning Bush/UFO incident the day prior. Milo and I were descending a steep set of stone stairs which led from a wooden gazebo atop a mountainous hill when the lightbulb went on. 

I had asked Spirit to reveal itself.  18,000 watts lit up my room, making it feel like call and response in church.  I asked, and it was given. Yet, what was revealed?  Despite my dirty windows and because of my lack of window treatments, I was revealed.  I was exposed, as surely as if I were center stage in a spotlight.  I'm The One I was looking for. 

Like everybody else, I look for God and answers and messages outside of myself and keep forgetting what I believe. We are God. Each and every one of us is an expression of the divine, whether or not we behave in divine manner.  I know this, yet keep acting like a putz who needs help from a psychic hotline. 

Which is why Spirit told me to stop and meditate seriously.  Because this is when you discover the meaning of, “Be Still, and Know that I am God”.  When you are still and self-contained, you find out Who You Are.

The nature of consciousness is never ending expansion and transformation. God likes to stretch, explore, and even to party. What do you think geysers and waterfalls are doing? The more we step into our Divine Shoes, the more fun our lives become.  

Meditation is not nothing any more than outer space is empty.  There are worlds within.  The bible quote “In my father’s house are many mansions” refers to these many dimensions.  Close your eyes and See.


© 2016 Valerie Gilbert, All Rights Reserved.

Valerie is the author of RAVING VIOLET, MEMORIES, DREAMS & DEFLECTIONS: My Odyssey Through Emotional Indigestion, and SWAMI SOUP. The books are available in print, e-book, and audio book, narrated by the author. 

Valerie leads Psychic Development/Guided Meditation/Healing/Past Life Regression Workshops at Namaste Healing Center, and privately, in New York City.  

For more information on Valerie's full lineup: http://valeriegilbert.weebly.com