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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Lights Are On and the Motor's Running

Part One:

Warming Up The Engine

“Sucking or blowing?”  I inquired.  My doorman looked up at me, simultaneously confused, perturbed and amused. “What?” He queried with his English accent. I had returned home late at night after a screening of the amazing new film “The Imitation Game” about British math genius Alan Turing, who broke the German code Enigma during WWII, and invented the world’s first computer in so doing. The film stars sixth Beatle Benedict Cumberbatch, who was there with the director and cast for a Q&A after the film, and then exited the theatre to embrace his lucky fiancée when all was said and done.  I am a fan of Cumberbatch and his body of work, and this film is fantastic. 

I was all misty after the film, not because I saw Benedict, nor because he is getting married (to someone else), but because my father fought in the war, and was stationed as an airman in England.  As well, it seems (this is relatively recent news) that my father may have been doing covert work, and this film was all about “covert”.  I downgraded my crying from downpour to drizzle and wiped at my eyes as I approached my building, shifting from pensive and sad to puzzled and curious.  I could not discern what my night doorman was doing outside the building.  He was using a gadget on the sidewalk that looked like a leaf blower, but he then utilized it inside the lobby where there were no leaves.  So I asked.  “Is it sucking, or blowing?  I can’t tell.”  His bewilderment gave way to laughter.

I go in spurts with my assorted activities, from tap dancing to spiritual seeking.  I regularly get messages from Nicole Gans Singer, a superb medium and channeler (  After being left high and dry time and again by the various and sundry “spiritual” events I attend, I’ve asked for feedback from Nicole’s guides regarding these events, as there’s often more (or less) than meets the eye.  Maybe I did benefit from something, even if it seemed like a boring bust.  It’s all in one’s perspective, and I like mine to be challenged.  I keep an open mind, but am often flabbergasted by the unexpected insights Spirit has about my daily comings and goings.

I attended an event led by “energy worker” Abdy “Electriciteh” (a made up last name if ever I heard one). I’d heard about him from a “chatty Cathy” in a trance mediumship class I took, or “trance camp” as I liked to call it.  She glowed ecstatically, “Abdy looks in your eyes then knocks you down with his energy!”  Sounded like a barrel full of monkeys.  There’s another guy named Braco (pronounced “Bratzoh”) who just stares warmly and intently at crowds for extended periods of time.  It’s supposed to be healing.  Or loving.  Or something. 

Anyone who’s come close to their favorite movie or music star knows the electrifying phenomenon that Abdy was selling.  What did people get from Jesus?  The Buddha?  What do they get from Bono?  Heck, performance artist Marina Abramović made a splash at the Museum of Modern Art not long ago doing the same thing as Braco.  A little eye contact goes a long way.  It’s increasingly rare in our mobile device obsessed culture.  Comfortable eye contact, inner peace and social ease are antidotes for “text neck.” 

I was at a guy’s free channeling event in New York City when I learned that Abdy “Electriciteh” was going to be in New York City.  Actually, I have to stop right there.  I used to attend this guy’s channeled events regularly in years prior, and while all channeling sessions can be weird (it’s awkward on occasion when Spirit takes over your body) this guy’s sessions were weirder than most. 

I’ve been in dark, quiet rooms filled with reverent, meditative types when a channel’s sudden booming made me hit the ceiling. In the weekly development circle I led in my home for years, a one-time guest channeled spontaneously, and I nearly jumped out of my skin.  I didn’t know she had that psychic trick up her sleeve.  Actually, I didn’t know if she was a girl, either, despite her overblown feminine façade.  When you’re over six feet tall and have no hips, big tits and a lot of makeup become suspect. 

I’ve been with soft-spoken channels, loud channels and channels who babbled intergalactic gobbledeygook (hey, I don’t speak Arcturian, it could have been coherent.) I’m open to it all.  I don’t have to prove it.  It’s not a test.  It’s an experience.  I get what I get.  And you get it from me.  Some of it’s real.  Some of it may not be.  But there’s only one way to find out.  Go to the group.  Or go to Arcturus.

The guy whose channeled sessions I was going to weekly would gesticulate and spasm while he boomed.  Weird?  Yes.  Fine.  But years later, now that he’s a big channeling star of sorts, all of a sudden his guides had taken on an English accent and a bit of Irish flair.  The two accents phased in and out during his Big Free Public Appearance.  This would seem flagrant proof that the fellow is faking, right? (You’re barely with me as it is, I know.) 

See, the thing is, I’m a substance over style gal.  I’ve learned to overlook a lot of stuff over the years, as there’s often a pearl of wisdom embedded in the debris. Because someone has some flaw or distortion does not mean they don’t also have valuable gifts.  You’ve just gotta decide on a case by case basis how much detritus you’re willing to pick through.

So, the guy’s channeling is not in question for me.  His messages are powerful, incisive, insightful, specific, commanding and astute.  They are also not very fun or uplifting.  A bit dreary and Old Testament for my taste, which is one of the reasons why I stopped going.  However, what’s with the accents?  No, really, what’s with the accents?  Were Shaw and Shakespeare now trying to get in on the action?  Why did they take years to make their presence known?  Were they waiting for green cards? 

At any rate, while at this American/Irish/English channeling convention, I got a flyer for Abdy from the channeler’s agent, for Abdy is represented by the same agent.  Yes, I know how that sounds.  It sounds like that to me, too.

Abdy is an “energy worker”, someone who toils in the diffuse realm of that which is invisible to the naked eye, like any physicist does.  We may not see the energy itself, but we know it by its fruit, like wind chimes animated by a breeze.

My interest in the ethereal spheres challenges me to rely on my own knowing. To come into my own Sovereignty.  My Mastery.  I invite you to come into yours, too, as Luke did in his “blind” light saber training with Obi Wan Kenobi against a remote in “Return of the Jedi”. This does not mean that we cannot benefit from others’ teachings and skills.  They can trigger our own understandings, even if they are frauds.  We have to be discerning, and not dumb ourselves down in deference to someone else’s alleged status or power.  If you “feel nothing” in response to a healing or teaching it may be because there was nothing there to feel.  On the other hand, even if you do “feel something” how do you know it’s really from them, and not from you?  And if you don’t feel anything, it’s still possible that something (either good or bad) still took place. It's a slippery slope when it comes to interpretation.  The only one you should really trust at the end of the day is yourself.  And that is the lesson.  That, and to keep an open mind.  I’m not advocating distrust of others, but too many people defer to others and give their power away.  This is a cardinal sin. 

Before Abdy started to work the packed room, he said, “There is no name for what you receive.”  I’ll say.  But there is a name for what he receives.  $40.   Now, I liked the guy and his “energy”, and he certainly didn’t hurt me.  But he didn’t knock me to the ground with his electricity.  On the other hand, people around me were swooning and screaming.  I felt rather like I was in a madhouse, a classic insane asylum. Now, to be fair, most of the folk in attendance were well-behaved.  But some of the “loosy goosy” types were flapping and flailing, convulsing and twitching Salem witch trial style. I was feverishly looking around for an exorcist and an exit.  

One guy with a beard and a big belly broke out in maniacal laughter, rocking and rolling on the floor while the waistband of his sweat pants hovered tenuously around his crack.   Others hooted, cried and wailed.  Some even whimpered.  An occasional moan or shriek rang out and echoed in the high ceilinged room. Good god.  A couple of women sounded like they were having orgasms, and another like she was giving birth, all on a cold church floor.  Do I know how to have fun on a Saturday night?

Abdy told us to lie down once we were “touched” by him.  But this was too good a show to miss, so I sat right back up to survey what was going on, and to make sure no lunatic snuck up on me and had a rabid seizure, convulsion, or gave birth in my personal space. When one loonie started wailing, another would too, as if in manic competition.  A crazed chain reaction would ripple through the room.  

Listen, it’s easy for me to make fun of them.   I don’t know what was going on, or what he opened up for them.  I don’t think it was bad.  There are a lot of messed up people who are not in touch with themselves.  So, they let Abdy touch them instead.  He said, “If you are sad, the energy will release sad.  If you are mad, the energy will release mad” I guess I’m wary, cause that’s what released.  Actually, that’s not true.  I went in desiring to have a mystical experience, not wanting to rag on lunatics (or to be with them, frankly).  I wanted to love Abdy and our “electric exchange”.  I wanted to be bowled over by his energy and to have an ecstatic adventure.  While I did feel something the second time he touched me (a light tingling in my head when he looked intently in my eyes then touched my third eye with his thumb) overall, I was left cold.  I cut out early. 

When I asked for feedback about the event from my channeler friend Nicole, she focused within then declared, “Well, he certainly knows how to move energy.  But frankly, there are very few people from whom you can benefit at this time.  You’re more evolved energetically than most of the people you’ve been seeking out.”

I’m not trying to sound big-headed.  I didn’t say it.  She did. On the other hand, I have been studying my whole life.  And I am pretty cool.  You have to graduate sometime.

I’ve received messages from Spirit advising me to stop seeking.  Sounds crazy, right?  Stop seeking teachers, they said.  I’m not seeking teachers, per se, but strong leaders. Interesting people and experiences to ignite my growth and offer unique, new perspectives.  Learning never stops.  What’s wrong with wanting to study with Einstein?  Apparently, there’s a shortage of good teachers.  At least for me.

I’m looking for a good time, and I seek it in Spirit, not in bars (though I do enjoy “spirits”). For example, the aforementioned trance medium I studied with.  He was sweet, simple, and slow (not mentally, but in manner).  Real relaxed like.  When it came down to it, I learned more and pushed myself more when I studied with medium James Van Praagh.  A fast-paced New Yorker like myself, he was chock full of exercises and new ideas that kept me on my toes.  While his ideas were consistent with what I already knew and felt (this was a plus) he also took me places I hadn’t yet been.  That’s why I go to a class, or an event.  I want new vistas and for my world-view to be shaken up.  

This applies to tap class (I go regularly) as much as any spoon-bending workshop (I’ve been to one.  Of course).  A substitute teacher walked into my tap class and I was immediately perturbed by her dour demeanor.  She was “street”, slouchy hip-hop grunge.  No problem there.  However, no eye contact and looking only at her phone as she entered the room was an “uh oh” for me.  Then she plugged her phone into the sound system.  Okay, good.  At least she would be playing music.  Not all tap teachers do. 

She smiled finally (thank god) and started leading our warm up, all the while holding a cup of coffee.  An intriguing prop, though she did spill once.  I wondered if she clutched a cocktail during afternoon classes.  

Class dragged as I kept waiting for her to turn on a tune to spice things up.  She continued to scroll through tunes on her iPod.  Since she made up our routine on the spot, I thought she was probably trying to figure out the perfect piece of music as she improvised.

While lithe, when this gal slammed her taps down the sound reverberated as from a giant’s stride.  By comparison, I sounded like a mouse with paperclips taped to my toes.  “Not bad,” she’d announce. Never a “pretty good” or even “Hey, that was better!” There’s such a huge difference between the two approaches and hers was demoralizing.  She never did play music.  Turned out she was just charging her phone and checking her damn texts.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this piece.  My weekend workshop with Panache Desai.  Having worked like a dog 7 days a week up to 18 hours (on and off) a day for a good 18 months straight, and having sweated financial bullets for years prior to that, I finally earned the time and ability to take a three day break.  I bounded off for Port Authority and bonded with others waiting in line for our bus up north, which was late.  Finally, the lady standing in front of me checked outside and said, “Well, the lights are on and the motor’s running.”  While our driver was still missing in action, this was nonetheless a very promising sign.  I was in great spirits when I arrived at my destination.

I wasn’t sure who Panache really was, other than a smiley, young, New Age guy.  Same as every other personal growth leader with an over-bright grin.  What was he selling?  It was impossible to determine from class literature, sounding as vague as the “messages” of his smiling, soulful competitors.  New Age catalogues are full of classes taught by smiling teachers with loving messages.  Why should I give any of them my shekels?  I can smile in the mirror and love myself without their tutelage. I based my decision to study with Panache on a very short Internet interview I caught with him and past life regressionist Brian Weiss in which he seemed appealing, positive and open-minded. 

I thought, “Ah, now I know who he is.”  When I found he was offering a class near me, I decided to go.  I trusted my intuition and fully expected to like this fellow and benefit from his workshop.

Part Two coming soon. 

© 2015 Valerie Gilbert, All Rights Reserved

My third book, SWAMI SOUP, is now available in print and e-book!  The audio book, narrated by me, will be available 2/1/15.  RAVING VIOLET and MEMORIES, DREAMS & DEFLECTIONS: My Odyssey Through Emotional Indigestion are both available in print, e-book and audio, narrated by me. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Señor de los Milagros (or why everyone was shorter than me)

I love signs from Spirit.  I live by them.  Dreams and visions inform my days and nights.  They leave a trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow, and sometimes, an entire organic, whole grain loaf fresh from the oven. 

There are many ways that Spirit communicates with us, and when I say Spirit I mean God, your Higher Self, your True Self, or your angels, guides and loved ones in spirit, who are with you always.  There is help and support available at all times, and I use it. 

A hermit in midtown Manhattan, I work at home and live alone.  It’s been this way for quite a while, all the more so since my last two pets, a dog and cat, died 12 and 18 months ago, respectively.  I was too upset to get more animals, and determined that I’d spring for a human the next time. I’m due a relationship. 

However, Spirit has other ideas about this.  They’ve been keeping me in quarantine, with an etheric chastity belt to boot.  They keep telling me there’s more work to do before my long awaited partnership happens.  This does not make me happy, for I am human, and have longings for company and intimacy.  However, I also believe my soul chose this path, and that I’m not an unwitting player.  I understand and embrace the agenda, yet get frustrated from time to time.  For the most part, I’m pretty damn happy with my life right now.  I’ve learned to raise and keep my vibration at a consistently high level.  Whatever momentarily glitches get my knickers in a twist, I’m able to recover from quickly.  With great ease, I bounce back.  Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. 

Apparently solitude has been essential for my spiritual incubation, the fertile soil I needed to process my grief, angst, and what have you. Stuff.  I’m human.  Very human while yet a decidedly fervent mystic.  Embracing the seeming paradox of the human and divine worlds is the basis of my credo.  This world is full of contradictions.  It is a world of duality.  We have to conceive beyond limitation.  To transcend duality into triality, the point above the fray.  The eagle’s eye vista. 

I was told more spiritual and creative doors have to open for and within me before I am mated.  I must climb higher on the ladder of ascension, and that my most important mating is with my Higher Self.  This is not the hot date I’m looking for on a Friday night.  I’m the only bride I know required to wear a freaking halo on her head for her wedding day. What kind of lace goes with that?

I want to discuss with you here how signs and symbols from Spirit work.

For instance, I’ve been dreaming of dumplings lately.  Don’t ask me why.  Chinese dumplings.  You know, dim sum?  Steamed, pan fried, whatever.  Dumplings.  I make note of my dreams as they are insightful, potent and prophetic.  For someone who regularly interprets her dreams, dumplings represent… an enigma.  What the hell do dumplings mean?  Beat me.  But I wrote it down anyway.  I record my dreams every day. There were at least three separate dream dumpling incidents over the course of six weeks.  Mystifying, in a very doughy way. 

Well, recently, I had a breakdown.  Not new.  I break down all the time.  And that does not mean that I am broken.  It means that I am sensitive, and in touch with my feelings.  I don’t put on a happy face when I ain’t happy.  In fact, I read recently that babies (very in touch with the “other side” from which they have freshly emerged) will often cry not because something is wrong with them, but because something is wrong.  Period.  They pick up on the energetic malcontent on the planet.  There’s a lot of it.  Are you surprised? 

Perhaps I’m depressed, neurotic, a sad sack, a fanatic, a genius.  Or perhaps, I too, like the babies, pick up on the pain on this planet.  Or recall my own.  From this lifetime and others.  Who hasn’t suffered?  The Buddha nailed it.  Life is suffering.  From one perspective.  From other perspectives, it’s all a joke, an illusion, a game to be conquered, a realm to be enjoyed, exalted, and, in so doing, uplifted to a higher dimension.  Suffering is one perspective.  It’s not the only one.  The Buddha transcended.  So can we.

I wake up at 4am.  It’s when I take my new thyroid medication, which I plan to quit pronto.  I’ll be letting my thyroid doc know when I see him shortly.  I suspect he won’t be pleased, but then, he’s just my doctor.  It’s my body.  This imbalance is a new condition.  I was convinced he’d want to medicate me, but Doc was content to just monitor me without treatment (to my delight) until he learned I was having knee surgery, at which point he freaked out.  “You’re having surgery? You’re doing it backwards!  You should be balancing your thyroid first, then getting surgery.”  Why surgery necessitated taking thyroid pills, I don’t know.  He didn’t explain.  He just huffed and puffed.  But, as against meds as I am generally (I’m a vitamin girl) I went along with Doc. 

I had a bike accident six years ago and suffered a complex tear of the medial meniscus (torn cartilage at the middle of the knee) which has caused pain ever since. I’ve waited years for the right insurance, the right surgeon, and the right time to get the situation remedied.  The hospital gave me an epidural, fabulous crutches, a turkey sandwich and cranberry juice.  It was Thanksgiving come early. 

They gave me two pain killers after I came to.  “Is there happiness in here?” I inquired skeptically, as I was already pretty darn happy.  “Yes, there is.”  I was happy as a clam for a full 24 hours after surgery.  Then I stopped taking the pain pills and it all became clear to me.  Surgery is fun, but it’s not that much fun.  I was high as a kite for a day.

In fact, I had a medical dream team, from a top surgeon to a darling anesthesiologist who looked like Roger Sterling from Mad Men. “Hi, I’m your bartender,” he coyly introduced himself,  Yes, a compadre! “Speaking of which” I said, “can I drink tonight?” assuming I knew the depressing answer. “Of course!” (I was shocked, but thrilled) “What are you having?” he asked. “Wine.” I returned.  “Red or white?”  “Well, it’s still warm out, so I think I’ll go with white.”  “Good choice” he replied.  I glanced over at the nurse to my right who was attempting to thread the IV into my hand, a first for me.  I’d heard it hurt a lot (it hurt a little).  “I’m trying to distract you,” said the darling anesthesiologist.  “Thanks.”  I turned my attention away from the nurse with pointy things and back to the good-looking doctor who encouraged inebriation.  I was careful to skip my happy pill with the wine at dinner.

Back to normal life.  You have to take this thyroid pill first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before eating.  I like to eat when I wake up, after a brief meditation.  It’s a celebratory way to start the day.  Since I wake up in the middle of the night to pee, I decided that’s when I’d take the pill.  When I wake up for real, I don’t have to wait around to get the party started.

At any rate.  4am.  I wake up and record audio books.  Since I live in NYC and don’t have a sound proof studio (which costs tens of thousands of dollars) I have to work around my sound constraints.  It’s relatively quiet at 4 and 5 in the morning.  I get some prime recording done, then edit later.  But the recording necessitates silence.

By 10 am I’ve been up many hours.  I have lunch, sometimes, between 10 and 11.  Sometimes I have a glass of wine with my lunch.  I look at myself askance as I glance at the clock, but then I do the math.  I’ve been working for hours.  I have a glass of wine a day, at most.  If it’s at lunch, I don’t have it at dinner.  I’m a moderate person.

At any rate, I had an early lunch, replete with glass of wine, and, for whatever reason, I also had a nervous breakdown.  Tears, loneliness and frustration all welled up within me.  I work.  I exercise.  I just had surgery.  I meditate.  I’m practically a perfect person, all things considered.  I’ve survived death, death and more death, of loved ones, both human, feline, and canine.  I’m deathed out.

This glass of wine tipped me over the edge.  While I believe marriage is in the cards for me (though in which deck, I don’t know) I have no idea when it will happen.

In the past, while maudlin and tipsy, I’d look for love online. This time, I went to the website of an adoption center.  They had a tiny little kitten there called Dumpling. That was all I needed, a big fat neon sign from Spirit.  I grabbed my wallet and identifying paperwork and headed to the shelter in the pouring rain.

I cried on the way down to the shelter.  I cried on the way back.  The whole thing felt tortured, as cute as the kittens were.  It felt like defeat.  I didn’t want to die a crazy cat lady, or “the gal with the dog”.  So much for my holding out for a relationship.

Here I was, regressing.  A kitty recidivist.  But better a stray cat than a stray man.  I adopted two females.  Now, I could die happy with two cats, one dog (someday) and no husband, just like God intended.  I’ll probably get a freaking hippopotamus and zebra, too.  

Apparently, other people had been dreaming of Dumpling, too.  Because everyone was at the shelter to get her, though I was there first.  A Russian girl and her husband felt Dumpling was meant for them because their other cat was named Taco.  Like they go together?  Totally mismatched cuisines.  I relinquished Dumpling to a half-Asian, half-European, all-gay couple who brought their little appetizer home in a snazzy purple carrier.

There was little Steven, white and ginger, and even with only 3 legs (he was sleeping in a car to keep warm when they started the engine and his leg got caught in the fan belt.) he was still the terror of the kitty room.  The shelter amputated his back leg.  Always knock on your hood to wake up sleeping animals if you park outside. 

Little black and white Eggplant seemed depressed, or sick.  I asked the shelter’s cat wrangler about this.  Her siblings, Broccoli and Squash had been adopted the day before. Perhaps she was sad.  I selected black and white “tuxedo”  Eggplant and renamed her Marlena (after Dietrich, the original tuxedo wearer) and a tiny tiger tabby, Celeste. 

Most people get pregnant when they get drunk.  I got kittens.

The sign from Spirit regarding Dumpling was crystal clear.  While she was not my intended kitten, her name was the trigger.  That’s how signs work.  I was meant to have these two furry lunatics.  My initial trauma about yet again committing myself to the care and maintenance of two little rascals has melted into a pool of purring. 

On to more magic and miracles. 

I’m pals with a nun I met eight years ago at a new age retreat.  She’s a new age Catholic nun.  Wouldn’t expect such a combination, but there you have it.  She’s from Ireland and lives in Texas. 

We share the same birthday, though she’s older than I, and the same “out there” metaphysical taste.  She sends me things from time to time, mostly books, sometimes inspirational decks like the “Ascended Masters” oracle cards, and articles about health or spirituality. 

Being hungry for mystical experience, she’s been to healer John of God in Brazil, and Lourdes in France.  She sent me a tiny plastic vial of their holy water, embedded in a color card of our Lady of Lourdes, sealed in plastic.  I taped the whole thing to the wall by my desk. It stayed there a good year until I noticed the water table was dropping.  Even in hermetically sealed plastic and shrink wrapped in yet more plastic, the holy water was evaporating, somehow.  Well, I didn’t want it to disappear into the ethers without my taking advantage of its healing qualities.  So, I broke it open, poured a drop or two on the crown of my head, then swallowed the rest. 

As there was yet a milliliter of holy water in it, I left the plastic tube on my desk.  I’d let the magical residue evaporate. 

Working at my desk a day or two later, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  When I record audio books it is of the utmost importance that nothing move, including me. I wear soft, silent clothing and keep my head steady.  There are no stray sounds or rustling movements, just mouth to microphone.  I’m a talking mime. 

Puzzled by the movement on my desk, I stopped recording.  The little tube of plastic from Lourdes (an ellipse, not a cylinder) was rocking all by itself, as if someone had just tapped it with their finger.  Except no one was there.  I hadn’t rocked my desk or knocked into anything, heck, you can’t even raise an eyebrow without the sound picking up on the mic.  Nothing else on my desk moved.  Nothing anywhere moved.  Just the tube that had held the holy water.  It continued to rock for several seconds.

Who tipped the container with a flick of their spirit “finger”?  Beats me.  Could be anyone.  I don’t see ‘em.  But I know they’re there because it’s not possible for something to “just happen by itself”.  There’s always a reason or source.  Cause and effect.  If it’s not physical, then it’s metaphysical.  It’s all energy anyway.  Matter is just energy vibrating at a slower rate.

There’s also no physical explanation for how the tiny wind chime I have hanging in my bathroom started swaying by itself.  It’s way above my head, to the right of my sink. If I want to ring it, I have to get up on tippy toes and practically jump to nudge it with a finger tip.  There’s no window in my bathroom and therefore no wind.  I was brushing my teeth.  As clean as my teeth are, my brushing does not produce gusts. Even with an electric toothbrush, this was not a wind event.  

I saw or sensed something moving, and looked up.  They didn’t make a sound.  But the chimes were swaying.  As if someone had just gently touched them. My first thought is always, “how the heck did that happen?”  I look around for the plausible, logical, physical explanation.  When there isn’t one, I say, “hola!” 

Then there was the time I heard sound coming from two rooms away.  I continued working, late at night, but when the sound continued for five minutes or so I finally went out to investigate.  My living room speaker was on, and my iPod, in shuffle mode, had turned itself to one of my favorite Pat Metheny songs. Those who understand just go, “cool!” which is the proper response.  Those that don’t, why are you reading this?  We're here to have fun with Spirit, interacting, playing, and breaching dimensional walls.  

My fourth tiny miracle was when I recently walked down Lexington Avenue in midtown lunch hour foot traffic.  It was a sunny September day, the street filled with people scurrying to and fro.  A large bug flew at me.  Not a common occurrence, I warily looked down to see what it was.  A baby dragonfly (hello, this is Manhattan) flew right onto my heart.  To boot, I was wearing a tee shirt with a big heart in the center.  But this little animal totem flew directly to the left of my chest and parked.  I didn’t move.  I pulled over to the side of the sidewalk, with the lunch crowd rushing past me.  Right in front of Victoria's Secret, no less, with a bug perched on my boob. It stayed there a good 5 minutes.  Gorgeous.  Special.  No mistaking the sign from Spirit.  Dragonflies signify transformation (change, adaptability, joy, lightness of being).  So, my heart was being transformed.  God was tinkering with me. 

I’ve been going to a lot of spiritual events lately, the opposite of my hiding at home stunt that I did for the better part of a year after my dog died.  I’ve finally got some spring in my step, and while I didn’t leave the house before, now you can’t keep me in.  I’ve got ants in my pants.  I went on a rampage signing up for events, but one event I was on the fence about.  Just wasn’t sure “what was in it for me”.  So, I didn’t pre-pay.  The morning of the event, I was exhausted, and relieved I hadn't bought a ticket.  Ten minutes later, I was restless again, and decided to go.

I got a reading that morning from a terrific channeler,  Nicole Gans Singer,  Her guides commented on my upcoming event that day, acknowledged that it was important that I go, and that I should meditate prior.  The event was part of a big new age extravaganza, one I’m not partial to.  It’s a cheesy event in a cheesy hotel.  If there was anything to turn a person off of new age, this was it.  And I’m new age.  It’s a carnival of crazy. 

My speaker is someone whose work I greatly admire, however his 90 minute event was a debacle of sorts.  His team, audio visual and otherwise, was disorganized.  It was practically a joke.  Fortunately, he got the joke, and laughed.  I like him.  Despite that, on a conscious level I learned nothing, gleaned nothing and was with a bunch of weirdos, one of whom (next to me, of course) reeked of garlic. The event seemed a waste of both my money and my time.   If I hadn’t known Spirit was gunning for me to be there (they explained the energetic reason) I’d have felt disgusted.  But I know better now.  And I felt better, not being at home. I left the carnival lickety-split and decided to walk home from Herald Square.  It was a sunny, October day.  I needed some exercise and some grounding, so I called my cousin. 

She’s new age, too, and she understands crazy.  She’s dating a hoarder, a new relationship, and this quality of his is not to her liking, as she comes from a family with a tendency toward it.  She helped him weed through his piles of stuff recently.  “I asked him if I could throw something out.  He didn’t answer, so I pretended I heard him say yes and got rid of it.”  While we were talking on the phone I made it to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.  There was a mob there.  I thought it was a protest.  No.  Was the Pope there?  No.  I edged in closer to the crowd.  Everyone was taking pictures.  From the center of the church's dark interior slowly emerged a heavy, purple religious float hoisted on the shoulders of many mocha complected men.  In fact, I was surrounded by people who were all darker than me.  They were not, however, taller than me.  And I’m not tall.  This was a short, Hispanic population. 

Women wearing lace scarves over their heads swayed smoky silver incense holders, giving the pretzel, chestnut and hot dog vendors aromatic competition.  This was heavy duty ritual, and I was mesmerized.  I studied the float.  Jesus was hanging in his usual depressing pose.  On the back, the Virgin Mary held baby Jesus, reminiscent of happier times.  I got excited when I saw a silver dove on the back of the float. 

I finally asked someone what this was.  Australian tourists answered, “It’s the Procession of the Miracles”.  Huh?  I’d never heard of that one, have you?  You know why?  It’s a Peruvian ritual.  The Catholic Church must be on hard times if they’re hitting up South American countries for their customers, renting out Gothic St. Pat’s for parties.  No wonder I was the tallest person in sight save the Australians. I said, “Well, the miracle is making it through this mob!” “Yeah, and when you push through, you’re gonna be a billionaire!”  he replied.

But I didn’t want to push on just yet.  I was caught up in the ritual and mystique of this event.   I was still on the phone with my cousin, who was vicariously enjoying the proceedings.  Bells were clanged.  Incense wafted as the procession continued through the packed crowd.  I blurted, “Oh my god, there are live doves!”  A man clutched two white doves to his chest, preparing to release them.  Remembering the last time the Pope pulled that stunt (Weren’t they immediately attacked and eaten by seagulls?  Talk about a bad sign.) I was eager to see how these two would fare on Fifth Avenue.  One flew up in the air to be met by a dark gray pigeon.  Would it attack and kill?  Nah, it probably just wanted a date.  The other, freakishly, flew right back down into the crowd, near me. 

People went crazy touching it, holding it, clutching it to their faces, taking photos with their families.  I was concerned that this symbol of peace was being man-handled, albeit by eager and pious people, it didn’t mean this dove wouldn’t get crushed in their enthusiasm.  I finally got the dove, taking it gently from a tiny (three feet tall?) old woman in a black shawl who’d been monopolizing it.  I let it stand in my hand, no clutching and crushing.  I wondered why it didn’t fly, was it hurt?  It was covered in green bird crap, obviously from being trapped and petrified prior to being released.

The old lady tried to grab it back from me but I barked, “No!” I walked away from the crowd, toward the giant statue of Atlas across from the church.  There were planted flowers on a granite ledge in front of the statue.  I put the dove on the stone shelf.  It seemed dazed, then meandered over the flowers.  A guy near me offered to take it home, but I somehow didn’t trust him.  I wanted her to escape.  When someone yet again attempted to grab her, she flew up, but only as far as the Banana Republic sign, clutching the metal in an incredibly awkward position, like she was holding on, sideways, for dear life.  Why didn’t she just fly away?

Someone shouted, “her foot’s stuck!”  They jumped up to try to dislodge it, and with that final assault, the dove flew up and away, into a tall tree.  Finally!  Then she dove right back down into the crowds.  Was there a dove shrink somewhere? I didn’t see what happened to her next. I was done with my watch. 

The Miracle Jesus float had turned the corner, west up 51st street, along with his Peruvian entourage.  Jesus’ ripped and bloodied hands and feet don’t look all that different from mine, shredded and skewered by tiny kittens. 


There’s blood, drama, death, sacrifice, smoke, magic and mystery at its very core. 

© 2014 Valerie Gilbert, all rights reserved.

My newest book, SWAMI SOUP is now out in ebook and print, audio book in a few months! 

MEMORIES, DREAMS & DEFLECTIONS: My Odyssey Through Emotional Indigestion is out in print, eBook, and audio (recorded by me!) 

RAVING VIOLET the book is out in print, e-book and audio (recorded by me!) both books available from Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, KOBO, SmashWords, Sony Reader Store, The Book Depository (international print), and Black Opal Books.  

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