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Thursday, March 1, 2018


“A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting.  A man of knowledge chooses a path of heart and follows it; and then he looks and rejoices and laughs; and then he sees, and knows.”  Don Juan Matteus

I was perusing a spiritual journal I subscribed to for over ten years.  It was something that I used to read devotedly, daily, like a bible. Then, things changed.  I changed. The journal didn’t have the impact on me that it used to have.

While reviewing my myriad journals before releasing them to charity, an advice column entitled “Flexing Your Spiritual Muscle” caught my eye.  A woman wrote in saying that her yoga class had been dismissed with the teacher’s missive to “flex your spiritual muscle.”  The reader thought Teach was joking, then did a double-take when the teacher specified a term for it, so she wrote in to the column, “Do we really have a spiritual muscle?”

The columnist answered, “Yes, if you view body/mind/spirit as one.” 

Okay, I’m with the columnist there.  All of our systems, energetic, biological, psychological and spiritual, work in concert. If one aspect is off, it affects all others.  Heck, if you have a paper cut, it can mess up your day.  

I was shocked when the advice columnist responded that the yoga teacher was probably referring to the psoas muscle, and spent the rest of the piece discussing the meaning and import of that particular muscle.  The psoas may be an important muscle, but is it spiritual?  If the body is spirit made manifest, (which I believe) aren’t all body parts spiritual, from your nose to your toes?

For my money, if the woman who wrote in regarding her yoga class had used some spiritual “muscle” in the first place she would have simply asked the yoga teacher what she meant by her statement.  How hard is that?  

Your spiritual “muscle” is not the psoas.  It’s your will.  Your mind.  Your awareness.  And your ability to take right action based on your knowing, or even based on your lack of knowing (such as with the yoga student’s confusion).

It’s empowering to examine your own mind/body connection.  Everything generates from the mind when you accept responsibility for your life.   You are an energetic transmitter and receiver based on your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.  Your body reflects what the command center dictates. “I’m stressed, I’m worried, I’m afraid of germs, cancer, aging, death” vs. “I feel great! I’m so happy.  I’m at peace, I’m relaxed, and I feel good about myself and my choices.”  Your body hears you.  And it responds to the stress levels, or peace, that you orchestrate for your self.  Despite the fact of outside circumstances, you’re the conductor when it comes to how you deal with them.  Will you react graciously or maniacally?

I’m aware of the psoas only because my chiropractor, Dr. Zev Roizer of NYC (who is a genius, once pressed his fingers deep into my abdomen above my pelvis, producing excruciating pain that zipped through my body like lightning. 

“What the hell was that?!” I exclaimed. It certainly wasn’t a bone, though, as a “network chiropractor” (essentially an energy worker, which is why I love him) he incorporates the musculature and energetic systems into the skeletal alignments.   

Dr. Zev explained that he was pressing on my psoas, which was tight.  When he released it and completed the rest of the profoundly relaxing (except for the psoas incident) treatment, I was a new woman.  He has what I call “The Vulcan Touch.”  When I lie face down and he gently touches my neck, I become completely tranquil, to the point of feeling out of body at times. 

If you’re stressed, you hold tension in your muscles, which then puts sustained pressure on your skeletal system, creating imbalance.  Everything is connected, or as one gym friend of mine joked (a very funny gal who was learning anatomy so she could teach dance to kids) “The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone is connected to the pussy bone!” because she was so overwhelmed with memorizing details pertaining to human anatomy. 

It’s obvious to me that exercising your spiritual “muscle” means having backbone, some chutzpah to do what’s important for you.  Not only having integrity but taking action instead of just giving lip service to your ideals.  Living in integrity means matching your words to your deeds.  In other words, follow through on what you say, no matter how small, and be somebody people can count on.  Say what you mean.  Namby-pamby people say one thing and do another, and that’s another way of describing a liar.  

What of “spiritual” people who talk a good talk and pray or meditate, but don’t do anything practical?  Prayer, meditation, and raising your vibration are all very powerful practices.  But being able to set clear personal boundaries, communicate directly, and take positive action is imperative. Your head may be in the clouds, but your feet must be firmly on the ground.  You’re entitled to change your mind about things, but clearly communicate that fact to others who are depending on you.   How many people think nothing of telling “white” lies?  There’s nothing innocent about an untruth.  Lies muddy your energetic field.

A terrific example of integrity and spiritual muscle is Desmond Doss in the movie Hacksaw Ridge.  Based on the true story of a very religious medic who enlisted during WWII, he was brutally hazed by those who looked down on him for refusing to touch a weapon. He was finally allowed onto the front lines after two years of extreme abuse and a court-martial, but he was determined to serve his country and help his fallen comrades while cleaving to his standards.

His accomplishments blew everyone away, including his tormentors. Despite the horrific violence, I was so taken by this film that I saw it twice.  I was fortunate to hear both one of the screenwriters and director Mel Gibson speak after the film in a Q&A.  The screenwriter was asked to sum up the movie in one word.  I thought to myself “faith,” but he answered “principle,” and I realized that was the stronger answer.  Desmond stayed true to his principles by exercising spiritual muscle. 

Mel Gibson was asked what the film was about and he answered, “It’s a love story.  The love of God expressed through the love of man.  Agape.”  I liked that.  Despite being devoted to his fiancĂ©e, a nurse back home, Desmond broke his back to save the lives of the very men who had beaten and humiliated him in training.  He put his faith on the front lines, and performed superhuman feats of bravery. 

You don’t have to be perfect (what’s the definition of that, anyway?) but you do have to do something if you claim to “be on the path.”  You can’t just wear a “Spiritual Gangsta” (one of the silliest sayings ever) tee-shirt. I take care of business.  No procrastinating.  Being insightful, I’ll often offer a behavioral suggestion or a shift in perspective to people I know grappling with issues.  

As you probably know yourself from trying to help people, they often respond with excuses, like “yeah, but…” then launch into a defense of their chosen paths of pain. I’ve gotten upset watching things go south for folk I care about. Being honest (and hoping to help) I’ve spoken my mind regarding the situations.   But they inevitably carry on with the same ill-fated choices.

How about spiritual or religious hypocrites?  I knew a "religious" gal who regularly attended church with her boyfriend (not with her husband, who’s not religious) and I was dumbfounded by the story of a small town preacher who had an affair with a married congregant then killed her husband so he could be with her (from the Netflix docu-series Murderous Affairs).  In preparation for the murder (which the victim’s wife was in on) the young preacher wrote a letter to his mistress, “We have to be strong and do what the Lord wants.”  Huh?  

Then there’s the personal growth teacher I used to revere.  His adult child was banished when she accused him of sexual abuse in her childhood, something I never would have believed years ago when I was still following his teachings. While an accusation is not proof, I’ve become aware of other things regarding the man that lead me to believe her story is plausible.

Having spiritual backbone means not always being nice or compliant to appear “loving.”  That’s people pleasing and stems from insecurity (fear) not love.  Use discernment to decide one’s course of action.  Being “nice” to others is most certainly not more important than being true to your needs.  Please your self first, and let your choices pertaining to others come from a place of well-being.  Show others what it’s like to have real self-esteem and to truly have your heart in it when you do want to help.  Giving from the heart vs. giving from obligation are two totally different animals.

I know “gentle souls” (read "passive, and/or fearful”) who meditate and pray but don’t speak up or set boundaries in their lives. Their finances are a mess. Their health is off. Their families are dysfunctional.   If there is one aspect in your life that’s off and you refuse to address it, it taints all other facets, like an infection that turns to gangrene.  You can’t pray it away without also taking action.  The outside always reflects the inside. Use your soul searching to take clear and direct action. 

People deny their issues because they feel the problems reflect poorly on them.  They want to keep up appearances, maintain their reputation. They would never admit this to anyone, least of all themselves.  They simply default to the numbing drug of denial and delusion, shrugging off serious problems as less serious issues, or rationalizing them as something else altogether, particularly something they have no control over (and therefore no responsibility for).  As a result of the subterfuge, nothing gets fixed.   

We have control over everything. No, you don’t control the weather and what other people do.  But you do color, shape and conjure the details of your personal life by virtue of what you think, choose to believe and feel.  If you are a fearful person, you attract the very things you fear.  If you are a relaxed, confident person, you attract circumstances and people that reflect your potent state of being.  Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are solely under your jurisdiction.  There are no accidents. Contemplate that thought, and empower yourself.

Thinking happier thoughts, thoughts that make you feel good, is a start, and so is processing and understanding your unhappier thoughts so you can dispense with them. When you start doing this work, the mist will begin to clear.  Your life will work better as you release thoughts that drag you down and embrace thoughts that feel better, empowering thoughts that align with what you want, not what you're running from.  You must then take action based on the empowered thoughts, feelings and beliefs, using your spiritual muscle to build the life that you want.   There’s a feedback loop between what you think, feel, and do.  Lasso your rope around sunny skies and white clouds.  You don't have to sit in a puddle on the ground in the rain without an umbrella. Take care of your self. Engineer your well-being.

Facing your fears is always healthier than crippling yourself with delusion.  Nipping something in the bud saves you years of allowing your life to fall into disrepair and decay.  That being said, if a dismal detour is the road that you, friends or family take, respect the choice.  Sometimes lessons can only be learned the hard way.  But lessons can be learned without misery.  We make life easier or harder with the direction we set our rudder, based on our belief system.

Speaking the truth clearly has its consequences, whether the issue is political,  financial, or personal.  But I want to be known for who I really am, and I want to know others for who they really are, too.  No games, masks, posers or liars.

A slippery slope existed for me in the past regarding other people’s problems. Pointing out that they were driving over a cliff seemed the friendly thing to do at the time.  Now I know that it’s not.  People choose their cliffs.  Heck, people carve them before tumbling over.  Since I’m not so much into cliff-hangers these days, I’m spending less time with people who like to do things the hard way.   

At first it was really hard to watch friends opening their veins and bleeding out.  I was incredulous about the things I witnessed.  Their mess, their abyss, got bigger and bigger.  Not only didn’t I want to watch my friends go down a black hole, I worried about my role in their free-fall.  Would I be expected to help pick up the pieces of their shattered lives?  When people around me make outrageously disempowering choices, what should I do?

Considering that people always do what they want no matter what I say (the nerve of them!) maintaining their illusions, delusions, and dysfunction, I’m developing a new spiritual muscle: learning to shut up. 

Whereas I used to offer advice in the past, nowadays, if someone’s life is a mess, I walk away from the disaster zone.  There’s nothing you can do to make others fix their problems, and it’s not healthy or useful to stay around dysfunction.   I’ve also learned that when you choose to see others as empowered instead of pitiful, your vision offers them strength (if they will receive it) to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done.  If they see themselves as victims, they’re done for.   If folk genuinely want clarity by exploring their distress with me, I’m happy to help, but I know far too many people who only play the blame game and don’t accept responsibility for their part in creating the mayhem in their lives.

When it comes to issues in my own life, I know to ask questions, set boundaries, and speak up.  I utilize my spine, my psoas, and my mouth.  Positive thinking without positive action is nothing.  If your house is on fire you get out and call 911.  You don’t sit and read the bible.

Backing off remains a big, big lesson for me.  Whereas speaking the truth was the daring and bold thing to do for me in the past (when I was still finding my voice) now that I’ve found it, keeping not only silent, but emotionally detached when it comes to other people’s drama represents a new learning for me.  My mother always said, “The duty of another is full of danger.”  Now I know what she meant.   

It’s easier now for me to detach.  Getting worked up over stuff I can’t change changes nothing, but shifting my attitude and my behavior does.   I can create calm amid chaos.  I can walk away from the disaster zone. When I do, I free my self with an energetic shift.   I create space for things to go better.  For me, at least.   You can’t save the world.  But being a healthy, happy individual adds positive energy to the planet.  When you think of all the ongoing mayhem, contemplate the power of being a force for good simply by living a happy life.  

Flexing my spiritual muscle now includes a “live and let live” attitude.  Dysfunction without the desire for insight doesn’t feel good to be around.   Nor does my anger, despair or frustration when I hold judgments about others’ choices if I hold a ringside seat to the debacle.  

As soon as I step back, I can regard them more dispassionately, and compassionately. But I’m not responsible for their pain or their problems.  I can love from a distance while trusting that they will attend to their life as I attend to mine.  What a great relief to know that you’re only responsible to run your own game.   You may think this outlook is selfish, but having tried to pry people out of emotional quicksand when it became clear they were choosing to stay put, I call it lifesaving.

People come to truth in their own time.  And sometimes not at all.   At any rate, it’s up to you to decide when it’s important to advocate for yourself or others, be it the environment, animals, or your own family.  But don’t be Atlas.  Carrying the weight of the world is his job, not yours.   The individuals with the problems are the only ones who can do anything about their situations.  Keep your eyes on the road and stop rubbernecking. 

Someone once suggested that I was advocating “tough love” because I felt that setting firm boundaries with her troubled son was the answer to her problem.  On the contrary, I think that continually giving in to someone else’s dysfunction (which she was doing) and cleaning up others' messes is the real “tough love,” for it teaches the troubled person to have no accountability, and creates a social invalid. To live in this world without knowing how to function in this world is not a healthy outcome.

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”  The eagle pushes her eaglet out of the nest so that the baby becomes a powerful, self-sufficient predator.  Allow the baby to stay in the nest, and it eventually becomes prey, not the powerful creature she was intended to be.

Dog “whisperer” Cesar Millan understands “spiritual muscle.” Problem dogs simply reflect their owner’s issues, be they anxiety, anger, or passivity.  Calm assertive energy is what dog owners must exhibit for their dogs to reflect calm submissive energy.  How many people do you know who exhibit calm assertive energy and establish boundaries, rules and limitations at home, socially, and on the job?

Whether you have a dog or not, consistently exhibiting calm assertive behavior is exercising spiritual muscle.  It means setting boundaries, and not feeling sorry for others, which reinforces their problems.  When you see others as sad, sorry, pathetic, you bolster a weak vision of them.  When you see them as capable, you empower them. 

As I come increasingly into my own power, my insight is queen and my knowing is king.  That’s why I’m not reading my old inspirational journals anymore.  I turn within for guidance, through solitude and meditation.  I’m “reading” myself now, like a cup of tea leaves.   

Flex your spiritual muscle and encourage others to do the same with your shining example.  

© 2018 Valerie Gilbert All Rights Reserved

Valerie is the author of RAVING VIOLET, MEMORIES, DREAMS AND DEFLECTIONS, SWAMI SOUP, and BRILLIANCE BREWING: A Meditation On Change. The books are available in print, e-book, and audio, narrated by the author.  

Valerie leads psychic development/guided meditation/past life regression/personal growth workshops in New York City, and privately.  A healer, psychic, medium, and channel, you may book private sessions through her website.

For more information on Valerie's full line-up:

Friday, June 9, 2017

The A**hole Who Saw Angels

"The world owes every individual only an opportunity to express itself and its idea, which will find expression in the manner we treat our fellow men." Edgar Cayce

I was taken powerfully aback recently when a spiritual “friend” on Facebook (I don’t actually know her) called me out for being the root of all evil.  Or something like that.

This is a woman who lives in or near the woods and daily shares the most stunning photos that not only capture the natural beauty of the area and the love of her dogs, but whose photos also capture orbs, light beings, and etheric light and color of seemingly otherworldly origins. 

Now, being a mystic, I believe wholeheartedly in such things.  Auras, astral energy, angels, orbs…oh, it’s a long list.

I also know that light refraction is one explanation for the “magic” in her photos, but that wasn’t relevant to me.  Other dimensions exist, and you can capture them on film, not just orbs (which are spirits), but also the auras of living beings. 

Russian Semyon Kirlian, accidentally developed a technique in 1939 called Kirlian photography that captures the electro-magnetic aura of human beings and other life forms (for example, the leaf above) 

It has vast implications pertaining to the existence of etheric, electro-magnetic, and energetic aspects of the human being.  If you talk to a quantum physicist, there’s little “matter” to us anyway.  We’re mostly space.

If you photograph a hand while its owner experiences various emotional states (or listens to different music, from loud rock to soothing classical), the electro magnetic energy (the aura) behaves in vastly different ways.  It expands harmoniously in relaxation.  It recoils from discord.  If you’re angry, the energy pattern becomes jagged.  If you’re happy, it expands.   Intoxication and drugs both make the auric field appear discordant.

If you use Kirlian technology to photograph a leaf with a piece cut off, you will still see the outline of the (former) full leaf energetically, as well as the physical demarcation where the section was cut.  It shows the “ghost” portion of the cut leaf. This explains why amputees still feel sensation in their missing limbs.  There is still something energetically there, you just can’t see it with your physical eyes.  As a young Theosophist, I was taught that everything exists in the etheric realm first, and that the body is just a reflection of the energetic blueprint.  This includes the five senses.  They exist primarily on the astral plane.  The physical is just a denser representation of the higher realms.

So, this FB lady, named Gretchen, shared photos that deeply moved me.  I even wrote under one, “Where the heck do you live, the Garden of Eden?”  She never responded to any of my comments.  Her friends regularly talked about angels, fairies, and other such metaphysical fare.  Whatever you may think about the topic, many great minds have done so as well.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the ultimate logician, was a believer, and went to Theosophical meetings in London.  Rent the movie “Fairy Tale: A True Story” which recounts the story surrounding the Cottingly fairy photographs, a historical event. 

George Bernard Shaw was also interested in Theosophy, which goes into detail about the “elemental realms,” including what we call fairies, elves and gnomes. The great mystic Edgar Cayce referenced them as well, and acknowledged that one of his clients could see them,  “Be ye not disturbed that ye see fairies and elves”.

While the Cottingly photos are patently fake, the elemental realm is decidedly not.  Many visionaries can see and communicate with this dimension.  The Findhorn community in Scotland is an example of people working in concert with the elemental realm to create an extraordinary garden with miraculous roots (look up the 1962 story).

After perusing my page, FB Gretchen finally communicated. She made the oddest comments about a humorous, Photoshop-ed image of Trump, Melania, Ivanka and the Pope at the Vatican, which you’ve probably seen.  The Pope looks as grim as death.  Trump is grinning away.  Melania and Ivanka, both dressed in black, both with black things on their heads, look like they’re dressed for a funeral.  The artist superimposed a couple of ghostly characters from various horror films.  Even without the superimposed adds, the first family already looked like the Addams Family in this official shot.  Like me, many found it funny.  But lo, this Love and Light Lady not only took issue with the image, she accused me of being sick and twisted for posting it.

“This is rude and not nice.... people who create this trash are the culprits of all the darkness in the world. Adding your own twisted images is even worse.”

It’s never been my goal to be perpetually polite, but being slammed by her in this manner baffled me.  I progressed from confusion to hurt, especially when I saw that she had un-friended me.  Me?  I’m a fan of her work, shouldn’t that endear me to her? I post a mix of spiritual, philosophical, political, humorous, environmental, human rights and animal activist stuff.  I’m all about love and light, but I don't pull any punches where corruption in government, the abuse of life, or the ruination of the environment is involved.  I work for change through activism and my writing to create a more benevolent world for people, animals, and the environment.  I’m an Aquarian.  It’s my job.

I’d posted a second version of the infamous photo, also popular with people, a cropped image of Melania from the Addams Family Vatican Album, all in black, with the message:


FB Gretchen commented to me and all those who found this funny.

“From your LIMITED perspective you all think you KNOW.  But you don’t!” 

Know what?  It was funny.  What is it that she thinks she knows, and thinks she knows better?  She didn’t say.

From the way she attacked, you’d think I’m worse than Trump.  But I’m quite sure that the culprits of all the darkness in the world are not the people who share memes on Facebook. 

I responded,  “With all due respect, Gretchen, neither creating this image (I did not) nor sharing it (I find it funny) is the cause of evil. It is mirroring a political situation many people find greatly disturbing. I am also disappointed you saw fit to un-friend me as a result of my posting this. As a spiritual person, I'm surprised you can't see past something you don't agree with.  I am political as well as spiritual, both human and divine.” 

In response to her reprimand, someone commented, “People identify strongly with their political affiliations.” 

Was it conceivable that Ms. Love and Light was a Trump supporter?  That possibility blew my mind. Her profile says she “Attended college at The Universe. I’m a Traveler of Space and Experience. My Imagination is my Vehicle, Love is my Fuel (heart emoji) Focus on only the moment.  All is well.”

“All is well” until someone posts an image of Trump at the Vatican.

How many unbalanced people hide behind church titles, hearts emojis, and angel photos?

It later occurred to me that I’d had bad experiences with every Gretchen I’d ever known. I have to remind myself that “retch” is right there in the middle of the word.

I said, “This was a funny post which found resonance with others. I was shocked that a "spiritual" person reacted so strongly to it, and was so judgmental of me, which 
frankly, is unspiritual. Freedom of speech is what this country is about. I can only account for my intentions in sharing, not for other's interpretations of what I think, or what I think is funny.”

I can’t share a joke about the president without being called “the culprit of all the darkness in the world?”  Not having a sense of humor is a sin right there.  A famous dead guy (I don’t recall who, but he was a spiritual leader while physically alive) communicating through a medium once remarked that people who are truly spiritual have a great sense of humor.  If you can’t laugh, it’s not going on for you.  

“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco was about the threat of levity to the Church.  Happy people can’t be controlled, unlike fearful people cowering with shame and guilt who are easily swayed. Elvis, dancing, and rock and roll were all considered evil by some back in the 1950s. Joy is sacred and laughter is liberating.  Angels fly because they take themselves so lightly.

I started to feel like Salieri in Amadeus.   If Gretch is really just a judgmental (Trump supporter?!) how is she able to photographically capture such ethereal beauty?  This was a huge disconnect for me.  It wasn’t so much jealousy, as Salieri was of Mozart’s talent in the film, it was confusion that someone who seemed so “well connected” to the higher realms could be so unkind in the lower. In my book, the more spiritually mature you are the more kind, wise and understanding you are also.  If one is evolved, one has a broader, more compassionate view of those who are not as far along.

One of my FB friends (and someone I actually know in real life) is a professional photographer who also happens to have “out there” spiritual beliefs.  He’s a stickler about stuff.  He commented previously about one of her shots, “I’d like to see what this photo looks like without a flash.”  I thought he was being a stick in the mud.  Can’t you just enjoy a beautiful shot of orbs?  So what if the flash is the reason the orb was captured digitally?  Can’t it be both?  A photo of orbs captured via use of a flash?  How did Kirlian perfect his technique?

After her attack on me, he made a similar comment about another of her shots, allegedly of her dog’s “aura”.  Since I was now reassessing my opinion of her, I looked at her “magic” photos with new eyes.  The photo in question was of her white dog with a blurry white glow on top.  Not all around the dog.  Just on top.  Now mind you, her other, brown dog, was right there next to the white one.  No aura.  How come?  Was this just a blurry action shot captured with flash, where movement created a ghostly glow around the top of the white dog?  Did she use trick photography to make it look like she’s capturing spiritual magic, when, in fact, she was capturing natural magic through the manipulations produced by a camera?  

Since it was impossible for me to fathom that someone who was truly spiritual could attack me so vigorously, I had to consider whether she was, in fact, actually spiritual.  It’s like coming to terms with the fact that your pedophile priest is perhaps not truly a man of god.  For many, the betrayal is the bigger issue.  Claiming to be one thing and being so the opposite creates a massive disconnect.

I can’t reconcile the intensely beautiful, otherworldly energies captured via her lens with her inability to understand human nature even an iota.  If you truly know the love of god it must inevitably extend to all of creation. 

This incident sparked a downward spiral for me.  I started questioning whether I was a jerk, if sharing snide comments about Trump made me bad, or unspiritual. Was I adding to the discord on the planet by being snarky? After all, I did judge him.  I also think it’s terrific that he’s president, for he’s bringing about the entropy needed to rebuild our government and our country from the bottom up.  (see my piece “Donald Trump Is The New Pearl Harbor”). 

I make no bones about believing in a deep state, a corrupt oligarchy, and a shadow government that has been controlling this planet for millennia.  Conspiracy theory stuff.  I know that focusing on the darkness can be dangerous, and it can be counter productive if people become ensconced in anger and bitterness, contributing to the negativity on this planet.

Despite my confusion and hurt, instead of devolving into hatred, I decided to do some soul searching instead. Remember Darth Vader’s line (roughly), “Hate me, Luke.  Come to the Dark Side.”  When we hate, we become as bad as the thing we wish to change.  Hatred is understandable at times, but to sustain it is deadly.  The energy needs to be transmuted into something useful.  The same with anger, which is simply an indication that something is off and needs to be fixed.  It can be a terrific call to action.  But to sustain a state of unresolved anger is extremely unhealthy.  To me, this whole episode with Retchin' Gretchen was a call to do some (more) soul searching. 

“Assasination is the extreme form of censorship” George Bernard Shaw

Those who judge, cast aspersions, and attempt to control others live in fear. Terrorism, extremism, evangelicalism, censorship are all fear-based behaviors that attempt to wipe out that which contradicts the holders’ beliefs.

Laughter, on the other hand, doesn’t censor. It can defuse volatile situations, and help relieve stress and tension. 

“Those empowered by truth never express themselves through boastful or holier than thou attitudes… always allow your words to flow on an energy of unconditional love rather than stiffly judging, refusing to do something, or be with certain people out of a misguided sense of superiority… Self righteousness easily creeps into the thinking of those who believe themselves to be more spiritually aware than others.  Those new to truth are especially susceptible to self righteousness and must realize that everyone is exactly where they are supposed to be.” The Oneness of All The Arcturian Group, channeled 5/21/17 by Marilyn Raffaele.

As I plumbed my depths I realized later why, in part, this incident ticked me off so much. It brought back childhood memories of being utterly misunderstood by people I trusted. My 5th grade class was on a school trip in New York City.  There was an empty Tic Tac container in front of me on the sidewalk, and I kicked it twice (a little soccer practice) as I continued walking with the group before finally crushing it with my shoe.  Mrs. Kagan screamed, “VALERIE!  What’s wrong with you? You know better than that!”  Better than what?  I’m not allowed to kick a piece of plastic?

I didn’t understand. I was just having fun. Similarly, my mother took me to see Paul Newman’s comedy Slap Shot (the dollar entrance fee was her excuse to go) then got furious at me for liking it. There was cursing and rough ice hockey antics which is precisely what made it so fantastic. I like mayhem. 

My mom was disappointed in me for listening to Cheech and Chong’s comedy sketch “Sister Mary Elephant” over and over, and appalled that I liked Animal House, which I dragged her and my sister to because I loved it so much the first time (I still do).  They thought it was atrocious and that I was a philistine.  

Pondering the school trip episode decades later, it dawned on me that Mrs. Kagan may have thought that I tossed the Tic Tac container, then kicked and crushed it. But she should have asked me if I littered, not assume that I did and then accuse me of shameful behavior.  I’ve never littered. I even pick up plastic trash on the street and in parks. But not all of it, for god’s sake.  I’m not a sanitation truck.

Other incidents came to mind from my youth where I was minding my own business, having a good time when someone read me the riot act. An old man in the swimming pool of the YWHA yelled at me for veering outside of my lane when I was in high school. There were three of us in the Olympic sized pool. “You’re a menace!”  he squawked.

My mom lost it one day when she found crumbs on the kitchen counter after asking me to clean it.  I did clean it.  I just didn’t get all the crumbs. I understand now the level of stress she was under as a widow with two kids and don’t hold her outbursts against her (she died many years ago). However, at the time, I had the wherewithal to give her a reality check as she screamed at me.  “Mom.  I get A’s in school.  I don’t drink, do drugs, or have sex.  I’m a good kid.  Other parents would be grateful to have me.”  She got a grip, apologized, and hugged me.  But I was terrorized on many occasions by her fury, an outcome of her personal frustrations. Which is why it’s so important for me to understand, analyze, and heal my own issues.  As I’m doing with you now here as witness, hopefully to inspire you to do the same.  Be able to explain yourself to yourself at all times.  Become your own best expert.

After all the dust settled, I realized that this journey was about me, not "the angel lady."  Her sentiments speak to her character, not mine. Now that I’ve processed my thoughts, beliefs and feelings regarding the situation I can accept FB Gretch from afar, as I do with many people who are not easy to love up close.  It’s hard to forgive someone if they keep irritating you.  So, why keep such people around?  There are plenty of good, kind loving people, both grounded and inspired, who even have a sense of humor.  Life is too short to take it so seriously.

I concluded that my posts were not contributing to planetary discord.  As long as there is politics, there will be political humor.  Was my intention to foment discord and divisiveness by posting the images?  No more than dancing is a sin.  Once I came to terms with who I am (a fabulous person) I was able to let her judgment and rejection of me, and her beautiful photographs (camera flash and all) go.  Is the woman who sees angels an asshole?  I wouldn’t know.  I don’t know her.  I’m just an agitator who appreciates alliteration.

© 2017 Valerie Gilbert, All Rights Reserved 

Valerie is the author of RAVING VIOLET, MEMORIES, DREAMS AND DEFLECTIONS, SWAMI SOUP and BRILLIANCE BREWING: A Meditation On Change. The books are available in print, e-book, and audio, narrated by the author.

Valerie leads psychic development/guided meditation/past life regression/personal growth workshops in New York City, and privately.  A healer, psychic, medium, and channel, you may book private sessions through her website.

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