Señor de los Milagros (or why everyone was shorter than me)by our
BELOVED, PUBLISHED, RECORDING ARTIST VALERIE BETH GILBERT
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
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
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,
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
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, www.teachingsofthemasters.org. 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. 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.
My newest book, SWAMI SOUP, will be released December 6th!
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) AllRomanceBooks.com, and Black Opal Books.
Valerie's audiobooks are available at Audible.com and