Women’s Voices: Speaking Truth to Power

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
“We are a land of many colors,
and we are singing,
singing, for our lives.”
—Holly Near

In last fall’s elections, the U.S. Congress saw a refreshing new influx of those who have been left out of the legislative process far too long—specifically, women and people of color. African-American, Native-American, Latina, and Muslim women were elected from various states across the country. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York is one of them. Since her surprise unseating of the incumbent there, she has been relentlessly criticized by nervous politicians from both parties for her outspoken and uncensored comments about the President and all those in power. Many of those criticisms show just how much public opinion panders to “acceptable” behavior for political candidates, and women in particular.

This country was born out of a revolution. Rebellious and opinionated “forefathers” are a part of American history. Women and African enslaved people, however, were left out of this version of events, unless we look underground and behind the scenes for hidden truths. Power based on sex and race formed the backbone of the new government. Whatever equalities and rights exist today (and we have a long way to go) are because of courageous people who spoke up and fought back against those who would silence them.

Whether or not you agree with her, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is standing firm in a long line of strong women who spoke their minds, “speaking truth to power,” as she puts it. Suffragists in the early 1900s and feminists in the 1970s and 1980s (myself included) stood up for a woman’s right to do just that. Because of them (and those who continue speaking out today), women are taking their rightful place in this country’s social and political structures and, in many cases, turning them upside down with new approaches to getting things done. Specifically: inclusive, circular, nonhierarchical. And by not being “good girls.”

Rebellious women always make people nervous because they threaten the status quo. People of both sexes want them to tone it down, play nice, not offend anyone by being too radical or outspoken. Well, good behavior and playing by the rules, as defined by the patriarchy, has never gotten women anywhere, not even a seat at the table (or a Presidency). Historically, they’ve been relegated to the kitchen, the bedroom, and menial, subservient jobs. It’s only in refusing to be intimidated or silenced that women have together formed a powerful alliance of intent that has challenged the old boys’ clubs and broken through entrenched traditions. They have also challenged prevailing attitudes about acceptable and “good” behavior for women.

It’s time to throw out the old rulebook and create something visionary and inclusive instead of outdated and elitist. “Subvert the dominant paradigm,” as the saying goes. Many of the world’s greatest ideas have seemed impossibly radical and edgy until they slowly worked their way into the collective consciousness, and people began to see their brilliance. Recognizing truth can be a process of opening to a deeper awareness about everything, including one’s own life.

We in this country are at a tipping point: Will we hang onto the racist, sexist historical patterns that created an undemocratic, top-heavy power structure, or will we topple the kingpins and create an alternative that truly embodies equality and freedom for all? It seems to me that in the midst of conflicting and fear-based news reporting, people—and women especially—are finding their voices and raising them together to speak truth to power. Thus is transformative change begun…and continued to its full flowering.

 

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The Power of “We”

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Human beings came to this planet to learn how to live together in peace. To realize and express the love in their hearts through compassion and kindness. It’s a simple as that. We didn’t come here to accumulate wealth and material possessions while others have nothing. We didn’t come here to distrust and hate everyone who is not an exact carbon copy of our beliefs and physical appearance. We didn’t come here to build walls and wage wars against difference. While those may be the polarities the human species experiences along the way, our final destination is beyond all those divisions and separations. Ultimately, we came here to recognize that “I” alone is incomplete; only in “we” do we find strength and commonality in being alive. Only in loving ourselves and others are we made whole. As the song says: “We are the world…”

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by external global events—the self-centeredness and cruelty that pervades so much of our social construct and that is spread through the media’s focus on acts of hatred and violence instead of love and inclusiveness. There are alternative sources of information that are positive rather than negative, and we need to pay attention to these. When I hear how so many people are coming together instead of being torn apart, I am uplifted and encouraged. The seeming chaos is happening for a reason: to clear out obsolete belief systems and centuries-old histories and divisions. We are living at a time that is taking us to the end of separation, judgment, and suffering.

All around us there are those who are making a difference in the status quo by living lives of caring and compassion. They reach out to others at times of crisis—whether global, regional, or individual—and help them in any way they can, with physical support (money, food, clothes, shelter) or a listening ear and kind word when it is most needed. This is the power of “we” that is gradually shifting the global balance to love instead of hate. People suffering in isolation are finding support and connection in community.

Those who live in fear talk of building walls; those who live in love talk of building bridges. If we live from our hearts, there is only one choice really: to reach out to our fellow beings (and I mean animals, plants, insects, as wells as humans) and share the love inside us. We were not meant to love only those who are exactly like us or to try to make others adopt our beliefs and lifestyles. We were born on this planet to come together and live compatibly in all our diversity.

Humanity is a rainbow tapestry of different races, sexes, ages, cultures, and religions. Yet we all came from the very same loving Source, which some call God. Our soul essence is love, so when we are being our authentic soul-selves instead of the “self” superimposed on us by social norms, we are living that love. It is a compassionate and inclusive love, and a small shift in awareness from “I” to “we” can make a huge difference in the world. That is why we are here, to celebrate and live the power of “we.”

Bridging Worlds

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Recently, my initial excitement and the newness of moving to Florida began to ebb somewhat, and day-to-day life took on an unexpected, almost bipolar energy. I found myself ricocheting back and forth between two rather extreme reactions: joy, optimism, positivity, appreciation, gratitude, love, inspiration on the one hand and sadness, fear, heaviness, pessimism, lack of motivation on the other. This could occur within the space of one day or even one hour, seemingly unrelated to what was happening around me. At times I was thrilled with my new home and surroundings, and then at other times I felt trapped, out of place, and uncomfortable. It took me fully another month to realize that I was experiencing what it is like to bridge two worlds: old paradigm and new dimension.

For several months during and after our move, I was completely immersed in what I experienced as entering a new dimension. It was a powerful force that carried me forward with positive uplifting energy. When I suddenly began to feel doubts and sadness, holes began to appear in that view: Had I made a mistake, a wrong choice? But I absolutely knew that I hadn’t, that moving to Florida was part of my soul plan. So then what was going on?

It wasn’t until November 6, Election Day, that I was able to see more clearly. That day was heavy with strident, conflict-ridden energy. Everywhere in the U.S., but particularly in Florida. I could barely lift my head and feel any hope for the future. Then I realized that hopelessness and conflict is the energy of the old paradigm, and any time we tap into it, we will feel weighted down and lost. Transformative energy and harmony make up the new dimension, and when we tap into that, we are flowing with positive life force into the future.

At this time on Planet Earth, many of us feel both energies and can get lost in the polarity between them. We have to remember that we are here to be bridges, wherever we happen to live. We can’t lose faith in the existence of a new dimension even when we are feeling the heaviness of the old paradigm. The new is constantly being born as the old reforms and reshapes. The key is to understand that everything is occurring for our evolution and expansion, and ultimately resolution will emerge. A challenging path but one that has been walked by thousands of souls over thousands of years.

The idea of karma, or cosmic cause and effect, has been written of for centuries in many traditions. “What goes ’round, comes ’round” the saying goes, and many spiritual masters have carried more than their share of humanity’s past wounds to help shift the balance for the collective. The era in which we are now living has been described as one in which we all become our own spiritual masters. Perhaps in doing so, we each carry part of the collective wounding, which gets cleared more and more as we go through whatever we have to in order to reach the other side of human suffering—whether that is revealing hidden secrets of sexual abuse, standing in the truth of our racial/cultural diversity and gender fluidity, or steadfastly choosing peace over conflict, love over hatred.

If the external world is a reflection of our internal state, that means everything—past lives/karma included—affects our experience in the world. Are we now, at this juncture in the world’s collective evolution, clearing the past through all time so that the mirror reflection is clearing too? If so, then sometimes we are looking through the clear part of the mirror at the new dimension and sometimes we are looking through the murky part of the mirror at the old paradigm.

It is important to keep in mind that at any given moment we can consciously call ourselves back from the murkiness and center ourselves in the clarity just by remembering that the new dimension does exist. At some point, then, as we evolve into clear carriers of pure light, Earth will cease to be the cloudy planet of polarity and separation and become a shining star of oneness and golden light. The new dimension at its most clear and luminescent.

 

What Does Unconditional Love Really Mean?

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
We hear the term unconditional love a lot these days, especially in spiritual circles. But what does it mean exactly? At first glance, it seems to mean loving without conditions. Yes, it is that. Yet it is more than that. As I live my life, I begin to see other levels to it. Something that involves seeing clearly someone’s human vulnerabilities and seeming faults as well as their divinely sweet magnificence–and loving them for all of that. Holding it all in my heart at the same time, seeing it as part of this particular individual’s soul journey. And seeing myself that way too. I’ve found that viewing everything as perfectly lovable in just one other person unlocks the ability to do the same for everyone in my life—and then for everyone on the planet.

That is why we are here, to do just that. Our greatest challenge and our greatest gift is to love and be loved in return—unconditionally. When we do so, we form a sweet circle of reciprocity that lifts everything on the planet to a higher vibration. Vibration is the key, because everything in the cosmos is energy. When we up-shift the energy within us, the world reflects back to us a higher vibration. And love is the highest vibration of all. It dissolves the fear or negativity that may be keeping you (and everyone around you) stuck in one place. Love yourself, love another, love everyone—no holds barred. That’s the sequence of unconditionality. That’s the global shift we are now a part of.

I recently felt this happen within me quite powerfully with someone I have known for years. I thought that I already loved them unconditionally, but I found that I still held certain life-path desires for them. When I suddenly became aware of this, and then consciously and intentionally released those expectations, I felt my heart open wider as I surrendered everything to God’s greater wisdom. Even the most well-meaning wishes for someone else’s life can be an unconscious limitation for them, as well as a limitation on love itself. Because unconditional love is not about the depth or strength of the love but rather it is total allowing, complete acceptance. Compassion. Within that framework, it doesn’t matter what someone does or doesn’t do on their life journey; you still love them completely.

This is soul-level love. This is the way God or the Divine Mother loves. The mind doesn’t enter into it at all. This love is pure heart, pure soul. A sacred open embrace. And this is the unconditional love that the new Planet Earth is moving into. The hatred, judgment, fear of difference, self-loathing, abuse, and violence that we thought was the only reality are gradually crumbling as the light of unconditional love shines fully on them. When our shadow side is spotlighted, we see the truth of who we are behind the shadow. That truth is unconditional love: the shining diamond at the core of our being. We were born with it, and now it can be fully seen and experienced as the shadow falls away.

Our so-called “flaws” make us sparkle even more. We are beautiful in our humanity and our divinity, and when each of us can see the full spectrum of beauty in everyone we meet, there will no longer be a distinction between Heaven and Earth. That is oneness; that is unconditional love.

 

Accentuate the Positive, My Mother’s Gift

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
A song written and recorded in 1944 that was popular with my parents’ generation had the refrain: “Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative.” Those who lived through the Great Depression and World War II often developed one of two responses to life: fear or hope, or perhaps a mix of both. You can see hope in songs like this one. And I definitely saw it in my mother when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Without fail, she always looked for the positive in any situation, person, or event. If someone behaved in an unpleasant manner, my mother’s response was inevitably, “She means well.” And then she would find something nice to say about the person.

She looked for the good in the world around her on a daily basis—the beauty of the sky, birdsong in the backyard, music and poetry, my dad’s sense of humor. She framed life this way. It wasn’t just a coping mechanism for the times; it arose from deep in her soul. I came to realize this fully later in her life when she was hospitalized and had to have a serious operation. I flew to my Illinois hometown from San Francisco, where I lived at the time. I sat by her side for three days and nights, our hands inseparably clasped in a lifetime of mother-daughter love. I watched her face, pale and drawn with pain, light up when she turned and looked at me: “You’re always there,” she whispered.

And I watched her eyes scan a basically ugly hospital room and finally light on the one thing she could honestly see beauty in: “Isn’t that a lovely walnut door?” That was the essence of my mother. That was who she was at the deepest level, beyond pain, beyond medication, beyond hospitals. From her soul, in every waking moment of her life, she looked around to find beauty—and she always found it. This was her legacy to me; I carry that positivity in my genes. I carry the memory of her waking me each morning with “Good morning, merry sunshine” and then at breakfast: “Another beautiful day!” From the beginning of my life, I was imprinted with that ability to love life fully under any circumstance.

My mother didn’t live a life free of all pain and difficulty; like all of us, she faced challenges. But she lived a life of appreciation and gratitude for the moments of love, beauty, and connection that are always present if we but open our eyes (and hearts) to see them. My mother lived with an open heart. She found happiness in loving the people and the world around her. At this time of great change and great challenge on the planet, I look to her wisdom to sustain me and uplift me through the rest of my life. I know I was born for a reason, and I know she was my mother for a reason. There is an ancestral line of positive energy that runs through our lives. She passed it on to me to sustain me—and as a reminder, so that I never forget that we all have positive energy within us.

We are each alive at this key transformational juncture in world history to remind each other of that. No matter what disturbing events in the external world show up each day, we still carry hope in our hearts and souls. We can listen to the voices that say “We shall overcome” and “All you need is love” instead of those that speak separation and hatred into the world. Whatever is occurring now is part of our evolution, as a species, as a planet, as a universe. We are not done yet. There is always, always possibility and positivity within us. We can breathe that into the world in all that we say and do. And that becomes our legacy of love…