“We’ve Been Waiting for You”

Photograph © 2011 Peggy Kornegger
These were former President Obama’s words last week after students across the U.S. walked out of their classes to attend demonstrations protesting guns and violence in this country. The Parkland, Florida, high school shootings on February 14, where 17 students and teachers were killed, was the most recent of over 200 other school shootings in the last six years. It appears to be the “last straw” for young people who have watched the escalation of lethal violence directed at their classmates and teachers.

Emma Gonzalez, senior at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spoke fiercely and articulately at a gun control rally in Ft. Lauderdale: “The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us….Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this….It’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.” She speaks for countless others across this nation, of all ages, races, nationalities, and backgrounds. And she echoes Oprah Winfrey’s words, in a different context (sexual abuse) but also about the devaluing of human lives by those in power, “Their time is up!” We are reaching critical mass on so many fronts.

I had tears in my eyes when I listened to Oprah’s speech and Emma’s speech, and when I read Obama’s heartfelt reaction to the students taking a stand against the existence of guns and violence in their lives: “We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.” Those of us who have actively spoken out for nonviolence, peace, and the honoring of all human lives (“Black Lives Matter!”) for years see hope for the future in these angry but determined young faces. They are in great pain, but often great change comes from such pain. Pain that cuts through all the lies and gets to the heart of the matter: How do you want to live your one precious life? At war or at peace? In fear or in love?

We are at a crossroads in this country and on this planet. The culture of violence that is killing our children and breaking our hearts is also causing us to stand up and let our voices be heard for something different. Every single “ism” and “phobia”—racism, sexism, ageism, xenophobia, homophobia—that has dominated the collective consciousness for hundreds of years is starting to unravel and fall apart at the seams. It may look like hatred of all kinds is gaining strength, but what we are seeing is the desperation of those who sense “their time is up.” “Power over” is frantically trying to hang on, but “power together” (“Me too”) is gaining strength. The spirit of oneness is rising in people’s hearts, whether they are aware of it yet or not. The “otherness” and separation that we have been trained to believe in is losing its grip, and compassion and unity is coming to the fore.

That spirit is in those students whose courage and resolve inspire every one of us to stand with them, to “have their backs.” Because it’s not just about them. It’s about all of us. We are all immigrants on this Earth, and we came here for a purpose beyond our individual lifetimes: to embody peaceful coexistence and loving kindness on a planet that has never fully lived it. The waiting is over; our time is now. Each of us knows in our heart that love is stronger than fear and hatred, and global transformation occurs when we live that truth, shining it outward from the very core of our being so that it is reflected in the hearts of everyone, everywhere. To quote Oprah again, “A new day is on the horizon.” Let’s walk into it together.

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Peace Is Everywhere

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Beneath the noisy thoughts in your head, there is peace. Underneath the emotional upset, there is peace. Behind every human action and reaction, there is an unwavering core of peace. It may be hard to perceive at times, but if you take a deep breath and allow everything to just be as it is, you are immediately brought to the peace that always lives within. I have learned the truth of this over time and through experience. That one breath changes everything, and I am centered in absolute stillness and peace, no matter what else is going on around me.

The world we experience every day is full of excitement and drama, all of it compelling. We are here on Earth to immerse ourselves in those diverse experiences and emerge on the other side with new awareness and wisdom. We may not know it consciously, but our souls are guiding us on our earthly journey. It is a journey through the polarities and extremes of life back to the center of all creation, which is infinite peace and oneness, which is God. To know peace in the midst of every experience—chaos or celebration—is to live in alignment with divine Source energy. It is why we are here (and where we came from), all of us in our uniquely diverse lives: to come back home to peace and radiate it out from the core of our being. More and more, we are coming into conscious realization of this extraordinary process and the transformative power it holds.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, antiwar activists used to chant “Peace Now” and “Give Peace a Chance.” (I was there; I remember.) John Lennon wrote: “War is over, if you want it. War is over now.” Beneath the slogans and lyrics was a truth that we have gradually come to see in the years since then: peace is present now, within each of us, and we can live it individually and collectively when we breathe it into the world with conscious awareness. It’s not about forcing anything to happen. It’s about allowing the peace of the universe to fully emerge from our souls and guide our daily lives, moment to moment.

That may sound “woo woo” and weird, but it’s actually grounded in the here and now. When you take a deep breath (which is spirit infusing human form) in the present moment, you align with the silent power of a “peace that surpasses all understanding” and are centered in the ground of all being. It can shift everything in a nanosecond. Within that living breathing inner peace, there is only love, compassion, and connection. Connection to God; connection to our fellow beings on the planet. When we pause and become fully aware of our breathing and the stillness at our core, struggle, judgment, and the need to build walls against everything and everyone falls away, dissolves. War, within and without, is over in that moment of completely conscious loving awareness.

This is where we are now on the planet, moving toward fully embodying that truth, that destiny. I feel it more and more powerfully every day in my own life and in the lives of people around me. But don’t take my word for it. As you move through your day and life starts to “get to you,” pause and take a deep breath, feel the sweet stillness at your center. Gradually you will begin to realize that peace is everywhere; it lives inside each and every one of us.

Losing Heart and Having Heart in the Trump Era

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
When you “lose heart,” you become discouraged and lose hope. When you “have heart,” you keep your faith and trust in spite of the odds. We are living at a time in which both of these options present themselves. The shadow side of our collective consciousness in the United States is coming to the fore, and we are seeing people fiercely hanging on to privileges and prejudices as if their lives depended on it. In truth, it is their identities, their egos, that depend on belief systems based in hierarchy and entitlement.

The 1% believe they have earned their place at the top of the heap and that those they have stepped on and profited from in order to get there are losers and leeches. Minorities and immigrants are targeted as threats to an elitist, white-male status quo. The exact opposite of the values of democracy and equal rights that this country is supposedly founded on. Of course, those founders were also white, male, and many were slaveholders, so the underside of American “freedom” has always existed.

When the rest of us look at this scenario, our hearts are tested. Will we lose hope or will we keep our faith that the imbalances will eventually right themselves? To paraphrase (and update) Thomas Paine: these are the times that try human souls. Can generosity, compassion, and loving-kindness eventually prevail in a society like ours where the accumulation and hoarding of monetary wealth and material possessions, as well as the oppression of entire segments of the population, is so widespread? Classism and racism overlay our so-called democratic society, to say nothing of sexism.

Everyone’s consciousness is affected by this skewed worldview. Many with more don’t want to give up what they have in order to assist others who have less. The media promotes consumerism and the lifestyles of the rich and famous, as if these were behaviors to aspire to. The artificially created “need” to buy and keep buying invades our daily lives. Unless we make a conscious decision not to participate. Unless we choose sharing over greed, caring over selfishness, simplicity instead of overconsumption. Unless we choose to live from our hearts and not our conditioning.

All the extremes and polarities are being displayed in full view of the world. The advent of Trumpism as a belligerent, self-aggrandizing approach to life is pervasive. There is an increasingly harsh and ruthless holding on to privilege, often accompanied by hatred of all those who stand up for their rights as equal citizens. Yet, there is a hollowness to these defenders of entitlement. Their hearts seem to be empty, their minds filled with delusions of superiority based on money and power. Appearance is more important than truth. But there is only so long they can maintain that facade. Their extreme behavior is the death rattle of an outdated paradigm, doomed to disappear like the dinosaurs.

Hope for the future lies with those who are, everywhere on this planet, now awakening to a conscious awareness that sees unity and commonality, not separation and divisiveness. People whose lives are lived heartfully and soulfully in deep connection with their fellow beings. Generosity of spirit prevails. You don’t hear as much about these individuals, because the media tends to focus on disaster and destruction instead of imaginative and inspired alternatives to power and elitism. But they/we are out here, and we are not going away.

Even though at times the odds seem overwhelming, we mustn’t lose heart. In having heart, in living heart, we open the heart of the world to greater compassion and caring so that eventually everyone, every soul on this Earth, can step out of separation and live in oneness. A critical mass of love and kindness has the power to shift everything. You never know when even the most recalcitrant of dinosaurs will have a change of heart. In the long run, hate can never “trump” love.

Hard-Wired or Habit?

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
There is a trend lately to think of certain behaviors as immutable and impossible to change. We hear comments like “Oh, he’s just hard-wired that way.” Meaning, it’s in the genes; he (or she) can’t change. Really? That line of thinking can take us down a rather pessimistic path into entrenched fear. Fear of the external world, fear of change, fear of those different from us. Are these fears hard-wired in us or simply habit? Do our genes control our destiny? Maybe not. Perhaps our genes and we ourselves can be transformed by shifts in collective consciousness and the power of divine energy. By connecting through the heart with our fellow human beings and to the God/dess within us.

Biologist and author Bruce Lipton has written about “spontaneous evolution.” He cites scientific studies that show that “genetic determinism” is an outdated belief, and we are not victims of heredity. Signals from our external (or internal) environment ultimately control gene activity. Translated, this means that genetic predispositions can be overridden by real-world experiences such as those that open our hearts or connect us with our soul. Spiritual awakenings or other transformative moments have a power that can break through habitual personality patterns. As our awareness grows, we can also consciously choose to align with our soul instead of our personality self or ego.

New neural pathways are laid down in the brain with each change in consciousness or new experience that is consistently repeated (neuroplasticity). In other words, we are not doomed to replay old behaviors, thoughts, and memories over and over. As we allow accumulated emotions to be felt and released, space is freed up for the full power of the soul to take its place at the leading edge of our awareness and our lives. Within a regular spiritual practice, hard wires can be disconnected and old habits broken. Something as simple as meditating and aligning with your inner spirit on a daily basis, in your home or in nature, can open the door to this process. You begin to see the world and others with fresh eyes.

Right now, in this moment, breathe and let go into the inner peace and stillness inside you. Your soul is “wireless” and has no attachment to past experiences. Allow it, and the breath, to guide you to a totally present-moment experience of life, wherein peace alone fills your conscious awareness and defines your day. In doing so, you are no longer tied irrevocably to past behaviors and feelings that are fear-based. In the present, nothing exists except beingness and love, which is God embodied in human form. Fear cannot exist in the presence of love. Breathe in divine energy and breathe out old restrictions and preconceptions. In this state you are free, liberated from everything that has held you back in the past.

I find that when I consistently and consciously choose to let my soul lead the way, I start to recognize opinions and judgments, whether mine or someone else’s, for what they are: replayed past fears that separate people from one another. If I live from an open heart, I begin to think of people as doing the best they can with the awareness they have at the moment. This applies to self-recrimination as well. To see everyone, including myself, as being in the process of evolving allows for the possibility of transformation, individually and globally. No one is hard-wired for anything really—except love.

Saving Grace—Elephants, Dolphins, and Whales

Elephants, dolphins, and whales are three of the most intelligent, grace-filled beings on Earth. In this week’s video blog, I talk about my own experiences with them and offer a prayer/plea for their survival. May we humans open our awareness and step away from cruel and heartless behaviors that endanger the lives and well-being of these magnificent creatures we share the planet with. Save the elephants. Save the dolphins. Save the whales. Save all animals. And in doing so, save the sweet grace they embody in their lives.