Undoing the Doing

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
“In between the old and the new is an empty space.”
—Charles Eisenstein

Popular advice would tell you that when you feel stuck, lost, or unmotivated, then do something, anything, to get out of it, to move yourself forward. I have found that the exact opposite is true: If you don’t feel moved to act, then don’t. Allow for the pregnant pause in which something new can be born. Take a deep breath and relax into the present moment. The rest will take care of itself.

Doing is the backbone of American culture. Most of us live lives filled with activities, surrounded by voices that urge us to do even more. Working 24/7 is a badge of honor. “I’m so busy” is the daily mantra repeated by countless individuals. We often find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of work and social activity that leaves us drained and exhausted. Motivational coaches enthusiastically tell us we can achieve fulfillment by becoming the entrepreneurs of our own lives. Success and empowerment await us if we just make that extra effort. Such promises distract us from our own inner truth.

Behind it all is a desperate attempt to shore up a status quo that is rapidly disintegrating. Every social, political, and economic framework around us is breaking apart. The old stories and rationales no longer convince us. Within us something new is awakening, a vision of a different way of being. The Old Earth ran on fragmented “us” vs. “them” energy, me outracing you. Separation, hierarchy. The New Earth, more and more visible on the horizon, is centered in connection and collaboration. The circle, not the tower. And that circle is formed not from frenetic activity but from quiet intention and shared focus.

This new way of life exists now as a possibility in our lives, but first we have to undo the doing. We have to step back and away into the empty space that opens into being without doing. There, creativity and new visions can be born. Nothing is forced, everything flows. All possibilities are welcomed, and eventually calm, centered action arises out of this empty space of allowing.

I am currently in such a transitional “empty space” in my life. I have left the past behind but as yet have no idea what comes next. My own lifelong spiritual journey has brought me to this pivotal point of wholeheartedly embracing the present moment, where there is no time. No noise, no hurrying. I immerse myself in the natural world around me and the timeless light-filled energy of birds and butterflies, trees and flowers.

Here is peace, respite from the busy world. Here is the centerpoint of stillness, within which the entire universe was born and continues to silently vibrate potential and possibility for each of us. Herein, the creative flow of all life emerges from being itself. Doing then unfolds as part of that beingness.

I am choosing this space. I trust it and hold it sacred in my heart. This is who I am at the soul level, and in aligning with my soul, I am aligning with the dynamic divine energy that sources everything. I am connecting with thousands of other souls on this planet who are experiencing the same energy. Out of this connection, an entirely new consciousness is arising. We are finally recognizing that we are human beings not human doings. The New Earth will re-form itself around this awareness.

The voices of the old paradigm will urge us to rush into the future, no time to waste. Instead, I say to myself: Wait a minute, take a deep breath, and keep taking them until all urgency drops away, and all you can feel is the peace at your core. It is from that place that my life and yours can recenter and redefine itself. I was not born to fill my life with nonstop doing; I was born to be my unique soul self, and all else will flow from that. In being is all of life. No separation, no “other.” This is the New Earth we are giving birth to and being born into simultaneously. A world in which you and I are no longer at odds, but instead work together and celebrate each other.

So allow the pause, the silence, the undoing. It will introduce you to being. It will save your life. It will save all of our lives. In fully being present in our lives, we will not face each day with worry and overwhelm but instead with joy and celebration that we are savoring every moment of what we came to this planet to experience. In the process, we will create a New Earth based in freedom of expression and commonality of purpose, one that recognizes the sacred marriage of being (divine soul) and doing (human form).

God Is a Blue Heron

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Every day I walk two miles on a nature trail near where I live. I have come to call it my “walk with God” because in nature I often feel that deep connection with all I see. One recent afternoon, before leaving on my walk, I stepped out onto the lanai just in time to see a great blue heron standing stationary at the water’s edge right in front of me. Its body was stretched tall, its legs long, its eyes alertly focused on something nearby. Its presence was so striking that to me it felt like an extraordinary being dropped in from some other celestial realm. As it walked majestically by, that impression only intensified. “God is a blue heron,” I thought.

This perception began to take other forms in my mind as I began my walk. What if I used it as a mantra, a practice in conscious awareness, as I walked? I started with the first thing I saw: “God is…a hibiscus.” Then, “God is…the sidewalk.” Next, “God is…a tree.” And “God is…the sky.” The moon rising. A mockingbird’s call. A fern. A fountain. The sound of traffic in the distance. A fiery sun setting in the west. A squirrel. A street sign. An old broken bicycle. Neighbors walking toward me. Newly tiled roofs. Every sound and every color.

Everything I looked at became God, and as I continued, my eyes focusing on one small part of the universe after another, my sense of the interconnectedness of ALL of it grew. Suddenly, there was no separation between me and what I saw and heard—anywhere, either before me or in my mind’s eye. Everything was pure divine energy and light. The feeling was like coming home—to something greater than me as well as to my self, my soul self, which doesn’t see separation, only oneness. I realized too what a grace-filled gift this particular practice was, lifting me out of a background sadness and disconnection that had been with me for weeks.

Moving from one part of the country to another had turned my world upside down, first in extraordinarily expansive ways and then in ways that felt like loss and separation. Now, as I repeated again and again all the ways that God/dess was part of my every perception, I understood that everything was unfolding perfectly in order to bring me to a deeper awareness of connection in my life. Connection to spirit was everywhere I looked; I had only to open my eyes wider to once again see it clearly.

We may think we know what we’re looking at and where we’re going in our lives. If, like me, you have been on a spiritual path for years, you may believe you see the larger picture as well as the details. Ah, but even though you and I can see more and more expansively as our lives evolve, we sometimes forget how flawlessly everything fits together in the universal plan and what appears as loss and sorrow can later become the doorway to greater awareness.

When we realize at the deepest level that everything and everyone is here for a reason, part of God’s intricate tapestry of creation, then complaining or criticizing seems like a distraction and diversion. This is our life journey. A journey back to recognizing that the blue heron as well as the broken bicycle are both God, inseparable from each other as well as from ourselves. For we too are God.

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.”

Your Crowning Glory

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
Okay, can we take a look at the elephant in the room, the one we avoid, the one we pretend isn’t there? Specifically, the white-haired elephant, otherwise known as ageism. Ageism affects us all at one time or another in Western culture. Women get hit by it around 35 or 40 when the first white/gray hairs appear, and we are encouraged to run for the hair dye. Around the same time, makeup ads advise treating those new wrinkle lines with cover-ups, serums, and lotions so they don’t become permanent. Later, Botox is the treatment of choice.

Men get the wakeup call if they begin to bald early. Ads urge them to get hair transplants, or the trend now is to shave their heads. If their hair starts to lose color instead, they may receive a few years of deferment with the “distinguished gray” perception. However, eventually they too are faced with the white-hair stigma. The idea of just allowing our physical bodies to age gracefully and naturally—with a healthy diet, exercise, and a stress-free lifestyle instead of some kind of intervention—still remains on the outskirts of the collective consciousness. We live in a culture that promotes “youth” relentlessly.

I wore makeup in my early 20s, but when I came to see the underlying sexism and ageism in it, I stopped. I’ve never dyed my hair for the same reason. It’s all just costuming anyway. If we could see it as play, it might be fun, but when it’s tied to tight social expectations and judgments, it becomes an impediment to self-acceptance. Women are habitually trained to wear masks to alter their appearance and disguise their age. And one white hair can give you away. So I have had various reactions over the years to my gradually whitening hair.

What I’ve discovered is that there are three kinds of assumptions people may unconsciously make when they see someone with white hair:
1) The person is old, frail, and physically weak.
2) The person is mentally slow-witted and forgetful.
3) The person is just plain invisible.

I’ve occasionally had one of the above directed at me (or one of my parents), such as someone offering a bus seat or a salesclerk over-explaining in a condescending way. When my father was still alive, I habitually had doctors or salespeople talk only to me even when my father was asking the question. Your individuality and your humanity often become invisible because of white hair or wrinkles. Not to everyone, but to some. Many people respond with an open generous heart, regardless of age, sex, or physical appearance. Others get lost in their own preconceptions.

I’m certainly not criticizing people for offering seats; really that’s a kindness we should extend to everyone. It’s the socially created assumptions behind certain behaviors that are annoying. A receptionist at my eye doctor’s office recently said to me in a somewhat snotty tone, “Do you realize you’re a half hour early for your appointment?” I replied, “Yes, of course. I always arrive early. Better than being late.” It took me a minute to realize that she would never have said that to someone younger. My white hair made her think I needed some kind of wake-up call.

Isn’t it about time that we see aging as a journey into wisdom and well-being instead of decline and stupidity? We expand into more awareness, empathy, and generosity as we age (if our hearts remain open). Many cultures honor their elders as the most valued citizens of the community. They don’t ignore, shun, or discard them as we do in Western society because they no longer bring in “a capital wage.” So many broken paradigms are falling away—this one needs to as well.

Let’s look at white hair as natural and beautiful instead of something we have to hide or deny. Don’t let anyone else’s perceptions define and limit you. Be your own unique soul self throughout your life. As you stretch and grow with each year of your time here on Earth, think of that shining white light at the crown of your head as a sacred gift: God’s blessing for a magnificent, expansive, fully lived life.

Choosing “Different”

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
Life at its most fulfilling and expansive is not about fitting in or aspiring to socially promoted goals like a 24/7 career, with accompanying big money, house, car, and investments. It’s also not about finding one “perfect” soul mate and living happily ever after. That’s the Cinderella story they keep trying to get women to buy into so that we forget that who we really are is Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman who has her own unique, independent soul and doesn’t need anyone to make her life perfect. This applies to men looking for one mate to fulfill them too. We are not half-humans searching for the missing part to make us whole. Nor are we necessarily one gender, one expression, one role, or one anything. We are so much more.

We humans are souls not roles, beings not doings. What if life is really about your own soul and its particular destiny, intertwined with many others but not dependent upon them? So that every person you meet on your journey is a soul mate of some kind (someone with whom you share a deep connection). It’s not about “one”: it’s about oneness. Within that, you could have a partner for life, or several different partners over a lifetime, as well as many friends, all of them soul mates. Some people choose friendships rather than partnerships, or they opt for no labels at all. We meet the people we are meant to meet when we are meant to. Our relationships may be short or long, easy or challenging, but ultimately, it’s about our soul’s journey, not about a mythic “forever after” with one person. It’s about the eternal now, which is constantly evolving.

We are living in a new era of stepping out of the old stories and social paradigms that held us prisoner in expected behavior for so long. Now is the time to choose “different”: to leap like an empowered super hero over outdated frameworks, paradigms, and expectations. Choose something new—beyond your wildest dreams. Choose infinite possibility. Choose your soul self. And choose universal love that is inclusive of every being on this planet. How would the world shift if we saw everyone as a soul mate, a kindred spirit with whom we could share a sacred exchange, soul to soul? The love of all within the love of the one before you.

Whether for one moment or a lifetime, friend or lover, the connection is at the soul level. It is beyond gender and beyond roles. It is about the heart. The human heart and God’s heart (and they are one and the same). If we live from the heart, we are always choosing love—which in this world is choosing “different.” Give it a try. Love yourself, your soul self. And love your neighbor as your soul mate, your dearest friend. The world will open up all around you, and you will see kindred spirits (and God) wherever you look. And that is life’s greatest fulfillment.