Three Pelicans Circling

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
Last week, on my morning walk, three brown pelicans flew overhead, high in the sky, as I tilted my head up to watch them. Slowly they turned in perfect unison and began to circle above me, directly above me. They circled three times, large sweeping circles of which I was the epicenter below them. Then they turned back the way they had originally come and flew off into the distance. As I watched them leave, my spirits uplifted by their brief aerial presence, I thought, “Why did they fly here, circle three times, and then return? Was my presence somehow connected to theirs?”

I am inclined to see the synchronicities of the universe, believing that everything is somehow connected in the greater tapestry of life. We are part of an energy dance, we living beings, and we all affect one another. The thread between us seems invisible, but it does exist. Their circling and my seeing happened simultaneously. No visible cause and effect, yet I felt as if my seeing reached out to them and drew them into a circle. Just as their circling reached out to me and drew me into heightened seeing. A bit like what physicists call quantum entanglement.

Humans on this planet are involved in a similar dance of circling and seeing, invisible much of the time but highlighted when synchronicities catch our attention and expand our awareness. A friend and I recently had a conversation about how everyone affects each other in the dramas of daily life. It became a wider discussion of the polarities of light and dark and the evolution of consciousness on Earth. We came to the mutual “conclusion” that every person and event plays a key role in the expansion of our collective consciousness. Nothing is just a disaster or a godsend. No one is just a hero or a villain. We all have bits of each of those extremes within us, and when we can embrace that polarity, we are free to live the nuances of life. Our life purpose is to accept what is challenging as well as what is inspiring, to come into harmony with everything.

It all gets down to something my friend/teacher Panache Desai has shared repeatedly: “Everything is perfect. Everything is God.” I receive that wisdom at deeper levels within me each day I live my life. This past week it filled me completely, permeating my cells like oxygen, like light. It was light. I saw that we are all here to come to that awareness, to embrace that full expression of compassion and love. We are here to embody divine Presence in the world. A Presence in which all polarities come into harmony within us and thus within the world. That is humanity’s role and destiny at this time.

The pelicans demonstrated that greater circling and surrendering to invisible energies that carry us to where we’re meant to be. Each detail of our flight is part of our soul’s journey, which we chose before birth. We are living our lives to align with our soul’s overview and to align with the love that connects all of our hearts—human, bird, animal, star. To live in “loving awareness” (Ram Dass), with kindness and generosity of spirit, is the greatest gift we can give ourselves, each other, and the world. You and I are God meeting God everywhere every day of our lives. And it’s all perfect.

Unsubscribe and Live Peacefully

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
“Subscription” once referred mainly to printed magazines and newspapers (“Your subscription is about to expire—please renew”). Now it’s the backbone of online communication. If you ask a question or sign a petition online, you automatically get subscribed to a barrage of ongoing emails. Subscription has become a cyber activity, distanced from anything real or living. We don’t subscribe to, or unsubscribe from, life. It’s just there, always supporting us. We can, however, lose touch with the essential simplicity of life. We can get entrapped in excess minutia—like too many emails.

A few weeks ago, I reached critical overload with the number of non-personal emails flooding my inbox. Political and environmental groups, spiritual programs and teachers, doctors and alternative healthcare practitioners, bookstores and theaters, online businesses. What a waste of time just to delete them multiple times a day! I went through and unsubscribed from virtually everything except a few key ones. At the same time, I decided to cut back on social media, visiting only occasionally. It was a relief. I felt as if I had lifted the heavy weight of contemporary social busyness and distractions off my shoulders. At least one day a week now I don’t even turn on my computer or phone. Wow, what freedom!

In unsubscribing there was also surrender, letting go into the natural flow of daily life, unmanipulated by technology. I was once again the 9-year-old girl who spent summers running through the fields with my dog or sitting up in a tree reading mysteries. Life was rich, full, perfect. It was a simpler time then, both in my life and on the planet. Now we have to filter out unnecessary complexities in order to live a simple life, one dedicated to what’s really important: connection to the spirit within us and all around us.

Spirit has become the focus of my life in recent years. The idea of unsubscribing as surrender somehow fits with that. As my soul’s wisdom moves to the forefront of my consciousness, I make choices that are more in alignment with a loving beingness in the world. Heart more than head. Social media engages the mind for the most part. What we want is to engage the heart, with the mind giving quiet feedback but not dominating. This is the way to balance, to harmony. The heart is directly connected to our soul’s purpose, and when we live a simple heart-centered life, we are living the “why” of our presence on this planet, in this lifetime.

If I remember each day to choose love and appreciation over distraction and dissatisfaction, then I am connected to the natural flow of spirit everywhere in the universe. Even disliking social media or emails can take you to a place of judgment and negativity. The key is to calmly “unsubscribe” from anything that is not positive and uplifting, anything that locks you into busyness instead of beingness. It’s not as hard as it may seem. Allow your computer or cell phone to be an occasional tool for information or connection. Visit now and then, not continuously. Life is not “virtual.” It expresses itself everywhere in extraordinary bursts of color and light. When your awareness expands and your heart opens, life becomes both richer and simpler. Within that is peace—of mind, of body, of soul.

 

Service to Others, Service to God

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Service to God, in spiritual or religious terms, can become a grandiose, almost inaccessible concept. Something only great mystics and masters can fully live out. Possibly forsaking all worldly possessions and moving to another country. We think of Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Or Martin Luther King Jr. and Peace Pilgrim. Lives of dedication and deep compassion. Yes, this is definitely service to God. But we don’t really have to be a saint or monk to be of service to others and God. Perhaps we need to simplify the definition itself.

So what exactly is service? The dictionary says “help, assistance, kindness.” A good turn or helping hand. It’s when we add God to the mix that everything gets a bit daunting. It becomes about life purpose and serving all of humanity in order to relieve suffering in the world. Almost nothing can live up to that tall order. People start to tune out and turn away because they feel inadequate to the task: “What could I as one individual human do to alleviate the pain of all humankind?” So, very few consciously choose service as a way of life. But what if service begins at a very basic level of a helping hand and kindness? What if my human purpose is just to be present to another when they are feeling most alone or lost?

I have asked myself what my life purpose is more times than I can count. Sometimes I think I know part of it, but I usually feel there is much more than what I think. I too have been intimidated by the larger sense of service to God, the purpose-of-life sense. My mind engages with the word purpose, trying to figure out what it is I’m supposed to be doing. However, as I grow and evolve on my spiritual path, I am finding that it has absolutely nothing to do with my mind’s ideas about any of it. It’s completely a heart issue. And it’s not necessarily a schematic that involves single-handedly eradicating world poverty or global warming. Maybe it’s less sweeping than that, something everyone can handle.

Volunteering one day a week at a food bank or donating regularly to an environmental cause are key individual contributions, but it is also more than those. Maybe our greatest gift to others and to God is day-to-day, moment-to-moment, heartfelt caring. The small gesture: the hand held, the loving smile, the encouraging word when someone is hurting. Perhaps that is the essence of service, available to each of us in every moment. Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr. lived a lifetime of small gestures of kindness to others that became their larger service to God. When I think of service this way, it becomes more accessible, doable, all-inclusive. Something that, as each person responds to another with caring and empathy, shifts the collective balance from selfishness to generosity, from suffering to well-being, from fear to love. From one to many.

Service is actually not something outside of us that we have to aspire to. It is who we are at our core. We came from the heart of God, and our souls are pure love. When we remember that, kindness flows from us easily and effortlessly. We become the light-filled human beings we were born to be. In truth, service to others and service to God are one and the same. Hold out your hand and open your heart to those who cross your path each day—that’s all it takes.

Where Is God in This?

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
When things aren’t going well, or the situation seems dire or extremely painful, we can call ourselves back from the cliff edge of despair with the simple inner question: “How is God present in this?” There are no coincidences, and our lives play out with our soul’s wisdom and God’s overview. Everything was chosen for our greater soul evolution before we even came into this lifetime. God is the midwife and helpmate in each situation. Actually, we are God, in the deepest part of our being. Everything that happens is meant to bring us to greater awareness and move us further along on our soul path. If we didn’t experience the poignancy of life, we wouldn’t be able to recognize and relish the joy. They are both part of the miracle of being alive on this Earth in the middle of a whirling mysterious cosmos, which at its heart is God as well.

My own life has been a roller-coaster ride this past year as I moved from one section of the country to another. I was very clearly guided to this next step in my life. We are always guided, of course, but we often don’t listen or see the signs, and the divine energy of the universe comes up with innovative ways to get our attention. The “sign” in this case was one that said For Sale in front of the house where my partner and I rented. There was no doubt in our minds that we were meant to make this move. Even though there have been, and continue to be, both blessings and losses along the way, I still feel that certainty.

What makes me so certain? Well, it’s an inner knowing and trust in a greater soul plan for my life. That trust has opened me to seeing the signs, sometimes very subtle ones, along the path in front of me. A chance encounter with a stranger or conversation with a friend can lead me to a next step. Everyone has a message for us—it helps to be open to hearing God wherever we go. Your own intuition is also God’s voice.

It may not always be obvious, but synchronicity runs like an electric wire of energy throughout your life. When I hold that in my awareness, I see the connections and cosmic arrows continually. Life becomes a magical game of risk and reward, listen and act, give and receive. Yes, reciprocity is part of the energy. The more you “return the favor” in helping others and living your life with generosity of spirit, the more the universe smiles and opens the door even wider.

Of course, life is not always smooth sailing and rewarding experiences. Sometimes, there is pain, loss, and intense challenge. It is particularly at these times that we need to consider how God may be present in this or how it is part of our own soul evolution. You may not always immediately know. I certainly don’t. It may take years to have a light-bulb moment when you “get” why something happened the way it did, how it moved you along to another necessary point in your life. The key is to continue to trust that there is always a divine presence within us and all around us that is moving us forward. If we are open to that, if we let go of our fear and just ride the current, then eventually the larger picture becomes clear.

At least that’s how I’ve experienced it. I don’t yet know all the “reasons” why I was moved to make this major change in my life, but I continue to surrender to possibility, even when things seem not to be going well (a sudden episode of lower back pain; a close friend moving away). Even on the most challenging day, the sunrise outside my window is spectacular, and heaven itself appears to be opening its heart to me. So ultimately, it’s all in how you see your life experience, how you frame each day, each moment, and how you embrace change.

“Trust in God” is not just a religious platitude or throwaway coin maxim. It is the key to everything in life. And if you don’t really resonate with the word God, just say “trust.” The words don’t matter. It’s the feeling of something greater at play, that your life is not a mistake. It’s a miracle that you only see when you are open to it. Then life itself opens up all around you.

Moving On and Letting Go of Everything Past

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Last fall, the house where my partner Anne and I lived in Massachusetts went up for sale. We knew immediately that that For Sale sign was also a sign from God: Time to move on! A door was closing, but another was so clearly being opened. Fortunately, we had a lease that allowed us to remain in our apartment for several months after the house was sold. We had plenty of time to make decisions and then step through that open door into new possibilities. As events unfolded, we felt guided to move to Florida, where we had a number of friends, and the winters did not include snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Also (and this was key), we discovered that buying a condo there was less expensive than the rent we were currently paying in Boston. Neon signs pointing south…

So we were excited about this brand new adventure. We flew to Florida for a visit, looked at potential places to live but didn’t find exactly what we wanted. After deciding to rent for a year and keep looking, we returned home. Then, out of the blue, our realtor called us with news that a condo we had looked at that was above our price range had come down in price and she thought we could get it for even less. Long story short: we made an offer, and it was accepted. For the first time in our lives, at retirement age, we found ourselves potential homeowners.

Thus began an intense month of letting go of everything past in our lives. It was like jumping off a cliff into the unknown. Anne had lived in Boston her entire life, and although I had moved back and forth coast to coast many times, I had been in the Boston area for more than 30 years years. Time to move on. We felt some apprehension, but mostly we were excited. We felt supported by old and new friends alike in our decision. It was both energizing and at times overwhelming, but synchronicities and good fortune kept leading us forward. There was never any doubt for either of us that this was the right path.

As the date of the condo closing drew nearer, we organized a yard sale and called local groups to donate to, clearing out piles of old books, clothing, etc. Then it got down to the hard stuff—the really old memorabilia that we still had in drawers and boxes (and we are not really savers). I had one drawer and one box that condensed many years of my life. One Saturday, I spent several hours throwing out booklets, programs, articles, letters, etc. from my 20s and 30s, all of it awash with memories of a past self that was distantly familiar but not really part of my present life.

Then I opened the box that held childhood photos, report cards, high school yearbooks, and letters from my mom and dad and many dear old friends. I pitched almost everything, except a few of my parents’ letters. I probably would never look at or read all these things again, so why keep them? It was like holding onto a memory of my former self. The love in those relationships was within me. Time to let go of the external.

Just as I was tearing up the last set of letters, it hit me—a dull pain in my left side. It remained for a while and then eased. At 2 a.m., however, extreme pain and nausea woke me from a sound sleep, and Anne drove me to the ER. Hours of tests and strong pain medication, and the diagnosis was a kidney stone that should pass in 48 hours. It did not.

For a week, I juggled pain and medication, trying to continue to function as we prepared for the closing. And, in the midst of it all, it suddenly dawned on me that the stone could be seen as a physical manifestation of everything past in my life that I was letting go. That insight did little to alleviate the pain I was feeling, though, or the fear that the stone would never pass. Then, after 8 days, the pain stopped. The past passed through me the day before the condo closing—perfect timing.

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger

Sometimes life is literal and sometimes it’s symbolic and sometimes it’s both. We come to this Earth for life experiences, soul growth, and shared evolution, and boy are we getting them! There is no one among us that is immune to the jolts and jumps that this particular time span on the planet is rich with. We are all being jettisoned into a new future, which is actually the Present in disguise. We are being asked to leave behind the memory of our selves in favor of a present-moment awareness that includes all time and timelessness.

When Anne and I stepped out of our past—through the looking glass—the entire world around us accelerated and renewed itself in magical ways. It’s still happening. We have no idea what’s coming next, but that’s part of the magic. When you let go of everything past, you are carried forward by life force, by spirit, to a destiny that only your soul and God understand fully. That is life’s greatest mystery—and sweetest grace.