It’s World Poetry Day so I thought I’d share a poem I wrote years ago. I was reminded of this poem on Saturday, when I went out for a short walk on the forest trail by our home, and, when I saw that most of the snow had melted on the path, I ended up hiking all the way up to the mountaintop where I wrote it.
I Have Been to the Mountaintop
The sound of my footsteps upon the earth brings me back in rhythm with nature
I breathe in the truth and exhale out the lies the world has tried to make me believe
Pine trees near and far watch over me, keeping me safe in their endless embrace
The voice of the wind reminds me of what’s real. I listen
The world below has no access to me here. I am safe for now
I am free to be me. The sky never judges
Reaching the mountaintop, I stand on its edge and see things from the perspective of oneness
The potential and possibilities of a connected universe are real, and they wait patiently to be brought into existence by the willing
All who make the journey here will live in this place for a moment, then long for it every day
Those who don’t will never understand or believe those who have … and they will judge them as wrong as they cling to their safety and sameness
But things change. Nature evolves us no matter how hard we try to deny it or fight against it
And as more and more people bravely journey to the mountaintop, antiquated thoughts and ideas will die
I have been to the mountaintop, and I know that life always moves in the direction of life, and only because of the trickery of man will it choose anything else
Nature never lies. Even with all its abilities, this is not a possibility
It cannot be convinced to believe or do anything other than the truth
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I AUDITIONED FOR AGT! America’s Got Talent just emailed me this graphic to share on social media so I am!
On Saturday, January 22nd, 2022, at 2:00 pm, I auditioned via Zoom from our dining room for one of the show’s producers. There were around 10 other people in my group auditioning and we each got 90 seconds to perform. We got to watch each other’s auditions and cheer each other on. It was really fun!
I would love to make it to the live auditions in front of the judges in L.A., so send some good vibes my way! I feel if I get the chance that I will win!
If you haven’t watched the video of the poem I auditioned with, I’ve provided a link below. I would appreciate if you would “like” and share the video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel Tyner Creative.
Note: I was going to post this yesterday when it happened but we had wildfires in our area that kept us concerned and preparing in case we had to evacuate. Today is a better day so I’m sharing it now.
Early last winter, an injured doe showed up alone on our property. She looked like she might have been hit by a car as her right-front leg was disfigured from the shoulder down making it unusable. Her face showed the depth of her pain, and so did her thin, frail body.
I cried when I saw her.
I post a lot of pictures showing the beauty of the wildlife that wanders our property and share the joy it gives my husband, Michael, and me. But I’ve never really shared the other, less-joyful side of living in nature, which is witnessing the challenges and life-and-death struggles it faces every day.
This particular injured doe is that “other side” that I’ve witnessed but have not shared until now.
This deer, who we named Grace, showed up when I was in my battle with cancer and going through grueling treatment for it, and, for some reason, in Grace I saw myself. I felt that Grace and I were kindred spirits not only in our pain but also in our struggle to survive.
I have found it hard to watch wildlife when it’s struggling, knowing that there isn’t much we can do to help it, leaving us, at times, to witness nature “run its course.”
In Grace’s case, Michael and I knew the only thing we could do to help was to give her food. So we did. We heard that other neighbors gave her food, too, all of us hoping that it would give her the strength she needed to make it through the winter.
This beautiful, helpless creature in so much pain and struggling to walk, especially in the deep snow, haunted me. My heart was often heavy, thinking about how she was suffering every minute of every day, as I, myself, was experiencing the same kind of constant and relentless pain.
In some way, I felt that we depended on each other for our individual survival – for Grace it was the food we provided her and for me it was the strength her infrequent and temporary presence gave me, reminding me that if she could endure her challenges and survive, so could I.
Every morning I would look out our kitchen window for Grace, but most of the time she wasn’t there. She would be gone for weeks at a time, and when she was, we thought the worst: she probably had died.
But just when we were sure that she had, she would show up, sometimes with our neighborhood deer Rudy, who we think is her mom, skinny and still unable to use her injured leg yet, miraculously, still very much alive.
Winter turned to spring and spring to summer, and Grace’s visits to our property were few and far between. Her last visit was on May 8th of this year and she didn’t look good (see attached picture).
A few days ago, Michael and I were talking about Grace because it had been so long since we’d seen her; sadly, we both agreed that she probably had, finally, succumbed to her injuries and the harsh elements of nature that she faced handicapped.
But this morning Rudy showed up with two other does. When I saw them in our back yard, I went out on our deck to say Hi to Rudy, and when I did, I noticed that one of the does had a bit of a limp and her right-front leg looked different than her other three legs.
Could it be Grace? I wondered.
I studied her for a while, and even though she looked different because she had gained quite a bit of weight and was walking almost normal, I could tell, without a doubt, that it was Grace.
My heart was overjoyed so I ran inside to share the good news with Michael!
We both went back outside, and after carefully looking at her, Michael agreed that it was Grace.
With big smiles on our faces we watched Grace be a “normal” deer, amazed that she had not only survived but also that she was now thriving, her face no longer showing any pain and her injured leg now strong and usable.
The picture with this post shows the amazing transformation Grace has made from when she was here in May to today.
We came back inside and I watched Grace, Rudy, and the other deer wander around our back yard then off and out of sight. As I did, tears filled my eyes as I thought about the individual and collective journeys Grace and I have been on the past year and how far we both have come.
This morning, Grace reminded me that, even when a positive outcome seems impossible, or when the odds are stacked against us, or when our days are dark and our challenges big, if we just keep going, putting one foot (or one hoof) in front of the other, miracles can happen.
If you are facing a big, or small, challenge right now, I hope you remember this, and that you find strength from Grace’s amazing story and how this little creature defied the odds!
Thank you, Grace, for showing all of us what strength, resilience, and grace look like. I will remember you forever.
As we take refuge inside again today from the heat and now the smoke from so many fires, I am saddened that this has become the norm for our summers up here in the Pacific Northwest.
I miss hiking, biking, sitting in our garden, and our morning and evening walks.
But we humans are lucky, because we can come indoors and get a break from the heat and smoke. Nature is not so fortunate.
We have a lot of wildlife on our property and I am seeing the toll the extreme, prolonged heat, and now the smothering smoke, is taking on it. The deer, birds, and the turkeys and their chicks seem agitated and exhausted, and it is oh-so sad to bear witness to.
I wrote this poem years ago when I thought things were pretty bad. Sadly, they have only gotten worse. We need to do better, my fellow humans. Hopefully we won’t be to late …
On my walk last night, I had an idea that would expand the reach of my creativity. I could feel the sides of my mouth curve upward into a smile and my heart feel full as I thought about the new possibilities this idea brought into my consciousness.
But it didn’t take long for my pesky little inner voice to put an end to the sudden and unexpected joy I was feeling. Even though it whispered, I could hear its words loud and clear: It’s safer to stay small and invisible.
When I heard these words, I could feel every part of me contract, literally to the point that my posture changed, my shoulders rolling forward and my chest folding inward.
Unfortunately, I’m familiar with this limiting inner voice because it has spoken to me many times before, causing the same physical and emotional reactions. It happens like this: I have an idea, and dream briefly about it, then come up with reasons, actually excuses, why I shouldn’t do it because I know it would require me to step outside of my comfort zone, learn and do new things, and be “seen.” This entire process can last seconds, or years.
I have unconsciously and automatically expanded then contracted, expanded then contracted, expanded then contracted countless times in my life.
For some reason, last night I became aware of this pattern, and while it made me sad, I realized something that brought a smile to my face again: each time I’ve expanded, the distance I’ve contracted has become less and less over the years. Because of this, I have evolved and made consistent progress in all aspects of my life.
Looking to the future with the new awareness I now have about this pattern, I’m going to work to catch myself when I start to contract, then try to remain in an expanded state. If I do this consistently, I know that one day I will expand, never again to contract.
Thinking about the possibilities that exist in such an open and expanded place of being, inspire me, and, to be honest, scare me a bit, too. But I won’t let that stop me from working towards my goal of living every day in an expanded state.
If you have unconsciously expanded then contracted many times in your life as I have, I hope this post brings awareness to this pattern so you can work towards staying in an expanded state, too. Just imagine the world we can create when we no longer contract and are willing to be “seen”!
Let’s be bold, together! I’m ready! Are you?
❤, Marie Kukula-Tyner Author, THE SPIRIT FACTOR
THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.
If ever I am lost, the mountaintop is where I’ll find me …
This line is from my poem Meet Me On the Mountaintop, and it has never felt truer than it did yesterday when I was on the mountaintop.
I love the mountaintop behind our home. Over the years it has provided me peace, comfort, inspiration, ideas, wisdom, and more lessons than I can count, and it’s where most of the information in THE SPIRIT FACTOR came to me.
Unfortunately, yesterday was only the second time that I’d been up to the mountaintop in a year due to a health issue I had.
Yesterday I realized not only how much I’ve missed the mountaintop but also how much I need it.
The pandemic, politics, my health and other personal challenges, and just living in extraordinarily challenging times on the planet, have dragged me and my spirit down, leaving me feeling tired and oh-so uninspired.
But, yesterday, when I got close to the top of the mountain and caught my first glimpse of the yellow wildflowers in full bloom covering the mountainside, I could feel every part of me come alive.
I literally felt a jolt, like I had been plugged back in to an energetic life force that I didn’t even know I was disconnected from.
It felt incredible … and intoxicating! I didn’t want the feeling I had to end so I wandered around for a bit in pure bliss, taking pictures (including the one in this post) and drinking in the sights, smells, and warmth of the glorious spring day.
On the mountaintop, as in most places in nature, the man-made noise and obstructions we are exposed to in everyday life cease to exist, giving way to magic and miracles.
Random thoughts organize and form ideas.
Words arrange themselves into poetic verses.
Fear transforms into courage.
Lost souls are found.
Anger, doubts, questions, judgments, and regrets disappear.
Forgiveness is given and granted.
Wholeness is attained.
Time is irrelevant.
The concepts of life and death are meaningless.
Negativity and lies have no fertile ground to grow in.
What I realized yesterday, when I felt the familiar presence and power of nature, is that I want to do certain SPIRIT FACTOR seminars on walks through the mountains, rather than inside at some uninspired venue. I want the earth to be the classroom floor, the sky to be the ceiling, and the trees my fellow teachers.
I can only imagine the incredible experience this would create not only for the participants but also for me, and the transformation that would take place for all of us.
I do believe this SPIRIT FACTOR Experience is something I must make happen! Until I do, I urge you to make time to spend in nature so you can reconnect with its incredible power and be transformed by its beauty and presence, as I was yesterday.
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I wrote this poem last year, right after George Floyd was killed, while the protests were going on. A lot happened in my life since then that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do with this poem, which was make a video for it.
Yesterday I watched the closing arguments in the trial of the officer who killed George Floyd, and I felt compelled to share my poem with the world.
Now, with the verdict in, maybe we are finally making some progress and the last line of my poem has a possibility of becoming a reality.
I Can’t Breathe
I thought I was waking up to just another day
But I saw something, and could not look away
The images play over and over again in my mind
I try to understand, but no answers can I find
This was no mistake, so don’t be mistaken
A life was not lost, in the light of day it was taken
Once again we bear witness to a truth so many still deny,
as “I can’t breathe,” once a plea, now becomes a battle cry
Unarmed, but not unharmed, in peace, forever, he does lay
Adding yet another debt, to a balance no one is willing to pay
How can two men go down on one knee, yet stand so far apart?
And though they beat the same, have such different hearts?
It’s time we stand united, and stop writing this same tragic history
Together, creating a land, where every woman and every man, are finally, and truly, free