Maybe We Can Finally Breathe

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

Marie Kukula-Tyner

Finding You and Your Home, Where the “Crawdads Sing”

It’s hard to put into words how much I loved the segment on Delia Owens, who is the New York Times bestselling author of “Where the Crawdads Sing”, on the Sunday Morning show this past weekend. (See video of interview at bottom of post)

Delia is 70 years old, and “Where the Crawdads Sing” is her first novel.

She spent almost a decade writing the book.

In the segment, Delia talks about how she has spent her life in remote areas, Africa and now northern Idaho, and how she loves—and at times loathes—the isolation of these places.

She said sometimes she gets so lonely that she feels like she can’t breathe.

The reporter said, “But you like a little part of that?”

Delia responded, “I do. And I decided to write a book about it.”

I related to so much of what Delia said because of some similarities in our lives.

While I’m not a New York Times bestselling author, well, not yet, it did take me almost a decade to write and edit THE SPIRIT FACTOR.

And just like when she was writing her novel, inspiration came to me when it came and could not be forced.

Oh, and I, too, have a plastic storage tube full of old drafts, and scribbles and handwritten notes on pieces of scratch paper, that I wrote at all hours of the day and night when inspiration struck.

But I really found a kindred spirit in Delia when she talked about how she seeks out and loves isolation, and how she feels at home in nature.

The title of Delia’s book was taken from a phrase her mother used to use, when encouraging her tomboy daughter to take to the woods around their rural Georgia home and listen to what those woods had to say.

Delia explained that she learned from books that crawdads really don’t sing. But she learned from her mother that if you go far enough into the wilderness by yourself, and there’s nothing but you and nature, you will hear the crawdads sing.

Delia currently lives in a remote area of northern Idaho, and says that, “This is where the crawdads sing,” and that it took her a lifetime to find it.|

When my husband Michael and I decided to move from Southern California to a place in nature, we went on a year-long search to find a place “where the crawdads sing.”

We ended up finding a 10-acre property in the mountains of rural northeastern Washington that was surrounded by nature.

When we drove up to the property, I knew instantly it was home.

My spirit craved the silence and wisdom of nature, and also isolation after living my whole life in neighborhoods and working for many years in Los Angeles.

I fell head over heels in love with the forest that surrounded our new home and the nature that lived in it, taking long daily walks through it so I could hear the “crawdads sing.”

And, boy, did they sing!

What I “heard” in nature was different than the man-made information I had been taught and told my whole life.

It breathed life into me and my spirit, healing a depth of brokenness in me that I didn’t even know existed.

For the 9 years it took me to write and edit THE SPIRIT FACTOR, I spent as much time as possible in the woods, observing nature.

I crossed paths with a mountain lion and a lot of other wildlife.

I witnessed up close the courage and resilience that nature faces life with every single day.

I listened to nature’s voice and did my best to translate it into words without distorting it with any agenda.

I feel that I was successful accomplishing this.

To spend almost a decade on this project, and for much of the time not really knowing when I would finish writing, was challenging. So was the isolation.

But what I learned during this time is that you have to allow yourself the time and space to fully explore and understand what you are writing about.

In order to do this, it takes listening to the “crawdads sing”, or as I call it, listening to spirit, which requires isolation and time in nature.

Inspiration can’t be forced and ideas can’t be manufactured. You can’t rush them.

This can be a hard thing to surrender to. But it is important to understand.

It’s also important to understand that this pertains to us and our lives, too.

Delia started writing “Where the Crawdads Sing” when she was in her sixties and became a best-selling author at age 70.

Many of us think that if we aren’t successful by a certain age that we never will be successful.

But discovering and becoming who we are takes time. Actually, it takes a lifetime.

Delia said it took her a lifetime to find her home in northern Idaho where the “crawdads sing,” and that’s okay.

No matter how young or how old we are, the most important thing is that we keep searching, learning, listening, evolving, and becoming the truest version of ourselves we can be.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is a completely new and revolutionary philosophy — based on the simplicity, intelligence, and wisdom of nature — that provides us the tools to tap into the limitless potential of the human spirit.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR helps you identify, understand, and remove the eleven most-common obstructions to spirit.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

 

 

 

 

 

FREE YOUR SPIRIT Seminar!

We are happy to announce our first seminar for THE SPIRIT FACTOR called “FREE YOUR SPIRIT!” Please see the flyer below for more details.

It will take place on Saturday, April 20th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Bayview Lodge at the Pinelow Park & Conference Center on the shores of beautiful Deer Lake.

The cost is $25, which includes the seminar and a copy of THE SPIRIT FACTOR

We will have an event page up on Facebook shortly that you can buy tickets directly from. Until then, you can reserve your space by emailing us at tynercreative@gmail.com.

Space is limited and an R.S.V.P. is required! You can email us at tynercreative@gmail.com or call us at 509-998-3934.

We look forward to seeing you at this inspiring and transformational event!

Free Your Spirit Flyer Different Pink and Smaller

Celebrating the Anniversary of the Birth of THE SPIRIT FACTOR!

tsf new book cover front only 7-16-2018

Eleven years ago today, our book THE SPIRIT FACTOR was born. Well, at least it started Michael and me on the road to writing a book about spirit.

At the time, we had no idea that it would take us almost 9 years to write and edit the book. We also never could have imagined the many challenges we would face over those years that would almost derail us and this project, or the amazing journey we would go on because we asked one question: What is spirit?

THE SPIRIT FACTOR could never have been written on a deadline nor could I have prepared an outline for the book when I started writing.

The bits and pieces of the book came to me slowly, over the years I wrote it. I would have to digest the information then try to explain it in writing in a easy-to-understand way.

I included a quote from Joseph Campbell at the beginning of the book that describes perfectly how THE SPIRIT FACTOR was written:

“Anyone writing a creative work knows that you open, you yield yourself, and the book talks to you and builds itself.”

This is truly what happened with THE SPIRIT FACTOR, and it was one of the most magical things I have ever experienced!

THE SPIRIT FACTOR became the book I needed but had not been able to find in my decades-long search for something that would help me understand every aspect of life and live it to its fullest potential.

Below is the Introduction to the book that explains what happened on this day 11 years ago, and how, in an instant, the trajectory of our lives was changed.

INTRODUCTION: A BOOK IS BORN

On the evening of February 20, 2008, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., as a total lunar eclipse was taking place, Michael and I experienced a moment we had not planned on or that either one of us had ever imagined.

It was a moment of absolute clarity: clarity as to why the two of us were in pain, why so many others were in pain, and why the planet was suffering.

This moment started out as a conversation between Michael and me that began from a place of pain—deep pain—that we were both feeling but that neither one of us could explain or un-derstand.

Looking at our lives, we had so much to be grateful for. We had a loving relationship; we lived on one of the most beautiful pieces of property on the planet, surrounded by nature and peace; we had ideas and dreams that we were working on together; and we had three amazing dogs that brought complete joy to our lives.

Life was pretty darn good!

Over the years, Michael and I had worked hard to improve our lives on our own, and continued to do so after we met. Because of this, we were, at the time, in a place we had once dreamed of.
So, according to the numerous self-help books we had read over the years, the self-help speeches we had listened to, and the current onslaught of self-help movies we had watched, there was absolutely no good reason why we weren’t in “bliss” every moment of every day.

Since we weren’t, we felt there was something wrong with us that needed to “fixed” by affirming, acting as if, doing steps, being grateful, not watching the news, not getting involved or speaking out, or whatever else the latest self-helper was preaching as the way to this ever-elusive bliss.

If they were right, the pain Michael and I were feeling was all in our heads and could easily be “fixed” for the price of their latest book, CD, or seminar.

Unfortunately, we had believed this for years and tried to “fix” ourselves with these types of products, but we always ended up feeling like failures for not experiencing the results and sustaining change that had been promised.

On the night of February 20, it became clear to us why we— and so many others—were suffering.

You see, the pain Michael and I were feeling was not just in our heads; it was in our hearts and in every fiber of our beings.

Even though we had improved our lives, we could still feel the pain and suffering of so many others on the planet—and the suffering of the planet, too.

And even though our home was filled with love, peace, and respect, the moment we walked out our door, turned on the television, talked to a friend, neighbor, or family member, or basically did anything that involved being in the world, we could feel the pain and suffering that existed.

This pain no longer lives beneath the surface where it can be denied; it has reached the point where it is in clear view for all of us to see—and feel.

It can be seen in our addictions, illnesses, and disorders; in our broken homes and neglected children, elderly, and animals; in our prejudices and lack of compassion; in our apathy and pursuit of money and “things” at all costs; in our greed and separation and segregation; and in our words and in our wars.

On this night, Michael and I felt the collective pain of the people and our planet at a level that was beyond what we thought was humanly possible; we felt it at the level of spirit.

Feeling pain at this level is much different than feeling pain on an individual level—it is a depth of pain that can swallow you up and leave you in such despair that you could disappear in it forever.

When most of us feel pain, any pain, we try to avoid it or do something to stop it.

But on this night, Michael and I bravely sat together with this unbearable pain and looked it straight in the eyes.

When we did, we understood the pain, and realized it was telling us something very important—something we would have missed had we tried to avoid or stop the pain we were feeling.

Because we sat with this pain and listened to it, information, answers, and our purpose flowed freely from a place of spirit that was so present it was palpable.

This information was not separate from us; we simply knew it with every fiber of our beings, even though we had never been taught or told it.

There was no thought of doing anything other than completely surrendering to the moment with no judgment or distractions.

Actually, there was no thought involved in anything that happened that night—we transcended from thought to knowingness.

It wasn’t just an experience of being connected to spirit—we were spirit!

Every answer we had been searching for, we knew. All the pain the world was feeling, we felt.

This moment brought us to the purpose we had been searching for our entire lives.

But, to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t the warm, fuzzy place we’d expected or that we had been promised in those aforementioned self-help books.

Actually, it was quite the opposite.

It’s not what we would have chosen had our decision been based on riches, relaxation, or a comfortable life.

But it is something we know we must do.

This purpose runs so deep, we feel that our survival depends on it.

It’s a purpose born out of the suffering and pain we are all feeling, yet have not been able to understand or express.

Even though there is no road map to follow, we know with absolute certainty, if we allow spirit to guide us, it will take us in the direction of healing—not just for the two of us, but for all of us.

Marie Kukula -Tyner & Michael Tyner

A Night of Spirit with the Spokane Symphony and the Music of Queen

marquee-e1549921209201.jpg

My husband Michael and I went to see the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” last month. As you surely know, this movie is about the rock band Queen.

I grew up listening to Queen’s music, along with music from mega-rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, etc.

I never considered myself a huge Queen fan in the past, but that changed after we saw the movie. I am now completely obsessed with the band (especially Freddie Mercury) and their music!

So when I found out that the Spokane Symphony would be performing the music of Queen at the Fox Theatre in Spokane on my birthday a few weeks ago, I knew we had to go to the show.

Unfortunately, by the time we found out about the show it was sold out.

Michael continued to check online for tickets as the date approached but had no luck.

We’d accepted the fact that we wouldn’t be going to the show and tried to figure out something else to do to celebrate my birthday.

But on the afternoon of the show, Michael decided to check one more time to see if the theatre had released any tickets at the last minute. And they had!

The online box-office seating chart showed that two great floor seats had become available so Michael bought them. Yes!

That evening, we headed to Spokane early so we could have dinner before the show, making the hour drive from the rural mountains north of Spokane where we live to downtown.

When we arrived, we found street parking in front of a big, beautiful old church then made the short walk though the foggy and warm-for-January temps to the restaurant.

After a lovely dinner, we walked a short distance to the Fox Theatre.

There were other events going on in town that night at the Bing Theatre and the INB so the town was bustling with traffic and people walking about.

Spokane is a beautiful city, but because of the busyness and the fog that blanked the city it was magical that evening!

We arrived at the Fox Theater about 20 minutes before the show started, took our seats, and talked with some of the people seated around us.

The Fox Theatre is a special venue because of its history and intimacy.

It is an art deco movie theater that was built in 1931. It was part of the Fox Film Corporation Empire founded by studio mogul William Fox.

In 2000, the Spokane Symphony purchased the building and spent 7 years and $31 million doing an extensive restoration, which included reducing the seating from 2,300 to 1,700.

Just a few days prior to the show we went to, the theater had installed a new sound system that was paid for by an anonymous donor.

Inside Theater
Inside the Fox Theatre

The show started shortly after 8:00 pm, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it included a full rock band and a vocalist named Brody Doylnuk.

What happened over the next few hours was amazing!

The outside world with its problems, political divides, and noise disappeared.

If you’ve been to a concert since smart phones took over the world, you know that most people take pictures and video throughout the show. But this night, every person honored the “no recording” policy for the performance.

For Michael and me, what was so beautiful about the night was how everyone in the audience knew the words to every single song, and sang along in perfect harmony with the vocalist who was professional, entertaining, and very talented.

To not only see but also feel the joy in the audience as they participated in the show, clapping and dancing as they belted out the lyrics to “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “Tie Your Mother Down”,  “Another One Bites the Dust”, Somebody to Love”, I Want It All”, and the many other hits Queen had, was just what our spirits needed.

While I enjoyed all the songs, there were two that really affected me.

The first was “Under Pressure”, which Queen recorded with David Bowie and released in 1982.

Interestingly, it had never been one of my favorite songs in the past.

But the lyrics took on new meaning and relevancy as I heard them at the show, thirty-seven years after the song was released.

I was brought to tears as I sang, “It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about. Watching some good friends scream, ‘Let me out!” because, man, I feel that way sometimes.

The second song that affected me deeply was “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

This seemed to be the song that affected the audience the most, too, and was also the song they sang the loudest.

But it also affected the vocalist, Brody, deeply, when the audience so beautifully and tenderly accompanied him on the final few versus of the song, which are sung with minimal musical accompaniment.

He teared up, as did Michael and I, when everyone in the theater sang, “Doesn’t really matter to meeee,” carrying the last note together in perfect harmony, as we, in that moment, became a choir that had never before and never will again perform together.

We did the same for the final verse: Any way the wind blows.

Those who weren’t yet on their feet, rose, and the theater erupted in applause and cheers.

I think many were a bit surprised by the power of the amazing moment we had all unexpectedly created and participated in.

The clapping transitioned us into the final song of the show, which the audience politely demanded with its thunderous stomping and clapping.

Stomp, stomp, clap! Stomp, stomp, clap!

Yeah, you know the song.

Everyone remained on their feet, stomping, clapping, and singing their hearts out as Brody, the orchestra, and the band performed “We Will Rock You – We Are the Champions”.

We all felt like champions and rock stars as we released our inhibitions and freed our inner Freddie Mercury, who has been hidden away deep inside of us for far, far too long.

It was spectacular!

I didn’t want the night to end because it’s been a long time since I’ve had that much fun and experienced such an entertaining show,

This show and also the movie reminded me of the level of talent, creativity, imagination, and willingness to experiment that Queen possessed, and how much I miss that.

This level of “creative genius” has disappeared from the music industry, gradually, over time, and many of us haven’t even noticed.

But Michael and I, and the 1,700 members of the audience that night at the Fox Theater, where reminded how hungry our spirits are for music that is created and performed from this place.

I’ve been watching a lot of Queen videos on YouTube since the show, and what I’ve noticed about Freddie Mercury is how he sang each note of every song with every fiber of his being.

He put every ounce of himself into his performances, and seemed completely free.

His talent was extraordinary, and he was unapologetically himself, embracing his uniqueness and peculiarities, which is oh so rare today.

I love that the movie has rekindled a newfound love affair with Queen and their music for me and so many others, while also introducing their genius to a new generation of fans.

The mark of truly great music is that it remains relevant over the years, oftentimes becoming even more relevant than when it was originally released, making it eternal and those who wrote and performed it immortal.

Our spirits need to experience this level of creativity to survive. That’s why it’s so important to not only value and embrace creativity in our lives and in the world but also to become creative ourselves.

I talk about this in Chapter 33, “Valuing and Embracing Creativity,” of my book THE SPIRIT FACTOR.

Valuing and Embracing Creativity

Our lives and the world will benefit the more creative each of us becomes, but we have to give creativity the time, space, and resources it needs to live in us and others.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR will help you do this, and in the process free you from obstructions so you can discover the limitless potential that lives inside of you.

Marie Kukula-Tyner

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is a completely new and revolutionary philosophy — based on the simplicity, intelligence, and wisdom of nature — that provides us the tools to tap into the limitless potential of the human spirit.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.