Amazing Grace – A Story of Strength, Resilience, and Grace

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.

Amazing Grace

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.

Love,

Marie Kukula-Tyner

When the Last Raindrop Falls

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 …

When the Last Raindrop Falls

Maybe when the last raindrop falls,

when we can no longer hear nature’s call

Maybe when the last tree is cut down,

and the last flower pulled from the ground

Maybe when the last eagle flies,

when the sun sets in a lonely sky

Maybe when the wolf loses its pack,

and its last howl is never answered back

Maybe when the last bee is gone,

we will finally see that we were wrong

Forsaking the truth for their lies,

and thinking the Earth would never die

Marie Kukula-Tyner

THE POWER AND VALUE OF RECONNECTING WITH NATURE

Me on the mountaintop with wildflowers..

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.

Hurts heal.

Forgiveness is given and granted.

Love expands.

Wholeness is attained.

Possibilities abound.

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.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. Join our community of spirit and “like” our page on Facebook!

In Spirit,

Marie Kukula-Tyner

IT’S BEEN A WHILE, BUT I’M BACK!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. So much has happened to me personally and to us collectively over the past year. While our world faced a global pandemic, I was dealing with my own health challenge.

I won’t go into the details now, but I will tell you that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I’m happy to say that I am on the road to a complete recovery.

I’m still processing everything we individually and collectively went through over the past year, but what I learned, to a greater extent in that time, is that our health is truly the most valuable asset we have.

Dr. William J. Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, understood this. I took the picture above when I was at the Mayo Clinic last year because what it said resonated deeply with me.

Dr. Mayo’s words have stayed with me since then, especially as I watched so many people in our nation, and around the world, get so sick or die from Covid-19.

While a pandemic is a rare occurrence that we individually don’t have much control over, how we take care of our health on a daily basis is something we do have control of.

Taking care of our health is the single most important thing we can do, because if we lose our health, we lose our ability to be independent, to have a bright future, and to pursue our dreams. If we get sick, we end up struggling to get through our days and we find ourselves surviving instead of thriving.

While the emotional and physical toll of an illness can be tough on the patient and their caregiver, the financial consequences can be devastating for those who are under insured or who don’t have insurance. So taking care of our health and the health of our loved ones is the best investment we can make on many levels.

In Section Two, Obstructions to Spirit, of THE SPIRIT FACTOR, the first obstructions I talk about are Our Health and Food because I feel our health and the food we eat can be the biggest obstructions to spirit we have.

While I’ve considered myself to be educated about food and a pretty healthy eater over the past decade, I realized the past few months that I could improve my diet a lot. This is not such an easy task when we are bombarded with unhealthy fast-food commercials constantly on TV and so much of the food available in our groceries stores is processed and lacks any nutritional value.

But after what I went through, I’m committed to cutting out most processed foods and switching to a more whole foods plant-based diet. Every part of my being is telling me that this is the right thing to do. I feel by making this change, I will put the odds in my favor for not only recovering completely now but also for staying healthy and happy in the future.

Rather than looking at this change as some sort of deprivation, I’m looking at it as a joyful thing, knowing that I’m giving my body the nourishment it needs to heal and become stronger every day. This is exciting to me!

I have a lot left in life that I want to accomplish, and I want to do everything in my power to make sure I’m strong and healthy for the work, and fun, ahead.

There were times during my treatment journey that I wasn’t sure I’d make it, and I could feel the dream I have of Michael and me teaching THE SPIRIT FACTOR philosophy around the world slipping away.

Feeling that all the hard work we had done, the sacrifices we had made, and the time we had spent writing the book would be lost made me incredibly sad. I felt sad, too, for all the people we wouldn’t be able to help because I know the information in THE SPIRIT FACTOR is needed now more than ever.

But now, I know that if I continue to make healthy choices and work hard, I can make my dream come true. And that is worth any effort my new, healthier life will take.

I’m happy to be back! I look forward to sharing more of THE SPIRIT FACTOR with you and the world! Maybe you will be inspired to join me on my new, healthier-life journey so we can create a (R)EVOLUTION of spirit, together!

It is time, don’t you think?

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. You can click the Shop Now button at the top of the page to purchase a copy!

In Spirit,Marie Kukula-Tyner

YET ANOTHER LONG-OVERDUE GOODBYE

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I will be writing a longer post explaining why. Right now, I’m working on healing, which is requiring me to look at a lot of things in my life, especially on an emotional level.

Today, as I sat quietly in our garden, I realized that long-held anger has manifested into toxic matter in me physically. While there’s a lot to be angry about in the world right now, I don’t feel that this is new anger, and, interestingly, I don’t feel that it’s my anger.

This anger was given to me long ago and I’ve held on to it because I’m not sure I even knew it was there. But, today, it became evident that it is there and that it has been there for as long as I can remember. Now that I realize this, I will work on releasing this anger, prying myself from its terminal grips, which will allow me to discover who I am without it.

This epiphany in our garden today reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago, A Long-Overdue Goodbye (see below), when I was releasing some old emotional trauma. I end Chapter 19, Your Mind, of The Spirit Factor with this poem. I’m sharing it here because, like me, I’m sure many of you also need to say a long-overdue goodbye to something in your lives.

It may not be easy, but it’s necessary for us to not only survive but also to thrive. Life truly is a never-ending journey of letting go of things that hold us back and smother our spirits. So, today, let’s be brave together and say a long-overdue goodbye to what we need to let go of, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and discover who we truly are without what we’re saying goodbye to.

I hope that my poem helps you with this process. Read it, meditate on it, and let it be your mantra as you free yourself and your spirit.

A Long-Overdue Goodbye

I’ve carried you around for quite some time
Little did I know, you were never really mine
I took on your burdens as if they were my own,
and you gladly handed them over, then left me to be alone

I waited for you, hoping you would come back for me,
but the days and months and years went by,
and never again did you I see
I tried to move on and hide my wounds from the world,
hoping no one would notice I was just a broken little girl

I looked for someone to rescue me from the prison of my pain,
but no matter how much others loved me, there it would remain
The inner war raged on for, oh, so many years
It was a brutal and bloody battle, that would never end, I feared

But just as I was ready to surrender and let my life slip away,
I realized I had suffered a debt that was never mine to pay
So I must say a long-overdue goodbye to the sins of our family tree
For I’ve decided that it’s time for me to finally be free

Marie Kukula-Tyner

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. You can click the Shop Now button to purchase a copy! Join our community of spirit and “like” our page on Facebook!

A Long-Overdue Goodbye

REMEMBERING AN OLD CHALLENGE WHILE FACING A NEW ONE

Marie in Garden September 2019

In the past, on November 7th, I always posted about the significance of this day to me. You see, on November 7th, 2000, I had surgery to remove a small benign brain tumor, and it was one of the most challenging yet transformational experiences of my life.

But this year, I didn’t post about that experience because I’m facing a new challenge.

If you read my post from September 4th, you know that I’ve had some serious health issues.

I haven’t felt like posting since then because I’ve been trying to conserve my energy for the healing my body needs to do and for the procedures I’ve been going through.

But I feel it’s important to share my story now because you never know who will see it and be able to provide information that might help me figure out what’s going on, or by chance it might even help someone down the road who faces the same health issues that I’m having now.

So here it goes.

Over the past 3 months, I’ve had six emergency room visits, countless chest x-rays, scans, blood tests, biopsies, an EHCO of my heart and an MRI of my head, and numerous appointments with the critical care pulmonologist who is caring for me.

The cost of my medical care over this time is approaching $100,000, yet I still don’t know what is causing the serious issues I’m having nor do I have a diagnosis that would allow for any kind of treatment.

Let me give you a little history:

On August 8th, I had an appointment with my primary care physician, who ordered an x-ray of my chest because I had cough and pain in my ribs under my right breast.

The x-ray showed fluid in the right side of my chest and nodules on my right lung. Due to the findings, my doctor ordered a CT scan with dye of my chest, which I had done on Monday, August 12th.

I could tell by the look on the technician’s face that what she saw on the scan was not good. But I had no idea how bad it really was.

At 5:05 p.m. that evening, I received a call from a doctor in my primary care physician’s office with the shocking results of the scan: I had a large pleural effusion, which is fluid in the chest cavity, on my right side that had almost completely collapsed my right lung, a mass in my upper right lung, and the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck were swollen so severely that they were blocking blood flow to my jugular vein.

Listening to the doctor’s words, I went in to shock, and handed the phone to Michael because I couldn’t process what he was saying.

The doctor told Michael that he was referring me to a critical care pulmonologist because he believed that I had cancer.

He ended the call with a compassionate “I’m so sorry.”

Michael and I hugged after he hung up the phone, and I cried. It was a surreal moment that seemed absolutely impossible because I take such good care of myself.

But no matter how “unreal” the findings of the CT scan seemed, they were real and had to be dealt with immediately.

My body confirmed that as it struggled to try to compensate and overcome whatever was going on inside of it.

Michael and I didn’t sleep much that night, and when morning came, I knew I needed to get medical attention right away because I could barely stand or walk short distances without losing my breath. So we got ready to go to the emergency room.

On the drive there, I told Michael that I didn’t have the energy to talk, so we quietly made the hour drive while my mind wondered if I would be able to survive until we arrived at the hospital. That’s how bad I felt.

When we arrived at the hospital, I was too weak to walk so Michael had to use a wheelchair to get me from our car to the check-in counter.

Because of the condition I was in, I was immediately taken to a room and placed in a bed between two other patients with only curtains separating us.

Blood was drawn, my vitals were taken, and nurses, admitting personnel, and the ER doctor came in to talk with me, all of them asking me questions about my health, if I were a smoker, and a million other things I don’t remember.

While this was going on, we received a call on my cell phone from the pulmonologist’s office I was referred to wanting to schedule an appointment with me.

Michael told them that I was in the ER, and within an hour the pulmonologist was sitting next to me, explaining my care plan, which required tests and biopsies to rule out cancer.

When he told me this, I cried, and he gently held my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “We are going to find out what’s going on, and you are going to be okay.”

Even though, at that moment, it seemed impossible, I believed him.

The most urgent thing that had to be done was to drain the fluid from my chest that had collapsed my right lung.

Within the hour I was having a painful procedure done to place a chest tube in, through my back, which would allow the fluid to be drained. Once it was in, the nurse started draining the fluid.

While it didn’t take long to drain 1500 ml of fluid, yes,1500 ml, it was a painful process as my lung unfolded and expanded, causing me to cough and gasp as air inflated it.

The fluid was sent off to be biopsied. I weighed 8 pounds less after it was drained.

A biopsy of the inflamed lymph node in my neck was planned after this procedure, but as I was being prepped for it, I felt as though my body was in shock and couldn’t take anymore trauma. So the biopsy was rescheduled for the next day.

I spent the night in the hospital, not sleeping much because I was still in disbelief at what was happening.

The next day, I had to be squeezed in to the schedule to have the biopsy so it was early afternoon before I was wheeled from my hospital room to where the procedure would be performed.

Michael was in the room with me, and as I was being prepped for the procedure, we heard the doctor who was going to do it, say, “We’re looking for lymphoma.”

I was on my back, staring at the lights above me, but turned my head towards Michael with a terrified look on my face. He quietly said, “It’s going to be okay.”

I wasn’t so sure.

I was released from the hospital shortly after the biopsy procedure, feeling good because I could breathe so much better with two fully inflated lungs.

Now we had to wait for the biopsy results.

Fortunately, it was only a few days before we found out that the biopsies were negative for cancer.

Even so, my pulmonologist said that “lymphoma can hide” so he wanted me to have a PET CT to see if there were any other areas of concern.

I had the PET CT a week later, and it showed many lymph nodes in my chest that raised concern. It also showed that I was continuing to accumulate fluid.

Because of these issues, I had to have an invasive procedure to remove and biopsy tissue from my chest and the chest tube had to stay in so I could have the fluid drained as it accumulated.

Fortunately, again, no cancer was found in the tissue. But the chest tube ended up having to stay in for 5 weeks, which was painful and made it impossible to find a comfortable position to sit or sleep in because of the location of the tube on my back.

Over the next month I went through the many procedures I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but still no diagnosis could be made.

Then, in the middle of all of this, only a few days after getting out of the hospital, something dawned on me: I had had my teeth cleaned on August 5, only three days before I had the chest x-ray at my primary care physician’s office and eight days before I ended up in the ER.

I realized that after I had my teeth cleaned in March, the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck had swelled up a few days later and I felt like I had an infection.

I soon realized that I had been sick ever since I had a tooth refilled on October 12, 2018. After this procedure, I developed a deep, chronic cough and pressure in my chest that prevented me from lying down flat to sleep. In addition, I had constant pressure in my sinuses and small amounts of blood coming out of my nose.

I created a timeline of dental work I’d had since October and how I had gotten sicker with each procedure. It was astonishing!

I sent the timeline along with a letter explaining it to my pulmonologist, and also emailed him medical papers I found online about people who had experienced the exact same issues I had after having dental work.

While the information was compelling, my pulmonologist still continued to do all the tests necessary to rule out lymphoma and lung cancer, and even presented my case to the Tumor Board at the hospital because of how unusual it was.

During an emergency room visit on September 15, I had a CT scan of my chest done, which my pulmonologist had at my appointment with him the next day.

The results were nothing short of a miracle: Fluid was no longer accumulating in my chest and the mass in the upper part of my right lung had shrunk significantly.

He showed me the scan and with a big smile on his face said, “Cancer just doesn’t shrink on its own.”

It was such a joyful moment!

The only appointment that was scheduled at that time was a follow up with his office in 5 weeks and a chest CT to be done prior to the appointment to make sure my condition continued to approve.

Up to that time, I had done a lot of research online about dental work and the serious health issues it can cause, and I came across information that discussed reactions that patients can have to the materials in both silver and tooth-colored dental fillings.

I was convinced that I was having a reaction to the materials in my filling because I’d been sick ever since my tooth was refilled in October of 2018.

So I did research and found a biological dentist, who uses biocompatible materials to fill teeth, and scheduled a consultation and an appointment to have the filling replaced again.

I coordinated this with my pulmonologist, who wanted me on a short course of antibiotics and steroids, starting prior to the dental procedure.

I was feeling fantastic from the middle of September and for a week after I had the filling replaced on October 9th. The picture of me with this post was taken during that time. Then I started to feel the same symptoms I had after I’d had my teeth cleaned on August 5th.

A CT scan done on October 18 confirmed that fluid is accumulating in my chest again and that the mass in the right upper part of my lung is still there.

So I’m back to having more tests, and possibly a surgery, to try to figure out what is causing these issues that flare up after I have dental work.

As I mentioned in my September 4th post, I have found a place of “neutral” to rest in during all of this uncertainty. But I will admit that I have had days where I am depressed, anxious, and feel like giving up.

I appreciate the friends and family who have called, texted, and checked in with me over the past 3 months, offering support, encouragement, and information that has helped me through this challenging time.

I know that there is something causing the issues that are going on with my body and that we’re close to figuring out what that is.

If you have experienced anything similar to what I’m going through or know someone else who has and you can provide any information that could help me put the pieces together, please, please share it … because it could not only help me but also many others.

To all of you who are going through uncertain times as I am now, my heart is with you. I’m sending love and healing energy to you, hoping you find peace and patience on your road to recovery.

In spirit,
Marie Kukula-Tyner

How I Discovered the Power of Resting In “Neutral” When the Future Is Unknown

Neutral Cropped FinalThe past three weeks have been nothing short of a nightmare. I had some serious health issues come on suddenly that have led to 4 emergency room visits, with one ending in an overnight stay in the hospital, and a slew of procedures, tests, biopsies, scans, and x-rays to help the doctors make a diagnosis.

I’ve been scared and overwhelmed since my husband Michael rushed me to the ER three weeks ago because I was having difficulty breathing while walking short distances and even just standing.

Before we left our home, I kissed our dog Amber on the head, thinking it might be the last time I saw her sweet face, and looked around our home and property, wondering if I would see them again while thinking about how much I’ve loved living surrounded by nature.

I felt this way because a CT scan of my chest the day before showed some shocking and devastating findings, and at that time, it felt like I was dying, the life force in me growing weaker by the minute to the point I had to use a wheelchair when we arrived at the ER.

The news has gotten better over the past few weeks, but there is still a mystery as to what is causing the health issues I’m having so the tests continue.

Last week, while waiting to have one of these tests, I found it easy to not go to a dark place and imagine all the horrible, terminal things I could have, but I didn’t have the strength to be positive and allow myself to believe that everything would be okay. It just seemed too far of a reach considering how my body felt, the results of some of the tests, and what I overheard some of the doctors discussing.

So in that moment, I decided I would stay “neutral” about my situation, and not try to predict any positive or negative outcome. I would just stay “neutral” as I took in information and test results as they came. No thinking too far ahead, no jumping to conclusions, no “what ifs,” just taking it one minute at a time.

With this decision, I could feel a heavy burden lift and the overwhelming feelings I was having diminish. Being “neutral” felt doable and lighter than trying to be positive, and it also took much less energy, which I was short on.

My body was struggling not only from what was going on internally but also from being pocked and prodded by doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff. Staying “neutral” allowed me to just be, without the added emotional stress of thinking negative thoughts or depleting my limited energy by forcing myself to stay positive. “Neutral” was a balance point in between the two, where I could rest and relax. Understanding this was truly a transformational moment for me!

Being “neutral” in challenging situations when the future is unknown is not something I’ve ever considered doing; I’ve always thought my choices were to face these situations with a positive or negative attitude.

But, man, “neutral” is a really powerful place to rest in to reduce stress, conserve energy, and to be present to take in information and facts from a reality-based place, not from a distorted place that being too positive or too negative can create. It stops our minds form creating scenarios that are not based on facts, depleting our limited energy and causing unnecessary worry and stress.

As I continue on this journey, if I find myself getting too far ahead of the reality of the situation or if I find myself thinking negative thoughts about “what could be,” I will remind myself to go to the powerful place of “neutral” so I will have the energy I need to face whatever comes next.

In essence, this is what THE SPIRIT FACTOR is about: removing obstructions so we can see the truth and live from a reality-based place. What I’ve realized these past 3 weeks is that I have truly integrated the concepts and philosophy of THE SPIRIT FACTOR into every cell of my body and I have removed most of the obstructions in my life so that in challenging times I can easily go to the unobstructed place of “neutral.”

I will write more about this subject in the coming weeks, but I felt compelled to share this information with you now because I feel it’s important, valuable, and even urgent for those who are struggling.

If you are facing some unknowns in your life, I hope this place of “neutral” will help you as it has me. Please share with me if it does so we can heal and grow together.

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

In Spirit,
Marie

In Our Pain We Can Find the Courage to Transform Our Lives and Our World

Michael & Marie Looking UpIt has been an extraordinarily painful few days for our country with the back-to-back mass shootings that occurred over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

The grief we feel as we mourn the many innocent victims who so violently and tragically lost their lives unites us not as a country but as human beings.

Even if we don’t personally know any of the victims, at some level we all know that we lost something this weekend because of these shootings.

It might be that we lost the belief that things will ever change, or our faith in humanity that was already hanging on by a frayed thread, or that we as individuals have the power and ability to change the trajectory of our individual and collective lives.

I know the speed and intensity at which all that is good in this country and in us is being attacked, dismantled, and destroyed is mind-boggling.

I know it’s hard to catch our breath let alone figure out what to do or how to organize and combat what’s going on.

I know that you are in pain, because I am too.

But I’m asking you to not walk away or distract yourself from the pain you’re feeling.

If you’ve read THE SPIRIT FACTOR, you know that the inspiration for our book came from a moment of pain, deep pain, that Michael and I unexpectedly experienced one February night.

That moment of pain was so powerful that it kept me questioning and searching and writing for almost 9 years, eventually turning our pain into a completely new and revolutionary philosophy for creating lives and a world of Unobstructed Spirit (US) so each and every one of us has the opportunity to live to our fullest potential.

Pain can be a great motivator if we allow ourselves to sit with it.

We need to remember that pain has an important message, and that its voice should be listened to.

Pain tells us that there are imbalances, injustices, inequalities, and many urgent issues that need our attention.

Below is something I wrote a few weeks ago about an experience that made me realize I have been avoiding painful feelings that have been building up in me over the past few years.

I didn’t know when I wrote this post how relevant it would be today.

I hope it inspires you to listen to and use the pain you’re now feeling as motivation to take action to create positive change in your life and in our world because we need you!

A Park, A Picnic, and the Pain It Uncovered

This afternoon, I sobbed uncontrollably as I made the 15 minute drive home from a community fair in a small rural town where my husband Michael and I had a booth for one of our businesses.

I wasn’t crying because something bad happened.

Actually, I witnessed something at the fair that was so beautiful, simple, and rare these days that it brought to the surface emotions that have been building up inside me over the past few years as I’ve watched the cruelty and cowardice of so many politicians and people online and in person.

Recently, the rhetoric and vilification of immigrants from Mexico has reached such a disturbing level that my heart hurts when I think of the fear so many of them live with every day and the new challenges they now face.

The rural area where Michael and I live in northeastern Washington has very few people of any color, which has always felt strange after living in a very culturally diverse area of Southern California for most of our lives before moving here 14 years ago.

So, today, when a Hispanic family of five sat down at a picnic table in the park the fair was in a short distance away from our booth, I noticed them, and wondered what it must feel like to be in a community where no one looks like you and in a country where you have been singled out and called criminals, rapists, and less than human by the president.

I was surprised by the overwhelming sadness and grief I felt when I thought about the dangers this lovely family now faces and the anger and hate that is being directed at them.

Tears filled my eyes and soon started rolling down my cheeks as I watched this family, not only because of this but also because the love they had for each other was one of the most beautiful things I’d seen in a very long time.

It was so strong that it was visible, tangible, and so simply stunning that it took my breath away. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.

I watched as the mother pulled several small plastic bags filled with homemade sandwiches from a reusable grocery bag, giving them to the father, who had a kind face and a gentle spirit, who then handed out half of each of those sandwiches to his children and wife before taking one for himself.

I was amazed how he treated the food with such gentleness and appreciation, and how each family member received the food in the same way.

When everyone had their food, they all closed their eyes and bowed their heads as the father gave thanks for the meal they were about to eat.

When he was done, they looked happy, eating their lunch while quietly talking to each other with undivided attention.

No “selfies” or other pictures were taken, no texts exchanged or phone calls made, and no social media accounts checked or posted to.

Actually, there were no cell phones in sight.

It was refreshing to see that this family felt no need to try to impress or prove anything to anyone, and that they were content in the simplicity of eating homemade sandwiches on a Saturday afternoon in a park with each other.

This beautiful family was not some story on TV or meme on social media. They were in my community, sitting next to me, in real life, close enough to look in the eyes.

And at that close distance, I saw the truth—that this family didn’t pose a threat to anyone—and not the lies told to further the agendas of politicians who want us to believe that some “group” they single out is the enemy instead of them.

When those in power label a group of people as bad, as the “enemy,” it makes the world much more dangerous for everyone in that group, including the sweet family I saw today peacefully living their lives and who loved each other deeply.

Knowing this, I wanted to walk over and give each of them a hug, and say, “I’m sorry. I’m just really, really sorry, for everything.”

I wanted to tell them that I wasn’t one of “them,” and that I don’t believe the lies that are being told.

But I didn’t.

And I didn’t because I felt so deeply ashamed by what’s happening in our country that I was immobilized.

To be honest, this experience has totally and completely wrecked me. I can’t stop crying.

I don’t know that I can put into words the significance of what I’m feeling, but I must make an effort not only to give you an idea of the gravity of it but also for me to understand the many different emotions I’m feeling.

You see, as I watched this beautiful family, whose skin color and ethnicity has made them the target of vicious attacks, I felt the dam that has been holding back the grief, hurt, frustration, anger, and despair building up inside me over the past few years completely break, flooding me with a tidal wave of emotions that I felt I might drown in.

I thought about the words I’ve wanted to say and people I’ve wanted to confront but haven’t.

How I’ve bitten my tongue bloody and chocked back words that needed to be said but weren’t.

The community meetings I should have attended but didn’t.

Like you, I’ve watched this nightmare unfold in real life, in real time, in our country, expecting someone else to step up and stop it.

But no one has.

I’ve tried to find ways to navigate these challenging times by limiting my exposure to the 24/7 news cycle and social media, distracting myself, and just trying to be joyful in spite of what’s going on.

But it’s been hard.

No matter where I go or what I do there is an always-present feeling of uncertainty, instability, and danger hanging heavy in the air that my body and mind are keenly aware of.

Today, I felt the depth and seriousness of what’s going on in our country as I sat close-enough-to-touch to a family who is most affected by the dangerous rhetoric being used to turn us against each other, and it hurt, bad!

But I’m okay with that.

I’m letting myself feel the pain, not walking away or distracting myself from it, because I know that in this pain is where I will find the courage to stand up and speak out, and by doing so I just might find in me the person I’ve been waiting for to “save” us and make the difference in the world we so desperately need.

Maybe if you do the same, we can create a world that’s kind and safe for everyone, and look towards a future that’s filled with limitless possibilities for all of us.

In Spirit,
Marie Kukula-Tyner
Author, THE SPIRIT FACTOR

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

Check out our website at www.thespiritfactor.com and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thespiritfactor and become a part of the (R)EVOLUTION of spirit!

Intuition: The Highest Form of Intelligence

Intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

The link below is to an interesting article and video on the subject of intuition. The incredible moment Michael and I had on the evening of February 20, 2008 that inspired THE SPIRIT FACTOR was definitely an intuitive experience.

In an instant, we gained amazing insight into and clarity on life’s biggest questions and problems, somehow knowing their answers and solutions, not intellectually but in every cell of our bodies.

The scientist in this video mentions that these “strange thoughts” can come out of nowhere and we “know they are correct.” And they did … and we knew.

After that moment of inspiration on February 20th, Michael and I made it our purpose to understand what we’d experienced and put into words what we suddenly “knew.”

It took us 9 years to accomplish this, but we feel THE SPIRIT FACTOR will give the people who read it the same “knowingness” we experienced that night and help them create moments like the one we had by removing the eleven obstructions to spirit we identify and explain in our book.

Yes, these moments can be created, and the more we individually and collectively create them, the better our lives and world will become.

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

 

The Power of Our Environment to Change Us Now … and for Generations

Below is a link to a fascinating little article about how our environment has the power to effect us genetically, and how that environmental genetic change is passed down through generations. This is called “environmental epigenetic inheritance.”

While we truly are a “product of our environment,” it turns out we are a product of our ancestors’ environments, too.

I talk about the importance of environment in Chapter 15 of THE SPIRIT FACTOR–how it is the deciding factor in whether something lives or dies, grows or withers, evolves or stays the same, and how it can literally change the shape of our entire physical and emotional beings–but this article goes beyond its immediate impact on us, showing that our environment has a generational impact.

Take a moment to think about all the possibilities and pitfalls of that.

Think about the descendants of Holocaust survivors and slaves, children of rape victims and domestic violence survivors, etc.

I’m sitting here a bit speechless, not quite able to fully comprehend how this new information will change my perception of me, others, and every living thing on our planet.

I love when I’m exposed to research and data that does this! We should never be afraid to expose ourselves to new information that challenges our beliefs and perceptions.

This is how we grow as human beings and evolve as a species.

sciencealert.com/scientists-observe-epigenetic-memories-passed-down-for-14-generations-most-animal