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

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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.

Martin Luther King, Jr. – A Light that Continues to Remind Us that We Still Have Darkness to Fight

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I took a walk with our dog Amber this morning.

After a week of dreary weather the clear blue sky filled with the sun’s warmth was a welcome companion on our walk.

Amber, who turns 13 years old in a few days, had a little extra skip in her step because of the weather and was in no hurry to return home.

We took our time walking to the lake and around our neighborhood.

I was happy watching her sniff and collect valuable data from the tracks and pee and poop left in the snow by the critters who had wandered the path before us during the night and early morning hours.

But I found myself pondering some things, too.

Before we left on our walk, I was watching a TV show while bundling up for the 20-degree temps outside that persisted in spite of the sun.

I was lacing up my snow boots when, in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday today, the show played part of an interview with Dr. King from decades ago.

What he was saying and how he was saying it made me stop what I was doing, sit still, and listen, even though Amber was making it clear she was ready to go for a walk.

Dr. King’s words were so pure they seemed to come directly from the heart of spirit, where truth and beauty live, and were communicated without being exposed to or distorted by any limiting or judgmental human beliefs.

And they were spoken with a passion and grace that so few in history have possessed.

Literally, my breath was taken away and tears streamed down my face as I listened to him speak.

Every fiber of my being has missed and longed for words like his and for the spirits who so courageously speak them.

I suddenly became aware that subconsciously I am constantly searching for this kind of substance, depth, power, and truth in the world yet seldom find it.

Our world is filled with mediocrity, and with many false prophets who are out to further their interests and fortunes at the expense of others, willing to lie, obstruct, and deceive to accomplish their self-serving and self-preserving agendas.

To be honest, watching these people and the pain and suffering they’re inflicting day in and day out has affected me—to what extent I’m not sure of.

But I do know that I have been struggling.

I know many of you have been struggling, too.

When we are starved of substance and light, literally and figuratively, we often forget that they exist and end up settling for emptiness and darkness.

When this happens, we can fall into a state of despair, believing that they are gone forever.

Only when we once again feel their nourishment and embracing warmth do we realize how terminal the darkness felt.

It is a dark time in our country.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many moments when I’ve felt that goodness and light might not stand a chance of surviving let alone flourishing.

But today, not just because of the beautiful sunny weather but also because it’s a day that we take time to remember and honor Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m reminded of the power of light, and character and substance … and for standing up for what’s right and the possibilities that exist when we do.

Listening to Dr. King speak this morning, reminded me of the privilege I’ve had because of the color of my skin.

I’m a second-generation American.

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated from Europe to this country in pursuit of better lives.

Because of the fairness of my skin, I am considered to be “white.”

I am truly fortunate to have no idea what it feels like to be judged and treated differently because of the color of my skin; and I am privileged to not have to face discrimination due to my skin color on a daily basis.

I know this.

With that said, I do have people (white people), many of whom are complete strangers, make assumptions about who I am and what I believe based on the color of my skin.

Many feel safe to openly and unapologetically express their racism to me, believing that I share their views simply because we have the same skin color.

I can’t count the number of times these people have used racist names and made derogatory comments when they’re talking to me about people of color, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and former president Barack Obama.

Each time this has happened, I’ve been stunned not only that so many people still have such racist views but also that they believe that simply because I share the same skin color with them that I share their beliefs.

I’ve confronted some of these people, but I’m ashamed to say there have been other times I’ve remained silent.

I’m not proud of this.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

For me, I know the times I’ve stayed silent when something “mattered” have chipped away at my spirit.

Conversely, the times when I’ve spoken up, I am proud of and have never once regretted.

Even though I’ve been scared the times I’ve done this, I remember feeling a deep internal peace assuring me that I was, without a doubt, doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t have a great track record for “doing the right thing.”

The times when groups that have been discriminated against or marginalized gained rights, it’s because they, and many others, have fought long and hard for those rights.

While we’ve come a long way as a country, we still have a great distance to go.

This is evident in our politics and in our lives.

In “Standing Up for Spirit,” which is Chapter 34 in my book THE SPIRIT FACTOR, I talk about how important it is for us to individually and collectively stand up for spirit—in other words, for what’s right.

I start this chapter with the following quote from Dr. King: And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it’s right.

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Today, as we are reminded of the sacrifices Dr. King made and the change that happened and continues to happen because he did, let’s begin to find the courage to stand up for what matters and for what’s right because it IS and always will be the right thing to do.

Thank you Dr. King for continuing to remind us to dream big and to fearlessly pursue that dream with every fiber of our beings!

I’ll end this post with the quote from Dr. King that I ended the “Standing Up for Spirit” chapter with: Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

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 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.

Truth Be Told: How Spirit Can Use Us Even During the Darkest Times

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I came across something I wrote almost 9 years ago while my husband Michael and I were just beginning a battle with evil that would last almost 5 years.

The fight almost killed both of us, physically and spiritually.

We learned how truly evil people can be, and how they will lie, and continue to lie, even when there is a mountain of evidence proving that they are not telling the truth.

Witnessing evil up close opened our eyes to a world that we didn’t know existed.

But this experience gave us some very valuable information that turned into the “Understanding Evil Energy” section of THE SPIRIT FACTOR, which is one of the most important parts of the book and the one I get the most comments on from readers.

This experience also gave me one of the favorite poems I’ve ever written: Truth Be Told.

Below is what I wrote nine years ago when this poem came to me.

While I wrote this in 2010, it’s surprising that it seems even more relevant today.

Here it is:

— I don’t hate many things, but there is one thing I do hate—liars.

I’m amazed how they can look us in the eyes and say something they know is not true, expecting us to believe them, and how angry they get when we have the “nerve” to call them out and question them.

Their anger is a coward’s way of trying to intimidate us into submission so we don’t dare question them again.

These insecure bullies waste our time, energy, and money, cause suffering and harm, keep us at war with each other, and hold back progress and the evolution of our species.

Because of the craziness that’s going on in the world and around me right now, liars and, most importantly, the truth, have been on my mind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the truth is always there, even when we ignore it, try to look around it, or pretend that it’s not, and how lonely the truth must be.

We can’t change the truth, deny it, or claim that it’s ours, so why do we try to?

With all this on my mind lately, it was no surprise that I woke up at 3:00 am the other night with words swirling around in my head.

Liars and truth were on my mind when I went to bed, and I must have carried them into my dreams because when I woke up, I not only heard but also saw the words “Truth Be Told.”

I knew this was the title of a poem I would be writing, I just didn’t know I would be writing it at that moment.

I tried to go back to sleep, but the words in my head started turning into sentences.

The first complete sentence was: Here I stand in front of you, waiting to be told.

I knew I was hearing truth’s voice.

And I knew it was giving me an important message that needed to be told.

But, to be honest, I wanted to stay in bed.

I was tired, it was cold in the house, and our bed was warm.

I told myself to remember the words that were coming to me so I could write them down in the morning.

But truth was having none of it!

The words kept coming, and before I knew it, I was sitting at our dining room table with a notepad and pen jotting down the words that were coming to me faster than I could write them down.

I felt as though truth had pulled me out of bed, put my feet on the floor, walked me to the table, and said, “Write!”

So I wrote for the next hour.

During that time, I heard words and saw images.

One of the clearest images was of a person I did not recognize sitting in a chair, their hands bound and and a piece of twisted up fabric in their mouth that was tied at the back of their head.

This image gave me these words: Held hostage, bound and gagged, waiting to hear my fate. Hoping you pay my ransom before it’s much, much too late.

It was one of those moments that we creative people live for; when we get out of the way and spirit takes over.

It no longer mattered that it was 3:00 am or that I was tired and cold.

I was in the creative flow and it felt amazing!

I was buzzing with creativity for that hour then it quickly faded.

Truth was done talking to me.

The energy changed, and I was ready to go back to bed.

Before I did, I looked at the poem on the notepad in front of me with complete amazement.

The three words that woke me at 3:00 am had turned into a complete thought and a finished poem in an hour.

Truth spoke, and I listened.

I tippie toed back into our bedroom, doing my best to be quiet so I wouldn’t wake Michael and our two dogs.

But as I slipped into bed, Michael woke up and asked if I was okay.

I told him I was, and that I had just written a poem.

He said, “Great! I can’t wait to hear it!”

When I started to recite the poem to him, he said, “I meant in the morning.”

I tried to sleep for a few more hours but wasn’t successful.

I was so excited about the poem, the amazing experience I had writing it, and the moment I would get to share it with Michael that I barely slept a wink.

Here is the poem:

Truth Be Told

Here I stand in front of you, waiting to be told
Longing for the moment that you look inside my soul

Lost between two sides and promises never meant to keep
Treated like an outcast, like a beggar in the street

Held hostage, bound and gagged, waiting to hear my fate
Hoping you pay my ransom before it’s much, much too late

I’m lonely hear, alone, standing in what’s right
Growing weary of the battle, I feel I might be losing this fight

You think I haven’t noticed that you won’t look me in the eyes
But when you lie to truth, I will never take your side

Even when denied, I will never go away
Here I stand in front of you, and that’s where I plan to stay

So patiently I’ll wait for you to fall in love with me again
For I am the one, the only one, that matters in the end —

Below are the pages from my notebook from the night I wrote Truth Be Told

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This poem and the “Understanding Evil Energy” section of THE SPIRIT FACTOR are perfect examples of how spirit can inspire and use us to create something meaningful and valuable, even during the darkest times.

We just have to be willing to participate.

I am! Are 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 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.

 

 

Spirit and the Addict

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A few weeks before Christmas, I spent a Sunday running errands in town.

As I was leaving one of the stores I had stopped at, carrying a heavy box, I noticed an extremely thin, young man leaning against a car that was parked almost nose to nose with mine.

He was dressed in torn, faded jeans, a baseball cap, and a dark zip-up sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his cap since it was cold outside.

He had a cigarette in one hand and some kind of iced coffee drink in the other.

When I set the box I was carrying on the hood of my car so I could reach into my coat pocket to get my keys, our eyes met.

When they did, the young man asked how I was doing.

I smiled at him and said, “Okay,” then opened the back passenger door of my car and put the box on the seat.

After I closed the car door, I asked him how he was doing.

“Stressed!” he replied.

Almost every spot in the parking lot was taken, and there were people heading in and out of the stores and restaurants that surrounded the lot. Holiday shopping was in full swing!

Assuming he was stressed over the holidays, I said, “Yeah, the holidays can be stressful.”

“No, life can be stressful,” he responded.

“Yep, life can definitely be stressful!” I said lightheartedly.

Then, to my surprise, he said, “Especially when you’re an addict trying to get clean.”

I had more stops to make so I was in a hurry to be on my way, but when the young man said this, I stopped, looked him in the eyes, and started talking to him.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know anything about this person who had just confessed to me, a total stranger, that they were an addict.

But the pain this human being was feeling was real, present, and palpable.

I could see it not only in his eyes but also in his body and posture.

He was simply broken, hanging on by a very frayed thread that could completely fall apart at any moment.

The young man eagerly began talking, jumping from thought to thought, seeming happy to have someone listen to him.

He shared with me how he wanted to get clean, but was also honest in saying that he was happy “getting high.”

The internal battle he was fighting became an external one as he spoke, his words giving me a glimpse of the demons that haunted him and that he struggled with every day.

My heart felt nothing but compassion and empathy as I listened to him.

Although I’ve never struggled with any drug addictions, I’ve faced some major health and personal challenges in my life, and I know what it’s like to feel that you might not ever overcome, or even survive, them.

He told me that he knew the right thing to do was get “clean” because it would make his family happy.

I told him I believed he could get clean and stay clean if he had the right support and counseling.

He wasn’t so sure, though.

He looked down at the ground and said, “My family is really disappointed in me,” then got quiet.

After a momentary pause, he looked up, his eyes filled with tears and his voice quivering, and said, “My sister said my spirit has already died.”

Out of everything this young man said to me, I could tell that his sister’s words cut the deepest and affected him the most.

I could also tell that he believed her.

I know many people believe, without question, that everything happens for a reason, but I’m not one of them.

I believe that there is a randomness to life and the world we live in, and that there are many elements and factors at play that can lead to moments that seem divinely planned or destined to occur.

But for me, when some synchronicity happens — when I’m in the right place at the right time or cross paths with someone whom it seems I’m destined to meet — I find wonder and amazement that out of this big ol’ world with billions of people in it that these magical moments happen.

So, when this young man, who had absolutely no idea that I had spent 9 years of my life writing a book about spirit, said to me that his sister thought his “spirit had already died,” I couldn’t help but stand there in complete awe at the perfection of our meeting.

I knew that this young man’s spirit had not died, and I assured him of this.

When I did, I could see a shift in his body’s energy and something in his eyes change.

The words I spoke seemed to fan a few barely smoldering embers of spirit that were hiding in some tiny place deep inside this broken being, and that were in grave danger of dying out, possibly forever.

In that moment, I saw spirit reignite in his eyes, and knew for sure that spirit had not only NOT died in him … but also that it truly wanted to live.

I don’t know if it will or not.

But what I do know is that for a brief moment this struggling addict knew that his spirit had not died, too, and maybe this momentary “knowingness” will provide him with the inspiration, courage, and strength he needs to move in the direction of healing and live — one day, one moment, at a time.

Words are powerful. They have the ability to ignite or extinguish spirit in us and in others.

A few words spoken can inspire someone for a moment, or for a lifetime.

Even so, continued support is needed to take a moment of inspiration and create long-term, sustaining change from it.

I hope this young man gets what he needs, both from himself and others, to accomplish this.

As or conversation ended, the young man was visibly moved. He walked over to me, shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and thanked me for taking the time to talk with him.

I got a bit choked up when he did, feeling that my words were heard and that they truly mattered to him.

In THE SPIRIT FACTOR, I talk about moments like these – moments of spirit, or as I call them, SPIRIT FACTOR moments, and how they can happen anytime and anywhere, even in a parking lot with an addict on a Sunday afternoon.

The great thing is, once we understand these moments, we don’t have to wait for them to randomly occur; we can take part in creating them throughout our day by connecting on a deeper level with the people in our lives – and also with those whom we randomly meet.

Crossing paths with this struggling addict reminded me of this.

It also reminded me of something I wrote in “Being IT”, which is the final chapter of THE SPIRIT FACTOR, that is important to remember when the challenges we face seem terminal and problems seem permanent.

Here is an excerpt from that chapter:

— Through transformation within you and me and us, we can collectively create a masterpiece—a world of Unobstructed Spirit (US)—an incredibly beautiful world that we will get to live in every day. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, the odds are stacked against us. But the beauty of spirit is that, even when the odds are stacked against it, it will keep doing what it’s doing. Even when the prognosis is terminal, it will work to overcome obstructions and heal, as its nature is to live. —

But even though spirit always moves in the direction of life, it needs the right environment and support to continue to do so.

And since we are spirit, our nature is to move in the direction of life, too, but we also need the right environment and support.

This can be a challenge. Many times our environments have become toxic due to physical and emotional obstructions that hinder, harm, or completely handicap us.

Unfortunately, these obstructions can become terminal. But they seldom kill us instantly; most often we die from them in increments, experiencing “small deaths” that seem insignificant at the time they occur.

Yet these small deaths can prove to be fatal over time, each one chipping away at the core of who we are, smothering our spirits and starving them of the much-needed oxygen they need to survive.

In the parking lot on that Sunday afternoon, I could see that the young addict had suffered many “small deaths,” as so many of us have, and his spirit, while not dead, was struggling to live.

I’ve thought a lot about him since we crossed paths, and I hope with all my heart that he doesn’t give up.

I hope he finds the strength, courage, and support he needs to overcome his addictions and free himself from the demons that are holding him and his spirit hostage.

I know he has a chance to change is life, and I know that his spirit will do its part to help him.

Whatever struggles or challenges you’re facing, please remember that your nature is to move in the direction of life. If you’re not, I encourage you to look for obstructions that are preventing you from doing so.

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

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.

What the Final Sunset of 2018 Told Me

What the Final Sunset of 2018 Told Me

Last night my husband Michael and I went out to dinner to celebrate the New Year. On our drive to our favorite restaurant, Wild Sage Bistro, in downtown Spokane, we caught the final sunset of 2018 over the city. It was beautiful!

The setting sun so masterfully and delicately painted the clouds in shades of pinks, yellows, and golds that changed tones and vibrancy with each passing second.

The colors were stunning against the pastel blue canvas the early-evening sky created.

I snapped a few pictures of the sunset on my phone, trying to capture the temporary work of art nature created that could disappear at any moment into the darkening sky.

As I took the pictures, I said to Michael, “This is the last sunset of 2018.”

I was surprised by the emotions I felt when I said this. I can’t tell you exactly what they were, as it seemed many different emotions swirled around together, moving me to tears.

To be honest, 2018, and 2017, too, were nothing like I thought they would be. Michael and I faced some personal challenges, and our country and the world faced many challenges, too.

The past two years have been hard ones for Michael and me, and I know for a lot of other people, too.

For me, I didn’t make the progress I thought I would promoting THE SPIRIT FACTOR or giving speeches and seminars since the book was released at the beginning of 2017.

Working on THE SPIRIT FACTOR for nine years took everything I had, and since finishing the book, I haven’t wanted to write at all.

I’ve felt I needed a break from the questioning and pondering and wondering and challenging everything and anything that was required to write the book.

I haven’t wanted to analyze then organize my thoughts into sentences, paragraphs, sections, or chapters. I have even resisted writing short posts and blogs.

I’ve needed to hibernate and heal and rest and take care of myself and my family. I’ve also wanted to just live and feel “normal” after pretty much dismantling my entire being while working on the book.

Michael and I sacrificed a lot over the nine years I worked on THE SPIRIT FACTOR. But the sacrifice was necessary to give me the freedom to write and go through all I needed to go through to not only uncover and discover “me” but also answer and make sense of life’s biggest questions.

After all this work, I’ve needed the past two years to get to know the new me, to identify my new dreams, and become familiar and comfortable with my newly-discovered power and potential.

And to be honest, I’ve kind of enjoyed just living my everyday life from this new place I’m in and experiencing the freedom I now feel that I never even knew existed.

Even so, I’ve felt guilty for giving myself this time, feeling as though I haven’t moved THE SPIRIT FACTOR dream forward.

But while taking in the final sunset of 2018 last night, I realized that sometimes growth and progress are not quantifiable or visible. Sometimes there is a process happening internally in us that requires stillness and silence.

In the Environment chapter of THE SPIRIT FACTOR, I talk about the “dormant” time a daffodil bulb needs during the winter months to prepare for growth in the spring. Below is an excerpt from this chapter that I wrote after seeing daffodils breaking through a patch of barely-thawed earth in our front yard that was still surrounded by a couple feet of snow:

— As I looked at the beginnings of those little daffodils, I couldn’t help but think about spirit—theirs and ours.

I was in absolute awe at how the daffodil bulbs had lain buried in the frozen ground for months, and as soon as the sun thawed the ground above them, they instantly began to grow.

When I thought about the spirit of the bulbs as they lie in the frozen ground during the winter months, I realized that, during that time, even though the bulbs were, for the most part, dormant, there was still life in them.

While they required that dormant period in order to take root and prepare to grow in the spring, the instant the environment supported their growth, they grew! —

When a new year begins, there is no shortage of people telling us what we need to do to change our lives, reach our goals, create abundance, and be happy.

While most of these people focus on the importance of external progress – on our bodies, businesses, and bank accounts – not many talk about the internal work that is necessary for any kind of external growth and progress, and the importance of taking time to do it.

But just like a daffodil bulb needs the dormant winter months to prepare for growth in the spring, we, too, need time to rest, regenerate, and prepare to grow when the time and environment are right.

Today, on the first day of 2019, I feel that THE SPIRIT FACTOR – the idea Michael and I cultivated the ground for, planted then nurtured and cared for – has taken root in us and is ready to bloom because of the “dormant” time we have given it and us over the past two years.

The final sunset of 2018 seemed like a very definitive end to a season of intensive internal work and growth that was necessary for us to preceed with the plans we’ve wanted to work on for the past two years but weren’t prepared to do emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

I can see the value of the time in which we seemed to be in a “dormant” state but now know provided us with what we needed to move forward in this new year.

My hope is that as you start this new year and set goals for it, that you, too, understand the value of this kind of “dormant” time in your life, and that you surrender to it, knowing it is as important to reaching your goals as the external actions you take.

So here’s to a year that includes internal and external growth for all of us!

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.The Final Sunset of 2018

We Are the Most Valuable Untapped Natural Resource on the Planet

The human spirit has limitless potential.

It has the ability to create art, music, and products that revolutionize the way we see and do things.

It has the ability to help and heal and care and love and solve and evolve.

It has the ability to not only dream but also to make those dreams come true.

It has the ability to overcome, rise above, and reinvent itself.

And it has the ability to give meaning to life, no matter what circumstances it faces.

But if the human spirit is so powerful, creative, and capable, why are so many of us sick and struggling and lost in the world?

Why haven’t we been able to tap into the endless well of potential of the human spirit?

I believe we haven’t, not because we don’t want to, but because we don’t know how to.

We have been held captive, prisoners of our obstructions, in cells of “safety and sameness” that we either walked into willingly, unknowingly, or that we were placed into by other people.

Even so, there is a yearning deep in our beings that continues to call us to do more and to be more than who we are.

Imagine the lives and world we could create if we individually and collectively tapped into the potential of our spirits.

Imagine the things we could accomplish and how we could continue to grow and evolve each and every day of our lives.

Imagine how would could transform our lives and the world.

I spent 9 years writing THE SPIRIT FACTOR, and in the process created a simple yet revolutionary reality-based approach to understanding spirit and its power and unlimited potential that lives in all of us.

If you are truly ready to transform your life to one of meaning, beauty, peace, and possibilities, THE SPIRIT FACTOR is for you!

Together, we can make 2019 the year we finally begin to discover our individual and collective potential!

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available worldwide on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.Untapped Resource Final

Lessons from the Autumn Leaves

Fall is in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest. While I love all four seasons, I have to say that fall is by far my favorite.

I love the clear, crisp days and cold nights fall brings that transform the leaves on the trees from their summertime shades of green to vibrant shades of orange, red, and yellow before they are shed for good. I love seeing the white spots fade on the fawns we had the joy and privilege to watch grow over the spring and summer from adorable wobbly-legged newborns to nearly self-sufficient deer. And I love watching nature prepare for winter, gathering and storing food and fattening up so it has reserves to live on during the cold months ahead. Nature amazes me with its intelligence!

There is a rhythm in nature, and when you observe it every day like we do, you feel this rhythm, especially so when the seasons change. In the mountains where we live, this change can happen in a very short period of time—sometimes in as little as a few seconds. I experienced this years ago on a walk through the forest one September morning with my husband Michael and our dogs, when a gentle breeze went from warm to cold as it passed by me. I literally felt the exact moment that summer ended and fall arrived. I remember saying to Michael, “Summer’s gone.” He agreed because he felt the change of seasons in the breeze, too.

I’m in awe of how nature so gracefully moves from one season to the next with such ease and acceptance, gently letting go of the old and embracing the new, never trying to hold on to “what was” because it fears “what will be.” Unfortunately, so many of us humans tend to hold on to the past, unwilling to let go of people, places, and things, even when they are holding us back or preventing us from evolving.

But trees know that it is necessary to shed their old leaves to survive the winter, because if they didn’t the weight of the snow that would accumulate on them would surely break their branches. The trees also know that they have to let go of their leaves in order to prepare for new growth in the spring.

So this fall, as we watch the trees shed their leaves, let it remind us of how important and necessary it is to let go of that which has had its “season” in our lives. And let’s be inspired by nature, who so intelligently knows that you have to let go of the old in order to begin something new.

THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. It is a new philosophy for living that is based on the simplicity, intelligence and wisdom of nature, and it has the power to transform not only your life but also the world!

Autumn Leaves w TSF