Category Archives: thought book

Self-love skill #2 – Inside Out

 

2015_239_NO_selfloveskill2_insideout

The adventure of self-love continues. Yesterday, after coming home from meeting my work counsellor and seeing an artist friend, I updated this illustration. I don’t think the problem with loving ourselves is the self-care, as much as what happens within, when we do care for ourselves and our boundaries.

Setting boundaries is scary. We only ever see the surface of the people who set their boundaries for us. But when we do it, lots of stuff happens inside.

For me, saying no is often accompanied with a sensation of nausea, guilt, endlessly questioning whether I did the right thing and if I hurt the other.

IMG_3670

As for the acrylic part of the project, here is the big, first acrylic painting in the Getting Lost in Landscapes of Self-Love on the right. On the left is its little sister, called “Loving Self”, from my last show.

Now, I’m going to tidy up my studio, to make room for clients and more painting. Thanks for following this winding path, as I find my way, impulse by impulse, into this new project.

How are you loving yourself today?

Self-love Skill #2; NO.

2015_238_noisacompletesentence

Self-love skill number two. Saying no appropriately.

Man, how I struggle with this one. There’s saying it, of course. Hard at times, almost impossible at others.

But before you can say no, you have to be able to feel into what you really really want. Yes or no. You have to be able to say, I’ll come back to you, I’ll think about it for a while.

You need to accept, appreciate and allow your preferences.

Then, you may need to calmly say no thank you. Sometimes forcefully.

So, the practice continues. 🙂

Oh, and what do self-love skills have to do with creativity? My current experience is that the more I make art, the more productive I am, the more time I need for empty space time, bupkis days, taking care of my needs. It’s all part of the whole of creative work. Although the final act of creation may be fast and expressive, what makes that possible is sometimes a lot of time spent incubating, ruminating and in general just containing different kinds of tension.

This means I need to carve out that time by saying no. A lot. Trust the process, trust the need for this time, trust myself.

Sometimes saying no to the outside world is saying yes to your own art, whatever its expression.

What can you say no to today, as a way of practising self-love?

From the Animals in my Head to You

Hei Everyone,

It’s been quiet on this blog on this side of the year. I’m mostly on vacation,

2015___223_summeranarchy

 

but today I have been writing an article for Minä Olen magazine and since I found a way to get my scanner to work, I thought I would come and muse in the blog for a bit.

I was sorting through all the illustrations for 365 Days of Creativity (remember those guys?)

Moo! By Marie D. Tiger, courtesy of the Thought Book.
Moo! By Marie D. Tiger, courtesy of the Thought Book.

and found many scetches, a bunch of undocumented finished ones and raw ideas.

I now have 231 documented and finished illustrations of different creative days, mostly with my inner animals, but some with my alter ego red head stick girl.

2015_stickgirl

The whole thing of course started when I got tired of sitting on my ass and wishing I would create and inspired by Seth Godin  started drawing or painting something small each day [and no matter how imperfect], posting it here on the blog. The drawings kept getting better and I learned to listen more to both my inner animals and my impulses. My imagination seemed to speak animal. Until the beginning of year 2015, when form suddenly fell away and it was just myself and the colors left.

2015_animalsinmyhead

From my current vantage point it seems that I have most literally created myself visible. Through drawing and the inner work that being an entrepeneur gives rise to, I have slowly solved the conflicts between my inner artist, my coaching practice and my company Crealife. Instead of being a big mash up of everything, there are now clear distinctions between these.

This blog, that I started when I needed an outlet where to share my art, has slowly become a hobby, as my Finnish core art business, Crealife, has taken over. The painting process of my latest body of work Dream Maker, HeartBreaker has been a mostly wordless one, suitable more for documentation in the journal than short, intersting blog posts. Instagram has been a good way to share that process with my lovely audience. <3

2015_sssshhhhcatchingideasSo I’m pottering around the blog today, wanted to say HI and also that I am opening up inner doors so I can write in this blog again, adventure around in my beloved English language and perhaps send out a smidgeon of playful inspiration to summerwarmed imaginations around the globe. <3

 

Cherish the Awkward

Embrace the Awkward, 24x16cm markers in thought book, 2014 by Marie D. Tiger.
Embrace the Awkward, 24x16cm markers in thought book, 2014 by Marie D. Tiger.

Yesterday I was taking a walk. I was stopped in my tracks by this adolescent swan. Humongous feet, wobbly, oddly colored with grey, brown and off-white. So awkward and tied up in uncomfortable knots. Yet all swan.

This has been a year where many of my heroes have fallen from their pedestals with a crash. Saying one thing, doing another. And I have been grappling with that. The humanity of us all. That we have nothing else to resort to, but doing our best.

So I am coming to accept, that in order to keep the magic alive, I have to learn how to not only tolerate the awkward in me and others, but embrace it, seek it, cherish it.

Why?

Because it opens up a point of connection. Because it shatters the tyranny of perfection. Because it means that we are all, irrespective of our roles and status, still learning & practicing.

In which areas of your life could you explore freeing yourself to just be awkward?

 

Monday Musings about Freedom, Inner Demons and Expressing Who We Are

2014____24_escapeland

I have been hanging out with my demons lately. I drew the above drawing a week ago. We had a long discussion with the Engineer about the purpose of the Escape Bubble [watching TV incessantly, internet shopping ad infinitum, drinking too much beer, playing patience hour after hour, frantic exercising, the list is long).

Why does it exist? What brings it on? Is it to be resisted, controlled or is it merely a signal of something?

Is it an escape from uncomfortable feelings?

2014__25_yourdemonsareaninsidejob

Yes! I did it!

A jump to a new level of freedom tends to flush out all of the Usual Suspects; Shame, Guilt, Perfectionism, Fear, Doubt, Self-loathing, Anxiety, Addictiveness.

I am currently completely free from any kind of day job, only working on projects that involve art, creativity and imagination, only taking on work I love and also having more time to paint than ever. More than I had in art school.

Yikes!

Freedom is scary, because it snaps all ties to the old identity. There are no justifications for existence left. There are no “musts, shoulds or have to’s” to create a safe, predictable misery. Something outside of me, to force me to act, to do something, to get going.

There is just me.

2014____119shitloadofshame

And my  shame.

Shame seems to accompany any quest to become visible, any heroic venture to create something from our core. It is an insidious feeling, because it is so darned visceral and uncomfortable. Can you feel the cringe inside? I sure can, just writing about shame, here.

Succeeding can trigger shame

For many many of us creative dreamers, failure is not the most shame-inducing phenomenon. Succeeding is. Reaching another layer of freedom, another level of being who we are in this world, expressing something heartfelt. This can trigger the urge to escape or to do something rational, leave the hand made small life and join the corporate machine.

2014_226_itissafetoencounterallofme

That is why the demons inside are so important. When they are cradled, listened to, ever so gently moved and accepted, they carry with them whispers from our core. Messages from what wants to be born. Old ties to be released so an empty space can be opened for the new to come in.

It is safe to express who you are

But that is what I like about creating. The question “Why do I have these demons?” becomes less important than “What can I create [with these demons, from the encounter with them, through facing these feelings I’m feeling, just as they are in this moment]?” Instead of sitting back, curling into myself frozen and scared, I have the option to explore, experiment, feel into. This is when everything starts moving.

2014____227_proudlyrockingtheboatofshame

The thing about them pesky demons is, when we stop running away from them and just sit down, surrender to what is – let go of who we think we should be, what we think we should be feeling – the content of our inner worlds opens up and makes sense.

That is the promise of creating. Nothing can go wrong. It is okay to explore, build, take apart, build again, make mistakes, learn, experience, feel, move, fail, flounder, get lost, listen to impulses, escape and find ourselves again.

2014___145weirdiswhatimostlove

So from my heart to yours; your eccentricities, flaws, shadows and your brilliance, excellence and light, together are what make you who you are. Weird. Is what I most love about you. <3

 

Empty Space

As preparation for a workshop on empty space in the creative process, I have been on a partial media diet. No tv-series, no Facebook article browsing, no reading, no newspapers and so on.

The silence is astounding.

Of course, it wasn’t at first. Because what happens when we stop, clear the space and surrender to it? Everything rushes in. All the denied, pushed away, ignored aspects of the inner world are there, in our faces.

This time, though, it was curiously impersonal.

All the usual suspects, particular to this personality make up of mine, were there: “You’re no good. There is something wrong with you. You’re not normal. Nothing matters. You should just get a real job.”

2014_innerdialoguemadevisible

But come on. Twenty-five years of inner work later, they are still the same. My shadow, my fears and doubts, the scars, the wounds. It is just thinking. So I gather them into my lap, embrace them, and we sit in the empty space together. Watching snowflakes fall against the backlight of a rising sun.

Sending you a whiff of peace, where ever you are in your life, today.

Empath Stories: Self-Love During Changing Times

2014_002_feelingsaregood
The Untrained Empath: Feelings Are Good. Painted by Marie D. Tiger with watercolor 2014, 25x 16 cm. For sale: 370€ plus shipping, frame made to order.

This blog should have been written on Saturday, instead it incubated until today, Monday.

As an empath, I experience my feelings as both a blessing and a curse. The blast of them, while leading to great aliveness, is at times of imbalance, just way too much. Learning to discern which are mine and which aren’t, helps immensely.

I’m suspecting I’m not alone in saying that life has been full of changes lately. On Thursday, it was time to just rest, which I continued through the weekend. Today, Eren’s comment on my blog gave me the idea to write down self-love ideas that help me with self-care during these times of rapid change.

2014_selfloveemotionalmindmap

What does self-love in action mean to you, in the midst of your changing life?

Bupkis

Bupkis, painted by Marie D. Tiger with watercolor in 2013. Original is for sale in Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/187222372/just-hanging-out-ooak-illustration?
Bupkis, painted by Marie D. Tiger with watercolor in 2013. Original is for sale in Etsy: http://tinyurl.com/ot8l4nd

 I was talking to a friend about feeling drained and she introduced me to a new concept; Bupkis. Absolutely nothing.

That is what I’m scheduling into my week. A whole lot of bupkis. I know it makes my imagination happy and puts everything into order and ease. I’m grateful for the reminder to take care of myself and I thought I would extend an invitation to you, to do absolutely nothing, even if it is just for a minute.

Where could you schedule in some empty time, to just do nothing at all?

Endings and Standing Strong in Emptiness

Endings need time, 29.7 x 21.0 cm drawing, by marie D. Tiger.
Endings need time, 29.7 x 21.0 cm drawing, by Marie D. Tiger.

This June my first ever one year art workshop at my Alma Mater, Inartes ended. It was an amazing process and privilege to be able to support thirteen individuals in coming closer to their artistic core. Rarely have I felt so exactly in the right place while in the presence of other people. The response was amazing.

After the workshop, I walked slowly to the metro, feeling myself arrive at  a huge emptiness. Usually I would have distracted myself, because I dread, loathe and abhor the experience of vacuousness. But, having just heard from my students that I shy away from nothing, no matter how hard, I felt obligated to stay true to myself and hold the same free space for myself.

So I sat there, on the echoing metro station, breathing in wave after wave of harrowing chasms.

Until I felt like giggling. Unpleasant? Definitely. But worse than

childbirth, being a mother each and every day, abandonment, daring to confess my love to the Engineer, overcoming depression, being broke etc ?

I think not.

Just another thing to breathe through.

If you would allow yourself to just feel empty, right now,

and now

and also this breath

and this one

what might you find, on the other side?

 

You can buy the turtle drawing as prints and as cards. 🙂

 

 

Boredom and Creativity

Boredom Is a Choice,  29.7 x 21.0 cm watercolor, by Marie D. Tiger.
Boredom Is a Choice, 29.7 x 21.0 cm watercolor, by Marie D. Tiger.

I’ve  been thinking a lot about boredom now in Summerland, being at home with the kids, aged five and seven (or almost six and almost eight, to be more correct.)

Every weekday morning, it’s the same question:

– MOM, can we watch TV?!?!?!?

Every weekday morning, it’s the same answer.

– Nope.

Then…

– Grumble grumble grumble. I’m sooooo bored. There’s nooooothing to do. Mooooooommmmm. Moooooommmm.

By the way, the Engineer is so much more ruthless and so much better at standing this whining. But I’m doing my empath homework and getting better at it. Because, fast-forward about forty-five minutes and the living room is filled with laughter, instructions, crashing, running feet.

They’re playing!

The sweetest music in the world. Born from the fertile soil of technology deprivation, boredom and the choice to create something new.

In what way is boredom serving you today?

You can buy different sizes of prints and cards of this watercolor.