Tag Archives: creative process

Self-love Skill #2; NO.


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?

Trusting the Process in Summerland

At the studio.
Hello emptiness. At the studio.

For about eight years, every work day in my life, every moment on my own, has been framed by the needs of my children and family.

This summer the boundaries of this framework are wider than every before. While the beaches are filling up with roasting people, our parallel insight stages of our creative processes have  given rise to a new rhythm. One day with the kids, one day at the studio, one day with the whole family. Rinse and repeat.

And I am so grateful for the unyielding restrictions that have surrounded me until now. All this space is pretty terrifying. The need to fill it up with distractions is palpable.

Until I remember,

I don’t need to do anything.

It’s okay to walk from tea cup to tea kettle.

Pour tea.

Sit down.


Listen to silence. Wiggle my toes. Eat a pistachio nut.

Feel my skin.


Surrender to art. Marker drawing 29x cm. By Marie D. Tiger.
Surrender to art. Marker drawing 29,7 x 21,0 cm. By Marie D. Tiger.

The impulse that leads me to the next step in the body of work before me always comes. The emptiness is like cold water that I dive into, head first and the initial shock jars me to my bones. No matter.

Trust the process.

What helps you trust the process today?

Edited to add John Cleese’s brilliant speech about creativity, here. Giggles.

The drawing Surrender to Art can be bought as prints and as cards and posters.


Cloud Watching

Giving birth, in the thought book 2014.
Giving birth, in the thought book 2014.

Feeling bloated, uninterested in anything, non-directionally confused and irritable? It may just be that you are incubating one creative baby or another. There is a strange sense of being an automaton in these times, being so drawn inward that everything becomes tinted by vagueness. And of course, there is nothing to show for it. No tangible results to report to others, nothing visible to outline for inquiring minds.

Ah well. The joys of being creative.

Insight, when it decides to arrive, will make it all worthwhile, I promise. In the meantime, take lots of showers, long walks and if there’s room, I definitely recommend some cloud watching.

What increases your trust in yourself, while an idea is being born?

Stop the Free Fall With Kindness

Free fall. Drawn with markers in the thought book 2014.
Free fall. Drawn with markers in the thought book 2014.

One of the reasons I am illustrating creativity in this blog with the help of my whimsical animal friends, is that creativity can be such a bitch at times. It moves straight into my core, like a locomotive, blasts everything open and gets rid of anything non-essential. Kindness and gentleness are a vital counterpart to this intensity.

Creatively I’ve been in free fall for a few weeks now.  Although I’m good at creating spaces for others to create in their own rhythms, it’s not as easy to do for myself.

I’m prone to both impatience and perfectionism, especially when I’m feeling insecure. This particular phase of being creative is a tough one. But at the beginning of this week I’ve been fortunate enough to be working with Pauliina, a fine artist who lives in my building. I was lucky enough to be allowed to be her assistant, working with children, wood and paint. It’s been like bathing in kindness, acceptance and simply being human.

So today, no matter what part of the creative process you are in, I wish I could send you a shower of kindness. <3

Distraction, the Fairy Godmother of all Creation

Don't Worry, It Will Come, in the thought book 2014, by Marie D. Tiger.
Don’t Worry, It Will Come, in the thought book 2014, by Marie D. Tiger.

Ever feel like this?

Sometimes it means that something new is being born and what you need to do is distract your mind, while the levianthans of your subconscious swim their majestic rounds and gather up synchronicities, ideas, clues and insights to one beautiful synthesis.

Don’t worry, the ideas are already being born. <3

Which Rhythm Is Optimal For You Today?

Listen to your own rhythms, by Marie D. Tiger in the thought book 2014.
Listen to your own rhythms, by Marie D. Tiger in the thought book 2014.

I’ve been a business owner for nine years now and I still sometimes struggle with my beliefs about how I should work. As so many of us, I’ve grown up with the idea that working is sitting at your desk, being in front of a group, being with a client or in some other visible way working.

What I’m learning about, each day, is that spontaneity knows its own direction. Each time I dare follow my impulses, also –  and especially – when they lead me toward watching movies, taking a walk, enjoying a bath, it pays off somehow.

I am learning to trust that my creative self knows more about the big picture than I do. Sometimes helping myself be comfortable in the unknown, is more important than sitting at my desk, arduously working at something seemingly necessary.

If you could do anything today, what would it be, which rhythm would you be dancing to?

Stepping out of Assembly Line Time

Painting process, by MDT.
Painting process, by MDT.

I have three days of studio time on my hands, which is a rarity to me because I have two small kids and time is often tied to routines of different kinds. I woke up at nine a.m. and despite all these years of being an artist and an entrepeneur, I spent about five hours thinking of all the things I should be doing while reading, taking a bath and napping. At one p.m. my inner senses sent the clearest, most physically poignant impulse possible. I got up from the bed, all ready to paint.

What a waste of good guilt! All the time I was lounging around, distracting myself, the energy was amounting to what became a wonderful painting session.

Often, creative action needs things that are beyond the scope of the mind. If we can allow them, creating becomes easy peasy, because the action has incubated and become all that it can be. In order to create, we must be willing to be in a space of not understanding anything, just experiencing and trusting the next step to appear, as long as we keep moving.

Seth Godin writes: “If you’re chasing the masses, you’re almost certainly heading the wrong direction. The masses are ignoring you. It’s the weird who are choosing to pay attention, to seek out what they care about.” I believe when we create what comes from our core, we find the tribe that we are seeking.

And then, as Jonathan Fields recently wrote: “You surrender the possibility that you can be so fulfilled and called by the work you do and the people you do it with, that the way you contribute to the world becomes a joyous, integral element of life.” And this, my friends, is guaranteed to make life alive!

How can you step out of assembly line time today and step into your creative process?