Tag Archives: daring

Testing: How Big Is My Capacity for Joy?

Last Fall I enrolled in Hiro Boga’s Become Your Own Business Advisor online workshop. It is a very sneaky, deeply transformative way to learn about your inner landscape concerning business. I got through one third of the material, first time around.

When I write sneaky, I mean it goes straight to the core. A few months after the workshop I find myself in a classic state of practical ecstasy and every day I am tested; How much joy can I stand today?

The situation is as follows. For at least one year I can paint daily, making painting my number one priority during weekdays,  when the children are in school and sometimes longer, when the Engineer picks them up from school. Of course this loveliness is then sprinkled with wonderful encounters with coaching clients and art students.

And while this only means that I have meaningful work to go to every day and the rest of my business model is still in shambles, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with existence.

I went to the pharmacy today, after the Engineer told me that is where you can purchase isopropyl alcohol, which for instance lovely Samantha Dasilva explains how to use. The pharmacist looked suspiciously at my paint-stained clothes, and [too] happy face [unusual in wintertime Finland] and asked what I was going to use it for. After a while her eyes started to glaze over and I realized she believed me and just wanted me to stop spouting details about painting.

This ecstasy, eagerness and deep hunger for life is not new for me. I have felt it since I was a child and several times after that, always linking it to art making. It baffles me that I have spent some 38 years, fighting and sabotaging this dream in different ways, only obvious to me now, and that even now, with all that is possible, I sometimes hear myself say:

“Maybe I should be realistic.”

And worse, I feel the trepidation, the hesitancy creep into my veins and turn my blood slow, fill my limbs with leaden tiredness…


And then I look at this.

Work in progress, Celebrating Myself Home, Acrylic 2015, 100x150cm, by Marie D. Tiger.
Work in progress, Celebrating Myself Home, Acrylic 2015, 100x150cm, by Marie D. Tiger.

And feel my insides flow with warmth, bouncy energy and an inner “YES!” in response.

I know, deep deep down inside all that is true and real in me, that this Makes. Sense.


So, I for one,

propose the deepest compassion and gentleness

with all urges to hide, to self-sabotage, to resist

at the same time

as I recommend warrior courage

in facing what is within and looking at it clearly.

Or whatever else that works.

Life is short.

Dreams are juicy.

Go for it.


Because expanding our capacity of joy, of happiness, of diving deep into meaningful

action (whatever it is for you) is so worth it.


Sending you the inspiration of cascading cadmium lemon yellow, deepest permanent red violet and a million shades of cadmium orange mixed with white. <3

What Happened after I Committed to Art?


I hope this year will be filled with unexpected blessings, illuminating insights and lots of beautiful ordinary moments for you. <3

In the midst of the kid’s holidays I wanted to come tell you about the amazing developments that have taken place, after making room for Empty Space and then making  the decision to commit to art.

Traditionally the three weeks around Christmas and New Year have for me been times of intense introspection, pierced with birth family drama and old patterns jumping up. Often I have felt helpless before my own life, before what I have created in my reality. While it has lead me to further delve into my inner landscape and into what it is that I would like to create in my life, it has been intense.

This year, it’s been vivid. But in a completely different way.

Choosing to throw caution and doubt in the wind, has opened up inner doors to art, rapid fire. I found James Elkins’ book, What Painting Is. He is an art historian multipotentialite, who understands art making on a visceral level. When he talks about painting being “life’s blood: a substance so utterly entrancing, infuriating, and ravishingly beautiful that it makes it worthwhile to go back into the studio every morning, year after year, for an entire lifetime.” he is describing the room that my soul dwells in.

Every day. Since I made the Decision to just make art. Has been so filled with life, crystal clear moments, enjoyment that words feel trite as I try to describe it. When I prod, jab, scratch, gouge and slash the canvas with my brush, my blood cells sing, my muscles flow with endorphins and I feel like I am at the center of my universe, doing exactly what I was made for.

Now, there is a new ingredient here. See, one thing that kept me from pursuing art, for real, was that I suspected I wasn’t very good. For a long time I thought it was just my perfectionism, but now I realise it was the wish to do better, to have the skill to express what is growing out of me. What I appreciate most is that now I’m open to learning that. The mixing of grays, a balanced palette, a liveliness of brushstrokes, a moving feeling body painting its unseen onto the canvas. A new gear is on and the books, people and ideas I need are flowing into my life. It is as if a dam has broken. As if art was waiting outside of the door, just waiting to bust in.

I’m happy. The ecstasy that so used to freak out my parents is back, the passion that makes me feel like an embodied song of Pavarotti inside is here again. And it has a place to go. My studio is just the right fit for all of this that can be so difficult to cram into everyday life; the bliss, the excruciating sensitivity to stimuli, the intensity that can ignite fire, the ocean of feeling.

This is short, but I wanted to tell you.

In the case that someone who has an impossible, irrational, crazy dream is reading this. What’s good about dreams is that they are really tenacious and when you dare to choose them, just that choice changes everything.


Tender, Sweet Heart

The basic tenets of Taekwondo.
The basic tenets of Taekwondo.

Yesterday I was at Taekwondo practice with my firstborn.

When he asked me to join the group, after his first training, my heart dropped into my stomach. I thought of the legion of attentive parents, watching the lesson. Tentatively I said:

“Nobody else’s parents are joining in.”

“So what?” asked my son, guileless eyes wide.

So what? I thought about being systematically sought out, bullied for being ugly. Too ugly to live. I remembered moving my leaden body to the rhythm of shouts and taunts, drawing myself so far out of it in shame that I kept bumping it into things, this unwieldy mass of limbs. The pit of dread in my belly was wide and real. But looking into my son’s eyes, I could not tell him that the opinions of others was more important than my willingness to take the leap and try it out.

So I am a thirty-eight year old beginner in the Martial Arts.

I am learning about perseverance.

“Perseverance means having patience. One of the most important secrets of becoming a leader in Taekwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance. Confucius said, ‘One who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance.'”

Our instructors are great about teaching us the same. Their steady, intent and straightforward feedback builds a structure that makes forward movement filled with ease, although this is one of the most difficult things I have ever tried to learn. So I just continue.

(And I need not have worried. There is absolutely no time to think about anything while training.)

What in your life needs your perseverance right now? That you just continue practising, leaving thoughts to move at their own pace.

Encryption Key

Seesaw, drawn with markers in the thought book, by Marie D. Tiger.
Seesaw, drawn with markers in the thought book, by Marie D. Tiger.

Hey there,

It’s been a long time since I wrote in the blog.

June was chock-full of client work with interesting, dedicated people who threw themselves into making art and learning about their creativity. Now I’ve been winding down to holiday mode, spending time in summerland with my children. Time is starting to loose its meaning and I have difficulty remembering what day it is. Lovely!

On a more personal note, I have been exploring what it means to be an empath. This year, I’ve been working with Molly Gordon and Caroline van Kimmenade, both of whom I can heartily recommend. It all started out with the intention of checking out what is going on with the profitability in my company, my sense of having one foot on the break and the other on the gas and the recurring phenomenon of ending up either broke or exhausted.

With Molly, I have learned to instantly access my core, my deep trust in the goodness of life. I am now able to look out into the world and feel supported. No matter what is going on, I KNOW it is all alright. Nothing has gone wrong, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

The program “From Suffering Sponge to Sensitive Savant”, that I’m enrolled in with Caroline is a bit different than traditional coaching. This is pure training for an empath. I’ve learned to understand my ability of being able to viscerally feel what others are feeling, discern what is mine and what isn’t and what to do with inner phenomena that originate from someone else.

So far, I feel like someone has given me an encryption key to my life experience. Everything makes so much sense now. So, I’m vacillating between accepting where I am and making small changes in my everyday life.

The changes I’m noticing this far are:

– It’s easier for me to make art, take&make time for making art and hear what I need [as opposed to taking care of everyone else and ending up resentful and exhausted.]

– Although I am still super-sensitive and aware of emotional fluctuations, I am able to discern what is mine, what isn’t and I know what to do in both cases.

– I now KNOW, beyond all doubt that I was never broken.

– The exuberance, joy and lightness that I remember from my childhood grows stronger every day.

– Being with my own intense kids is so much easier, because my inner clarity is now a stable flow. I can maintain the loving kindness that they thrive in.

The challenges I’m aware of are:

– It’s a LOT of work. I get immobilized with an influx of emotional static and it takes a whole lot of sifting, sorting through, writing, jogging and breathing to organize all the sense-material coming in [but it is infinitely better than it used to be].

– It’s lonely. I used to morph out to meet people, like an emotional Barbapapa, always finding the facet of my own experience that fit what my empath senses were telling me was appropriate. Now, I’m getting used to a whole new way of communicating and just being me. Scary!


– I’m way off my comfort zone, practising something completely new and not doing it particularly well.

But you know what? It’s so worth it. Because for the first time in my life, I can genuinely say that I am starting to feel this affectionate regard for myself. Not awash with the feelings of others anymore, I can differentiate who I am and I like what I see. There is a sense of inner logic to my past, I can see how things have led up to this point.

I’m wishing you a sunkissed summertime, with lots of goodness and gentleness.

P.S. If you felt that twinge of recognition, Caroline has a few places open for empath training here. And you can read more about Molly’s coaching here.

You can buy prints in different sizes and cards of the Seesaw drawing.

Red Thread, Superlon and Making It, Piece by Piece


… but you can definitely become more and more immersed in the now moment.

Starting with a big vision, then working toward it in small steps, impulse by impulse

For some reason, filling in the contours of this giraffe today, I was reminded by my final presentation in art school. My “thesis” [hah!] was a big sculpture of a tiger. It was made of pieces of superlon, torn from mattresses we got to play with as children, or use for pyjama parties when we were a bit older. The pieces were sown together with red thread and I worked on the sculpture all year.


Although I had a vision, the artwork itself grew, piece by piece.

Having your work seen by collegues and mentors

At the presentation, one of the teachers looked me straight in the eye, one artist to another and said:

“Ah well, I can’t imagine anyone but an artist getting up in the morning and saying – Today I think I’m going to make a giant tiger out of superlon. Welcome to the art world, colleague.”

Which part of your vision can you work on today, piece by piece?


Sometimes You’re the Only One Who Hears

Sometimes You're the Only One Who Hears the Song, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Sometimes You’re the Only One Who Hears the Song, thought book 2013, by MDT.

Impossible – Who Decides?

Who decides what is impossible, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Who gets to define your impossible? Thought book 2013, by MDT.


Is it the inner critic? Various friends? Your loved ones? Or is it you who is allowed to explore and find that many more things than you ever though are possible?

Miquel Barceló's 2008 piece Gran Elefandret.
Miquel Barceló’s 2008 piece Gran Elefandret.


A collegue to Fant, Miquel Barceló’s Gran Elefandret, it makes me so happy this morning, that other art elephants are also standing on their trunks.

While painting this picture, I was playing around with techniques from the lovely Corey Marie, I love her website! I also wanted to apologize to my subscribers, a plugin had accidentally gotten turned off and that is why you didn’t receive posts in your inbox. I’m sorry!


LOUD, thought book 2013, by MDT.
LOUD, thought book 2013, by MDT.

I’ve realized a long time dream and started singing lessons with a voice coach. The first lesson was that it is okay to be LOUD. Not quite convinced yet, but practicing. My upbringing was of the special brand of: Be a lady. So we learned to avoid the perils of combining navy and black, the evil of printed t-shirts and the major no-no of being loud. Lots of jaw tension to soften up, here.

Dare to Follow Your Impulses

Follow Your Impulses, from the thought book, by MDT.
Follow Your Impulses, from the thought book, by MDT.


Creativity is about following impulses, as they appear inside, always leading to the next step of creation. When we do this, a momentum is created that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Serendipity, synchronicity and flow follow each other in a shower of unexpected blessings. All it needs is that we dare start exactly where we are, with what we have now.

What Do You Do When Life Comes Knocking?

Come Out and Play, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Come Out and Play, thought book 2013, by MDT.

I was reading a blog post by Eric Klein at Wisdom Heart today, while caring for my sick son at home. Eric was talking about how Life waits at the treshold of our consciousness, but won’t come in uninvited. It just slips notes under the door, asking us to come out and play. The door is inside of us.

What I love about this gate is that there are so many ways to open it. Gratitude and appreciation for what is already here swings the door wide open. Making art unlatches it without us even noticing what happens. Falling in love with anyone or anything makes us forget the door was even there. All that is required, is the willingness to start here and now, to take the first step.

A closed door might feel safe, but I promise, opening the door to Life is worth the risk.