Tag Archives: dreams

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

Dreams Grow Up

Death to all Artists [at art school], acrylic on plywood, 73 x 98 cm. For sale, 500 € plus shipping.
Death to all Artists [at art school], by Marie D. Tiger 2003, acrylic on plywood, 73 x 98 cm. For sale, 500 € plus shipping.


The ones of you, my dear readers, who have followed this blog for a while know that in 2010 I decided to take on the tyranny of my own beliefs, internalized from well meaning parents, peers and art school. These were beliefs that in unending circles spouted out shoulds, musts and not good enoughs.

Tendrils, by Marie D. Tiger 2003, silk color on aquarelle paper, 65 x 50,5 cm, framed. For sale, 450 € plus shipping.
Tendrils, by Marie D. Tiger 2003, silk color on aquarelle paper, 65 x 50,5 cm, framed. For sale, 450 € plus shipping.

At this time my daughter was on her second year and I realized the return to work was imminent. Were I to ever have time to be a full time artist, it was time to start making some art – any art, no excuses.

The three guiding principles that allowed me to break free from my self-imposed prison of shame, self-doubt, creative blocks and resistance were:

1. Easy access to the act of creation.
2. Create something every day.
3. No need to plan, know or understand, just start playfully.

Four and a half years have passed. During these years I’ve created more than ever before. I’ve also been suffering less than ever before in my life.

But, coming back from Switzerland, about four weeks ago, it seemed I had to work at squeezing myself into the life that just a week ago had seemed wonderful. I felt like an ocean that tried to squeeze itself into the utensils drawer. So many tiny compartments. So little space for expansive processes and uninterrupted time.

Time for a change.

After a few weeks of uncomfortable fidgeting and some simple structural changes, an opportunity presented itself. A storage space, close by, reasonable rent. Easy peasy?

The vulnerability of a shining core

Again and again, I’m surprised, inside myself and in working with my clients, of the kind of strength and vulnerability core desires exude. This past week, I have gathered thought books, pastels, art works from every nook and cranny in our home, in the Engineer’s office, in the far reaches of closets, behind photographs, in the high kitchen cupboards. Tear inducing work. I have been trembling so my bones are shaking, in order to encompass the enormity of what I am allowing myself to do and become.

I never imagined I had created this much. The tendrils of my most protected and naked core dreams have reached all through our home, until they simply did not fit anymore. Time for the dream to move out from the cocoon of our home.

Dreams Grow Up, by Marie D. Tiger 2014, made with markers 25x 16 cm. For sale 370€ plus shipping, frame made to order.
Dreams Grow Up, by Marie D. Tiger 2014, made with markers 25x 16 cm. For sale 370€ plus shipping, frame made to order.

Flashback to eighteen years ago. I had finished High School, with excellent grades. I felt I had earned the right to make independent decisions and although I attended entrance exams at the University of Helsinki, mainly to please my father, I was seeking other options. When I found a school that combined an intensive year long visual art and writing class, I knew it was the right thing for me. The fact that they rented a room I could live in just made the whole thing better.

I applied for a job at a shopping mall, as a cashier, and got it. Having secured a place of study, a home of my own and a job to finance it all, I presented the plan to my father. He took one look at the curriculum, at the price and said:

“Marie, this is the worst mistake of your life. You will regret this.”

So I went and did it anyway.

Taking permission to do what makes life alive

Dreams do not make life easy.

They’re not supposed to.

In fact, the transformational work that is included in any dream from the core will probably bring up everything we are hiding from ourselves to the surface.

Dreams do not [necessarily] bring in millions, or even enough to pay the rent at first.

There are no guarantees. Hard times may be ahead. This is not for wimps.

Proceed only with awareness, gentleness and support.

This is why rational minded people try their best to steer us away from dreaming in the first place. My beloved Dad was absolutely. Completely. Right.

Not when he said I would regret my decision to pursue art.

Just definitely when he said I was choosing a spiralling, backward, hard path, when I could have just driven on the highway [to a well paying job]. He was being the stern parent out of love and concern for me. He could not see into my soul. He did not see the reality of impending death that was driving me. Every road that lead toward deadening myself was too expensive to contemplate.

No money in this world can buy aliveness. The aliveness of a bungee jump lasts for a few seconds, jumping with a parachute, it lasts a little longer. But the skin caressing, soul squeezing, heart pumping aliveness that comes from bringing alive a core dream expands with each step. You just may end up with a life worth living.

If you wouldn’t have to



plan or understand

your dream on a rational level, yet, which next step toward your dream beckons to you?


Hello All,

It has been a long summer hiatus with a whirlwind of adventurous life experiences that I can’t wait to write about.

Lux Aeterna Swan goes to Switzerland.
Lux Aeterna Swan goes to Switzerland.

Today I am heading off to Switzerland, to deliver this painting and say hi to my eighteen year old exchange student self. It’s been exactly twenty years ago that I spent a year in Münchenbuchsee. Although I did not know it at the time, it was also where I found love.

So many dreams were born that year and a lot of them have come true.

What are you dreaming about, today? If everything were possible and easy, where would you go, who would you be with, what would you feel?


Do More or Go Play?

Do more or go play?
Do more or go play?


Sometimes it’s good to rest, even from the urge to make your dreams come true.

When we allow ourselves the freedom to not know anything, the things we really value in life start whispering to us again.

The ability to touch someone’s heart with notes, sounds, brush strokes or words. The power to remind people that magic is real and available in each moment. Reassurance that everything will turn out all right.

In a life where everything needs to be useful, tangible, possible to measure and analyze, sometimes it’s good to just play.

You are loved. Your abilities are needed. You are enough, just as you are.

Everyday Life is Where Your Dreams Grow

Everyday life nourishes your dreams, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Everyday life nourishes your dreams, thought book 2013, by MDT.


I got up at six am, in quiet darkness, today, as I do every morning. I sat in our cherry red, soft skinned TV chair, waking up, waiting for my firstborn to come join me, as he does most every morning. When my daughter joined us for her morning cuddle half an hour later, I was awake enough to go fill the espresso machine and take a shower.

Then we made breakfast together, today it was yogurt, milk, hard rye bread with cheese and tomatoes [the amount of imagination that is needed to come up with these nourishing breakfasts every day never seizes to astonish me]. We started the whole getting clothes on shebang ridiculously early, which was good, because we went through two pairs of itchy-impossible socks with my highly sensitive daughter, my son’s gloves were completely broken into pieces after yesterday’s zoo visit with his school and my daughter’s gloves were impossible to get on and replacements had to be found.

Outside, a piercingly blue October sky was awaiting. Many important races, discussions and secrets were exchanged during the road to my son’s school, including our secret handshake and the waving that is part of our morning ritual.

After this followed my daughter’s play session in the school yard that has fascinating swing sets and stuff that is completely different from the toys in her day care. This was followed by eleven different ways of testing boundaries and rules during the loooong way back to her day care. Because she had forgotten “päivän hassu”, translated “today’s funny”, yesterday, today she got two; fast-moving pattycake and ferriswheel. Before I left, we located a quiet place, where she can rest when she gets enough of people.

I [kind of] wish someone had told me about this many years ago [although I don’t know if I would have believed them]. I chased my dreams for many many years, mostly ignoring my every day life, often exhausting myself in the process. Now, with the millions of details that go into an every day life with a family of four highly sensitive creatives, I understand that the core is in the present, in how our rituals, encounters, breakfasts and dinners work. That is what builds the synchronicities that lead to all those glorious dreams. This is what builds a life that feels alive.

Dreams are nourished by every day life. When we build our every day lives so they fit who we are optimally, dreams grow effortlessly from the soil.

What do you appreciate about your everyday life today?

Big Dreams

Big dreams, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Big dreams, thought book 2013, by MDT.


I drew this fox when we were cloud gazing with my kids, on the way to the summer cottage. One cloud was a fox with wings. I remembered this drawing, watching this Ylvis video about what the fox says. Somehow this video brings to my mind the impetus and hope of Big Dreams, a power that has brought me through so much of my life.

When I watch this video, I see innocence, playfulness and exuberance. The willingness to go all out and be vulnerable at the same time. To do it well. Watching this video just makes me happy. I’m glad it went viral & wish that this blast of success is a good thing for Ylvis.

One of my biggest dreams ever was finding my soulmate. This week I and the Engineer celebrate fifteen years together. He brought this video to my attention and the spirit here reminds me of the grand creative partnership and love that we share. <3

Flame on water

I do have big dreams still.
There they are inside, buried under all my fear.
                                                                                                                                  Write books, touch the heart of the world, move you.

Share my stories, be seen and heard. Reflect hope for those
who think they are alone, unseen, outside.
Remind those who have forgotten
that their heart is singing to them all the time.
Write from the core,
set the world aflame.

Expand this circle of bliss.
Do it all. All of it. Like the pebble that lands in the water
the circles spreading where they will
Dare again, breathe again, fly again!

and I start now.

The present is my point of power.

Weekend bonus #Scintilla – Find Yourself at Finns

The bus is reverberating under my knees. My tummy is feeling liquid. I’m going fast toward a new beginning and I still can’t believe it’s happening.

Two months before this jittery moment, studying for the finals, I found a pamphlet. It had a picture of a yellow, old house on it. “Find yourself at Finns” it said. Intrigued I read the text. It said they had a year long workshop in writing and one in painting. The school had also rooms for rent. Heart beating fast, I called the school for more information and the kindest lady told me I would be able to attend both workshops for the price of one, if I wanted to. After that, everything was a whirlwind of things going right.

Now I’m in the bus, with that feeling of standing on a precipice, flexing my wings. I’m going to live at the school for a year, studying art & writing with likeminded souls, working at the register of Stockmann’s gourmet food store. I’m going to be true for the sake of one passionate exchange student in Switzerland and to the person I became there.

Suddenly, the memory of my dad stands before me.

“This is the WORST MISTAKE you have ever made in your whole life!”

But I know better. I have been seen for real now. It’s time to get busy living.

My Love

I met
No one
The first.
To tell me I was right
To be me

Anywhere else
I was greeted
By doubting glances
They were always 
Afraid to tell me
Still they always did.

Decent people
Never missed their duty
To put me down

But how could the truth
Singing in me 
Be wrong?
It wasn't. 
And I met you to share it with.


Becoming dependent

Of another person

Is to stop

Depending on Self.

You put the weight

Of your Dreams

On Somebody Else

Dreams weigh

An Awful Lot.