Tag Archives: pain

Self-compassion Opens up Inner Dialogue

Talk to your pain, in the thought book 2013, by Marie D. Tiger.
Talk to your pain, in the thought book 2013, by Marie D. Tiger.


Before I gave birth to both my children, I attended workshops in birth singing. The idea was that when we’re in pain, the instinctive reaction is to clench all muscles, shorten breathing and tense in every way. This makes the pain worse. Inner pain works much the same way. We tense up, focus on what is hurting with the exclusion of everything else and our breathing changes.

Instead, with all inner phenomena, whether painful or merely uncomfortable, why not face it, talk to it, show yourself compassion?

So if, for instance, you’re a business owner paying your bills, and your insides are clenching up, wondering about where your next mortgage payment is going to come from – how about talking a bit with your fear – kindly. You may be surprised at what you hear. Often we imagine that if we face our feelings head on, they will grow or draw something bad to us. Quite the opposite is true.

Feeling what is real in this moment, allows you to move through the feeling, get its message and release the flow, so the feelings can move from one to the other again.

What are you feeling, today?






Taboo Moments

Repost to illustrate the poem, Vulnerability, thought book 2013, by MDT
Repost to illustrate the poem, Vulnerability, thought book 2013, by MDT

Silence about the torment
Silencing the regular losing of myself,
that I have come to expect & endure.
But no numbing this experience.
No drugs, thank you.
It is what it is. I am who I am.
I’m drinking it all in. The agony without reason.
The faceless bliss. Everything in between.
My life. My experience. Thank you.

If it frightens you. That is. Fine.
It terrifies me. How identity can melt into
suffering. No catastrophies. No disasters. Just pain.
I do not believe in normal.
Do not sign on the dotted line of appropriate inner
directions and reactions.

To thine own self be true, is a loaded statement. What
it means is a personal journey.

There is too much life here.
Too much.
Do you know how even a beautiful sound [especially a beautiful sound],
too loud, hurts the ears? So it is sometimes,
with myself and life.
Too much, so loud. That I hurt all over. Lest I keep firm boundaries
around my tender core.
Pad each stimulating event with expanses of
solitude, music, space, physical movement, freedom, love.
Otherwise you find me writhing in pain. Beauty turned excruciate.
Everyday details turned into an elaborate torture of overwhelm.

I don’t understand this woman I call myself.
But dutifully, passionately, I scribe and paint her experiences
With the hope of someday
making sense of all this
happening in the inner landscape of me/her.
It is like understanding the weather.
Why is it raining today?
Why is the sun scorching?

So in the midst of my scribing, I try to remember, how to breathe.
At times like this morning by the traffic lights, breathing
is close to impossible.
Solar plexus moving only by force, doggedly, the air
wanting to hide
at the base of my throat, shy to move.

At times the breath is like a slow tide
moving leisurely.
I am the scribe.
Remembering to experience
the storms, the lulls, peace.
Remembering I feel everything. I own nothing.

What Do You Need Today, to Love Yourself?


I love me, thought book 2013, by MDT.
I love me, thought book 2013, by MDT.

I painted the first version of this picture on a t-shirt, almost twenty years ago. That was the year I put in an ad on a newsboard [on text-tv, laughing at that a bit now], so I could find out the truth about men. Were they simple beings who could not think, as my mom was fond of saying, or was there something more out there? My soulfriend, the Engineer who would become my husband many years later, bought the t-shirt with this turtle on. He wore it everywhere. The memory still makes me smile.

In addition to musing over that memory, I have been reading and translating parts of this important book about self-harm for a youth project I work in. The book is written compassionately and the text validates the inner reality of anyone who self-harms. Punishment in order to dissolve feelings of shame and guilt, search for emotional relief, making emotional pain clearer and more tangible are just some of the functions that self-harm can have. Most often, in our outcome directed, fast-paced world, an understanding for inner phenomena is lacking. Not so in this book.

Loving ourselves is a skill that is learned when our needs and feelings are heard and responded to, when we see people close to us love themselves and take care of their own needs responsibly, when we can express what is inside and have that received. It is never too late to start learning this skill and building habits that support loving self.

What do you need right now?




Dakini’s Bliss


I walk in the world, dragging my little paraiba case
with the stickers
and the paints
and the brushes
and the masking tape
Feeling everything, it being far too much
as always.

Delighting, irritating, triggering, moving
the crowd with my childishness
Shame still catches me by the throat
I pour it into the void
Self-hatred still chokes me
and I set it into the void gently
I fill the dish washer
I paint a painting
I scratch dirt off the floor
I pour it into the void

I love my husband
I feel lonely in his presence
I miss him so much
I move from my thoughts to my heart
content to just weep

Luminous dakini flying in the sky
help me keep on pouring
in the middle of my bewilderment



How different birthdays can be
I sit here, on my stained gray sofa
34 today
Having lived through a year of forgiveness

Step by step, willingly looking my pain in the eye
Asking, what is in my lap?
Being met, step by step
By grace

Tears by the dozen
No longer fighting to keep all my psychic limbs
In the hurricane of survival
Tears of redemption, understanding, seeing helplessness
instead of hatred
ignorance instead of abandonment

Mostly, though
Forgiving myself
For each rough grip on a precious arm
each brutal yell in a terrified face
breaking the trust placed in me
for being broken, weak, desperate, flawed

I have abandoned, forever,
the hope of perfection
my house is patched, fixed, repainted
my inner landscape intimate with storms
but my steps
in the debris are light

I have learned that facades are
often broken too late
to reveal
heart-rending truth
I have experienced that love
is more important than the right words
I have been saved by the offer to do laundry
and the chance to close my eyes on the couch
five minutes

Yes, perfection is lost to me
It lies broken and trampled
before the demon of what I am capable of
feeling, saying, doing
and the thought of what if it had been worse?
Compassion has come to stay.

Surf and Turf – Feelings Ahead

From the Thought Book, by Marie D. Tiger
From the Thought Book, by Marie D. Tiger

I can trust my feelings
Feelings are good
they are good
they can be trusted
they can be followed.

This is my mantra as I trudge on
as the rude force
of emotions hits me
I try not to ask why
it seems to lead me on intellectual quests
that freezes the emotions
but doesn’t stop the pain.

Coma of Agony.

If I dare surf
on the wave of feeling
I come back to myself
again again again again.


Installation, 2003, by Marie D. Tiger
Installation, 2003, by Marie D. Tiger

I looked at my mother
when I was little
I wished she wouldn’t justify
her abandonment of herself
with the love for us girls.

I wished she wouldn’t say she loved us more

than she did love dad
I wished there were someone
else who would be responsible
for the great burden of
her love.

Train ride

I am not afraid of this pain

It doesn’t make it hurt less,

but it takes the edge off.
I don’t need to escape it.
I close my eyes,
so as not to see my reflection

in the train window.
I do not want to see my pain.
It is enough to feel it.

The Music of Your Voice

From the ‘H’ in her Hello,
and the lilt in how she says her new surname,
I hear the booze.
I knew it was a mistake
to call and yet did.
I feel all the crap of the
past bob to the surface.

After that it gets worse.
Every word, each nuance of her voice
is a hook, an axe, an
designed to wound and maim.

I grew up in a musical system
of torture.
My voice is an instrument.
I know every which way it can wound.
I can build up an
elaborate system of vocal abuse,
without ever raising my voice.

Then there is the other side,
with all the shades in between.
A voice that can be used for torture
can be used as an conduit of love
and express it in a million of ways.

I got a gift from my mother
I know pain.
I know love.
I know which one I choose.


I have an angel.
He’s made of bones old, ugly, stinking ones.
There’s dried blood on them and they’re held together with string and cheap
glue, but he’s got wings big wings white wings that gleam in the
dark where I am trying to keep moving
he slices up the dark so I can take it he speaks
softly. he’s made of bones I buried so long
ago. To get away.
But they came back and he came with them Time to be free, he said
Time to be free.
I will not take them can’t now couldn’t then:
I want you gone by the time I get back.
He said okay and
then came with me.

My mind is full of decay lies lies lies that I eat each morning
on my sandwiches and smile smile take it and smile
said the perfect faces before take it
get back at them and remember a lie can get you out of anything. And
it did it did I thanked the angels of my life, shining in their beauty that
I could never live up to.

Now there is a scull staring at me with eyes
hotter than my shame he brings out tigers dragon fire
hidden in me to light up the shame the dread the hypocrite smiles and
tears tears tears sipping out, sizzling with pollution. He shreds the
screaming darkness and he’s got wings he says
You have them too. but I
can’t see I smile and put on more lies just a little on the morning
cereal. he
grins the scull. his voice smiles warmly at me.
Puts his arms around me and I’m in the middle of that filthy smell
that comes from me.

Desperately I
kick and scream. he takes me deeper says You called for an angel
prayed god to save you.
I wanted to be saved with nice safe pastel
colored angels I-didn’t-want-to-change and now I’m here with a rickety
bunch of bones held together with glue and someone’s last hope and
that somebody whose fault everything always was. Turned out to be me.

I’m in this pile of filth, holes in my armani armor, high heels broken.
A tough boss my angel. He presses me close to my own bones
in an embrace that brings back the magic I don’t believe in
I DON’T BELIEVE but he whispers in my ear yes yes there
is madness that is necessary
life isn’t polite smiling but messy alive!
He looks me in the eye this wretched creature ugly so ugly even the
wings can’t do anything about that. You’re ugly ugly ugly! and
his voice smiles he says Who are you talking about? I hate him, hate
just keep me standing.

No you have to learn
how to fall he pushes me over the edge I fall.

Something happens to me at the bottom I go close to my angel
close as I’ve never been to any man.
I take a bone in my hand the hip
bone a man’s hip bone untangle it from the glue and the pieces of
I clean it and breathe life into it slowly I put it in my body
where it belongs. The memory set free this I was escaping from.
I let it into my body. pain I refused to
feel. I take it all back.
I have gathered all the bones are in me
where they belong there is so much pain this light is too clear I still
don’t know if I can take it
too much at the time I want the lies back.
This is too much fire. pain cannot move. it hurts
too much I stop
breathing too damaged to live. I feel a voice smiling inside of me
it caresses the pain
sings to it
sings to me in a blue raspy voice
of stars set free long time ago by truth.
The pain starts singing as I
slide towards death. Warmth in me too much singing. and I have not left
my body.
I feel somebody smiling in front of me goes
behind me touches my back
Can you feel your wings now? asks the angel
who hugged me close to my pain

I can.