Good medicine

Today I wanted to talk about dedicated work or relationship, that keeps growing step by step, layer by layer. Maybe you have something in your life that you’re working on like this, that you keep coming back to?

For me, this painting called “Good medicine” is one such thing. I started painting it in the summer of 2014. It’s a part of the Skin of Self-compassion series. In this series I have explored different moments or relationships in my life where self-compassion is needed. I do this by creating layers of color and texture, to create a skin that is translucent, scratchy, soft, shiny – whatever it is that arises from these breaths of self-compassion, of acknowledging that doing my best is enough.

In the painting you see here, I’m compiling layers of my relationship with my mother. Our relationship has shifted many times. Partly in the usual role reversals that happen between mother and daughter. Partly through her struggles with independence, addiction and depression as well as my struggles with boundaries, judgment, forgiveness and love.

My relationship to my mom has molded my life, as has the experience of living in a family with addiction. Often it’s been poison. Lately it has also at times been good medicine, that is, a poison that over time turns to medicine.

Through Sufism, I have found a form of forgiveness that makes sense to me. I have connected to it through the Divine Name Al-Ghaffar. My understanding and experience of this name, at this moment, is that it is a form of recurring forgiveness that is always available to us. It never runs out. No matter how many times we make a mistake, the forgiveness is there, washing over us. There is a mercy in this kind of forgiveness that makes a relationship to my mother possible. We can meet as two mothers crossing paths, as two people who are truly doing our best and who are committed to staying in contact with each other.

I’m a recovering perfectionist and as I feel this forgiveness wash over me, for the hundreds of mistakes I notice myself making each day of my life, the door in my heart opens and I call this name into my heart. I feel soft all over and that softness runs through me to the people around me. Like the white wash in this painting, the forgiveness is a balm that covers all the harsh words and sharp emotions inside of me in a mercy for us humans who stumble our way through life. It is comforting to let myself fall into the experience of this forgiveness. Not as condoning hurtful behavior, but as a reassurance that it is enough that we all do our best, and that “our best” will look very different at various times in our life.

So I wanted to write to you about this stage in my work, in the hopes that it may be useful.

November lights and overcoming fears

I painted this painting, during the Autumn when we were first starting out Taekwondo practice. November that year was extra slushy and the Mondays that we walked to practice were dark. I was fascinated with the red backlights of cars, how they lit up the dark sky and how my solar plexus felt, watching the red glow. I wanted to explore the persistence it takes, to keep moving in wet and dark, to do the work it takes to bring a project to its completion. This painting project was imprinted with memories from Taekwondo practice, the walk there and back, through the mushy wet snow, the darkness and the red lights.

Now, three years later, on Sunday, the most part our family is taking part in the next Taekwondo belt exam. It is on my mind a lot. With every belt, the pressure to perform well increases. During the three years we have been practicing, I have also had a chance to watch my story about myself and my body change many times.

When I started out, all the inner stories about being clumsy and not sporty enough to start martial arts were activated. A beginner of almost forty years! Our group was practicing in the school gym, with the other parents watching us learn. Their witnessing exacerbated my feelings of inadequacy.

During the practice sessions, the most difficult thing, if you didn’t take my bad coordination into account, was overcoming my upbringing to be a good, polite and sweet girl. When I tried to kick a teacher on command, I found myself falling backward. Punching felt like I was doing something wrong and dangerous. I didn’t have the first inclination to block a punch when it came towards me, I just stood there and watched it approach.

It seemed my mind and beliefs were blocking my body at every turn.

Despite being so far from my comfort zone that it felt like I was on a new planet, I continued going to training together with my children. My fear, stories, discomfort and occasional feelings of humiliation felt much less important than what I wanted to learn. I started enjoying the kicks and punches, learning the techniques that made them effective.

I still don’t feel that I’m especially good at Taekwondo, despite my love for it. But I notice that my stories about being afraid of the training sessions are starting to feel faded, as if they’re not quite reality anymore. What feels vital and alive is that my body is starting to understand how my hips are creating the explosive speed of the kick. The feeling after training, when both halves of my body are in sync is more essential than the hundreds of revisions I need to make during every training session. The joy of what my body can do is more important than my attachment to the discomfort that I need to overcome to keep training.

I’m writing this with a wide sweep of compassion, for how difficult it is to feel the whole range of your discomfort and then do what you need to do to bring your dream just one step forward. The encouraging fact is that this one step at a time is enough. It is more than enough. Because you are braving it, you are doing it. You don’t let fear stop you, you keep moving onward.

Hope for when you feel lost in the woods


Introducing the painting “Room of secrets”.

In this video I talk about those times when you feel lost in the woods, and how the frustration of those times pushes you to seek the support you need. With that help, the secrets inside of you start to open and turn into fruit of aliveness. (I am sorry that the video ends so abruptly.)

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Harvest time

I hope you’re enjoying your Thursday. Today I’m a bit under the weather, so I just wanted to bring you this painting. It’s about that harvest time in your life, when you can start to see and enjoy the results of all those high hard choices you made, years ago. <3

Our dreams come true are always imperfect

Heavy Metal Hamster, 61×50 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015.

When our dream comes true, the real work begins. What is involved in “living the dream”? What does it feel like, look like, taste like, smell like really, living in your own skin? The question: “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” is probably one every Dreamer comes across sooner or later.

Let’s start from the beginning: The Dream

When dreams are spoken of, what always comes first to my mind is love. When I was twelve, the summer before going to Secondary School, I found a book called “The Bridge Across Forever” in my small rural Elementary School library. Small dust angels were dancing in sunlight, as I flipped through the pages that seemed to have a life of their own. The blue covered book was written by Richard Bach, who was looking for his Soulmate and found her. Reading this true story filled me with wild hope and a piercing longing. Could there be someone in the world who were also thinking about soul, reincarnation, fairies, life magic (Remember, this was a small Finnish village in the 90’s). I made a solemn promise to find my soulmate.

The Dream comes true

Fast forward seven years, Autumn. A motorcycle man asked me for a ride on his sky blue motorbike and I realized I was in love with this bearded friend of mine, whom I had met years ago. We started talking on the phone every night and it was so lovely talking to him, I found myself falling asleep to his voice, only waking when the phone was awkwardly pressed against my cheek and his voice was calling out “Marieeee, Marieeee, did you fall asleep Sweetie?”.

But love was other things also.

The rimy, glacial fear of hurting him. That we wouldn’t work out. Astringent fights, when we were staggering toward each other, feuding our way through the communication thickets of our childhoods back toward each other, toward love. We still laugh tenderly sometimes, remembering all the tissue paper that was spent during these arguments of our early days together. And then the sharing of everyday life. Eating pea soup and sleeping next to each other. Morning face. Stomach flu.

The work of shattering illusions

That first year, I felt like every scene from every love movie I had ever seen was taken apart. When he confessed that he didn’t like romantic walks in the woods. Or anywhere. He felt uncomfortable in cafés. Restless watching movies together. When we went out for candle light dinners, we couldn’t wait to get back home. I couldn’t bare to hear one more technical apparatus analyzed and explained down to its smallest parts and functions even one. more. time. And when I got hurt by something he said, although I knew by now, he never tried to intentionally hurt me, I just couldn’t release my body from its fetus position cast in iron.

My thirty square-meter aparment became a battle field where love fought fear every day. Again and again. Ad infinitum. Love wasn’t burning lava, Romeo and Juliet, but it was the Bluest Sky. And I had to learn to open up and let down my defenses. I needed to learn to trust a man and allow love to enter my life. With no guarantees of success.

My Dream demanded that I trust in myself and my love. That I accept both as they are, as well as myself. These days, I believe all dreams are imperfect and eccentric, just like we ourselves. They are our dreams, because they are a magical mixture of the good and bad that we can live with, that we need to grow.

We need the grit and screech in our dreams, the hard parts. They are what keep us turning back to Source, back to our soft hearts, back to each other.

The breaking down of illusions can be painful work. If you’re at a place in your creative dreams, where you need support, consider joining me for an Open Art Studio day at my studio in Helsinki. Send me an e-mail at , if you’re interested in that. If the heart of this painting speaks to yours, it is available here, or you can order prints from here.

To buy a work of art is an intimate project. The artwork will enter your home or workspace, and it is essential that the painting meets you on a heartlevel. If you are looking for art that speaks to you and feel called, we can set up a meeting by Skype, or at my studio in Helsinki, Finland. The essence of the encounter is to explore what kind of art would serve you the best right now. Our meeting is completely complimentary and is an inspiring event in itself, designed to support your creative dreams. Let’s set it up by e-mail at: