Thrive Talk by Marlene Lowden – My personal artist story

Meet my teachers and hear my very personal story on becoming an artist.

This is an audio recording (with slides) of my talk for Thrive on March 29th, 2017.

Public speaking is pretty scary and sharing your personal story adds another layer of vulnerability. I want to thank the Thrive network for the invitation to speak because I learned so much about myself in the process.  It was an incredibly supportive audience and I recommend that you take a peek at their blog to hear more stories from that night.

I hope that there are bits of what I share that help you reflect on your story and discover the beauty even in the dark and seemingly insignificant parts.

 

 

 

Thrive is a network for female and femme-identified artists based out of Vancouver but has members from around the globe.

 

To stay connected visit me on Instagram – marlenelowden and sign up for my monthly newsletter.

 


 

I’m thankful for me (my inside me that is)!

I know that sounds kind of pompous so I’ll explain.

Up until a few years ago my most predominant self-talk was judgmental and pretty cruel.  I could hold space for everyone else.  I could find love and compassion for everyone else’s imperfections but not my own.

The voice inside my head that spoke to me was a real bitch.  She constantly reminded me that I was not good enough, that I didn’t measure up and that I should remain silent.

I’ve silenced her (for the most part) with kindness.

I realized that she hollered loud and clear because she was terrified.  She was scared that I’d get judged in the real world, scared that I would get rejected and deep down she was probably terrified of not being loved.

It has been a slow journey but through self-care, acceptance and stillness, I’ve started hearing other voices.  They are subtle and feel more like a chorus.  They often don’t even use words.  I can sense that they are speaking to me when my heart swells, when I soften a little and when I get a gut feeling.

The big loud obnoxious NO’s are being replaced with delightful openings and soft yeses or ah-ha moments.

So yes, I’m thankful for me.  I’m so glad that I take the time to tune in through meditation, walks in the woods, through art making and journaling.  I’m grateful for taking time to care for my body, my spirit and my being.

One of the greatest gifts from learning to listen is that my outer world has become a mirror, a reflection of my inner world.  I am so blessed in so many ways.  It is not to say that I don’t feel or experience negativity but I have tools to help ride through it.  I have my inner choir that chants and sings and lifts me back up.  And you know, I’ve learned to welcome the bitch into the choir.  She is kind of loud and sometimes sings off key but I think secretly, she’s happy to be accepted.

 

Take sweet care of yourself.  Remember to take a moment to thank yourself because all that lay out in front of you are a reflection of your inner cheer team!  Send love and compassion to your meany voice, she or he is there for a reason.  And in the meantime, it’s fun to imagine how life will unfold if we take a little more time to listen to the choir within.

Namaste,

Marlene

 

 

My inner world on canvas:

“Grace & Courage” 54″ x 80″ oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden

Share Your Truth! – but what if you are not exactly sure what YOU want to say?

Speak Your Truth, Share Your Voice, Express Yourself!

I agree, we need you and your message, more than anything right now. We need positive change.

But what if YOU don’t know exactly what YOU want to say?

Awkward.

You know you are passionate about all sort of things, motivated to serve, to give and to share but it all feels like a bit of a swirling mess and you can’t quite put your finger on what YOUR voice is being called to speak about exactly.

Gail Larsen, one of the talented experts on public speaking calls our message our “original medicine.” In her book, Transformational Speaking, she explains that many indigenous cultures believe that we all have a unique message and gift that needs to be shared. She suggests that if you are struggling to define that message that you envision yourself in your coffin and imagine what your last words would be.

This coffin idea stopped me – mid sentence. It scared me. Desperation began to creep up my spine, I could see myself screaming –

Save the children!

Save the whales!

Save the earth!

Save yourself!

I put the book down, and took a deep yogi style breath and then, I knew my answer.

In my coffin or on my deathbed, I’d ask you to PLAY.

What?!

colouringphoto_19I’d ask you to think about the last time you spent time playing? The kind of non-structured, no purpose, for no good reason kind of play with no outcome or result expected or required. Period.

Why exactly would the world need you to play when there are so many serious crises and causes that need your attention?

 

Stay with me.

My inner artist and yogi would invite you to just love being in a body, your body specifically and I’d ask you to make stuff, you know, like craft time in kindergarten.

sunshinecoastyogafestival16I’d ask you to try yoga or to go dancing, swimming, hiking or go jump on your neighbour’s trampoline, (you know you want to).  I’d ask to put down the timers, the measuring tapes, the scales and stop taking it all so seriously.

Your body is not your life’s work. It is an expression of your truth for sure, but ask yourself this, are you operating from love or fear?

Your beautiful, life giving, supportive home, a.k.a your body doesn’t need a drill sergeant, it doesn’t want you to whip it into shape, to deprive it, to push it to the pain threshold and to submit to your will.

It desires movement. Your body asks you to take care of it and to treat it like you would your best friend. It wants to feel joy with you, it wants to eat leftover birthday cake for breakfast, it wants to stay up way too late dancing, it wants to skip the regime today and sleep in. Your body loves to celebrate and to play!

Your body is child like in nature and will take delight in the simplest experiences but it is also wise beyond measure.  It holds ancient messages that have been buried deep by our obsessions of superficial beauty, perfection and agelessness.

 

Your body is your home and within resides its soul mate, your imagination. The doorway inwards awaits you and play is the key.

Inside you will discover your message, your calling and that inner truth that everyone is talking about.

Let me explain…

pastelsCreative play, making a mess, being at ease with imperfection, letting the brain rest, and being in your body will help you enjoy the present moment and be fully engaged in now. Time away from productivity and efficiency will reveal what you deeply care about. You will discover what motivates you and playfulness will guide you beyond all the grown up reasons why not.

 

Play is freedom.

And in this state of freedom, trust me, you will start to hear your calling loud and clear. You will feel in it in your body, you will dream of it and ideas and words will start to form.

Play will introduce you to yourself if you take the time to listen.

With a playful spirit you can overcome all the I can’ts, someone else will, that’s a stupid idea, I’m scared to speak out, step up…

We need you.

Sorry, I know it is scary but we need you to dive deep, figure it out (make mistakes on the way) and share.

Creativity will guide you in. Through this deep connection with yourself, you will be motivated to create life-affirming positive changes.

We need that – let me be clear – we need life-affirming positive change, in short, we need you now.

Once you start feeling it, it will take courage to share because it might feel a little rough around the edges, not quite crystal clear. Share anyways because through the sharing, your message and your gift will gain momentum and clarity.

Even if you know your message, play will help you refine it and play will continue to be a source of inspiration, providing you new ways to share and serve.

 

Satya means truth

 

Your message is already there waiting for you. Enjoy the journey, my friend, I can’t wait to hear what YOU have to say.

And now you’ve had a bit of my medicine (no coffin required).

Namaste

Marlene

I love stories like this one . . .

Most of my canvases are handmade.  They are created by a local craftsman who builds the frames with repurposed wood.  He uses a rough textured canvas for me then gessoes and sands them 3 times so they are ready to use.  I often leave bits of the canvas untouched in my final work because they have been so beautifully crafted.

My latest delivery of canvases came with a great story.

The canvases are often built with wood left over from local saw mills but this particular batch was made Beachcomber style.  A friend of the woodworker spotted a small cedar log on the beach and watched while a local guitar maker came to claim some of the wood.  Eager to see it used for canvas too, they both schemed about making use of the remaining portion.  However, high winds and stormy weather washed the log back to sea.  Our local craftsman then went on holidays, only to return weeks later and to his surprise find this particular log lying right in front of his home, on the beach.  Not wanting to lose the opportunity, he set to work and salvaged the wood.

Two days later, I connected with him for a request for 10 new canvases.  The cedar was cut and dried and made into a new series for me – with only a few scraps of wood left behind.

I feel pretty blessed.

Don’t you just love stories like that?  I’ve come to believe that these serendipitous moments are signposts that I’m on my path.

 

Namaste,

Marlene