The Power of Vulnerability

*An edited version of a talk presented at the Soul & Strategy Retreat – November 2014.  Imagine you are with me in a room filled with my artwork.

Being in a room filled with my artwork – makes my heart burst – but not in the way that you might think.

I’m proud of it yes, but more importantly, I’m proud of my ability to share it – my courage and my willingness to be vulnerable.

A friend shared her thoughts with me on showing your work, she said

”…it’s like striping down naked, pinning yourself to the wall, putting a price tag on and asking people what they think!”

It’s scary but it’s worth it because of the transformational power of vulnerability.

I’ve struggled with self-esteem since I was a little girl – I’ve got plenty in my closet.  Motherhood created a desired for change. I wanted to model something different to my little girls and I was tired. Tired of being silent, tired of feeling not good enough and tired of feeling like I just didn’t fit in.

Transitions in life are tumultuous but somehow in the muddle I heard the call to paint. I painted as a teen with my Dad and I remembered how much joy it brought so I scraped together some supplies and a bit of time in my role as a single mom.

I’m glad I listened.

The courage and self–esteem that I had been longing for started to grow from the lessons I was learning with a paintbrush in my hand.  It has been a journey with extreme highs and some low lows.

The first time I shared my art – the Gumboot Restaurant in 2006 – I wanted to vomit.  I sold a couple of paintings that month and then shut down. I hid my artwork for 6 years.  You’d think that selling would bring validation and joy. No. I began to doubt my colour choices, brush work and my expression itself.

The fear of success was paralyzing.

I almost gave up.

However, the calling to paint was strong so I told myself that I would just paint for myself and that there was no need to show again.

Painting has taught me to get comfortable with uncertainty. It pushes me to take risks.  Each time I’m in front of a canvas, I practice not knowing.  I’ve become accustomed to failure. I have canvases thick with paint and some that are permanently out of sight.  The process of painting has been one of my greatest teachers and it gave me the confidence to start showing again.

Why would I put myself through all of this?

Because our calling is a gift given so that we can grow and experience freedom.

Over the past few years, I’ve actually learned to create without fear of the outcome!  Think about that. My initial inspiration drifts away – I trust, step into the flow and create without knowing where I’m going.

This kind of freedom is indescribable!

It is spilling into all areas of my life – my relationships, my writing, my body confidence and my yoga teaching.  Vulnerability is the path to creating self-worth, joy and freedom! It is the gateway to growth.

I’ve made it my mission to be as expressive as I can muster the courage to be, to share and to inspire you to own the power of vulnerability.

I had the epiphany that the divine doesn’t really care what we do – it just cares that we are on the path to growth and to remembering who we really are.

Listen to your calling, embrace the fear –

It’s time to get naked.



p.s.  Speaking of vulnerability – I often host workshops and retreat –  a chance for you to explore in a very safe and playful environment – follow this link.

p.p.s. Don’t worry – we keep our clothes on 🙂

By Marlene Lowden

I'm an abstract artist and a down to earth yogi. I live on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.