59 episodes

The VulnerABILITY Podcast by Marisa Donnelly is a series dedicated to real, honest, and open conversations with people from all walks of life. Covering topics of love/relationships, overcoming addiction/abuse, careers and purpose, self-love, parenting, and everything in-between, this podcast unapologetically shares the moments and musings of life.

The VulnerABILITY Podcast Marisa Donnelly

    • Education
    • 4.4 • 18 Ratings

The VulnerABILITY Podcast by Marisa Donnelly is a series dedicated to real, honest, and open conversations with people from all walks of life. Covering topics of love/relationships, overcoming addiction/abuse, careers and purpose, self-love, parenting, and everything in-between, this podcast unapologetically shares the moments and musings of life.

    Episode 59 – Unpacking Intimacy & Understanding Sex Energy (ft. Michael McPherson)

    Episode 59 – Unpacking Intimacy & Understanding Sex Energy (ft. Michael McPherson)

    In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, Marisa speaks with Michael McPherson, author, speaker, and small business owner on a mission to powerfully upgrade men and women's relationships to sex and understanding of sex energy.

    In this episode, Marisa and Michael cover topics that people often shy away from: intimacy, sexual identity and our relationships to sex, our sexual energy (and what that is!), porn, and shame.

    Highlights From The Episode:

    [2:30] MM - "I originally turned to pornography as a means to educate myself and learn... but that started a really long, probably about a 10-year, 15-year journey for me that really took me through the wringer. I had thwarted relationships to sex, thwarted relationships to women... I was incredibly distracted by my mind's fantasies, by the way my mind was basically trained to objectify women."

    [3:30] MM - "If you know anything about union, [it] will mirror any unfinished business you have with yourself."

    [3:35] MM - "People shy away from this subject [sex] for a reason. There's a lot of density there. There's a lot of darkness there. There's a lot of trauma."

    [5:30] MM - "Instead of waiting around for someone to start the conversation with me, [I thought], why don't I start the conversation?"

    [6:05] MM - "It was my intention to start a conversation that wasn't being had. Rather than introduce a new form of dogma, let's just loosen up things a bit. Let's just get to a place where we can actually heal in this area, to experience the miraculousness of having an empowered relationship to sex and our sex energy."

    [10:30] MM - "The most empowering thing and powerful thing we can do for our children is to heal our own relationship to sex. So that when things like this do arise, we can come from it from a more genuine place, rather than coming from our own personal wounds, our own personal history, our own personal fears, our own personal shame."

    [11:45] MM - "Doing the internal work ourselves to open up access as parts of ourselves, to come into a place of wholeness going to create a sense of safety that we need in our environments with our children for them to have their innocent experience [with sex]... The absolute best thing we can do is our own healing work. I think that's the level of self-responsibility that's really required if we're going to have a healthy dynamic with sex that we're going to pass on to future generations."

    [13:10] MD - "When we face the most shameful and most difficult moments, and we bring them out into the forefront, then that's where we get the truest amount of healing."

    [13:15] MM - "When someone leans in with vulnerability, it typically has a heart-opening effect on us. It has us lean in, open our hearts, and really hear them."

    [14:50] MM - "We're the ones that have to live with all the unspoken things that still hang over our heads. It does impact our interpersonal dynamics. It definitely impacts our ability to experience freedom in our relationships, to be who we are authentically and be met there."

    [15:45] MD - "There [are] differing opinions about what 'strength' is. Men get caught up in porn, or they get caught up in the idea of dominance, or [that] strength looks a certain way."

    [16:15] MM - "When I say 'take back your power' I'm really talking about sex energy... No one ever taught me about my sex energy. No one ever taught me how to harness it and channel it, in an empowering, constructive way. And that's true for most men."

    [17:20] MM - "[Porn] puts us into a trance, and in that trance, the imagery, the video, the explicit content that we're watching is actually getting imprinted into our subconscious mind... What most men don't realize is the context that they have for women and sex is primarily based on that imprinting that they receive...

    • 40 min
    Episode 58 – Foundations Of A Founder (ft. Alex Malebranche)

    Episode 58 – Foundations Of A Founder (ft. Alex Malebranche)

    In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, Marisa Donnelly welcomes good friend and Founder & CEO of PlaneAhead, Alex Malebranche. In this episode, both Alex and Marisa dive into the foundations of being a founder: What it means to start your own company, find (true) work-life balance, create healthy boundaries, and allocate your time to all the things and people you love. Alex also talks about the challenges of starting a small business in a time of travel restrictions and how his dive into business ownership shifted his vision of family and fatherhood.

    Highlights From the Episode:

    [2:45] "My foundation for working hard and what I needed to do in order to get my family to a place that they were going to be comfortable really started from that place of seeing my mom work so hard."

    [3:55] "I was actually on paternity leave on one of my corporate jobs, this year in 2021, and I was trying to save some money on a flight—because, you know, having those more those humble beginnings, even though I made some good money in my career in tech, I still have some of those same habits—so, dollars on a ticket... and I realized I saved a few hundred dollars."

    [4:40] "I started working at PlaneAhead, really so I [could] take advantage of the changing rules and expectations as far as travel goes now. And give the opportunities to people like myself who are looking to stretch their dollar a little further."

    [5:50] "PlaneAhead is the first company of its kind that, so far, that takes full advantage of no-change fees. So, how we do that, is we track purchased itineraries for members of ours, and as their itinerary goes down in price, we actually exchange the tickets automatically for them, and then send them the airline credits back from the change."

    [6:15] "If I bought a ticket today from Houston to L.A., and it was $500 today and two months later it goes down to $300, we will exchange it on your behalf, and then you'll get an email from PlaneAhead that says, 'Hey, there's $200 of credits on that trip that you booked.'"

    [6:35] "When I started it I was really focused on millennials that are my age as well as families that are strapped for time, strapped for resources. Pay $100 for the year and we take care of all of that... You sign up and we'll take it from there."

    [9:00] "It's one thing to start a business... now, imagine [starting] this in the middle of the global travel pandemic!"

    [10:20] "I think people don't realize the frequency of the changes from the airline perspective/how many times they change, and they also don't realize how greatly they fluctuate... Before this opportunity, with what PlaneAhead is doing, we wouldn't have known that."

    [11:25] "The hardest part has just been understanding what my boundaries are as a person, and what I mean by that is, all of us have twenty-four hours in the day, and so I need to allocate that effectively and efficiently."

    [12:00] "Understanding my boundaries as a person [means] what can I allocate for business, what can I allocate for time with my family, and what can I allocate for sleep?"

    [12:15] "The tradeoff that I've got to consider every single day, and I gladly do, is I'm going to forgo sleep and some of the things that would make me comfortable so that I can spend allocated time with my family. And I do my entrepreneurial stuff through the night."

    [13:00] "When it comes to splitting your time as a founder or when you're at a startup company, there's this stigma (and rightfully so) that you're just going to work 16-18 hours of a day, especially at this early stage... so I make sure to tell employees that it's my company,  it's my job to take that burden on. Anybody that comes on should be able to have work-l...

    • 29 min
    Episode 57 – Revealed At The Edge (ft. Allison Davis)

    Episode 57 – Revealed At The Edge (ft. Allison Davis)

    In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, host Marisa Donnelly dives into conversation with Allison Davis, award-winning wedding photographer and creator of Revealed at the Edge, a fine art photography coffee table book of the American West Coast she created in the heart of the global pandemic.

    Highlights From the Episode:

    [5:20] "At the beginning of 2020, I was praying about how to use my time... I was praying about what personal projects I could do... I was thinking about doing a sunrise or sunset project, and honestly, the wheels just started going."

    [5:50] "What if I photographed the whole coastline of California? And I was like, well, why even stop there? What if I could do the whole West Coast? I thought about it, and... I thought that sounds really hard... and kind of awesome."

    [6:20] "Here's my time to pursue creating—let's see what I come up with."

    [7:10] "My whole quest was just to seek what I could find at the edge—what would be revealed to me by pursuing beauty, by spending time with God, by spending time in creation, and seeing what I could find."

    [7:50] "It's really easy, as a photographer, to take pictures on a really beautiful day...that's easy. I love that I was challenging myself to pursue beauty, and pursue 'pretty' in unideal circumstances. And that's what this book is: it's this pursuit of beauty."

    [9:00] "Everything you just shared about searching for beauty in devastating times, it's a huge metaphor—not only for this pandemic but for life itself. Sometimes we go through things or we experience change, or loss, or heartbreak, or whatever it is. And when you're in that painful moment, that's all you see... But it's incredible what's often revealed or brought to the surface."

    [10:05] "You cataloged a time when the whole world was in stillness, but in pain."

    [10:50] "I was actively pursuing writing a new story for my life. I wasn't going to let the circumstances of what's happened to me in the past continue to define me, and my life, and who I am amongst my friends and my community."

    [11:20] "I didn't want my story to be 'The pandemic took away my wedding photography business. And I had to get a job. And I lost everything I loved as an entrepreneur and creative. And I didn't take any risks. And I didn't do anything with all the time given to me.' I didn't want that to be my story at all."

    [11:35] "I didn't want to sit back and let the world take away so much away from me. So, I actively pursued a new story. And I love the story I'm writing right now. And I love it because I don't know where it's going to end, where it's going to take me."

    [12:40] "There's still an opportunity to figure out what life is pushing you towards or calling you to do. There's always an opportunity to pivot... or take risks, make change happen, reflect on the things you have or don't have. And use that to move forward."

    [13:45] "Sometimes when you're frozen and stuck in the middle of something, then nothing's going to change. Even taking a step [in] what felt like the wrong direction, was actually a step that led me to the right direction. I find that just making moves and doing something can create change. [And] that can lead you to something completely different. It's being open to the possibilities and not trying to hold the script of your life so tightly."

    [16:10] "I drove up from San Diego to Blaine, Washington... I took three days to drive straight there. I did as much coastal as I could...I took twenty-seven days to drive south. My routine for the day was to wake up for sunrise, shoot sunrise if it was there, write, and then start shooting the different spots that I would pin the day before. I marked 70 locations that I would photograph, and at the end of each day, I would plan the next day's route.

    • 33 min
    Episode 56 – Give Yourself Permission To Pursue (ft. Laura K. Roe)

    Episode 56 – Give Yourself Permission To Pursue (ft. Laura K. Roe)

    In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, Marisa chats with Laura K. Roe, yoga/meditation teacher, author, and mother of two, about embracing imperfection, balancing different areas of 'work' alongside motherhood, and learning how to give yourself permission to pursue your dreams. 

    Highlights From The Episode:

    [6:10] "I think yoga helped me get brave and keep following my heart."

    [6:20] "We don't really have linear journeys."

    [6:30] "A lot of times when you're trying to figure out what type of writing you want to lean into, or, you know, what's going to pay the bills versus what you love... it's a back-and-forth journey of taking sometimes weird jobs and trying to figure it out along the way."

    [6:50] "From our websites, everybody looks amazing but it's awesome when you can dig into someone's story... There's still that backstory of that struggle and I think it's that struggle that really makes us... who we really are and really makes our craft what it is."

    [7:45] "Developing characters is not something that you can just drop into easily."

    [8:05] "If I'm in my fear and I'm in my head, and I'm worried about what you think or what everyone else thinks, then I can't do that brain dump... First drafts are always crap."

    [8:35] "If I give up on the first draft or the first book, that may or may not succeed, then I'm not really learning my lesson. Which is repeat owning your craft."

    [8:50] "It's not about winning or losing, it's just being brave and showing up to be seen. And having no control over the outcome. And that's like loving someone without expectations. It takes a lot of courage and it's strength."

    [9:10] "I stepped out of my strength when I gave up on my fiction when I listened to other people who said, 'You can't be a mom and do this,' or, 'You need to stay with this full-time editing job.'"

    [10:00] "Artists do what they need to do in order to have that stability to keep pursuing their art."

    [10:30] "It's really about figuring out what you're passionate about, what you care about, what really feels right. And it doesn't mean that it's going to be linear, or easy, or perfect. But it's really just saying, 'Yeah, I want this for myself. I want these things for myself.' And leaning into the fear."

    [11:10] "This podcast was actually born of the challenges, saying, 'Let's do this live with minimal editing and be really raw about my experience and the people that I bring on the show. And that's leaning into that fear."

    [11:40] "I think that's what vulnerability is - leaning into that fear and discovering that on the other side of that fear is who you really are."

    [11:50] "Where there is fear there is not love."

    [12:10] "If I lean into my feeling and I'm really anxious and fearful, then I'm outside of my center... That's when I need to take a jog, or a walk, or clear my head."

    [12:40] "Outside voices not supporting you - they are the voices to not talk to about your dreams. Full stop."

    [13:00] "Acknowledge that when you get quiet and meditate, or if you're running or biking, there's something that happens... You start really embracing the vision."

    [13:35] "You're not too old, you have something to say, and there's enough time."

    [14:15] "I notice that if I talk about the anxiety and I talk about the fear, it revs up. And then I get further away from what I'm trying to do."

    [16:45] "We can actually accomplish a lot more than we think... and we also need more support. So finding ways to get support and ask for it - and to know that we deserve it - it's just all part of our journey."

    [19:45] "When we're centered and fulfilled, we're better parents, we're better spouses."

    • 31 min
    Episode 55 – Tuning Into Frequencies (ft. Janine Lopiano)

    Episode 55 – Tuning Into Frequencies (ft. Janine Lopiano)

    In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, Marisa connects with Janine Lopiano, cofounder of Sputnik Futures and Alice in Futureland (with Joanne De Luca) to talk about their new book, “Tuning Into Frequency: The Invisible Force that Heals Us and the Planet.” In this episode, Marisa and Janine talk about what it means to 'tune in' to your own frequencies to find healing, acceptance, and strength.

    Highlights From The Episode:

    [2:10] "The idea of 'tuning into frequencies' is becoming that much more aware of your presence, of your essence having an energy field."

    [4:20] "We are walking in a sea of electromagnetic frequencies."

    [6:20] "Tuning into frequencies is really understanding that energy is everywhere - from light and sunlight/lights around you, to sound, to electromagnetic waves that surround us."

    [9:45] "When you give yourself a moment of peace, or joy, or passion, you're actually giving yourself a release of oxytocin in the brain."

    [13:25] "Even when we're home and distancing, your emotions are connected through your Instagram, and your Facebook, and your TikTok, and your family networks. And you, in turn, can affect your friends and your friends' friends up to three degrees or more of separation."

    [14:10] "Practice these micro-moments of self-compassion. Give yourself a moment to tune your awareness into your body. Hear your heartbeat, like really sit and listen to your heartbeat."

    [15:10] "We know that music is the universal language. We take it for granted, in a way, sometimes. The sounds around us, the music we play - there is some very, very serious research into sound and how sound will be our medicine in the future."

    [15:25] "One of the biggest things we've learned from these experts is that everyone has their own sound. It's almost like a sonic fingerprint. And if you understand your own sound, you can actually heal yourself [and] you can actually find a moment of bliss."

    [17:20] "Music is the way that you can feel you are healing through frequency."

    [27:20] "Healing with the biofield and energetic healing can be a very validated alternative, and/or a first go-to in a healing process instead of going to the doctor... and taking a pill for pain or for depression. Perhaps we just need to re-tune, if you will, our bodies to resonate with us and with everything around us."


    Recommended Resources:

    Janine mentioned so many incredible people in the research/scientific fields! Here are a few, plus ways to connect with her and her co-founder, Joanne De Luca:

    * Dr. Jeffery Thompson: Healing the body through mind, heart, soul and spirit

    * Dr. John Beaulieu: BioSonic Repatterning

    * Connect with Janine and her partner, Joanne, on their website!

    * Check out Janine & Joanne's books, Tuning Into Frequency and a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1982139838/ref=as_li_tl?

    • 34 min
    Episode 54 – The Healing Power Of Music (ft. Tim Ringgold)

    Episode 54 – The Healing Power Of Music (ft. Tim Ringgold)

    In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, Marisa connects with Tim Ringgold MT-BC—a speaker, author, and music therapist—to discuss the healing power of music. In Episode 54, they discuss pain and healing, high and low moments of life, and how music (or whatever else we listen to) can become a powerful catalyst for energy, healing, and self-love.

    Highlights from the Episode:

    [1:45] "Music was just this wonderful expression, it was this form of entertainment, education... but it wasn't really until I hit rock bottom that I really let the real power of music be revealed."

    [2:45] "I'm twenty-two. It's April 18th, 1995, and while I'm at a concert (ironically, shouting my head off to music), about ten minutes away, my five best friends were just murdered."

    [3:50] "No amount of drugs, alcohol, porn food... like, I'd tried all of it, I'd stack behaviors to try to numb the pain. Nothing worked all week. But the music did. And since that moment, basically, I dedicated my life to helping others reach for music in their lowest and toughest times."

    [6:15] "Grief is qualitative, not quantitative."

    [7:20] "I think that's just how we are, as a culture. We don't know what to do with it [grief]. And complex grief, of course, then we just bury because no one talks about it. No one wants to share it. And we live in such a happy-obsessed culture that we don't want to process it. But that doesn't mean it goes away; it's just a scab. So then you have something else happen later and it triggers the unprocessed grief from before on top of the current grief."

    [8:05] "Sometimes life sends you such a challenge you can't ignore it, and you can't pretend, and you can't attempt to rely on your existing coping skills to solve the current problem because the problem is literally too intense."

    [9:00] "Our body changes gear almost instantly when processing music."

    [9:30] "Think about the time music saved you - and automatically people have a story... This is a very common experience. We have all been the recipient of the transformative power, the healing power of music."

    [10:25] "How do you use music, not to just entertain yourself, but to really get by? How has music helped you get through? How has music helped you get over, or get past, or get beyond?"

    [10:40] "What's beautiful is that my music does the same thing for me as your music does for you."

    [12:20] "For me... music has always been such a release. I don't have to put on a front, I don't have to take care of anybody, I don't have to look, or feel, or act, or be a certain way. I'm able to just show up and listen and that's such a weight lifted. And with the pandemic, not having the ability to do that in the same capacity... it's just so different."

    [13:20] "The live music is the energy that the artists are physically just generating through the music that we, as the audience, feel in that moment. Because we are in the same time and the shared space. It's a shared moment. And being human is a shared experience. So there's this humanness in the collective giving and receiving and music for the audience, and then the audience giving it back."

    [15:30] "The psychological effects of engaging in live music-making. It creates an altered state of consciousness for the body. It doesn't just regulate the nervous system and bring it to a relaxed state. It creates a transcendent state."

    [21:20] "Music is this unconditional, authentic voice in our life. And so we trust it, oftentimes when we don't trust people. That connection is still alive and strong, and it's really important right now for people to reach for their music, and stay connected, one-on-one, with their music."

    [25:20] "Our screens are designed to capture and keep our attention for longer and longer periods of time.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

Der Bandersnatch ,


Just listened to the first episode and looking forward to more. I think that the previous review sums up a point that I considered, but I was also reflecting on how perhaps in the state of your connection with each other this may be the norm. Perhaps Marissa doesn’t take offense or doesn’t feel belittled. Critiquing people whom we don’t know, projecting onto them the expectations we have of ourselves, does little to bring us together and foster connection. Maybe that is addressed in another episode later on as well. The only critique I would have is sound related; playback is rather quiet...but perhaps that forces me to pay more attention. 🤪

I’m grateful for this podcast for sure. Working in the realm of psychotherapy, and really in all circumstances of my life, I yearn for connection. I seek to foster vulnerability and to display compassion with everyone I encounter. In the world we live, we see a lot of pseudo-openness or indirect vulnerability, and that leads to more disconnection.

Thank you both for beginning the podcast that I wanted to create and I look forward to following along!

addhammrix d ,


Generally a good podcast, very relevant to how dating and self love go hand in hand. My one comment though is that I find it irritating when Abraham cuts Marisa off. Whether he does this intentionally or not, I think it’s important to point out because for me as a listener, I am engaged in the conversation and I want to hear out the person who is speaking. While colloquial dialogue is appreciated, some of the comments Abraham made came off to me as condescending or brushing Marisa off while she was mid-sentence and it actually got to the point where I just turned off the podcast because it was annoying me. Both speakers have good points, so give each other a minute to get it out rather than impeding on someone’s train of thought.

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