Episode 001 – Marley Peifer

Making your life a work of art

Today my guest is Marley Peifer, a friend of mine and an avid naturalist, communicator and educator. Marley uses journaling and nature journaling as a way of being more present, observation and understanding himself more.

We cover a lot of ground in this conversation, but I encourage you to stick with it because there is some great wisdom in there. I also appreciate showcasing someone who is in the process of making his dreams a reality, so you can get a sense of what that looks like.

I hope you enjoy!


Website – http://marleypeifer.com/

Instagram – @marleypeifer

Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/MarleyPeifer

Nature Journal Club – North Coast Nature Journal

Show Notes

Zen and the Art of Making a Living – book about work

                  -Do – the doing of something

Making what you want to do into a way to make a living

  • Life’s Work – what you do that gives your life meaning, overall mission/purpose; main economic engine
  • Do what’s in alignment with your goals/purpose/meaning
  • Monetize anything


No Logo, Naomi Klein

Student Environmental Center


Living sustainably includes community

Feelings that were transformative

  • Energizing – speaking about experience in LA
  • Making a decision from heart instead of intellect
  • Liberating
  • Supposed to vs. must do

Watershed Diet

  • Hyper local, only eat food from your watershed

What is success?

  • Is it a helpful metric to measure yourself?
  • Mary Oliver – the most regretful people are the people that felt something calling and didn’t do it 
  • What do we spend the most of our time doing?  And is that what we want to be doing?
  • “If I spend 5 days of the week doing something I don’t want to be doing, so that I can do what I want to do two days, that is not success.  Even if I had a ton of money.”
  • How close you can make your work line up with what you want to be doing and have it be meaningful in a way, so that when it’s time to die it feels purposeful.


  • Understand money in a better way
  • Focus on doing the work, so that it can turn into something that can be monetized.
  • Scarcity vs. Opportunity
  • Asking for things – especially something that you’re making, can be difficult
  • Towards response vs. away response (Tunnel vision, constricting)

Life’s Work

What I’m good at, what I liked to do, what is needed (what you can make money doing)

  • Where they overlap is what work should be

Interested in the process of learning to see the world in a different way

  • Journaling  – asking questions, forcing you to follow-up on what you’re curious about
    • Creates external brain that allows you to think on paper, go back and forth between observing and what’s on the paper

Self-awareness – Training the animal

-Learn how yourself works and pay attention to what’s going on for you.

Strategies for maintaining a practice

  1. Accountability (Have someone you’re accountable to, start before you’re ready, Teach others as soon as you can)
  2. Turn a practice into a habit (habits use much less energy, set time of day, connect to other habit),
  • External feedback can be a problem – external praise or internal praise – e.g. if you are trying to create a pretty picture
  • Commitment to input versus expectation around output (number of pages per day, or some number of drawing, practice for 1 hour vs. pretty picture, good song, etc.)
  • Motivation and discipline can take a lot of energy

The Power of Habit

The Practicing Mind

Video: Wanting to be good gets in the way of getting better


Nature journaling: develops ability to see, observe and make connections.

“Spirituality should tell something about how to live our life.  Not a once a year thing when you go to Peru to take ayahuasca.”

Spirituality – nature and psychedelics – connection to something larger than oneself, seeing things in a different way, not being so tied up in the ego; being in nature helps us feel small.

Dealing with life’s challenges

Having a daily practice will automatically help with life’s stresses.

  • Gratitude practice
  • People to talk to during difficult times, life coach and friends
  • self-love – compassion and loving towards oneself
  • dancing!  Feels good!

Life is like a three-legged stool – relationship, where I live/community, life’s work

  • If one gets wobbly, it’s usually ok, but if you have multiple that are wobbly or challenges in multiple areas, it can be really destabilizing and difficult
  • If you have any choice, don’t intentionally make changes in multiple areas at the same time
  • When you’re stressed or going through a difficult time, the chemistry in your brain will make it challenging to be successful, so be easy on yourself during that time

Morning routine should help produce a positive mental and physical state so you can be at your best during the activities that you care about the most.

  • Set yourself up for success with diet, daily practice, other activities
  • Externalize your thoughts – journaling helps get your thoughts out of your head so you can be more objective about what’s going on
  • Checking in with other people can be helpful and grounding

Final message: “Make your life your main work of art.  Try to live in the way that allows you to be yourself and do what you need to do.”

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”
― Mary Oliver

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