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
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
Living sustainably includes community
Feelings that were transformative
- Energizing – speaking about experience in LA
- Making a decision from heart instead of intellect
- Supposed to vs. must do
- 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)
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
- Accountability (Have someone you’re accountable to, start before you’re ready, Teach others as soon as you can)
- 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
Nature journaling: develops ability to see, observe and make connections.
- John Muir Laws, nature journaling mentor
“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.
- I Ching – helps to answer life questions, decision-making
- Stoic philosophy
- Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
- Carlos Castaneda books
- Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl
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.”