How Giving Feeds the Soul (even if it's inconvenient at times)

Illness, death and injury can be seen as HUGE diversions from the things we should be doing and can create resentment.  I suggest that perhaps being of service when our family, friends and community needs us does more good than harm.  Service feeds the soul.

Happy March everyone!  Can you believe that it is already the third month of the year?! It has been a crazy couple of months for me.  I’ve implemented Patreon into my art business in order to build a private community around art and personal development (click here for more info) and today marks the opening of my very first 30 Day Pop Up Sale on my website where I’m offering limited edition art prints, tote and beach bags and throw pillows.  March’s theme is taken from my Pelicans painting. 

I was hoping to have awesome photos to share with you from the last Surfrider Foundation beach cleanup and in reflection, write a blog about being of service.  However, life has not cooperated with me and my best laid plans for the beginning of 2018 have not happened quiet the way I thought they would.  Normally, that would have pissed me off royally.

In truth, I can’t believe that I have launched both my Patreon community and my first quarterly Pop Up Sale on time.  The first week of this year, I worked hard and focused.  I made these two new programs my priorty…but then I got sick.  I was laid up for a week.  Not much I can do about getting sick, so I took the week to focus on my health.

The next week I was ready to dive in again!  Full steam ahead!  And then I got a call from one of my oldest and dearest friends.  Her mom had passed very suddenly and unexpectedly.  So, I was on a plane to New Orleans to help in any way I could.  I was there for about a week.

When I got home, I was ready to rock and roll!  I worked for about 3 weeks, hard and fast to make up for lost time…and then my daughter got the flu.  I kid you not, I have never seen her so miserable.  She was sick and out of school with fever for a full week. 

To those of you who may say “Hey that last one isn’t a problem!  You work from home!” you either don’t have children or you’ve never had to take care of a sick one.  I was either cooking, cleaning, running a bath, disinfecting, doing laundry, rubbing her head, dishing out medicine and fending off the junk myself (because I’m not going down this time!), and trying to work in between all of these tasks.  I became completely behind and missed the beach clean-up because of the flu.  It’s no one’s fault.  It’s just life. 

The day she was well enough to leave the house, I woke with a crick in my neck that hurt so bad, my mobility was effected.  My husband had to help me do things like put my hair in a ponytail and trying to get a hoody on made me weep.  So, painting was out….and I had a commission due to a client by the end of February. 

Interruptions, distractions, emergencies are all things that can divert our routines.  Instead of becoming frustrated, perhaps we can look at these things as a way to give back.

Marigny Goodyear Art air travel protectionFresh off the Flu and onto the plane to New Orleans. I would have never chosen to travel that close to being sick, but wachyou gonna do?


In my past life, all of this would have blindsided me and my work flow so badly that I immediately would have gotten frustrated and inevitably, contentious feelings would have grown towards all of these people and problems that were stopping me from doing what I wanted to be doing.  Resentments y’all…no fun at all. 

That was the old Marigny.

The new Marigny celebrated her 5th alcohol free year on February 28th.  Yup, yesterday was my sober "birth" day. 

When I first was in recovery for alcoholism, I had to shed my old belief system 100%.  And while that topic is large enough to have its very own blog post, one of most important things I had to admit to myself is that my thinking came, in general, from a very selfish place.  I did a lot for others, but always with the expectation of getting something in return and when I didn’t get it, I would get really angry.  I was, of course, oblivious to this selfishness and when I figured it out, I was shocked and truly disappointed in myself.  

I discovered that a solution to this problem is to be of service to others.  At first, I tried to cram in ways to volunteer into my already packed and over scheduled life.  Recovery takes a lot of time and effort and sometimes it all felt very overwhelming.

But I realized something…being of service doesn’t always have to be applied to the food bank or the SPCA.  Although I have tried to involve myself more in my local Surfrider chapter because I’m passionate about surfing and my love for the ocean,  I realize that the most important people to be in service to are my family and friends.

These are the people in my life who have stood by me during my volatile times, the aftermath of those times and my journey to sobriety, my depressed states and my daily anti-anxiety rituals.  Why shouldn’t these be the people that I willingly and happily give my time and energy to?

Being of service takes me out of myself.  By helping those who are in need, I contribute to a larger part of life...the part that doesn't revolve around me.

Spiritually, I believe that there is nothing else that feeds the soul like being of service.  It takes me out of myself in a way that nothing else does.  As any and all activities that are good for me, service work never really sounds like that much fun.  I don’t mean to sound like an asshole or anything, but do you think that cleaning up trash or taking care of a miserable and grumpy teenager sounds enjoyable?  What about going to the aid of a mourning family?  Good times these are not.

But when I go to the clean ups and see all of the people that care for our beach, the “chore” becomes a bonding experience and ultimately brings me closer to my community and to the Ocean.  

After my kiddo’s fifth day of fever and third meltdown over not being able to hang out with friends on the long President’s Day weekend, I thought I would lose it.  I was looking at the painting that is due by the end of the month and felt panic rising, but then she looked at me and said, “Thanks for taking care of me, Mom.  I love you.”

When I went to see my friend’s father, who had just lost his wife, he just grabbed me and hugged me and thanked me so much for being there for him and especially for his daughter during such a terrible time.  

I realized that I sacrificed my work and plans for her, for him, for my people…because I’m a person and people contribute and take care of their villages when it’s their turn to do so. That’s what I choose and I can feel proud that I’m doing what a good person does and I’m doing it without pitching a fit because I know that in the long run, taking care of my people is good for my soul.  

Marigny Goodyear mixed media abstract art studio longhornsI swear to God my art table looked exactly like this for about 2 weeks.  It is a dern miracle that the longhorns commission was done on time.

Did my daughter take me for dinner to thank me for my “lost” week or treat me to a spa day because my body hurt after all the care taking?  Nope.  What I got in return is love from her and the comfort of knowing that she is cared for. 

The old me would have been fuming inside from all the inconveniences.  The 5-year alcohol free me is just happy to be able to be home with my daughter to be her nurse, rent movies and make food that she may or may not eat.  The sober me didn’t even think twice before jumping on a plane to help my friend.  And the community minded me didn’t cry about not being there for the cleanup (and, let’s be honest, to surf afterwards). 

And guess what…all of my work got done on time anyway.  If I would have had a fit, it would have been out of a projection of fear.  Fear that the shit wasn’t going to get done and that I was going to be a failure.  That was my old mind set.   Instead, I just shrugged and said, “Not much can be done about the flu, or death, or a crick in my neck.  It is what it is.”

I’m really excited about Patreon and my Pop Up Sale and about the next beach cleanup, but in the end, I am content knowing that I can parent without having severe FOMO (fear of missing out).  I can be here for my family because I want to be, not because I feel obligated to. 

I must admit that it makes me a little sad to think that’s how my brain use to work.  I felt like my family was holding me back from whatever the hell I thought I should be doing.  Now I know that it’s my family that lifts me up and it’s my community that holds me and makes me feel part of something.  

I don’t normally like to give advice, but here’s 2 cents from a sober drunk.  When you feel really bad about yourself, when life just sucks and you want to crawl in a hole, do something for someone else.  Spend an entire day dedicated to your child’s interests.  Grab a coffee with your Mom.  Make a surprise romantic dinner for your spouse.  Show love, Y’all.  I want my road to be paved with love, not money or number of paintings created.  Love.  It’s really all that matters and indeed, all we need.

And FYI - a percentage of the profits from my 2018 Pop Up Sales will go to Surfrider Foundation for ocean clean up and coastal health awareness.  There are always ways to give.  So go do it.

The painting at top is Stampede 36x36 and was commissioned by Taqueria Picaro in Ashland, OR. (And I completed it on time.)

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Want to Make Money While Making Art? Treat Art Like a Small Business.

I have officially been a professional West Coast Abstract Artist for 1 year.  By treating my art like a small business, I have seen growth that many professional artists have told me they didn't see until about 10 years in.  

I have had a successful first year in that I held 5 art shows and made my first-year revenue goal by selling 15 pieces of original art plus 1 commission.  I have my first comprehensive marketing plan in place for this year.  2018 will introduce a few different revenue streams into my business model including art product pop-up sales and the involvement of Patrons into my process (which I’m so excited to introduce you to soon!)...

...And I can almost hear the crickets and see the blank stares as I talk about this stuff...the boring side of the art biz that no one asks me about.  The questions I get most often are “where do you find inspiration?”, “how long does it take you to paint that?”, and my favorite, “you make a living from this?”.  Seeing as the creation of art is really how I spend only 30-50% of my day, I thought I'd let you all in on what it is like to make AND sell art for a living. 

I initially went to college for art.  I entered Boston University School of Fine Arts in 1994 with dreams of learning to weld and design large scale sculptures.  I graduated from BU in 1999 with a business degree.  Huh? 

Yup.  I did what a lot of kids end up doing which is changing my major half way through college to something that was 100% different from what I started in.  When I made that switch, I thought my life as an artist was done.  Over the next 20 years, I worked in various professional positions from hotel management, advertising executive, to junior broker at a financial firm...and I never felt that any of those roles fit me at all. 

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I embraced art again.  When I did, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and I thought, “Right!  This is what I have always loved!  I should do this for a living!”  But there was a caveat…after a few hours in the studio, I found that I was over working my paintings and felt that I was “forcing” creativity.  Creating is exhausting work.  I still had a day job so it wasn’t a big deal at first, but the thought began crossing my mind…can I really do this full time?  But then, something pretty cool happened.

Marigny Goodyear Art Small Business Owner
Welcome to my office where I spend at least half my time.  That reminder on my window encourages me to bring it, 150%, every day.

Artists are also small business owners...whether we want to be or not.

As a professional artist I am, by default, also a small business owner.  It seems this is not a role that a lot of people with artistic brains are comfortable in.  But for me, it has been a stimulating challenge that excites and motivates me.  It also means that I get to switch back and forth from making art to marketing art and tending to my business, which turns out to fit me perfectly. 

In high school, I lived in the art room and art was one of the few classes that I got top grades in.  The other classes that were my favorites?  Math and any science that involved math.  In college, I loved my accounting and finance classes.  There is just something about numbers and organization that my OCD brain has always been attracted to.  But art and math sure seemed a strange combo… 

As it turns out, I am perfectly suited to being an art business owner or “artrepreneur” as I like to say.  I love to create art.  I also love creating spreadsheets that track my finances, marketing schedules and social media engagement.  I find immense pleasure in creating revenue plans and taking online courses about marketing in the age of social media (which, BTW, is VERY different than the marketing classes I took 20 years ago).  

All on my own, I have built a website, created a social media presence and grown a mailing list that I send correspondence to multiple times a month.  I have started and continued to write this blog (a pleasure that still surprises me).  I now know how to write press releases and engage with media outlets. I send out surveys to better identify my ideal client and this year, I’m creating a few different ways for those clients to buy my art and be part of my art community at various price levels.  

And when I’ve spent 4-6 hours in my office doing all of the above, I move to the studio and make art for the remainder of the day.  

Some people’s eye glaze over when I start talking about this stuff.  Some people are fascinated.  And some still think that artists cannot make a living without gallery representation and a presence at one of the huge art fairs like Miami’s Art Basil.   

I simply want to make my art and simultaneously make a living.  I do not need to hang in MOMA.  I do not expect to see my work on the auction block at Sotheby’s and I don’t really care if academic types think my art is below their standards because I sell it online.  If MOMA comes a-calling, I will gladly answer the phone, but that is not how I measure my success. 

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art Whales
Pinstripe Whales, 24x24, Acrylic, Paper & Graphite on Canvas.  My passion is the ocean.  Why wouldn't I strive to be there as much as possible? 

I want to make art.  I want to live my life by my own standards.  I want to make my own rules and be independent in my decision making.  AND I want to make money while doing it. 

I think that I’m REALLY lucky.  I like both the creative and the analytical parts of my business.  I also love to surf and strive to build a life where I can jump in our van and enjoy the ocean often…like for weeks at a time often...all the while working on the road.  

Some may think that I’m unrealistic, but I don’t think so.  I think I have the ability to create my ideal life.  To do what I love despite the opinions of other people which, by the way, I hardly listen to anymore.  

Is it easy?  Hells no!  But it’s me, all me and nothing but me.  I am responsible for my own destiny.  I have found a way to blend together what used to seem as totally unconnected interests.  And I truly believe that it is something that all of us have the ability to do, if we so wish. 

So, for all you lovely people who like to write music AND balance your check book, who love to create recipes AND alphabetize your canned goods, who design and sew your own clothes AND make spreadsheets of your textile inventory…  YOU are the natural Artrepreneurs of the world!  

Yeah…you’re also probably pretty weird and never really “fit in”, but that’s OK, if fact its great!  Embrace your eclectic nature!  Find ways to use ALL your talents together.  For you are the masters of your own universe and the creative do-ers who innovate AND motivate to get the shit done!   So, go on with your weird self and create the world that you want to live in. 

And for Pete’s sake, don’t listen when people tell you that it’s not possible or you’re doing it wrong.  When people use the words “unreasonable”, “unrealistic” or say that “great artists don’t make money” (yes…someone actually said that to me…) just walk away.  I am going into 2018 choosing to believe in myself and my mission.  I’m doing this my way.  Yeah.


The painting at top is Deep Dive, 24x24, Acrylic, Paper & Crayon on Canvas

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Tiny Buddha Blog Post #4 - Saying Goodbye to the Hamster Wheel

I am a highly efficient person, West Coast abstract artist and business owner.  Sometimes I have to remember that balance in work and play is important.  

Thank you to for publishing my article titled: There’s More to Life Than Work: Goodbye Hamster Wheel, Hello Balance.

I love my work.  I love it so much that some days, I forget to eat.  I get so wrapped up in my art business that my "other" life (you know, family, friends, self care and such...) gets neglected.  Really, what I strive for is balance.  That's easier said than done sometimes.

I suffer from "hamster wheel syndrome" which defines as: when someone just keeps running in circles (and making the same mistakes) in their life instead of progressing.  At times, my brain is firing 10 ideas per second and each sparks another 10 ideas.  Ultimately, that leads to me not knowing what the heck to do and so I do nothing.  Sound familiar?

Check out my latest post on Tiny Buddha to read more about how I deal with this struggle.  If it resonates with you, please share.  

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How Writing Brings Me Emotional Clarity

It’s been a bit over a year since I started writing a blog about my path of becoming a West coast abstract artist.  What started out as a necessity for creating content for my website has become a most pleasant surprise and joyful practice in my life. 

I’ve never put much emphasis on writing.  It’s not that I didn’t like writing, it’s just that visual arts have always had the strongest pull on me creatively and so I never really investigated writing as a creative outlet.  That and the fact that my Mother is a writer…well…I guess it just never occurred to me that I would end up doing what my Mom did for a living. 

When I started developing my website, I was encouraged to start a blog as a way to create content.  I have to have content in order to drive web traffic to my site and so a blog, I was told, should always be an active part of  I was given a bit of guidance in that my first couple of blog post should be my “pillar posts” and should tell people all they need to know about me and my art.  I worried about what I could possibly share with people after that. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Heron SketchJust as sketching helps me to see the path to a painting, journaling brings me towards emotional clarity.

Keeping an artist's journal is a path to understanding.

I started to keep an artist journal in my studio that I would write in after my art practice for the day was done.  I would just reflect on what I did that day and how I felt about it.  Well…from that I came up with idea after idea about me, my art and why I do what I do, how my personal struggles contribute to my art and how my art contributes to my life.   I learned things about myself that were there all along, but I had never been able to put words to.  Writing fixed that for me.

I’ve written about my art process, my struggle with anxiety and depression, the things I’m grateful for in my life, how I deal with stagnation, my passion for surfing, nature and doing things out of my comfort zone…  The list goes on and on.  1 to 2 a month for over a year now.  Because most of my writing revolves around my own self-development, my articles fit into a “self-help” category but my intention is not to fix other people rather to heal myself.  

We are not alone in the hardships of being human.

I have received emails, messages and comments after posting blog posts that have shocked and humbled me.  People have reached out telling me things like “I have struggled with this same issue but didn’t know how to put words to it until I read your post.”  One woman told me that she was about to end her relationship but after reading my blog post on the problems with having too many expectations, she realized that she too had been expecting her partner to know what she needed without her having to communicate it, and it always ended with disappointment for her and frustration for him.  

I want to repeat that I don’t intend to help people with their problems.  I don’t think I know how to solve everything and I sure don’t want the burden of helping people through darkness.  If I did, I would have become a therapist or something.  But having people reach out to me from all over the world and tell me that they relate to me and that my writing has helped them put things in perspective has been a powerful experience for me.  Powerful in that I didn’t know that I could help people but even more so in that I know that I am not alone in the dark times. 

For a person that has felt extremely isolated for the majority or her life, it is a comfort that I had no idea was out there.  Just to simply say the things that I have always been scared to say and then have people respond that they feel that too.  Wow.  We are never alone.  No matter how dark I can go, I now have an understanding that I am not crazy.  I am not abnormal.  There is nothing wrong with me.  

Being a person is hard.  My most important job as a human is to learn how to be human.  I think that means showing compassion and kindness to all of the insane appearing emotions that come from my head and my heart.  Until I learned to do this, I couldn’t get anything done.  I lived in a place of not understanding the voices in my head and feeling unsure of just about every step I took.  Until I started writing, and sharing my writing, I had no idea that I wasn’t totally alone and that my problems are not unique.

I am no longer scared of my imperfections.

Now, I am an open book.  I am honest about my emotions and I’ll talk to most anyone about them.  Really.  I’ll never forget being at a party where a woman that I just met shared with me that she was a bit uncomfortable because she didn’t know many people.  I responded that I feel uncomfortable in social situations about 75% of the time…even when I do know people.  I said that it was ok though, because that was just how I am and I’ve learned tools to deal with it and be social or tell people that I’m just not up for it and stay home.  At first, she looked shocked that I would share such a thing and then a look of relief spread across her face.  She wasn’t alone. 

I’ll talk to you in the middle of a party about my struggles with alcohol, anxiety, insecurities, depression, how hard I can be on myself when I feel like I can never do enough…  Whatevs. Bring it.  I’m not scared to identify these things anymore.  That is what writing has done for me.  It has allowed me to process some of my deepest secrets and thus took fear out of the equation.  Writing takes vague and uncomfortable feelings and turns them into concrete words.  Seeing them in black and white makes them less scary. 

Now, I laugh at the judgement I used to have when seeing a bunch of self-help books on someone’s book shelf.  I realize that it was my own insecurities I was uncomfortable looking at, not theirs.  Seeing someone embracing their problems made me cringe.  I get it now.  Having organized words explain difficult emotions is a powerful thing both for the reader and the writer. 

Our emotions are what make us human and if we meet these feelings with an inquisitiveness, compassion and understanding, that is what will allow us to grow.  So, thank you for reading and for reaching out.  I’ll keep writing openly and honestly.  We are all human and we not alone, ever.

Happy New Year everyone.  Onward we march into our unknown adventures.  I, for one, am pretty darn excited to see what is around the corner.

Marigny Goodyear Art Never Stop ExploringPhoto Credit: Chris Goodyear 

The photo at top is a sketch for a duo of whale paintings that I'm working on.  

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Pressure and Nerves and Stress...Oh My!

As 2017 is coming swiftly to a close, I’m looking back on my first year in business as a West Coast abstract artist, and wondering how to alleviate all the pressure I put on myself.

What a year it has been!  I quit my day job back in January and since, I’ve been working my butt off in an attempt to gain some momentum within my business…and I’ve had tremendous results.  By the time you’re reading this, I will have had 5 art shows in two different cities, been in numerous publications both local, regional and one in Canada, and I’ve started selling my art.  Hooray!!!!

It helps for me to list out my accomplishments because for the most part, I live day-to-day in a stressed state wondering what else I could be doing and if I’m doing enough.  I don’t want to give y’all the impression that I’m a nervous wreck or anything, but dang, being a small business owner is exhilarating at times, exasperating at others and no matter which one it is, I live with butterflies in my stomach and the constant feeling that something amazing is about to happen, or about to be overlooked. 

I wake up and exercise. I meditate. I eat well and get good sleep.  I make good use of my time when I’m working and maintain a social and family life outside of work.  I’ve started seeing my therapist again.  And yet, I’m still a ball of nerves.  I keep waiting for the day when it stops…but will it ever?  Is this what being an entrepreneur is?  Or is this just how I am? Should I just expect to break out in illness every few weeks and be tired ALL THE TIME?  I really hope not. 

I understand that the person putting the pressure on me, is me.  I am aware that this is something that I do in all facets of my life, and that it is not a new struggle.  But can someone, anyone, please tell me what I can do to make it stop?  I feel like I do all of the right things and yet, still I struggle with the nagging voice of doubt telling me that it’s not enough.  That it is NEVER enough.  I absolutely know it IS enough yet I still feel stress.

How does one care less?


Marigny Goodyear Art West Coast Abstract Artist
My paintings sure look peaceful...

I have written blog posts on how I deal with anxiety, depression, everyday hamster-wheel brain and yes, I use the tools that I write about to keep my head above water.  But at the end of the day, I feel like I’m JUST above water with moments of fatigue that put me under.  I’m just really tired of caring So. Damn. Much.

The fact that I care shows in my art work, business growth and organization.  I’ve had some pretty amazing results this year.  I don’t want to change that, but something has to give.  I don’t even feel like I’m over-working.  I work 8:00am-5:00pm with a one hour lunch break and maybe even a break for a quick bike ride.  I am of the impression that it isn’t the work load itself that is killing me.  It’s the pressure that I’m putting on myself.

I have no top 5 list of ways to remedy this.  I have been trying my whole life to be ok with myself and the work I do.  The fact that I’m now doing the work that I truly feel like I should be doing and STILL feel this way shows me that it really doesn’t matter what I do.  I’m always going to feel this weight until I drop to the floor, unable to move or I have a perspective shift.  I would, of course, prefer the perspective shift. 

Unfortunately, that is something that seems to have to come on its own.  It cannot be forced or scheduled.  If it could, then it would have been done already as I am very efficient.  The bottom line is that my art business means a lot to me and I don’t see how to worry less about something that I care so deeply about. 

An old surfer-dude once told me that he doesn’t stress.  “Stress is optional”, he said.  How do I choose not to feel the way I feel?  When he said that, it made me think that something might be wrong with me that I put so much pressure on myself and no matter how much progress I make, it just continues to build.  So, great.  Now I feel stressed AND like something’s wrong with me. 

Is this the way our culture is now? Do we all feel like we can never do enough to live the life we want to live?  Why can’t I be content now?  I suppose I go through times when I am.  I just happen to be in a period of transition and so it’s hard to even point out the harmonious times. I know they’re not unicorns.  They do exist. 

 Marigny Goodyear Art West Coast Abstract Artist PelicansFunny thing is that when I paint, I feel this peaceful.  It's the rest of the time I'm a stress mess.

My brain has been telling me these things my whole life.  How do I change 41 years of thought patterns?  I know that it’s possible.  It has to be.  I don’t have the answer though.  I don’t know what else I should be doing aside from maybe finding a good behavioral therapist.  

All I can do is to keep moving on and have faith in the path before me.  I do believe that I have found the path that I’m meant to be walking.  I suppose I just need to engage the auto pilot and hope that she knows what the hell she’s doing.  

Logically, I know I’m an able person and that I’m doing well in my life.  I just need to worry less about the outcomes.  They will be what they are and all I can do is my best right now.  I just wish that my brain would believe that my best is good enough. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and although I feel like I have wasted a lot of time in my life doing silly things, looking back in a critical way is not going to serve me right now.  Plus, that’s a load of crap.  Everything I’ve spent time on in the past is something that is serving me in my art business now.  I need to be my own best friend and lift myself up instead of tearing myself down.

So, here’s to the end to 2017 and the beginning of a new year.  I really hope that I can turn off the pressure cooker and just be.  Because in the end, it is what it is.  I try my best.  I care a lot.  And really, that’s all I can do. 

Happy Holidays everyone.  May the New Year bring us all a fuck-ton of peace.

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Tiny Buddha Blog Post #3

I am an extremely sensitive artist type person.  Fear, anxiety and self doubt can cause stagnation in my abstract art practice, and life in general.

But thankfully, I have found tools to help get past these times of sluggishness.  One of these tools is surfing.  There is nothing that puts me in the moment and shows me my place within the universe quite like being in the waves. 

Thank you to for publishing yet another one of my essays, How Surfing Helped Me Turn My Fear and Anxiety into Confidence.    Take a read and comment below and/or share if it resonates with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  Don't forget to get outside and play after all that turkey and pie!

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