“The unfolding of his nature is the chief end of man.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson taught that courage, intimacy, adversity, optimism, and wonder are keys to an awakened life. When you take the time to know yourself, he taught, you discover how interesting you actually are, and the vastness of your innate potential.
In this six-session Guided Writing Series, we examine Emerson’s extraordinary insights into flourishing on the path he called Self-Reliance. This visionary way of life combines the practical genius of the ancient Stoics with the soul-stirring beauty of Transcendentalism, the pioneering movement he helped to found for people seeking direct spiritual experience outside the bounds of churchly authority.
In each 90-minute recording, you’ll explore a different pillar of Emerson’s essential philosophy. Following Mark’s introduction of the week’s topic, you’ll be guided through two writing exercises that apply Emerson’s lessons to everyday life.
Emerson’s timeless wisdom is precisely the medicine we need today to help address our contemporary problems. His focus on authenticity, cooperation, truthfulness, and radical optimism make him a powerful teacher for these difficult times, as you’ll experience in this timely course.

“Mark Matousek opens the craft of writing as a way to dive into the art of self-reflection. Writing to Awaken will restore meaning and change your life.”

~Mark Nepo, NY Times bestselling author and teacher.

These six transformative lessons are designed to increase well-being and deepen your insight and connection to your inner voice.

In this series, you will learn:

~ How knowledge reduces fear and increases courage
~ Why love is necessary to self-knowledge
~ How to ‘turn the obstacle upside down’ in times of adversity
~ The difference between helpful optimism and toxic positivity
~ Why wonder and awe are necessary to flourishing
~ How enlightenment is linked to self-reliance and freedom

This series is useful for:

~ Seekers on the path of self-knowledge and healing
~ People looking for insight and wisdom to live a better life
~ Memoir writers interested in bringing increased self-awareness to what they create.
~ Journal writers who want to deepen their self-discovery process
~ Lovers of poetry and literature
~ Non-writers who enjoy self-exploration and wish to create a writing practice
Scientific studies have shown that a regular writing practice can improve physical, mental, and emotional health in dramatic ways. Writing to Awaken has helped countless people around the world reach their creative and spiritual goals. No writing experience is necessary. Curiosity, courage, and the willingness to question your personal narratives are all you need to benefit from this inspiring, supportive class.
For more about the power of expressive writing, check out Mark’s essay from The Saturday Evening Post.

Session Overview

Session One: Courage
The Death of Fear

In this first session, we explore Emerson’s powerful teachings on fear, and tools for cultivating courage. “The death of fear is certain” when we feel equal to the challenges before us, he tells us. Knowledge and self-education are critical to neutralizing fear; when you equip yourself with wisdom and insight, and reduce fears to their smallest components, you’re less overwhelmed by obstacles and negative thinking.
Session Two: Intimacy
Love Is the Masterpiece of Nature

Emerson believed that love is the summum bonum of existence, and an opportunity to put Transcendentalism to the test. In this session, we look at how love expands consciousness and transforms our perspective, regardless of the form that love takes. “The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry,” Emerson knew. But how do we open our hearts despite insecurities? Why did Emerson view love as transpersonal, a doorway to the Self beyond personality?
Session Three: Adversity
When It Is Dark Enough, You Can See the Stars

Without hardship, loss, and disillusionment, awakening is not possible, Emerson tells us. “He has seen but half the world who has never been shown the House of Pain,” he wrote. In this third session, we examine the link between darkness and insight, and the spiritual purposes of adversity. When you realize that all suffering belongs to the “exterior life” – and does not touch the soul – you’re able to tolerate struggle and discomfort with more equanimity, and discern the wisdom lessons available in troubling times.
Session Four: Optimism
The Soul Refuses Limits

In this session, Emerson’s views on optimism and hope are the topic of reflection. An ardent believer in ‘cosmic optimism’ – fact-based hopefulness based on nature’s laws of abundance and procreativity – Emerson maintained that pessimism is a luxury we cannot afford in a dangerous world, where self-fulfilling prophecies threaten to negate our best intentions. We learn through imitation, after all. “Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good,” he counseled.
Session Five: Awe
The Proper Emotion is Wonder

Wonder and awe are hard-wired emotions in our human repertoire. Without the ability to feel awe, our lives are severely diminished, Emerson knew, and life loses its beauty and grandeur. “The earth laughs in flowers,” he believed. We must remember to be astonished. In this penultimate session, we explore Emerson’s observations about wonder, and how to bring more reverence, celebration, and gratitude to our precious lives on this miraculous planet. When we pay attention to moment-to-moment experience, he maintains, we awaken to a new way of being.
Session Six: Enlightenment
Coming Home to Yourself

In this final session, our focus is on spiritual awakening, and how Transcendentalism can open you to higher levels of consciousness. Rather than being otherworldly, Emerson’s instructions on enlightenment are grounded, embodied, and eminently simple. He believed that “ecstasy … is a normal state” mostly hidden from view by our overactive, analytical thoughts. When you quiet your mind, and listen to “the whisper only you can hear,” you’re attuned to this expanded frequency and prompt spiritual awareness in your everyday life.

What’s Included

In each 90-minute lesson, you’ll explore a different pillar of
Emerson’s essential philosophy. Each lesson includes:
~ A 90-minute video and audio recording with Mark’s lecture and
two writing prompts with sharing and discussion after each exercise.
~Three additional writing prompts for your continued exploration
~Mark’s Writing to Awaken Guidelines
Individual Sessions:
An email will be delivered with links to the pre-recorded Zoom Sessions along with the three additional writing prompts and Mark’s Writing to Awaken Guidelines.
Complete Series:
People who purchase the complete series will be directd to a landing page with the content to all six sessions, the introduction to Mark’s book, and the Writing to Awaken Guidelines.

Mark is an amazing teacher with a depth of awareness, knowledge and empathy. Deeply attuned to the needs of his students, he skillfully guided us into ourselves, allowing each of us to mine her own gold in her own way. I highly recommend his work.”

~Hedley, Australia

These provocative Guided Writing Sessions provide a rich introduction to Emerson’s essential lessons for living a better life. Mark brings 40 years of experience with Emerson’s teachings to this course, using Writing to Awaken as a vehicle for insight and transformation.

Complete Six-Seek Series: $75 USD

Bonus! Purchase the complete series the Introduction to Mark’s book,
Lessons from and American Stoic: How Emerson Can Change Your Life
This series is the second of a two-part investigation of Emerson’s teachings. Part One can be purchased here.

Purchase Individual Sessions: $15

Each lesson explores a different theme and can be taken individually.
Session One
Courage: The End of Fear

Session Two
Intimacy: Love Is the Masterpiece of Nature
Session Three
Adversity: When It Is Dark Enough, You Can See the Stars
Session Four
Optimism: The Soul Refuses Limits
Session Five
The Proper Emotion Is Wonder
Session Six
Enlightenment: Your
Coming Home to Yourself


“Mark Matousek is an insightful, compelling and incisive teacher – truthful, direct, compelling, open, and compassionate. He takes students on a provocative journey to places we need to go if we are to live and create from our deepest selves. His deeply spiritual center and his generosity of spirit combine to make his being, his writings and his teaching magical transformative experiences.”
~Marcia, USA
“Mark’s illuminating assignments, poignant feedback, and seasoned direction unlocked many mysteries that had been buried within my psyche. The introspection that resulted was sometimes scary, sometimes difficult, and many time astounding — just what I needed and more. I am deeply grateful for the experience.”
~Brian, USA