“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-Reliance begins with the simple instruction: Trust yourself. Since the time of the ancient Stoics, this practical philosophy has provided guidance for how to live a meaningful happy life, even in times of danger and uncertainty.
As a third of Rome perished in the Antonine Plague (a pandemic more destructive than our own), Emperor Marcus Aurelius counseled in his Meditations, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
In this two-part guided writing series, we explore the essential lessons of this powerful tradition as a path of authenticity, well-being, and insight. We will draw on the wisdom of extraordinary sages including Marcus Aurelius, Michel de Montaigne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and how to apply their principles of self-reliance to contemporary life.
Each 90-minute session begins with Mark’s lesson on the week’s topic, followed by two guided writing exercises with breakout groups, feedback, sharing, and a Q & A period. Mark creates a warm, supportive atmosphere in which to do this soul-searching work, and guides you with just the right  questions to help deepen your self-inquiry. No previous writing practice is necessary and there is no mandatory sharing in this course.
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Mark Matousek is a masterful and loving guide:
his wisdom teachings and brilliantly conceived questions will
enable you to open to life-changing truth. You don’t need skill in writing to partake; all that’s required is the longing to awaken.”

~Tara Brach, bestselling author of Radical Acceptance


Session One: The Death of Fear
In this first session, we turn our attention to ending the tyranny of fear in our lives. In this age of terror, pandemics, and global warming, we must develop equanimity by identifying what we can change and what we cannot.
Session Two: Love is the Masterpiece of Nature
This week, we look at love as a force of virtue, personally and globally, and how to deepen the sacred bonds of our life. We are wired to connect, emotionally and physically, and it’s crucial to understand how this is done.
Session Three: When It is Dark Enough You Can See the Stars
Adversity is fuel for a seeker. In this session, you learn how the setbacks, losses, struggles, heartaches, and pains of your life determine how much wisdom and courage you gain.
Session Four: The Soul Refuses Limits
In this session, we learn how optimism increases self-reliance by releasing us from dread and regret. The sages equate optimism with sanity; while evil, danger, and uncertainty exist, so do hope, imagination, and spirit.
Session Five: The Proper Emotion is Wonder
We are born with an upper tier of emotions – wonder, awe, reverence, adoration, elevation – as part of our human repertoire of survival and awakening. This week, we look at how wonder and awe shape our lives and open the mind to new horizons.
Session Six: The Giant Within
In Emerson’s phrase, the ‘giant within,’ this enlarged perspective reveals our true spiritual identity. We see that this larger Self is with us always, and that self-inquiry reveals its faith. In this final session, we explore the implications of this larger identity on how we want to live.


The class will meet on the easy-to-use Zoom platform which is accessible from your computer, smart phone or tablet. Dial in options are also available for those who don’t want to use video. The Zoom access details will be sent the morning of each session and again an hour before.
Each 90-minute session will consist of Mark’s weekly lesson followed by two guided writing exercises with breakout groups, feedback, sharing, and a Q & A period after each exercise. You are not required to participate. Anonymity is respected. Each session will be recorded and emailed to registered participants with two additional writing prompts to explore during the week.
For those that register for the complete series, there will be a Google Group for the posting of writing you want to share with the class. Using Google Groups allows the class to read, comment and support each other’s work in a positive and nurturing environment. We will contact you a few days before the first class for setup in the Group.

“Mark Matousek has taken an extraordinary journey – from surface to depth, from exterior to interior, a spiritual odyssey that is truly of our time, genuine in its care, redeeming in its grace.”

~Ken Wilber, author of A Brief History of Everything

Mark’s Writing to Awaken method has helped thousands of people around the world to reach their creative and spiritual goals. You’ll be prompted to explore your own personal narratives – to write honestly about your deepest wounds, greatest challenges, hidden gifts, yearnings, and opportunities for growth – in order to discover who you are beyond these stories, and move toward a more liberated, happy, and truthful life. I hope you will join us.

Session Fee: $27.00 USD

All sessions are on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern

If you can’t commit to a series, choose themes that interest you and fit into your schedule.
Each session is a master class in itself, allowing you to explore each topic in depth.
Individual classes can be purchased up to 30 minutes before the class start time.
Session One – Thursday, December 16, 2021
The Death of Fear
Session Two – Thursday, December 23, 2021
Love is the Masterpiece of Nature
Session Three – Thursday, December 30, 2021
When It is Dark Enough You Can See the Stars
Session Four – Thursday, January 6, 2022
The Soul Refuses Limits
Session Five – Thursday, January 13, 2022
The Proper Emotion is Wonder
Session Six – Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Giant Within


“ … rigorous inquiries, thoughtful sequencing, generous openness, and compassionate questioning with knowledge and humility Mark is a magnificent teacher and guide.”

~Bonnie, USA
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