“The only person you are destined to become
Ralph Waldo Emerson taught that originality, nonconformity, self-trust, and spiritual perspective are the 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-week 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 session, you’ll explore a different pillar of Emerson’s transformative 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. In addition to optional breakout groups, you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions and talk to Mark about the Writing to Awaken process.
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 our these difficult times, as you’ll experience in this timely new 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.
In this series, you will learn:
~ Why originality requires self-acceptance
~ How your ‘angle of vision’ determines the quality of life
~ Why nonconformity is essential to flourishing
~ How to work with contradiction and paradox
~ Why confidence helps you become more resilient
~ How not to waste vital energy or creative potential
These six eye-opening lessons are designed to increase well-being and deepen your insight and connection to your inner voice.
This series is useful for:
~ Seekers on the path of self-knowledge and healing
~ 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 aand literature
~ Non-writers who enjoy self-explortion, who wish to create a writing practice
Known for his intuitive, compassionate teaching, Mark creates a welcoming atmosphere for writers of all levels to benefit from this powerful work. You are not required to share your writing in this class. For those interested in interacting with their classmates, participants are invited to choose a writing buddy, post their writing and respond to others on the group page.
Scientific studies have shown that a regular writing practice can improve physical, mental, and emotional health in dramatic ways. Writing to Awaken has helped thousands of people around the world to 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 One: Originality
Character is Everything
In this first session, we look at self-trust as the foundation of originality. To be fully ourselves, we must understand the Law of Compensation and why we must honor our unique qualities, including aspects of the psychological shadow. Character is a mixed bag of motley ingredients. Insight helps you integrate them into a more harmonious whole, as you learn in this opening lesson.
Session Two: Perspective
You Are How You See
Emerson echoed the perennial insight that we create our world through our ‘angle of vision’. Until you understand how you see, you cannot know yourself. In this second session, we examine the idiosyncrasies of personal perspective, including implicit bias, cultural conditioning, and obsolete stories that limit how you view yourself and the world. “People only see what they are prepared to see,” Emerson taught. Till you question your capacity for fresh insights, and ability to let in new information, you cannot ellicit new behaviors.
Session Three: Nonconformity
Build Your Own World
In this third session, we focus on nonconformity as an essential element of authentic living. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment,” he tells us. Attempts to be good are often misguided and lead to hypocrisy and virtue-signaling. Conforming to external standards of goodness is an obstacle to Self-reliance.
Session Four: Contradiction
Everything is Double
Our lives are ruled by paradox and contradiction. Until you learn to make peace with your inconsistencies, imperfections, and irreconcilable doubleness, you’re unlikely to be happy inside your own skin. This fourth session explores resistance to integrating our two-sided nature. “Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.” Qualities you consider opposites may be complementary and necessary to your inner balance.
Session Five: Resilience
Without Confidence, the Universe Is Against You
This week, we consider confidence as a component of resilience and the relationship between self-belief and manifesting desired intentions. Emerson taught that confidence is connected to faith; not faith in God, necessarily, but trust in the power of life itself and her uncontrollable mysteries. Surrendering to forces beyond your reach, you increase confidence, resilience, and humility. “A great person is always willing to be little,” according to Emerson. This paradox is also empowering.
Session Six: Vitality
A Stream of Power Flows Through You
In this final session, we look at the quality of aliveness and how to increase it in daily life. Each individual is the “conductor of a whole stream of electricity,” and learning how to optimize that energy flow is essential to a better life. Vitality depends first and foremost on attention – your most precious personal resource. At a time when attention spans are shrinking – and compulsive distraction is on the rise – it’s imperative to reclaim this vital energy on the path of insight.
How the Guided Writing Series Works
Each live session meets on Wednesday at 6 pm Eastern on the 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.
Each session is 90 minutes and consists of Mark’s lesson, two writing prompts with sharing, discussion, and Q&A after each exercise. You are not required to participate in the group dialog. Anonymity is respected. The session playback links are emailed to all registrants the following day. The Zoom Meeting access details are emailed the day prior to and one hour before the start of each session.
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.”
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. We hope you can join us! Emerson’s vision of human potential is a treasure waiting to be discovered.
This series is the first of a two-part investigation of Emerson’s teachings. The second series will begin on December 6. Information and registration details will be sent in the coming weeks.