Our innermost vulnerable truths often aren’t ready (or even appropriate) for public sharing, yet they still need to be expressed, felt and released in some way...
Safely exploring your raw emotions, uncensored thoughts and wildest ideas can be profoundly liberating. Gaining a deeper understanding of who you truly are, loving aspects of yourself you once found unlovable, and healing past hurts can lead to spiritual awakening.
A regular writing practice can not only guide you on this path of healing, freedom and awakening, it can unleash your creative spirit while cultivating an expansive mind, open heart and authentic relationships.
Your journal can actually serve as your trusted confidante, Zen master and psychotherapist — all rolled into one.
On the other hand, if you don’t know how to foster a truly transformative approach to writing, you can get stuck in unresolved wounds, emotional entanglements and negative thinking.
The difference between writing to vent and writing as a path of liberation lies in treating writing as an actual spiritual practice — one that is every bit as powerful as meditation, prayer or yoga. In fact, writing can help free areas of yourself that most conventional spiritual practices never touch.
When you start to view writing as an opportunity for deep inquiry — exploring who you are, your soul’s purpose and unconscious blocks — is when you begin to tap into your true power.
The words that flow onto the page are portals into your greatest depths — the wellspring of true love, creativity and awakening.
It’s not enough to simply write anything that pops into your head...
Unstructured writing can reinforce that which binds you, rather than help you discover that which frees you.
A truly liberating practice uses writing as a way to probe your depths — chipping away at the ego, exploring buried feelings, and accessing your vulnerability. As a result, you’re able to tap into Spirit and expand your inner resources of love and compassion.
A transformative writing practice takes skillful inquiry, as well as the kind of discipline we usually associate with other practices dedicated to spiritual growth. And as you venture into areas that generate resistance, it takes courage to continue moving forward instead of sticking to comfortable, more familiar terrain.
The rewards of a deep and powerful writing practice are immense — providing you with a way to access and examine revelatory insights, powerful truths and your innermost Self.
More than anything, you’ll discover your unique genius, a path for manifesting it in the world, and how to transform any blocks into breakthroughs.
When you discover how to realize the transformative power of writing, you simultaneously:
When you know yourself fully, you’re able to relate from your authentic center — being more heartfelt, insightful, truthful, funny and creative. And others find that compelling, as they also yearn for more freedom and integrity in how they engage.
When we sense someone is integrated and at peace with themselves, we trust them more and are drawn to interact and work with them.
People respond more powerfully to someone who is clear, authentic and whole.
As with any genuine spiritual inquiry, it’s vital to have a master guide — one who knows the territory and can keep you on track (plus help you avoid the many pitfalls that emerge along any transformational journey!).
Fortunately, such a guide is available to you...
Over the last three decades, Mark Matousek has become one of the world’s foremost chroniclers of the spiritual path — as an author (of the bestselling Sex Death Enlightenment), journalist (for publications such as The New Yorker and O), collaborator (on foundational books like the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying), and editor.
Mark is a master of language and, more importantly, a genius at marrying the depth of spiritual practice with the practice of writing. He’s a dynamic, funny, self-revealing and profound teacher whose practices and disciplines can help you fashion a liberating, lifelong writing practice.
He’s taught students worldwide the discipline of writing as a spiritual practice — in a way that’s profoundly liberating and very enjoyable.
And now you can join Mark for his upcoming, one-of-a-kind, 7-week course, Writing to Awaken.
Writing as a spiritual practice requires not only a sincere, heartfelt commitment and the intention to live a more authentic, liberated life, it demands a deep commitment to showing up and putting pen to paper — no matter what happens and no matter what emotions rise to the surface.
It’s a discipline, however, that’s not cruel or burdensome. On the contrary, it is discipline as in “disciple” — a disciple does what he or she does out of love for the practice.
When you commit to a regular practice, even for just 15 minutes a day, the practice takes on its own momentum, and it becomes easier and more inviting to sit down and do the work.
Indeed, the pleasure of self-discovery quickly becomes self-motivating... every “aha” moment beckons you to go deeper; each exhilarating revelation leads to another; every writing session, no matter the length, ends too soon.
During Writing to Awaken, Mark will take you on a structured journey through seven key areas of writing, which can help free you from old limitations related to your identity, your relationships and your innate genius.
Mark is direct and will hold you accountable — in a loving and healthy way. He’ll challenge you to strive for a level of emotional intimacy beyond your current capacity. Yes, you may find yourself on the outer limits of your comfort zone, yet waiting on the other side of your discomfort is the liberating realization that you were as strong and as brave as you hoped you would be.
Under Mark’s patient, compassionate guidance, you’ll enter a safe container for honest self-inquiry, inside a supportive global community.
You’ll be in good hands to take a deep dive into healing, freedom and awakening through writing... discovering skills you can draw on for a lifetime.
Course sessions are on Wednesdays at Noon Pacific.
During this 7-week transformational intensive, Mark will guide you through the fundamental skills and competencies you’ll need to create a daily writing practice that cultivates a more authentic, self-aware and spiritual you.
Each weekly LIVE contemplation and training session will build harmoniously upon the next so that you’ll develop a complete, holistic understanding of the practices, tools and principles you’ll need to sustain your spiritual writing practice.
You’ll emerge with:
Every life is a work of fiction. Behind your worldly mask is an essential self — a soul identity — whose powerful voice communicates your unique truth and deepest desires. Many of us suffer from mistaken identity. Until we access this soul awareness, we’re split off from our own true nature and distanced from our gifts, passion and purpose. This week, we’ll be exploring the gap in our lives between how we show up in our writing (and the world) and our true authenticity, and how to examine it through self-inquiry.
You’ll discover how to:
The first step toward authenticity is surveying your secret life. Without exception, each of us has one — that vicinity of self that is yours alone — filled with memories, totems, obsessions, longings, dreams and vulnerabilities. This inner refuge contains a wellspring of inspiration and self-discovery. The soul loves specificity, intimacy and subjective uniqueness. This week, we’ll be inquiring into our own secret lives, and how they provide us with wisdom and balance.
You’ll discover how to:
The tension between fear and desire determines your quality of life. To live passionately, you must learn to walk this edge between both. But how is this possible? Our impulse toward control often prevents us from venturing through fear toward our deepest longing. How can you surrender control and abandon yourself to desire (without hurting others in the process)? When is it wise to listen to fear? Why are you afraid of things you crave (and vice versa)? This week, we’ll be looking at the interface between fear and desire: how we walk the line — and sometimes tumble over it into passion — and the role of moral conditioning in the dance.
You’ll discover how to:
From a soul perspective, what does your life really mean? Do you wonder whether you matter or not, and for what purpose you have been born? Our quest for meaning is hardwired in us. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” wrote Joan Didion, and from these stories, we derive meaning. Without meaning, life’s tribulations lose their power to transform us. As Viktor Frankl famously taught, suffering without meaning equals despair (S-M=D). This week, we’ll look at what our existence means (to ourselves and the world), where our sense of purpose comes from, and how to harness our energies to reach higher goals.
You’ll discover how to:
When Viktor Frankl was in Auschwitz, it was the hope of seeing his beloved wife again that gave his life meaning. The power of love enabled this great psychiatrist to survive. Love is the greatest mystery — our very reason for being. Why, then, can it be so enigmatic, unstable, unpredictable and challenging? The answer is that love is a practice. Like every practice, it is often difficult and requires discipline, commitment and tolerance of discomfort. This is how love yields its joy, “against the grain,” in the Buddhist saying. This week, we’ll be using our writing to plumb the mystery of love in its myriad varieties — passionate, platonic and familial.
You’ll discover how to:
The soul is a power source. We plug into this source through intention, which shapes and guides us through life, holds our aim, and keeps us on our path. The world is full of brilliant people whose lives would improve dramatically if only their intentions were focused. Without concentrated intention, creativity suffocates and dies. Manifestation requires single-mindedness. This week, we’ll learn practices for focusing and strengthening our intention in order to reach our goals.
You’ll discover how to:
Each of us is born with a unique gift. The Romans called this gift our “genius,” and explained that we come into this world with a “tutelary deity” that guides us toward our own fruition. The deity is our soul itself. When we free this soul, we liberate our inherent creativity and the inborn offering waiting to be born. If you do not offer your gift to the world, it will never truly exist. But what is your particular genius? What will the flowering of your soul be? In this module, we’ll learn about efflorescence (what Christian mystics called “viriditas”) — poet Dylan Thomas described it as the “force that through the green fuse drives the flower” — and how we fuse with this power in daily life.
You’ll discover how to:
In addition to Mark’s transformative 7-week virtual course, you’ll receive these powerful training sessions with leading visionaries and teachers. These bonus sessions complement the course — and promise to take your understanding and practice to an even deeper level.
In this profound talk, Mark talks to bestselling poet and philosopher Mark Nepo about the connection between writing and spiritual awakening, and how to use adversity as a doorway to self-realization.
Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over 30 years. He is best known as the author of The Book of Awakening. In 2010 Oprah Winfrey chose this book as one of her Ultimate Favorite Things for her farewell season, launching it to the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Nepo has appeared several times with Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul Sunday program on OWN TV. He has published 12 books and recorded six audio projects. A cancer survivor, Nepo writes and teaches about the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. His recent book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, won the Books for A Better Life Award.
In this inspiring heart-to-heart discussion, Mark dialogues with bestselling author and consciousness pioneer Elizabeth Lesser about her own education in love and mortality during her sister’s cancer journey.
Elizabeth Lesser is the co-founder and senior adviser of the Omega Institute, the largest adult education center in the United States, focusing on health, wellness, spirituality and creativity. For more than 30 years, Elizabeth has studied and worked with leading figures in the fields of healing, spiritual development and cultural change. She is the author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow and A Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure.
In this eye-opening interview, Mark talks to award-winning author and teacher Roger Housden about how to drop the struggles in our lives — in writing and elsewhere — and transform conflict, self-punishment and competition into joy and commitment in creative and spiritual life.
Roger Housden, a native of Bath, England, immigrated to the United States in 1998. He calls himself a lifelong student of the beauty of the word. He is the author of several works of nonfiction, including the Ten Poems series of reflections on poetry. He gives occasional public recitals of ecstatic poetry from the world’s great literary and spiritual traditions and has led contemplative journeys in the Sahara Desert, India, and the United States.
In this penetrating conversation, Mark talks to memoirist and mystic scholar Mirabai Starr about her personal journey toward surrender and unexpected wisdom while writing her memoir, Story of a Soul, about her relationship with a missing child.
Mirabai Starr writes creative nonfiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She taught Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years and now teaches and speaks internationally on contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialogue. A certified bereavement counselor, Mirabai helps mourners harness the transformational power of loss. She has received critical acclaim for her revolutionary new translations of the mystics. She is author of the poetry collection, Mother of God Similar to Fire, a collaboration with iconographer William Hart McNichols, and the award-winning book, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Her newest book, Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, received the Spirituality & Practice “Best Books of 2015” award. She lives with her extended family in the mountains of northern New Mexico.
Mark Matousek is a masterful teacher. Being able to ask questions and listen as he answered others and worked with others in the class inspired so many insights in me as well. I am writing more and I know myself so much more deeply than ever before.
— Charlotte Ciraulo, Los Angeles, California
Mark brings the power of his life story to his work. He has lived through profoundly disturbing experiences and has used these to bring forth a rare strength and insight into the human condition. His teaching comes from a place of life experience, unmitigated dedication to seeking his own truth, and a heartfelt commitment to sharing the fruits of his journey.
— Stella, North Carolina
I have enjoyed the course and found it stimulating and growthful. Participation in the program has returned me to a practice of daily writing which I find highly beneficial... As well as the benefits I have gained, I would recommend the course for the excellence of the content, the graciousness of the presenters, and the positive effect of being held in a structure for the duration of the course...
— Frances McDonnell, Dublin, Ireland
Mark’s an amazing teacher, always teaching in a powerful way with a big heart and a true gift of listening to his students and offering his insights and wisdom in a profound way.
— Judy, Ashland, Oregon
[This course] should be a foundation course for truth seekers. The inciteful exploration is a rite of passage for writers; the outcomes will be life-changing as it was for me.
Mark is so knowledgeable; being in his class was exceptionally empowering... so many aha moments of inspiration you’ll receive, just by being open to listening. There were many gems and gold contained in these classes...
I felt knots untying inside. I could breathe easier... I have been surprised by aspects of myself that I was not aware of, both positive and negative. I find myself saying what I truly think, things that I did not have the courage to say, and these are kind things!
— Beverley Manley, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
The course gave me a reason and inspiration to try writing again. I hadn’t written for some time and it’s starting to come back to me! Thanks, Mark!
... I highly recommend this course to seekers and writers who appreciate the connections inside us to the Universal experience and to the deeply personal journeys we are all on. Muchísimas gracias. Bravo!
— Rosa Morales, Saginaw, Michigan
This is a great course — worth every minute of it. Loaded with ways to deepen one’s writing and understanding or self.
— Annette Erickson, Alberta, Canada
Mark is extraordinary. I simply loved this course. Thanks!
— Rocio, Bogota, Colombia
Writing to Awaken not only offers some of the most advanced online teachings currently available, it’s also a thriving global community of learning and practice.
Join your fellow students and practitioners from across the world in the live interactive conference calls or in our online community to support and learn from each other while you deepen your spiritual development through writing.
This international community is also at the leading edge of a global movement of people who are committed to manifesting a better world for all beings. This emerging planetary movement is rooted in an open heart, and stands for the principles of mutual support, cooperation, harmony and reverence for all of life.
Seven 90-minute Class Sessions With Mark Matousek
Experience a rare opportunity to be mentored and learn with renowned author and writing teacher Mark Matousek — from the comfort of your own home. Each class session guides you to learn the specific skills and abilities to awaken your spiritual potential. Course sessions are on Wednesdays at Noon Pacific.
Seven Audio Recordings of Class Sessions
After each class, the audio will be available for you to download in high-quality MP3 format. You’ll never have to worry about missing a session, and you can listen anytime and anywhere — on any connected device and at your convenience.
Seven PDF Transcripts of Class Sessions
In addition to the high-quality MP3 audios, you’ll also receive the entire class transcription in PDF format after each session is completed. You can then review, print and highlight the most important insights and practices you were given.
Seven 30-Minute Interactive Group Practice Sessions
With live class attendance, there will be a 30-minute optional interactive practice session directly following each class. You’ll be placed in an intimate group with several other participants on the conference call to interact, share and do additional practices to help further integrate the weekly lessons. If you’re unable to attend the calls live, the Online Community group allows you to connect with each other to find alternative times to interact.
Interactive Exercises and Questions for Each Lesson
After each lesson, you’ll have the option of completing related exercises, practice new tools and answer questions in order to accelerate your learning and integrate each week’s lesson.
Our exclusive Facebook online community is the perfect place to continue your discovery process after each class. Here, you can ask additional questions, interact with your fellow students, and get access to additional resources to take your exploration to an even deeper level.
The Writing to Awaken Bonus Collection
We feel honored that Mark Matousek has chosen to partner with The Shift Network on this exclusive LIVE online training. This is a rare opportunity to learn directly from a bestselling author, teacher and expert in the art of personal awakening through writing.
Through this powerful online format, you’ll not only save time and money on workshop costs (plus travel, accommodations and meals — which would cost thousands of dollars). You’ll also benefit from Mark and his guest’s incredible teachings and exercises, from the comfort of your home — at your own pace!
If you’re serious about discovering how to use writing as a means for awakening and personal transformation, then you owe it to yourself, your loved ones — and our world — to take this one-of-a-kind training.
If you’re ready to take the next step in evolving yourself, click the register button below to reserve your space now.
Mark Matousek’s writing instruction is transformative. His classes will change the ways in which you examine your life, and how you think about yourself as a writer. He approaches your work with a deep sense of empathy, allowing him to help you tell your story in your voice... No matter what stage of the process you are at, time spent with Mark will yield extraordinary results.
— Libuse Binder, Author of Ten Ways to Change the World in Your Twenties
Mark Matousek is a truly gifted writing coach. With an interviewer’s ear, he listens deeply and hears what people have to say. With the determination of a midwife, he helps them give birth to themselves through their words. As my “book whisperer,” he is showing me that writing is truly a spiritual path, leading not only to publication but personal transformation. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from him!
— Gwenyth Jackaway, PhD, Associate Professor, Fordham University
The writing course I took with Mark Matousek was an amazing journey into the soul of each who took it. We found we were able to trust each other, thanks in large part to Mark starting our first class with the words; "You’re all here for a reason, even though you may not know what that reason is." Over the course of just a handful of short sessions, I’ve come to realize that not only was I there for a reason, but that this reason was more important to my wellbeing and self-understanding than I could have possibly fathomed when I first signed on for this class... I am deeply grateful for the experience.
— Brian Carr, President, Solid Threads
Mark is more of a midwife than a teacher. In addition to his innate grasp of and experience with storytelling, what makes Mark so great to work with is his very present presence — it’s what allows me to access what I’ve got to share. I’ve been meeting regularly with him for the past six months for help on the story I am writing and the process is so enjoyable I’d rather it not end.
— Jeannie Demers, Freelance Writer
Mark Matousek serves as a master guide throughout the journey of this course. There are no fancy frills or so-called spiritual platitudes in the content. Rather, there’s a starkness, a rawness and a realized truth to what he is saying. You can sense Mark’s honesty and integrity, which is compelling and which gradually seeps into one’s own consciousness in such a way that you find yourself responding in like manner...
— Jeanette Meyer, Atlanta, Georgia
This course was administered seamlessly and provided very valuable content and guidance. Mark was a rich source of inspiration and I would be interested in taking further courses with him and with other faculty in The Shift Network. Thanks so much!
— Nikki, Santa Rosa, California
Mark is an immediately personal speaker — and personable, knowledgeable and genuinely caring. He has walked the talk for years. If you need to dive deeper into your own unknown, this course offers ample opportunity — and Mark is a safe guide.
— Susan, Houston, Texas
Mark is very astute in being able to make subtle distinctions between concepts that we just throw around with ease. For example, his expose on goals versus intentions was so helpful. His insights about the nature of forgiveness — what it is and what it isn’t. The course is full of those — which helps create clarity in the heart. I really enjoyed the course and will look forward to relistening to the materials and reading the worksheets.
— Dr. Paula Petry, Miami, Florida
Mark Matousek is an outstandingly powerful communicator of life changing ways to get into one’s own personal power. His course was one of the very best I have ever taken part in. It is the True Gold for anyone seeking breakthrough from whatever negatives are holding them back from delivering their “Boon for the Tribe.”
— Peter Owen, England, United Kingdom
Mark Matousek’s work is deeply profound and wise. I feel that all that he shared was poignant and significant to shedding light on the spiritual path. I benefited tremendously in having participated in this course. I have acquired greater courage for continuing on my path to enlightenment and higher consciousness.
— Francesca Castellano
Mark Matousek is a bestselling author, teacher and speaker whose work focuses on personal awakening and creative excellence through self-inquiry and life writing. He’s an award-winning author of five books, has worked with Sogyal Rimpoche on The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and collaborated with Andrew Harvey on Dialogues with a Modern Mystic. His first book, published in 1996, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story, became an international bestseller that was published in 10 countries and nominated for two Books for a Better Life awards.
A featured blogger for Psychology Today, Purple Clover andHuffington Post, he has contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine (contributing editor), The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Yoga Journal, Details, The Saturday Evening Post, AARP, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and many others.
Mark, who is on the faculty of the Omega Institute and The New York Open Center, teaches transformational writing workshops around the U.S., Europe, and Australia and is the Creative Director of V-Men (with Eve Ensler), an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls.
He brings three decades of experience as a memoirist, editor, interviewer, survivor, activist and spiritual seeker to his penetrating and thought-provoking work with students. His workshops, classes and mentoring have inspired thousands of people around the world to reach their artistic and personal goals and transform their lives.
Q: What is a virtual course?
A: It’s a great way to engage live teachings and each other from the comfort of your home! All you need is a phone line (or an equivalent voice service). If there is more than one person in your household taking the course, you will each need your own line. We use MaestroConference to make it just like an in-person event, where you can ask questions, participate in groups, and deepen your exploration of the course themes.
Please note that dialing MaestroConference from your phone is a regular toll call to California; your telephone service provider will charge you according to your existing long-distance calling plan. Other options include calling cards and discount long-distance carriers. You can also use Skype to connect to MaestroConference at no charge, and we offer a webcast which is free to use from anywhere in the world.
I have never participated before in an online course. The packaging, presentation, inclusion and Facebook postings created a wonderful, safe cocoon to participate. I haven’t seen a course so well put together ever — not in all the years of taking college classes — and I had my doubts about doing an online course. The wealth of organization and ease of learning materials and support made this fun as well.
– Claudia F., Medford, MA
Q: Can I get benefit from the course if I miss the live classes?
A: Absolutely! You can download the recordings and transcripts of all course sessions from our online media archive, so you never need to worry about missing live calls. You can also engage the full community and leaders on our private community website.
Q: Can you tell me about the Private Course Group?
A: We will have a private community group for all course participants on Facebook that will support you in making connections with others, sharing insights, engaging in discussions, completing homework assignments and exchanging information about events and other activities that can supplement your transformational journey. You’ll have the ability to share your experiences, projects and growth throughout the Course.
Q: Are there scholarships available for this Training?
A: Yes, we always make a certain percentage of spaces available for partial scholarships, giving preference to those in developing countries or doing important but underpaid work to which they can apply the training material immediately. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please review our guidelines, which include a link to our online application form.
Q: What is your refund policy?
A: Your satisfaction with The Shift Network and this course is our highest priority! We offer a satisfaction guarantee so that you can sample the course risk-free. The deadline to receive a full refund is March 22nd, 2017. To request a refund, please click on this refund request form and submit your request. Your refund will be processed within five business days and we’ll send you an email confirming your refund. However, we’d love to have a chance to address and resolve your concerns first. If there is something we can assist you with, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help! (No refund requests accepted after the above date or with scholarship awards.)
Q: How can I reach Customer Support?
A: Please visit our Customer Support Center, where you should be able to find the answer to your question or the solution to a problem. And if you can’t, you can submit an online request form and we’ll get right back to you.