Becoming a Light Unto Yourself: The Life-Changing Power of Hope

Becoming a Light Unto Yourself: The Life-Changing Power of Hope

Thursday, January 4, 2024 - 18:00 to Thursday, January 25, 2024 - 19:30
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A Four-Week Writing to Awaken Course

Hope is a natural resource that requires cultivation in challenging times. As humans, we have a unique capacity to transform hopelessness through ingenuity and imagination and to brighten our lives with the power of insight.

In this transformative four-week course, Mark guides you through a series of Writing to Awaken practices aimed at catalyzing the spirit of hope within you. Shifting your perspective on personal experience - including fearful predictions about the future – helps to release vital optimism and move you from victimhood toward self-empowerment. You are elevated by “the thing with feathers,” as Emily Dickinson described hope, and your innate ability to imagine fresh outcomes.

Mark begins each session with a 15-minute talk about the week’s topic, followed by two 25-minute guided writing exercises, optional breakout groups, and Q&A.  Known for his provocative work with students, Mark brings decades of experience as a writer and mentor to his Writing to Awaken courses, creating an atmosphere of gentle, mutual support and inquiry. Writing to Awaken has helped countless people around the world to reach their creative and spiritual goals.


In this course, you will learn:

  • To identify the positive potential in difficult life experiences
  • To discern the connection between curiosity and resilience
  • To cultivate fact-based optimism in challenging times
  • To recognize how rumination interferes with flourishing
  • To avoid the negativity bias and temptations of pessimism
  • To cultivate hope through imagination

Week One: Now is Not Forever

In this first session, we explore how the fixation on past and future sabotage well-being, and the importance of present-moment awareness to a wise, insight-driven life.

Week Two: Action and Surrender

In our second session, we investigate the link between hope and confidence, and how spiritual surrender increases personal power. Developing ‘beginner's mind’ is a critical aspect of positive living.

Week Three: How Optimism Works

Our attention is turned in this third session to the myths surrounding optimism and the traps of toxic positivity. By aligning yourself with the ways of nature, you increase hope and creative thinking.

Week Four: Leave Nothing Out

Hope and ‘realism’ are not counter-indicated, as we learn in this final session. For hope to be helpful, it must be fact-based and allow space for our fears when they arise. This helps to illuminate our actions and become agents of positive change in the world.

This illuminating series will strengthen your capacity for hope, and provide tools for an awakened, productive, and original life.


Replays will be provided for all sessions


"Mark is a masterful and loving guide: his wisdom teachings and brilliantly conceived questions will enable you to dissolve the coverings and open to life-changing truth.

You don’t need skill in writing to partake; all that’s required is the longing to awaken your heart.”

- Tara Brach


About the speaker, Mark Matousek

Mark Matousek, M.A., is an award-winning author, teacher, and speaker whose work focuses on transformative writing for personal, professional, and spiritual development. He is the founder of, an online community for writing and self-inquiry, as well as the author of eight books including How Emerson Can Change Your Life: Lessons From an American Stoic, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story,  When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living, Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life, , and Writing To Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery. 

A featured blogger for, he has contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including the New Yorker, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, The Chicago Tribune, O: The Oprah Magazine, and many others.  A MacDowell Fellow and graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, he offers workshops in self-inquiry and personal development internationally, using his Writing To Awaken method. Mark lives in Springs, New York. 


Livestream commences each session
Livestream ends each session