What if I'm not a joyful person?
The word "joy" may be a stretch for some. Perhaps you can’t imagine yourself skipping through a meadow with childlike exuberance. Don’t worry. Truly happy people are not happy all the time. They feel sad and angry and have the whole range of human emotions. We’re not talking about having a syrupy facade or being in denial. What we’re calling joy is a general feeling of aliveness and well-being that is characterized by engagement with life, meeting its ups and downs with authenticity and perspective. It can look very different from person to person, from a quiet sense of contentment to bubbly enthusiasm. That will be one of your discoveries—identifying how joy expresses itself uniquely through you.
How does it work?
Awakening Joy is a five-month course with ten themes, one presented every two weeks. We post video and audio recordings of the live Zoom session about 48 hours after it takes place. We also post a practice letter with suggestions for at-home study and practice for each theme. Every time we post materials you will be notified. Then you can sign on and watch/listen/read at your leisure until the end of December.
What are the DATES for the LIVE Sessions?
The top menu includes a link to the course schedule, which lists the dates and themes for the live Zoom sessions. The materials for each session/theme are posted to the website about 48 hours later. You have until the end of the year to work with the materials.
What is the time commitment / requirement for this course?
People's time commitment varies tremendously in this class. There’s no guilt or pressure; it should be done as a nourishing experience. There are some people who attend or watch a class recording and do little else. Others may read a chapter, attend a class, read the letters and engage in the practices, which could mean taking some time each day for meditation/relaxation, singing, exercising, etc. Fully utilizing the program in this way supports participants in getting the most out of class because they are learning and practicing new ways to live. Even for busy folks who only dip into the material, the methods can still be quite powerful and effective.
What if I have limited extra time to do the coursework?
Although the idea of cultivating more joy is meant to be an uplifting experience, it takes genuine intention to develop new habits that begin to naturally incline the mind that way. The more you put into the course, the more you will get out of it. However, you can do it to whatever extent you are able. We have enough responsibilities to make us feel guilty as it is. Joy does not follow from guilt. You will be encouraged to do whatever practices we are focusing on in a way that works for you.
Why take the course if there's a book?
The course brings the book to life. People are given the opportunity to work through the book, relating it to their own life situations and to real time world situations with the author himself. The course gives tremendous support by creating a community (joy groups, practice partners, online material), so that the participant can experience Awakening Joy fully. Also, since the course is 5 months long, it slows down the experiential practice of Awakening Joy, allowing a deepening of understanding and a development of ongoing happiness practices.
How will doing the course help with anxiety or fear when they arise?
When we’re feeling anxious or fearful about how things are going, practicing the 10 steps together will help create a container to hold all the challenging emotions and circumstances we face. Whether you’re enjoying life to the fullest or going through a difficult period, the practices will help you be more connected to yourself, allowing you to go through life’s ups and downs with greater appreciation, resilience, and aliveness.
With these times of uncertainty and anxiety for many, Is it appropriate to focus on joy?
James believes, more than ever, that at this time we need to stay in touch with all the good inside and around us. Our own joy and inner peace becomes a reminder to others to appreciate all the good in life and, by doing so, to bring more consciousness and caring into the world.
My budget is limited. Do you have scholarships?
Yes, we have scholarships available for people who are taking the course. We don't want finances to get in the way. Please see the tuition options and email us if they don’t work for you.