“The Awakening Joy course has provided me with greater insight into myself. I love applying all the practices we learned to my everyday life. I’m feeling more rounded and empowered.” — Jocelyn, 2019 Awakening Joy course participant
True happiness is not about acquiring things, it’s about opening yourself up to the natural joy and aliveness that exists inside you!
Today, as we are bombarded with messages that heighten our fear and sadness about the world, it’s more vital than ever to understand the importance of joy as a central aspect of spiritual practice. We need to remember how to stay connected to that place inside us that makes life worth living. Our own cultivation of wellbeing and joy can become our gift to a troubled world.
Awakening Joy was developed by James Baraz in the US. Since it was launched in 2003, thousands of people around the world have completed the course. Presented in a user-friendly way, the course teaches basic principles and supportive practices for you to develop your natural capacity for wellbeing and happiness. Techniques include developing gratitude, learning to love yourself, opening up to the hard stuff as a path to joy, and finding joy in the happiness of others.
Michelle runs Awakening Joy courses in Brunswick East, an inner-north suburb of Melbourne. The course includes nine face-to-face (fortnightly) group sessions.
The next Awakening Joy course is scheduled to commence 4 February 2021. Fortnightly sessions will be held on Thursdays at 7pm-9pm in Brunswick East. Book now for the early bird price of $250!
“Learning from Michelle and the Awakening Joy resources has been a wonderful journey for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each theme, and each session had a great balance of discussion and practice. I look forward to implementing my new practices into everyday life.” Jess, 2020 course participant
Awakening Joy sessions focus on the following themes:
- Intention: Intention supports you to incline your mind towards a particular vision (e.g. happiness) and make a heartfelt decision to do what you can to bring it about.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different. Through mindfulness you learn to enjoy pleasant experiences without holding on when they change, and to sit with unpleasant experiences without fearing they will always be this way.
- Gratitude: Gratitude helps expand the mind as well as the heart. With a grateful heart you will have more space to hold the difficulties you encounter. Gratitude is a way of saying YES to life and seeing the positives, as well as dealing with the things that need your attention.
- Finding joy in difficult times: Opening to the possibility of improving your wellbeing includes learning to be with the difficult times without increasing your aversion to whatever you may be going through.
- Integrity: By cultivating integrity you can listen mindfully and clearly to your internal moral compass, and realise that the more you follow it, the happier you will be.
- The joy of letting go: Letting go is a natural continuation of the practice of integrity. Integrity involves a quality of restraint in which you will practice letting go of acting on impulses that might cause harm. You will be supported to further develop an attitude of wise letting go by applying it to various areas of your life and noticing the feeling of wellbeing that accompanies it when you do.
- Learning to love ourselves: Loving yourself follows naturally from the letting go theme because when you let go of the stories of who you think you are, you see that you are truly lovable and worthy of love.
- The joy of loving others: The common denominators of joy are authenticity and connection. Connection is the antidote of isolation, fear and loneliness. It leads directly to the feeling of aliveness, which is a basic ingredient of joy.
- Compassion and the joy of being: Learn to bring mindful attention to the wholesome feeling of compassion in your heart – and let it register in your consciousness as a way to deepen your wellbeing. The joy of simply being is also a way to access the inner peace you are looking for. In this theme we switch from doing to simply being. We completely stop trying and let ourselves fully rest and simply receive the moment.
“Michelle allowed for individual sharing amongst the group, then elaborated on these experiences to reflect the intent of the fortnight’s practice.” Glenn, 2019 course participant