New Video: The Situation and the Story

imgresI enjoyed doing this video interview with Zaya Benazzo in San Francisco.  She asked me to talk about the difference between situation and story when writing memoir, and why it’s so important to connect the dots — to find the deep story — in order to touch on the universal.  “If you go profoundly enough and truthfully enough into your deep experience it does become the human experience,” I told her.  Situation is journalism, story has the beginnings of art. Watch the video here.

Online Class Schedule for 2015

Writing-as-a-Spiritual-PracticeI’m looking forward to this year’s online classes, the first of which — “Writing As A Spiritual Practice” — begins on Feb. 16! These courses are divided into two, complementary groups, memoir writing and self-inquiry, and available individually or at special series rates.  I love teaching these six- and nine-week courses, which attract students from around the world who are drawn to writing as a path of self-discovery and creative excellence.  Have a look at this year’s exciting offerings.  Hope to see you online soon!

Practicing Real Happiness: A Conversation With Sharon Salzberg

imgres-1It was wonderful to talk to Sharon Salzberg, the renowned meditation teacher and bestselling author, about her new book series on Real Happiness.  I’ve known Sharon for 20 years and she is one of the most intelligent, kind hearted people ever (no surprise that a past book is titled A Heart As Wide As the World).  Here, we discuss what Sharon believes is “a serious need to redefine what people think of as happiness,” and how it feels to a pioneer in the mindfulness revolution sweeping the country.
Listen to a Conversation with Sharon Salzberg

“What’s Your Story?” Just Released

whats-your-story-fullsize I’m excited to announce that BetterListen! has just released my brand new, seven-part audio course called “What’s Your Story?: Discover Who You Are and What You Want Through the Power of Personal Writing,” as well as fifteen individual Seekers Forum Talks. They are offering one of these talks, “Awakening Genius,” for free in the month of October as well as a 30% discount on all items as part of the launch. Use this welcome code (markm30) and check out the catalogue at

The Art of Surrender

imagesSurrender has long been a dirty word in a culture steeped in do-or-die machismo, in which giving in — even when fighting is useless — is often seen as giving up. Yet most of the things that truly matter — love, art, awakening, service — require significant leaps of surrender. Here’s my column from this month’s Contemplative Journal.

“Writing Awake” at The Esalen Institute

IMG_1493-1 The “Writing Awake” workshop at Esalen this past weekend was wonderful. What a great group of people, remarkable stories, powerful writing, enormous candor, laughter, and insights. The Esalen campus is magnificent and a perfect backdrop for creative work. Our last morning there, we watched a pod of humpback whale mothers and their calves feeding in the ocean below. An awesome sight for all. Thank you to the 34 participants in this memorable workshop. Hope to see you again next year!