Waking Up to Your Life

A Path to Deeper Awareness and a More Joyful Life

Waking Up Badge

January 15 – April 8, 2017

You know that having a contemplative practice is vitally important
to support the long-term transformation you seek in your life.

you’ve struggled to stick to a regular meditation schedule,
or you can’t seem to find a practice that feels right for you.

Waking Up to Your Life is an online program and learning community
that supports you to establish or deepen a contemplative practice.
This practice can provide you with a solid foundation for healthier relationships,
more fulfilling work, and deeper engagement with our world.

suebrooks“‘Waking Up’ provided me with the structure to start and, most importantly, continue a meditation practice. I believe the program has enabled me to move through a difficult transition in my life with calmness and openness.”
~Sue Brooks
With a community of kindred spirits, you’ll embark on a journey that includes:
  • exploring different kinds of contemplative practices (such as meditation, yoga, creativity, and more) and understanding how they can support you
  • support in discovering a practice that resonates with you
  • learning how to create the conditions that will support consistency in your practice
  • encouragement when you reach those inevitable ‘stuck’ points
  • guidance in creating a personal retreat day for yourself
  • mentoring in how to harvest the insights of your practice and integrate them into your life

If you’ve been seeking more guidance and accountability for your spiritual journey,
Waking Up to Your Life may be just what you’ve been looking for.


How the Program Works

You can be part of the journey no matter where you live in the world!

For 12 weeks, starting January 15, 2017, we will create a supportive community that will help you to establish or deepen your practice.

Program material is delivered through a combination of e-books and online videos, group conference calls, weekly email messages, a private Facebook group, and for those who choose the Core PLUS option, individual phone calls and emails.

What We’ll Cover:

Black_bold_spiral.svg Module I: Preparing the Ground (two weeks)
This module will help you to create the conditions that support a consistent contemplative practice in your life. During these two weeks we’ll focus on: 1) clarifying your intention and 2) creating physical space and time for your practice.

Black_bold_spiral.svg Module II: Planting Seeds of Stability (two weeks)
This module will help you explore ways of slowing down, pausing, and settling. During these two weeks we’ll focus on: 1) how to begin a sitting meditation practice, 2) how to maintain a sitting meditation practice, and 3) how to work with your monkey mind.

Black_bold_spiral.svg Module III: Branching Out (four weeks)
In this module you will be exploring the many possibilities of contemplative practice; a tapas of practices! Our hope is that through this exploration you will discover your own path and what works for you. We’ll use the “Tree of Contemplative Practices” (created by Maia) as a key tool for this exploration.

Black_bold_spiral.svg Module IV: Nurturing and Cultivating (four weeks)
Meditation is not just about sitting on the cushion each day for a few minutes. It’s important to continuously engage in your practice, especially when facing difficult circumstances in your life. This module focuses on the integration of practice into daily life. During this last month of the program, we’ll explore how to take your practice “off the cushion,” how to apply insights that are emerging from your practice to your relationships, work, creativity, and more.

martha2“‘Waking Up to Your Life’ is a life-changer, in the most gentle way!”
~Martha Bouchier, Toronto, Canada


Ready to Sign Up?


Registration for the Winter 2017 Waking Up to Your Life is now closed.

If you’d like us to let you know when we’re offering the program again, please sign up for this list:



What’s Included?

There are two versions of the program:

All program materials and group conference calls  (see chart below for full details)

Registration fee: $149


Core PLUS Individual Support:
All program materials and group conference calls PLUS
3 individual support calls with Katya or Maia
and private email access (see chart below for full details)

Registration fee: $279


 What You’ll Receive… Core Core PLUS
Waking Up to Your Life Study and Practice Guide (e-book) checkmark check-mark-3-orange
Welcome and orientation conference call checkmark check-mark-3-orange
Monthly group calls to check in and receive support from Katya and Maia (calls are recorded so you can access them at a time that’s convenient for you if you’re not able to attend live) checkmark check-mark-3-orange
Weekly email prompts from us with encouragement and ‘homework’ (of the best kind!) checkmark check-mark-3-orange
Video lessons on meditation and other kinds of contemplative practices checkmark check-mark-3-orange
Access to a private Facebook page where you can check in with our community for encouragement and support checkmark check-mark-3-orange
Access to a password-protected webpage with program materials checkmark check-mark-3-orange
3 individual 45-minute phone or Skype check-in calls with Katya or Maia (one for each month of the program) check-mark-3-orange
Private email access to Katya and Maia so you can ask questions about your practice and receive extra support during the program check-mark-3-orange
One-time option to repeat the program so you can continue to deepen your practice checkmark check-mark-3-orange
 Registration fee   $149


Raves from Past Participants



“Our time together has opened so many things: a new relationship with my practice where it is less an obligation and more a gift to myself; a wonderful new way to look at contemplation; permission to bring art to practice without judgment or perfection. Deep bows to you all, beloved community and beloved teachers.”

~Stefanie Harvey

john“Having a virtual sangha helped me become more accountable and structured in my practice. It was very helpful to have Maia and Katya for questions and discussion of different approaches. I am again being very regular in my practice, which is helping me with maintaining a positive life outlook as well as improving my sleep pattern.”

~John Eden


jill“Maia and Katya, thank you for all the encouragement. I really appreciated the readings and the activities. I now have a solid morning meditation practice (four months and counting) and the support this course gave me was wonderful.”

~Jill Kelly

sam“Because of ‘Waking Up to Your Life,’ I have established a rhythm in my home practice and have been able to tune in more acutely to my heart’s desires. The program encourages connectivity, allows space for the participant to move along at their own pace, and nurtures what practice really is and can become.”

~Sam Snidal


Your Guides

maiaduerrgenevieverussell-8202Maia Duerr

Maia is a longtime meditation practitioner, writer, and teacher. From her work with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, she created the “Tree of Contemplative Practices,” a tool that has helped thousands of people find the practice that works best for them. Maia was the director of the Chaplaincy Training Program at Upaya Zen Center from 2008 to 2014, and received ordination as a lay chaplain from Roshi Joan Halifax in 2012. She is currently preparing to receive entrustment as a lay dharma teacher from her teacher, Victoria Shosan Austin. Maia takes great joy in supporting people in their spiritual journeys, as well as creating transformative learning experiences.


katyaKatya Lesher, LCSW

As an artist and social worker, Katya has facilitated workshops integrating creative arts into healing opportunities for children and adults. She is deeply inspired by the creative process and sees it as an exploration of one’s inner landscape and a way of discovering what is true. Katya has worked in hospice, providing end of life support as well as bereavement support after the death of a loved one. With a strong foundation in meditation practice, Katya faithfully listens to the inner calling of her life’s purpose and the importance of living with intention and awareness. She continues to explore opportunities that will nourish and support healing on many levels. Learn more about Katya’s work on her website: www.pausingturtle.com.


Frequently Asked Questions


How much time should I plan on spending on “Waking Up”?

It can really be as much or as little time as you want to spend! At minimum, we would suggest that you set aside one hour each week to read the weekly emails and complete the “experiences” included in them, and to participate at least once a week in the private Facebook group. The heart of the program is your own meditation practice. We emphasize consistency, so we recommend that you commit to your meditation practice at least 10 minutes a day through the duration of the program.


I’m not sure if an online course would work for me. Can you tell me more?

Great question. The beauty of online programs is that they allow you to participate without any constraints in the realm of time or geographical location. You can work on the modules in “Waking Up” in the middle of the night in your pajamas in Auckland, New Zealand, if that works for you.

We have designed this program so that there are multiple ways for you to connect with us and other participants: the program e-book which you can download and print for reference, weekly emails, social media (a private Facebook group), live and recorded group conference calls, and individual phone or video calls for those who enroll in the Core PLUS version of the program.

From our past experiences, these diverse modalities create many ways to engage and give you freedom to choose the pace that feel best for you. As one of our past participants said, “I appreciated the blend of asynchronous and synchronous formats… it seemed to provide freedom while also providing structure.” Another called it “structure that breathes!”

However, online programs are not everyone’s cup of tea. If you don’t like to spend time on a computer, if you find any kind of technology very frustrating, if you connect best in person and only in person – these are indicators that this may not be the right choice for you. It also helps if you are fairly self-motivated and feel ready to prioritize this program in your life for three months. We do provide a lot of structure but it’s up to you how you integrate the program content into your life.

I would love to do this but I can’t afford it. Do you offer any scholarships?

We are committed to making this program accessible to everyone who has a sincere desire to start or deepen a contemplative practice. The registration fee we have set allows us to cover the expenses involved in offering this program, which include several internet services, and also supports both of our livelihoods in a very modest way. We have reserved a limited number of partial scholarship spots for the Core version of the program. If you are not able to afford the full fee, please apply for the program and let us know that you are interested in learning more about scholarship options.


Do you have other questions that would help you decide if “Waking Up” is right for you? Please contact maia [at] maiaduerr [dot] com … I’m happy to explore this with you.