TLA Right Livelihood Professional Training

From Your Callings and Passions to Your Work and Community

June 7 - October 12, 2018
with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Laura Packer

            with special guest teachers Harriet Lerner, Charles Eisenstein, Gregg Levoy, Patti Digh, Jennifer Cross, Rob Peck, Jose Faus, Donna Washington, Kelley Hunt, Priscilla Howe

Receive the free Right Livelihood Ten Top Ten Series

Enroll in a Life & Livelihood Small Group Coaching Session With Laura & Caryn

Listen to a podcast with Laura and Caryn about the training here, or watch a video here.

"There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."                ~Nelson Mandela

Make your own path.Follow your passion, earn a living, and serve your community by discovering and manifesting your Transformative Language Arts (TLA) work. Your work as a writer, storyteller, performer, educator, coach, facilitator, consultant or healer not only can fulfill you, but it can help others find and amplify the voices and visions so needed to address the challenges facing our communities, culture, and planet. Guided by Right Livelihood -- the Buddhist term for doing work that serves your calling and community -- and working with experienced teachers, and participants as committed as you are, you’ll unearth and develop best practices for meaningful and ethical paid work and community service in this visionary training.

Unlike cookie-cutter career programs, this training guides you toward what constellation of vocation works best for you and your community now, and when the path meanders, whether you’re leaping into a new career or form of service or developing your new work while keeping your current job. Along the way, you’ll create a sustainable marketing plan, explore funding and partnership opportunities, practice ongoing self-care, and find community support through fellow practitioners and mentors.

This 110-hour training begins with a long weekend workshop June 7-10 at Unity Village in Kansas City, MO., and continues June - September with online study and community support, video conferences with entrepreneurs and leaders in the field, and individual consultations with Laura and Caryn, all culminating in a final session (you can attend in person or via video-conferencing) October12, 2018. Upon completion you’ll be granted a certificate, presented at the Power of Words conference at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont Oct. 12-14, 2018 (or if you're not able to join us for the conference, sent to you afterwards). The training also includes special discounts on and a toolkit of resources for planning, marketing, further training, and next steps. Read an interview with Laura Packer and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg from Chrysalis: A Journal of Transformative Language Arts.


  • Your Callings for Right Livelihood: Explore and amplify your callings to find and develop your most authentic work that serves you, your community, and helps realize your dreams.

  • The Big Picture: Transformative language artists, who understand the power of myths and messages contained in stories, are in a unique position to help our communities challenge and change the old stories of how we see ourselves and are seen in workplaces, social institutions, and civil life. We'll look at how your work speaks to the needs of those around you to create and live new stories that help change the world.

  • Ethics and Values Inherent to Your Work: Guide yourself and your work by the light of your most sacred and intrinsic beliefs and concerns.

  • Your Sustainable and Strategic Business Plan: Map, dream, write, and revise a short-term and long-term business plan that sustains you in continually developing your work. Following a step-by-step process, identify what you have to offer, how to reach your audience and interface with your community, and ways to grow your work over time.

  • Resilience, Self-Care, and Community On the Journey: Resilient people achieve their goals. Expand your ability to bounce back when things don’t turn out as planned, uncover opportunity in adversity, and find greater support through self-care practices and relationships.

  • Revise Your Work Story: Untangle myths and misconceptions about self-employment, including imposter syndrome, entitlement issues, and the myth of the starving artist, then craft a new story based on your right to do the work you love.

  • Connecting with Community Groups, Businesses and Institutions: Learn how to make initial contacts, follow-up on connections and opportunities, pitch your work effectively, and nurture healthy work relationships.

  • Talking About Your Work: Increase your confidence when you write or talk about your work through developing elevator pitches and other talking points for various audiences.

  • Ethical and Soulful Marketing and Authentic Branding: Craft a marketing plan that reflects your values and goals, and learn how to implement this plan, from social networking to printed material to word-of-mouth generation. Develop brand guidelines and materials that work for you and your potential customers, audiences, or communities.

  • Funding and Revenue Streams: Explore multiple streams of revenue for your work -- including grant-writing, collaboration, fiscal sponsorship, contracting with groups and businesses -- and build the skills and flexibility you need to grow your work over the long term.

  • Integrative Finances: Learn how to set appropriate rates, maintain basic record-keeping, and deal with tax implications from the get-go while addressing  issues about money and worth.

  • Transitioning When You’re Ready: Integrate the work of your heart into your life in balance with income needs, current work, family and community responsibilities, and other obligations and opportunities.

  • When the Path Changes: Our plans sometimes need to pivot on a dime. Explore how to keep to the path when it changes, and hold true to your calling throughout life’s wild curves and sudden bumps.

  • Assessments and Next Steps: Look at future training options, when to take leaps of faith, ongoing research, and opportunities for further outreach, work, and effective assessment to continually learn how to improve what you offer to the world.

Expected Outcomes

By the end of the training, you will have:

  • A clear understanding of your path to Right Livelihood, including what works calls to you, how you will do it, and what resources you will need.

  • A journal full of writing and other arts to develop greater vision of your work and service.

  • An individualized, interactive and strategic business plan with options for change and unfolding opportunities.

  • A preliminary study of the needs of and possibilities to reach your best audiences and populations.

  • Soulful and ethical marketing materials and strategies, including social media presence (Facebook, LinkedIn and other sources), an enhanced or new website (with DIY tools and resources), approaches to enhance word-of-mouth marketing, and written materials to use in brochures, business cards, postcards, or bookmarks.

  • A individually-tailored portfolio to share with prospective organizations and businesses featuring your services and products, experience, approaches, and endorsements.

  • A template of written and edited text on the focus of your work, expected outcomes, populations or audiences serves, who you are and more to use in marketing, grants, and proposals.

  • An effective and authentic elevator speech.

  • An inspiring community and deeply-experienced mentors as you continue down the path of your callings and vocations.

Special Guest Teachers

Learn from luminaries in the field during weekly video conferences with your fellow participants and facilitators. Each week, on a Sunday evening for an hour 8 p.m. EST/ 7 p.m. CST/ 6 p.m. MST/ 5 p.m. PST between June 17 and Aug. 28, the following people (more to be confirmed) will present some of their work, and join us in conversation when you can ask your questions. Scroll down to learn more about our special guests: Harriet Lerner, Charles Eisenstein, Gregg Levoy, Patti Digh, Jen Cross, Kelley Hunt, Jose Faus, Rob Peck, Priscilla Howe, and Donna Washington. Sneak preview: See a SPARKS session, hosted by the TLA Network, featuring Gregg Levoy talking about callings and right livelihood.

Who Would Benefit?

This training is for transformative language artists: writers, storytellers, activists, facilitators, organizers, educators, musicians, artists, health professionals and others who deeply engage with the power of words for changing our world. We specifically envision people who are ready to make the leap into TLA-focused work, whether they plan on leaving their current job or not.

Beyond-the-Beyond Support

You will be linked through a private Facebook group where you can share triumphs and questions, ask for help, and find continuing community beyond the training. We also offer a discount package -- resources, coupons, and special opportunities -- for you to consider as you launch your work, including resources and, in some cases, discounts for:

  • Tool kit of inexpensive sources for DIY websites and blogs, printing and promotional material, head shots and other photography tips.

  • Web and logo design.

  • Accounting and bookkeeping.

  • Audio design and recording.

  • Follow-up coaching sessions and coaching packages with Caryn and Laura available for a special price.


This is a low-residency training, which means you attend an opening weekend workshop in Kansas City, Missouri, then work with peers and the facilitators through a 12-week online class and 10 tele-conference seminars, all through your computer. The training also includes individual consultations with one or each of the facilitators. At the end, we'll have a closing session you can attend either in-person or by video-conferencing at Goddard College in Vermont, right before the Power of Words conference.


Opening Weekend Seminar: Unity Village, Kansas City, Missouri - June 7-10, 2018

We meet at beautiful and accessible Unity Village, a short drive from Kansas City and Kansas City International Airport. Unity Village is set in lush hills and filled with rose gardens, fountains, walking trails, and Mediterranean-style award-winning architecture. The Unity Village hotel promotes environmental stewardship, and is among the first “green” hotels in the U.S. Visitors find Unity Village to be an exceptional yet affordable retreat center. Our opening weekend begins 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, and continues until our closing circle, ending 11:30 a.m., Sun., June 10, and consists of group workshops, discussions, and discoveries interspersed with individual consultations and homework to further develop your future work and the pathways toward it.

Work Together Mid-June to Mid-October: Online June 13 - Sept. 18, 2018

For 12 weeks, you’ll work with peers, facilitator-mentors, and on your own through a weekly interactive online class, and ten video-conferencing meetings (to be scheduled during the opening weekend). The online class will introduce you weekly to new lessons; relevant writing and research exercises to develop your livelihood holistically and comprehensively; and ample interaction with peers and facilitator-mentors, who will share feedback, offer thoughtful questions, ideas, and observations along the way. Our video conference guests include leaders in Transformative Language Arts, sustaining yourself as a working artist, self-care, marketing, resilience, social justice, and funding. The online classes and video conferences run from June 13 - September 18, 2018 (skipping a week for the July 4th holiday, and Labor Day).

Closing Session: Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont - 2-4 p.m., October 12, 2018 (you may attend via video-conferencing if you can't be with us in person)

Goddard College is a one-of-a-kind institution of higher education with a history of creativity and chaos, invention and experimentation, of growth, decline and reemergence. This 15-year-old institution has survived with integrity and adherence to its founding values. Our closing session ends just as the Power of Words conference, organized by the Transformative Language Arts Network, begins so that participants can further enhance their education, network with others doing similar work, and spark their imaginations and inspiration. Note: You may attend this session via video-conferencing if you're unable to get to Vermont to be there in person.

Hours: 100 hours

  • June 7 - 10 weekend:  20 hours

  • October 12: 2 hours

  • Video conferencing: 10 hours

  • Online class work: 12 weeks x 5-6 hours average each week = 65 hours

  • Consultations: 3 one-hour consultations

Participants must complete at least 80% of each class component to receive the completion certificate, including attending in-person sessions, video conferences, participating in class discussions, and completing assignments.


Tuition: $1,250 (payment plans available), plus travel, meals, and lodging. $500 deposit to save spot (space is limited to a small cohort)

Unity Village three night’s lodging: $357 for single, $178.50 for double

Unity Village nine meals: $162.92 (continental breakfast); $191.16 (full breakfast)

Goddard College one night’s lodging: $70 for single, $50 for double (optional attendance in person)

Goddard College one day’s meals: $42 (optional attendance in person)

(Additional costs if attending Power of Words Conference, starting Fri. night 10/12 at Goddard, for registration, lodging, and meals)


  • Full payment of tuition must be received by June 1
  • Save your spot: $500 tuition deposit due by April 1
  • People who pay the entire tuition amount by check or Paypal receive a $50 discount
Tuition: $1,250 regular rate

Payment Plan: $500 to hold your spot by April 1, then $375 by May 1, and $375 by June 

Refund Policy:

  • Cancellations by April 1: 50% back on deposit, and 100% back on all additional payments made beyond that $500 deposit
  • Cancellations between April 1 - May 1: Lose deposit, get rest back
  • Cancellations after May 1: No refunds, but please contact us if there are truly extenuating circumstances
  • If the TLA Network cancels, 100% full refund of all payments made

Application Process

To make sure this is a good fit, we ask that all applicants apply. You will discuss your readiness, work and TLA experience, hopes for the training, and any questions you have. We also require two references. Applications will be reviewed by the facilitators and an additional representative from the TLA Network. The training is limited to 16 people. Applications will be accepted until the training is full, or until two weeks before the training begins. Apply here


Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of two dozen books, including the forthcoming Miriam's Well, a novel; Following the Curve, poetry; and Everyday Magic, a collection of beloved blog posts and personal essays. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and five poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image with weather chaser/ photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads writing and singing retreats. She also is a writing and right livelihood coach, working with people to bring of what wants to be written and lived into being. For over three decades, Caryn has worked extensively with many arts and ecological/bioregional not-for-profit organizations as a grant-writer, fundraiser, staff, board member, and consultant, and she also founded several long-term groups. With her husband Ken Lassman, she also offers consensus-based decision-making and other organizational development workshops and retreats. Born hard-wired to make something (in art, music, and especially writing), Caryn’s long-time callings include writing as a spiritual and ecological path, yoga, cultivating a loving marriage, family, and community, and helping herself and others make and take leaps into the miraculous work of their lives.

Laura Packer has been performing, coaching, writing, consulting, and leading the storytelling field for almost 25 years. She knows the best way to the truth is through a good story, and that this universally accessible artform creates empathy, builds bridges, and has the power to both heal and change the world. The winner of multiple awards for performance and leadership, Laura has told, taught, consulted, coached, and considered storytelling around the world. When she isn’t performing, Laura is the sole proprietor of thinkstory, llc, one of the nation’s foremost organizational consulting firms. thinkstory helps both for- and non-profit organizations communicate more effectively through coaching and storytelling techniques. Her one-day storytelling workshop, Stand Up and Speak Out: Tools for Effective Self Promotion, presented at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was endorsed as “more useful than you could possibly imagine.” Laura knows that following your passion may be hard, but life and the world around will be richer for it. Laura considers her whole life her calling, which includes the depth and breadth of her storytelling and writing work, building and growing healthy relationships, loving the people in her life, practicing radical forgiveness, spending time in nature, cooking, listening, demystifying and destigmatizing grief and other powerful feelings, and trying to live as authentic and engaged a life as possible. You can learn more about her storytelling and coaching work at, her organizational work at, and read some of her writing at

Read an interview with Laura Packer and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg from Chrysalis: A Journal of Transformative Language Arts.

Special Guest Teachers

We are in the process of confirming more teachers in addition to these wonderful luminaries who already committed to join us:

Dr. Harriet Lerner is one of our nation's most respected voices in the psychology of women, and the “how-tos” of navigating the swamps and quicksands of difficult relationships. She lectures and consults nationally, and is the author of numerous scholarly articles and 12 books  including The New York Times bestseller The Dance of Anger, which has sold more than three million copies with over  30 foreign translations. Her new book is, Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurt.  Lerner served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Foundation for several decades and currently has a private practice in Lawrence, Kansas.  For more on Harriet visit her website  or follow her on FB  and twitter.

Charles Eisenstein  is a speaker and writer focusing on themes of human culture and identity. He is the author of several books, most recently The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, and Sacred Economics. His background includes a degree in mathematics and philosophy from Yale, a decade in Taiwan as a translator, and stints as a college instructor, a yoga teacher, and a construction worker. He is also the author of The Ascent of Humanity, and The Yoga of Eating, and he is currently working a new book on the climate change narrative. He currently writes and speaks full-time. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and four children.  

Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life (Random House) and Vital Signs: Discovering and Sustaining Your Passion for Life (Penguin), is the former "behavioral specialist" at USA Today and a regular blogger for Psychology Today. He has Keynoted at the National Career Development Assn., National Conference on Positive Aging, Smithsonian Institution, Environmental Protection Agency, Microsoft, American Counseling Association, been a frequent guest of the media including ABC-TV, CNN, NPR and PBS, and written for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post and Psychology Today. His website is

Donna Washington is a professional author, storyteller and multicultural folklorist who has been sharing stories for over thirty years. Her amazing vocal pyrotechnics and dynamic physicality make her stories come alive and enthrall and delight audiences from four to one hundred and four. She has been featured at numerous festivals, schools & libraries theaters and other venues around the world including Canada, Peru, Argentina & Hong Kong. Donna is a multiple-award winning artist with nine CDs and is an accomplished author of four children's books. She presents a wide variety of tales from many different cultures. She offers a range of multicultural folktales, personal narratives and stories of her own creation. She also presents masterclasses in storytelling and workshops for teachers, educators and librarians on the role of storytelling in education. 

Patti Digh has written 8 books on global diversity and living mindfully, has worked and traveled in over 60 countries, has served on the President's Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities, and has learned more from her transgender Autistic son than from any of those other experiences. Patti is the founder of The Art of Activism and Life is a Verb Camp, and is currently writing a book on the history of normalcy with her husband, John Ptak.

José Faus is a native of Bogota, Colombia and long time Kansas City resident. He has participated in mural projects throughout the Kansas City area, Mexico and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia where he traveled under a State Department grant. He has exhibited extensively in the Kansas City area. His writing appeared in numerous journals, and he has published a chapbook This Town Like That with Spartan Press; his second book of poetry The Life and Times of Jose Calderon was published by 39 Street Press. Mr. Faus is an independent teacher and mentor with an interest in the role of artists as creative catalysts for community building. He is a founder of the Latino Writers Collective and sits on the boards of the Writers Place, UMKC Friends of the Library, The Latino Writers Collective and the Charlotte Street foundation.

Rob Peck, is an author, humorist and recovering perfectionist! True to the title of his new book- It's a Juggle Out There, Rob’s moving speeches and uplifting seminars focuses on three things simultaneously: Stress management, Streamlining, & Simplifying. Rob's fun, fast paced programs combine comedy and content with eye-catching juggling and balancing visuals. With humor and heart, he offers fresh insights and 'outside the briefcase' ideas to decrease stress, increase focus, and go to work feeling less overloaded & underslept. He is also a long time member of the National Speakers Association, who has appeared on CBS, NBC, CNBC and was a featured presenter at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institute.

Priscilla Howe travels the world (12 countries and counting) with a head full of stories and a bag full of puppets. What kind of stories? Folktales, stories from books, her own (almost true) experiences and stories that tiptoe closer to jokes. Her favorite audience is the one in front of her at any given moment. A full-time storyteller since 1993 and a former librarian, Priscilla lives in Lawrence, Kansas. She’s also searching for the best restaurant pie on earth.

Kelley Hunt, singer songwriter and international touring recording artist, has a career that comprises over 1800 live performances, airplay on 5 continents, 6 acclaimed commercial releases and hundreds of thousands of indie units sold and downloaded. She is also a skilled workshops presenter at all levels - from grade schools to the Berklee College of Music in Boston - on subjects including various facets of songwriting, piano and vocal performance, specific workshops for choral groups and even interactive programs for elementary school-age kids. For 13 years she has co-hosted the Brave Voice Writing and Singing For Your Life retreat and workshops with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, and she has been a guest artist at The Power of Words and Circle of Music Conferences. In addition to touring and recording Kelley maintains a robust schedule of teaching and vocal coaching.

Jen Cross is a writer, performer, and writing workshop facilitator based in Oakland, CA. Her organization, Writing Ourselves Whole, founded in 2003, focuses primarily on sexuality writing workshops and writing with survivors of sexual trauma. Her new book, Writing Ourselves Whole, is garnering great praise, and is a bestseller on Amazon. Jen's writing appears in more than thirty anthologies and periodicals, including The Healing Art of Writing, Nobody Passes, Visible: A Femmethology, Best Sex Writing 2008; she is also the co-editor of Sex Still Spoken Here (with Dr. Carol Queen and Amy Butcher). Jen is currently an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University.

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kansas, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044

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