The Joy of Being: Designing Your Life

The Joy of Being:

Designing Your Life

Design and Live the Life You Love, the Life that brings you alive!

Next Dates to be Announced

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy”

― Rumi, Persian Poet, Mystic

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

The Joy of Being is a conversational boat ride across the seas of uncertainty to the certainty of knowing that you are living out your Soul’s purpose in life, fulfilling what you were born for, leading a life of meaning, passion, and joy, where your inner world meets your outer world, and your Voice is expressed into the universe in ways that bring you most alive.

We are all being asked at this time to re-set our lives, to re-design our lives, in tandem with the shifting world. That is our current “required” curriculum. Let us do so, consciously, lovingly, and intentionally, through the sacred conversation that is The Joy of Being. In our next offering of The Joy of Being, in 2024, congruent with the times we are living in, we will engage in conversations that highlight the distinctions that we must embody as we connect with our core essence, as the rudder that steers us through this new life of ours, a life in which we create our community and  learn to navigate impermanence, constant change, and, even upheaval, with Equanimity, Presence, Wakefulness. and Joy.

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Every human being comes to earth with sealed orders.”

The Joy of Being is a pathway for finding ours.

There’s a thread that you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford

“You don’t ever let go of the thread.”

Given the current threshold crossing we are all making in our lives and the outer chaos, upheaval, changes, and turbulence, we all need to go deep inside, and profoundly connect with the unique thread that is ours, and ours alone, to nurture, steward and contribute, that does not change. The Joy of Being now, perhaps more than ever, is an essential conversation.

The thread that “does not change” can be seen and followed. The Joy of Being provides space for us to listen to our heart, to listen to our inner wisdom speaking to us. We weave that thread through the design of our lives, connecting our inner and outer worlds as one. Married to our soul, we find meaning in our lives.

George Bernard Shaw said, “You use a mirror to see your face; you use art to see your soul.” The Joy of Being is just such an artistic conversation.

A crossroads conversation for some, and a profoundly deep dive into courage, vitality, authenticity, and passion for all; through engaging The Joy of Being conversation, we move through life, ongoingly truing ourselves to that core, allowing the natural joy, which comes from fulfilling our purpose, to be available to us like a deep river running beneath the surface of our everyday life. Living a lifetime of meaning, of Belonging to the World “in the particular way we were made to belong to the world,” as David Whyte says, allows for a great deal of resolution to the existential or spiritual dilemma. The conversation opens us to the joy of Being.

As Dawna Markova says, in her book, Wide Open: On Living with Passion and Purpose,

“It’s not pain that is so hard on our souls, but rather the meaningless suffering that comes from feeling disconnected from a sense of purpose. Purpose is like a constellation: it can only be glimpsed in darkness, but it is always there as a homing device. Just as geese have an internal capacity to follow coastlines and the magnetic resonance of the Earth to tell them where to go, we need to follow the yearnings of our heart and soul to find our way. We need to stay faithful to the quest for what is original and authentic in ourselves. Ultimately we have nothing else with which to make or unmake the whole world”

Dawna Markova


Given the current threshold crossing we are all making in our lives and the outer chaos, upheaval, changes, and turbulence, we all need to go deep inside and profoundly connect with the unique thread that is ours, and ours alone, to nurture, steward, and contribute, and that does not change.

The Joy of Being now, perhaps more than ever, is an essential conversation.


The Big Question:

In Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, she asks the question, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This is an enormous and beautiful question; perhaps THE question of a lifetime, and the question that we address fully, to the depths of your being, in this program.

The Joy of Being is a Life Design conversation like no other.

This conversation provides you with the opportunity to “discover your sealed orders”– that which brings you alive – and then to shape, author, and design a life that makes manifest and expresses that unique thread and purpose that is at the heart of who you are. Through addressing a series of thoughtfully crafted questions, each building on the previous, and through distinguishing, coaching, being in dialogue, exploring, and reflecting deeply with yourself and others, you find what brings you alive and create a structure, a design of your life, for living your aliveness through all the domains of your life.

Through this deep work, you

1) come to discern your own, individual, unique purpose in life, your “thread,” your Essential Selfhood

2) come into communion with that Self and fall in love with that Self.

3) design/author your own life in such a way that your purpose is realized on an ongoing basis.

Your embodied purpose then becomes a homing device that allows your soul to “enter the gravity field of its own destiny,” as poet David Whyte says. Only in a relationship with silence and emptiness, two essentials, can the kind of depth of conversation occur. The Joy of Being, provides that environment. After engaging with it, you move into living “in your true inheritance,” that which is a Source of Joy, where “living” and “being” are one.

Who is The Joy of Being For?

It is for you if you if you are someone who has participated in Gale Leadership Development work and who

  • Is a journeyer and is committed to being transformed by the journey
  • Is profoundly committed to deepening your integrity, having your outer life be a reflection of your current stands, vows, and commitments
  • Is committed to being in development, imbuing your life with even deeper meaning and purpose
  • Longs to drop down deep into a reflective space in behalf of creating new perspectives and new possibilities for your life
  • Intends to brighten the light that you are and expand your contribution to others, simply through who you are being
  • Is out to discover and connect with ever more profoundly the essence of your own originality and creativity, living from there and that “joy of being” across all domains of your life
  • Is open to making and unmaking the environments in which you engage in your life so that those environments pull for living a “fully lived life,” a life full of vitality, belonging, and meaningfulness.,
  • Is out to explore and embody, the guiding principles for creating resiliency, well-being, fluidity, gratefulness, non-attachment, commitment, and wholeheartedness
  • Has a deep knowing that life is an ongoing adventure of letting go and creation, allowing Source to penetrate our Being ever more deeply
  • Is committed to leading an inspired life across all domains of your life

What is the Bigger Context?

We have been, and are, living in incredibly challenging and turbulent times, times which present pragmatic and spiritual challenges and opportunities and demand of us to be at one with our core as the optimal pathway for navigating the rapids of these times and contributing to the future of our own lives, others’ lives, and the planet.

Living a lifetime of meaning, of Belonging to the World in the particular way we were made to belong to the world, allows for a great deal of resolution to the existential or spiritual dilemma.

As Mark Nepo says in his Book of Awakening,  “The Culmination of one love, one dream, one self, is the anonymous seed of the next. This is very helpful when considering the many forms of self we inhabit over a lifetime. One self carries us to the extent of its usefulness and dies. We are then forced to put that once beloved skin to rest, to join it with the ground of spirit from which it came, so it may fertilize the next skin of self that will carry us into tomorrow. We live, embrace, and put to rest our dearest things, including how we see ourselves, so we can resurrect our lives anew.”

For many of us, the universe has called for us to shed some of our “dead” skin and resurrect our lives anew.  For others, we know that it is time to be responsible for living a life and leaving our leadership legacy in a way that we can say, at the end of our lives, “I am complete. I am fulfilled. I have left the mark on the planet that I intended to leave. I have made a difference. I have lived a life worth living, a life that I can truly call my very own.” The fulfillment of living from that center, borne from co-partnering with Source, from the integration of your soul’s journey with your manifested expression in Life, gives rise to sustenance, nourishment, and the joy of being as you drink from and move with the current of Life. In Joy, you discern your compass or your rudder: your own North Star.

What am I committed to, for you?

I am committed that you have discerned ever more deeply the design of you such that you are released to live and manifest your unique power and your unique gifts in each of the domains of your life, in tandem with what Life and Spirit are calling for.

I am committed that you have a new access to leading your life in the present with a powerful sense of ease, effectiveness, and fulfillment.

I am committed that the breakdowns in life occur for you as guides, revealing new pathways for fulfilling your evolutionary journey.

And, I am committed that through this conversation, you fall in love with a new sense of yourself.

When you become one with your own essential Being, and live out of that, Joy naturally follows.

While our thread does not change, our calling can. I, personally, stay current with my own leading edge in my life, through participating in The Joy of Being, myself, each time I lead it. The Joy of Being is for graduates as well as first-timers.

Here are a comments from people who have participated in offerings of this program:


most powerful

The Joy of Being course was the most powerful course I have ever participated in with you.

The (Life Design) work I did in The Joy of Being I have used as a roadmap or blueprint to guide my life and decision-making.  It is a document I refer to often, and I use it as a test against decisions I make.  I have not had an experience where I was so present with what I wanted out of my life as I was during The Joy of Being.

Jason Parks, Interim President of Tacoma General Hospital, MultiCare


filled up with joy

“I just want you to know that I feel my soul is bursting today. I am filled up and the joy in me is spilling over into my conversations, my thoughts, and my vision for my life design. I am so grateful to you Amba for creating these safe spaces for growth. 

This course came at a time of great uncertainty and darkness for me and I feel I have the tools necessary to handle what is ahead. I’d reverted lately to a stone in a stream, unmoving, stubbornly still as the water flowed around me, slow erosion steadily wearing me away. Now I feel like water, able to fluidly flow past–or over– obstacles in my way, as an amorphous, infinite being. 

Bless you! And thank you so very much!”

Alex Fascilla, Zoom course, 2020


so meaningful and productive

Amba’s courses have been so meaningful and productive for me, but I was truly unprepared for the impact and mindset adjustment that came with Joy of Being. It is a rare opportunity to take inventory of your life with a knowledgeable, compassionate, and invested guide. In addition to that, it’s an obligation to design the life you’re meant to live…the biggest of stands. The work I completed at Joy of Being has changed the trajectory of my life’s work and continues to influence my future.

Michael Meyer, Pulse Heart Institute Chief Medical Officer



living from the core of my life

“The Joy of Being course is one of my favorites and I have taken it several times because it affords me the time to slow down and re-remember what is at the core of my life and how I truly desire to live from that core.  Having space to work on designing the arenas of my life from my core is a potent way for me to be intentional about what I am saying yes and no to as opportunities to live out my purpose in this lifetime.”

Marianne Bastin, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Network


coming back home to myself

Thank you Amba for the opportunity to share how taking The Joy of Being made a difference to me!

“I am a human being not a human doing.”    Those are the words that hit me when I first considered taking the Joy of Being. I was just living day to day. Not unhappy but not feeling fulfilled. Working through this course, I realized I was still living in fear that was keeping me from jumping into action. The Joy of Being helped me focus, move away from my own hesitancies, and create my own destination again. The conversations Amba leads you through during this course change the conversations we have with ourselves every day in our heads, which often limit the creation within ourselves. There is a quote in the manual that stuck with me –

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”    ~W.H. Murray

The Joy of Being was a journey of coming back home to myself, creating the space to see the journeys ahead that feed my soul and reignite the passion to travel down them.

Jodi Guetle, Pediatric Services/Mary Bridge’s Children’s


This Course was awesome!!
bring your gift to the world

“This course brought so much of my life’s pattern into one cohesive thread and really moved me into high gear.
This course is about YOU; and I mean the capital YOU. It is about your life’s purpose and becoming very clear about what it is and how to fully develop it. It is not a conversation in narcissism; it is about bringing your gift to the world… and it is about how to make sure it (your company) and what will follow are your most authentic expression.”

Rich Duncombe, Hewlett Packard


my external world connects to my core

For me, The Joy of Being a Life Worth Living is all about discovering and taking action toward creating a future that is that golden opportunity. It is a deep and meaningful conversational structure to catalyze the discovery of my unique thread – a thread that only I was born with. I’ve come to believe that this thread is the intersection of my essential nature, my deepest passions, and my unique gifts and talents.

Having discovered, rediscovered, and clarified my unique thread, my attention turned to how that thread meets the world.  During the course and subsequent to it, I’ve made intentional and powerful choices to rigorously let go of elements and domains of my life that are not in service to me and my vision of my future.  At the same time, I’ve chosen to move toward elements that are in service to me and that future.

I’m excited and joy-filled, knowing deep inside that this future is no one else’s to create, only mine.  And I feel a sense of grace knowing that the external world I am both living in and creating connects all the way down to my thread, my core.”

James Bailey, Financial Advisor, Perspective Wealth Partners


magic happens

“What has shifted for me on occasion is the ability to be present … to just “be” and not to be always thinking about the next thing on my list.  Now, I’m still stumbling through and having many “whoops” moments, but I am seeing the power of my “being” and its effect on those around me.  Perhaps what has shifted in my thinking is that I have value in the present. 

One thing that broke open for me was the paradigm I’ve been living in regarding my work, family, health and wellness, time, and so on.  This paradigm is driven by my fears and not joy, light, and love.  I want to change that – magic happens when I do.  I’ve seen and experienced it.  I know when it happens and it is truly beautiful.  I need to invest in being prepared to receive the wonderful gifts God has provided for me, to live in gratitude, and to serve.  There is an ease when I think of this.

So, what I am committed to is managing my thinking (and therefore, fears).  A few weeks ago I was searching for a book and one practically fell off the shelf.  It is called, “As a Man Thinketh” and my dad gave it to me back when I was 12 or 13.  I never really made an attempt to read it until adulthood but I read it once again and this time it really spoke to me.  As I think .. so I am. When I stand in love and light, I see that in my world.  When I stand in fear and judgment that is also what I see.  The power is in the choice and that is my challenge.”

Susan Allen, Owner, Town and Country Markets



embracing my mission

“Things have been going really well.  Leading up to those days in May it felt like I was on a non-stop roller coaster making my way through each day being physically present in conversations with others but not mentally. My mind was always two or three relationships ahead of who was in front of me. There was no depth, just surface contact. The pleasure that I once found through connecting with others was missing. The joy of being… being with others was missing. The time spent at Alderbrook allowed for the time to reflect on my previous stands. These stands reminded me that I had a choice in who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life. There was no one placing obligations on me but myself.

I left the course continuing my inquiry of what is truly my “thread” and what really gives me joy in my life. The whole topic of “just being” as I move forward has been one of the most powerful concepts for me. It has allowed me to once again stand in my commitments and fully embrace my mission… Nurturing Love.”

Jim Huffman, Town and Country Markets


a joyful piece of work

a masterpiece

“With the terrific exercises Amba designed for the Joy of Being a Life Worth Living, I was able to spend time with myself engaged in a sorting out process I have never done in this way. There is something about owning that I am a teacher – and that I was chosen to be “trainer,” “coach,” “manager ” “thinking partner,” and even “leader” in many respects because of my gifts as a teacher – that has enabled me to really step up to more opportunities to honor and use those teaching skills in my current life.  I have taken on a major project that includes sharing from my many years of business experience and skills to help reshape the operational side of a business I care deeply about.  I have also taken on three new coaching relationships in behalf of leadership development, all of which came to me as requests.  Coincidence?  I don’t really think so.  I believe that finally standing in the space of what being a teacher means and owning that has attracted more opportunities for teaching into my life.

So I am grateful for the inspiration all of you provided during our three days together, and to Amba for her magic with course design, and for the gift of life that enables me to share that legacy I mentioned during our work together – my real legacy of giving away the gifts I possess while I am here to share them, not the list of items contained in my Will.”

Susan Keith, Coach


the conversation of our lives

“Why take the Joy a second time?  Because to journey in life is to navigate an ever changing shoreline.  I see the conversation of The Joy as THE conversation of our lives, a continual honing in on what brings us joy and what outward expression of our Selves and our WORK fulfills us in every moment.  Without purposefully placing myself into this solitudinal conversation on a regular basis, having a rigorous conversation with myself, and continually correcting my course so I’m headed to my true north, I find myself adrift in the circumstances of life. And these days, we have circumstances galore that can have us crashed up against the rocks of life, waiting for a life boat!”

Denise Kelly Ballweber, Coach


a much clearer focus

“We are in the midst of redesigning and transforming our company to create a future for the leadership that fulfills their passions and dreams both professionally and personally.  It occurred to me recently that the process we have gone through would have been enhanced had the leadership all taken Joy of Being.   I think had they completed Joy of Being, they would have already identified what was really important to them relative to their careers and personal lives, which in turn would have lent clarity to the design of the future of the company.  I say this because, upon completing Joy of Being, I had a much clearer focus on what was important to me, what I wanted to do, and when I wanted to do it.  Frankly, for me, Joy of Being, has been the most impactful piece of work I have done with you.”

John McGowan, J.R. Abbott Construction



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