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Studying at The Academi of Life

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What is the worth of achievement if we are unable to attain joy after having reached unimaginable success? How much of our scholarly research is applicable to passing the tests we will be given regarding career, money, family, creativity, work and living in joy?

Most of us would agree it to be rather inappropriate to address such subjects in literature class or before a statistics exam, so where do these questions get addressed? It was these important questions and the desire for conversations to surround the exploration of living that motivated Shirley Moulton to develop a new method in obtaining higher education. This new method of learning aims to study and deepen our own understanding of our lives and ourselves. A new academy was conceived, the ACADEMI of LIFE.

It may or may not surprise you to know that hundreds of fervent students lined the sidewalk of West 64th street for this year's first evening of class, more casually described as An Evening of Conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert. The highly esteemed author of Committed and Eat, Pray, Love was the guest lecturer. We, the hundreds of anxious students who lined up for our first day of class were ready for a truly remarkable and unique learning environment.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer and entrepreneur, stood in front of us, her evenings students of inquiring minds at The New York Society for Ethical Culture to discuss her own goals to live a joyful life while staying married to her first love, her writing and her newest marriage to her husband. All of us students sat, hoping to walk away with a lesson learned, a profound message from a woman who deepened her understanding of herself, her life, her love, her work and her marriage by touring Italy, India and Indonesia and then getting committed.

We, the audience sat in silence, we cheered, we asked questions and we contemplated how one woman's explosion of success could provide insight into our own lives, marriages, careers or spiritual relationships. We were engaged in what would be one of the least expensive classroom experiences available in New York City. What's different about this academy is that there are no right or wrong answers, no definitive paths to result in a definitive outcome, no interpretation of data that will deliver either a passing or failing grade. There is only the ability to decode and apply the education learned by another person's success and lessons to your own life in pursuit of higher learning. And so, like most of my classes, you can expect to see me at future classes front and center, eager to learn and hopeful I apply the knowledge gained appropriately outside the classroom. I am studying at my new school, the ACADEMI of LIFE.