a radical roadmap to joy & inner wisdom

This online program takes you on a deep dive into self-knowledge and self-compassion, while providing the guidance and accountability you need to achieve goals that will bring you joy, equanimity and meaningful relationships.

if you are:

  • A successful professional who has achieved many things… yet, you feel so much stress in your life that peace, joy and connectedness seem always out of reach.  

  •  A caring, loving person who is always giving too much in your relationships, and you feel drained and stressed.  You may know what you need to do differently, but you just can’t manage to do it.

  • Facing a major change in your life, yet feeling paralyzed by fear and doubt.  You worry about the impact the change will have on others, yet you know you can’t keep things the way they are for too much longer.

this program will change your life


what you will gain from this program 

A comprehensive plan to transform your life to the one you truly want to be living, and support, coaching and accountability for you to achieve that plan!


  • Profound emotional intelligence
    1. Comprehensive understanding of what your emotions are communicating to you, and when you should and shouldn’t listen to them
    2. Understanding what others are communicating to you via their words and actions


  • Dramatic improvement in relationships
    1. Increased healthy connection to loved ones
    2. Thorough understanding of healthy boundaries, how to set them and enforce them
    3. Lessened impact of toxic relationships


  • Develop deep self-knowledge and self-compassion
    1. A healing of your negative core beliefs
    2. Improved self-esteem
    3. Commitment to self-care
    4. Increased energy and focus
    5. Increased resilience to navigate life changes


  • More peace, joy and equanimity

What's Included:

  • Mastermind Group Sessions, 2x/Month, via Zoom

  • Live Mindfulness Meditation via Zoom with Core Buddhist Teachings, 2x/Month

  • Customized Guidance Through the Full 6 Months

  • Bi-Weekly Accountability Check-Ins

  • Initial Call with Barbara to Set Plan for the 6 Months, 2 Follow Up Calls

  • Access to Course Material All Year

  • Private Community Site for 24/7 Group Support

awaken joy is changing the landscape

Awaken Joy is changing the conversation about psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation and Buddhism. Meditation centers and Buddhist philosophy tend to ignore childhood imprinting and traumatic wounds. Psychotherapy avoids interconnectedness, radical acceptance and other life-changing philosophies. Neither usually has a structure to help people make change in a comprehensive manner using tools of coaching and accountability. This program changes all that.


The Awaken Joy Transformation is revolutionary in its comprehensive blending of two powerful wisdom traditions.  The program is also unique in terms of: 

The support you will receive. Powerful mastermind group support from other caring, considerate humans who will share their own experience, strength and hope. Feedback only when you want it. Individualized guidance from Barbara.  Accountability coaching check-ins from Jessica.  Your goals.  Our support. 

The insight you will develop. You can take cheap courses online.  Yet, with no one to talk to, or bounce ideas off of, your interpretation can stay stuck, seeing the world through your existing lens.  The weekly videos will deliver new ways of understanding yourself, your loved ones and the world. The group discussions will expand your understanding further. 

The behavioral changes you will make.  Again, with the cheap courses online, there is no accountability.  No one following up with you to see if you are following through.  Even in 1:1 therapy, it is rare for accountability to be part of the process. With this program, you will have bi-weekly, individualized accountability check-ins, infused with kindness and empathy.  

The self-compassion you will cultivate.  The most important relationship in your life?  Your self!  Are you kind to yourself?  Would you treat other people the way you treat yourself?  Why not?  You are the one person you will never escape from.  What if you truly enjoyed your own company?  What if you truly loved yourself and treated yourself with loving kindness? 

The healing you will experience.  We heal through sharing our stories, seeing ourselves in others and seeing others in ourselves.  We heal through having compassion for what we have been through, as well as having compassion for others.  The combination of mindfulness meditation techniques with an understanding of how our childhood imprinting has impacted us leads to deep, joyful healing.

Joy lives within each of us. It can get covered over by stress, societal expectations, trauma, hardships, interpersonal wounds.  But it is there.  It just needs to be uncovered and activated and this program will show you how.



Barbara Heffernan

Barbara Heffernan, LCSW, is the founder of the Awaken Joy online coaching programs to help people transform their lives without spending years in aimless, amorphous therapy.

Barbara's 27 years of experience with meditation and Buddhism and her 17 years as a private practice psychotherapist give her unique positioning in the online life coaching world.

Because of her first career in investment banking, she's also unusual in her deep understanding of professionals in the corporate, financial and entrepreneurial world. Further, as a mother of three children, she has profound experience with the challenges of balancing career, home life and relationship with significant other.

Barbara has a BA from Yale University, an MBA from Columbia University, and an MSW from Southern Connecticut State University.

Accountability Coach

Jessica Nolan-Bruinsma

Jessica Bruinsma is the Online Business Manager and Accountability Coach for Awaken Joy. She brings more than 20 years of experience as a non-profit manager and business professional to this role. Jessica is also currently a Regional Coordinator for a chain of non-profit thrift centers. She oversees store operations for four thrift centers with income totaling over $2.3 million dollars annually. She works with the volunteers and leadership to continually improve processes, procedures and resources increasing income by 10% in 2019 alone. She played a leading role overseeing the entire start-up process of numerous centers, including securing a location, designing the layout and sales space, and training the entirely volunteer staff. Jessica has embraced the challenge of working with an unpaid staff by leading by example, finding ways to connect volunteers to the mission and using metrics and education to motivate for results. Jessica continues to use her skills for leadership, organization and motivation in her work with Awaken Joy. She is the behind the scenes, detail-oriented, administrative professional for the Awaken Joy team. Jessica has worked within her community as a PTA member and president, director and board member of Sioux Center Hockey Association as well as several leadership roles within her church community. She is married with three children and a Husky named Kiki.

Pricing options

Entire program for $500 month for 6 months.