By: Valerie Brown, JD, MA, PCC
This winter, after an extended period of personal and profound loss and grief, I decided to do something I had never done before: I bought a one-way ticket to the southwest for a three-month silent retreat in a Zen monastery. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and there were times I thought, ‘I can’t go on. I can’t do this!’ But I stayed, and week after week, day after day, hour after hour, I sat in meditation with no place to go but inside.
I emerged in the Spring with simple clarity: I want more space. Fewer complications. More authentic, supportive connections.
The silent retreat gave me clarity that my work, now more than ever, is rooted in social justice, mindfulness practices, leadership development, and spiritual growth to support diverse leaders and teams, including Black women and women of color in fostering trustworthy, authentic, compassionate, and connected workspaces.
I realized that the ‘complications’, the profound grief and loss, as hard as they were, supported me in growing in clarity and discernment and that I needed to pass on that clarity, that learning, to you.
The experience was a rebirth that led to my latest book, Hope Leans Forward, Braving Your Way toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace, which will be released for publication on November 8, 2022. I wrote the book as a way to heal and transform, to move toward bravery, to stretch in the direction of goodness, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and vulnerability.
I was inspired by everyday acts of bravery, stories of diverse voices, and simple and accessible mindfulness practices and Quaker wisdom to get me through this tough time and I share this and more with you.
These are hard times when we are being pulled apart and broken-open by the global pandemic, burnout, gun violence, racial injustice, climate crisis, and more. We can’t navigate this alone. We need support to choose wisely, and practices to restore calm in these high-stress, high-anxiety times. This book is loaded with skill-building, evidence-based mindfulness practice, and soul-amplifying questions grounded in Quaker faith and practice that go to the heart of discerning your life purpose, meaning, and direction and supporting you to live your best self now.
To realign my renewed sense of clarity and rebirth, I’ve redesigned this blog and relaunched my website at a new address:
Launching a new website, new book, and new newsletter is like going on a pilgrimage: It’s a journey of discovery that opens you up to new possibilities.
Preorder Hope Leans Forward Today!
As a thank you gift, when you preorder Hope Leans Forward, you’ll receive a free audio-guided meditation and E-Journal.
Hope Leans Forward is like your BFF but better, inviting questions like these that hold you gently and accountably.
“Will the choice in front of me propel me toward greater kindness and compassion or keep me stuck in old patterns and habits?”
“Am I looking for what’s right or am I looking for what’s wrong?”
“Will I allow the tough situations of my life to be a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?”
“Have I experienced a time in my life when I just knew I needed to pay attention to a fleeting intuition that has become a deep pull inside?”