March 25, 2017 all-day
The Community of St. John Baptist
New Jersey

What Matters Most: Leading from Your Deepest Values, Finding Sanctuary:  A Courage & Renewal® Retreat

Saturday, March 25, 2017, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

with Valerie Brown at the Community of St. John Baptist in Mendham, New Jersey (near Manhattan)

Path to place of solitude.Based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal®, this retreat combines both an opportunity within community to explore what matters most to you and to savor rest and renewal.  Reflect on issues of transition, vocation, life passion, purpose, meaning, direction, aging, relationships, and underlying life patterns, to live in alignment with your deepest values and the courage to act with integrity and authenticity.

This Retreat is Designed for You:

  • Are you seeking rest and renewal, a time set-aside just for you from the busyness of daily stress to focus on what matters most to you?
  • Are you in transition and asking yourself:  ‘What’s next?’  And, do you want the space to reflect and to listen to your own inner wisdom?
  • Are you seeking support to build ongoing practices and a community to help you integrate your deepest intentions into your life and
  • Have you been deeply moved by the writing of Parker J. Palmer and the Circle of Trust® and want to know more?

Cost:  $150.00 per person, includes day-long retreat, light breakfast, refreshments, lunch, and use of the convent’s park-like property.

Download Flyer (PDF)

Our Venue…


The Community of Saint John Baptist (CSJB) is dedicated to offering a ‘still, quiet place’ for rest, reflection, and renewal.  Set atop a hillside, this historic property is located less than one hour from Manhattan.  CSJB is a peaceful setting with walking paths and an outdoor moss-covered labyrinth.  Our retreat will take place at the Convent of the Community of Saint John Baptist, 82 West Main Street, Mendham, New Jersey, 07945, Phone:  973 543-4641, csjb@csjb.orghttp://www.csjb.org

Fancy pony. Bench by tree in woods.



Download Confidential Registration Form & Pre-Retreat Resources (PDF)

To register complete this form and mail your check made payable to Lead Smart Coaching, LLC to Valerie Brown, 95 Old York Road, New Hope, PA  18938 or register via this secure website using PayPal.


Retreats & Facilitation Services

Coaching & Consulting Services

Conflict Resolution & Mediation Services

Named one of the best courageous books of 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal, this book is for educational leaders who feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, and offers explicit practices to help readers avoid burnout and become the mindful, poised, effective leaders they were meant to be. Loaded with real-time encouragement with portraits of educational leaders who are incorporating mindfulness practices, like attentive breathing, mindful walking about the school building, or calming pauses in the office throughout the school day, this book is a must-have guide.

Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson. Corwin, December 2014. 344 pages.

The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel.

Not your average travel guidebook, this book explores some of the world’s great pilgrimages, destinations, and the author’s reflections on the lessons she learned from them. Read this book to discover how travel can be transformational, how to be more mindful while traveling and every day, the adventures of traveling alone, the delights of encountering new people and places, ancient pilgrimage journeys and sacred travel worldwide.

Valerie Brown. QuakerBridge Media, 2012, 152 pages. Also available from QuakerBooks.

Heartfulness: Renewing Heart, Mind, and Spirit on Retreat and Beyond Valerie

Valerie Brown guides readers toward renewal of mind, heart, and spirit by encouraging them to take time away from the busyness of their lives through retreat. Drawing on her experience as a retreatant and retreat leader, she introduces readers to opportunities for personal restoration within a variety of focused retreats. She wonders how Friends experience of expectant waiting influences the retreat process and how retreats influence expectant waiting. She encourages the “big questions”—What has meaning and purpose in my life? What am I avoiding? What brings me most alive?—and offers specific practices for retreatants to cultivate in everyday life.

Valerie Brown. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #421.

Quakers are advised to begin worship by “centering down.” This is the first step in a Friend’s intention to wait in “holy expectancy,” to be drawn by the Light into communion with God. Centering prayer is also a practice used by Christian mystics to prepare for contemplation, and “centering” describes the meditation of a Buddhist in pursuit of that deep awareness called “mindfulness.” Valerie Brown is an explorer and teacher of centering practices, a Buddhist, and an active Friend. Drawing upon her own experiences and wide studies, she describes for Friends how these various traditions can offer us a better understanding and preparedness for our precious, elusive, mysterious, and simple practice of centering into worship. Discussion questions included.

Valerie Brown, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407. 2014.