These retreats are designed to rest, renew, restore, and reconnect the body, mind and spirit.  They are extraordinary personal growth and learning opportunities, and cultivate societal transformation.

Contact Valerie to design and lead a retreat for your organization.

Register today; retreats fill quickly. Space is limited.

Mar
3
Fri
2017
Define. Defy. Dismantle. Forging Our Legacy through Activism. @ Harvard Graduate School of Education
Mar 3 – Mar 4 all-day

Define. Defy. Dismantle. Forging Our Legacy through Activism.

HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, ALUMNI OF COLOR CONFERENCE.
MARCH 3-4, 2017, BOSTON, MA

Harvard Graduate School of EducationJoin me and Kirsten Olson at this year’s Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Alumni of Color Conference for Sharpening Your Listening Skills, To Build Your Work As An Activist and Leader.

We will engage in “three levels of listening,” exploring how each level of listening works, and the ways in which reflective listening can help raise the heatin defining root causes of oppression, and make these elements more explicit and mobile in uprooting causes of oppression.

The Alumni of Color Conference brings awareness to educational issues impacting communities of color. HGSE students design and facilitate a space that aims to inspire and transform education by convening educators, scholars, researchers, change makers of all varieties, policymakers, and students of all backgrounds concerned with issues of race, class, and education as they pertain to all people and, in particular, to communities of color.

Registration

Register here.

Mar
12
Sun
2017
The Soul Never Forgets: Leading from Your Deepest Values @ Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center
Mar 12 all-day

The Soul Never Forgets: Leading from Your Deepest Values

Sunday, March 12, 2017 – Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center – Abiquiu, NM

SOLD OUT AND WAITLISTED!

Based on the work of author Parker J. Palmer, this retreat explores issues of transition, vocation, passion, life purpose, meaning, direction and underlying life patterns to live in greater alignment with your deepest values, to listen to your own inner wisdom,  and to reconnect who you are with what you do.  The retreat provides a safe space to slow down and nurture personal and professional integrity, and the courage to lean into action.

Listening to your inner voice, the retreat offers time to reflect individually and in small groups, share stories, laughter, music, and video, and gain insights from journaling, poetry, and from various wisdom traditions.  The retreat includes early morning periods of silence, guided meditation, and gentle movement. Clearness Committees, the centerpiece of the retreat, will be offered to support discernment of difficult life or vocational issues. The retreat includes time for rest and renewal,  as well as time to enjoy the stunning high desert beauty of Ghost Ranch—all important components of transformation.

Three off-ranch trips are planned to a mineral spring and spa, a local master weaver, and to a monastery for an afternoon or Gregorian chant.


Cordelia Coronado, 7th Generation Master Weaver & Living Treasure of New Mexico

p2

What People Are Saying…

The Circle of Trust helped me to clarify my intentions and enabled me to listen to and follow my heart.  The Clearness Committee is an amazing process that opens to the Holy.  Valerie is a skilled, flexible, and compassionate facilitator, responsive to the individual and groups’ needs, and artful in balancing both.“ — TB

The process of participating in this Courage & Renewal Retreat is life giving.  It opened me to the concept that we all have within us what we need to guide our lives in soulful and soul filled ways.  It offered a way to be authentic and have meaningful, loving, courageous, and life-changing conversations in a safe context.  It has changed my life, assisted me in being a healing presence in my context.“ — MB

For more information about the retreat, download the flyer

Register here: https://www.ghostranch.org/retreat/soul-never-forgets-leading-deepest-values/

p1

 

Mar
22
Wed
2017
Pilgrimage: Transformation through Travel, A Courage & Renewal® Workshop @ The Community School of New Hope-Solebury
Mar 22 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Pilgrimage: Transformation through Travel, A Courage & Renewal® Workshop

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Community School of New Hope-Solebury – New Hope, PA

DATE:
March 22, 2017

VENUE:
The Community School of New Hope-Solebury
New Hope, PA

COST:
to be determined
(see details below)

Click to register now

Register by March 22nd

camino-new-hope-2

Pilgrimage is a worldwide social phenomenon.  Perhaps one of the most famous is El Camino de Santiago, Spain, The Way of Saint James, which was popularized in the United States by the movie, The Way, starring Martin Sheen.

camino-new-hope-1Is walking El Camino on your lifetime bucket list?  Are you ‘called’ to pilgrimage and can’t explain how or why?  Are you yearning to learn more about this famous 1000-year old pilgrimage?

Join Valerie Brown for a brief, two-hour Courage & Renewal-style, interactive, workshop, entitled, Pilgrimage: Transformation through Travel.

camino8Learn how to create daily ‘pilgrimage moments’ to live with greater aliveness and in alignment with your deepest values. Connect with your ‘inner pilgrim’.  Discover little-known yet fail proof travel tips,  without leaving home! Enjoy a sneak preview of Valerie’s 2017 El Camino Pilgrimage, Walk in Beauty, September 17-26, 2017.

Meet Your Speaker

Valerie Brown is an international retreat leader, writer, leadership coach, and Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness in daily life (www.leadsmartcoaching.com).  She transformed her high-pressure, 21-year career as a lawyer lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections.  Valerie’s books include, The Road that Teaches:  Lessons in Transformation through Travel (QuakerBridge Media, 2012) and The Mindful School Leader:  Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (Corwin, 2014), named one of the ‘best books on courage’ in 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal®.  She has studied and practiced mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition since 1995 and was ordained in the Order of Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003.  Valerie is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a certified Kundalini yoga teacher.  Her extensive training includes the Center for Courage & Renewal®, the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, the Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, the Ojai Foundation, the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, The Leadership Circle™ Profile, and Chestnut Hill College (PA) in Holistic Spirituality.

About Our Venue

This workshop is held at The Community School of New Hope-Solebury located at New Hope-Solebury High School, 182 West Bridge Street, New Hope, PA 18938.

Registration & Fees

Cost:  To be determined.

How to Register: Please contact Nancy Lawson at nancylawson@csnhs.org or 215-297-5000 to register.  Online registration opens soon (http://www.ssreg.com/CSNHS/) as well!

Registration Deadline: March 22, 2017.

Participation: Participation is limited to 30 people.

Cancellation Policy:  Please see website for details.

Questions about this workshop?

Contact Valerie Brown at valeriebrown95@gmail.com

Mar
25
Sat
2017
What Matters Most: Leading from Your Deepest Values, Finding Sanctuary:  A Courage & Renewal® Retreat @ The Community of St. John Baptist
Mar 25 all-day

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
    work?
  • 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…

stm-aerial-01_orig

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.

 

Registration

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.

 

Apr
22
Sat
2017
Deep Speaks To Deep: Exploring the Practice of Clearness Committees @ Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre
Apr 22 all-day

logo

Deep Speaks To Deep: Exploring the Practice of Clearness Committees

Saturday, April 22, 2017
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre

Join this interactive workshop on the Quaker spiritual practice of the Clearness Committee presented at the Spiritual Directors International Seeking Connection Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 20–23 April 2017.

What You Will Learn…

  1.  Explore the 16th century Quaker Clearness Committee practice, and its modern iterations
  2.  Deepen understanding of spiritual discernment to build trustworthy relationships and experience the power of  ‘the inner teacher’ through the collective consciousness within community
  3.  Engage in the creation of a soulful group container through practice of the Clearness Committee, enhance listening and expectant waiting abilities, and practice the Quaker method of silence to support a unique and prayerful communal process of the Clearness Committees

About the Theme of this Conference…

Fragmentation characterizes much of our global experience. Political and religious ideologies divide. Separation from nature threatens human survival on our planet. Lack of a spiritual center leaves many living a divided existence.

During the 2017 Seeking Connection educational events, we will acknowledge the powerful healing potential of recognizing and celebrating our interdependence with community, creation, and the Divine. Together, we will explore ways in which spiritual direction supports the formation of these healing and transforming connections.

REGISTER HERE: http://www.sdiworld.org/educational-event/2017-seeking-connection-educational-events

 

Jun
3
Sat
2017
Just Be, Just Breathe: Reclaiming True Self, Finding Sanctuary: A Series of One-Day Courage & Renewal® Retreat @ Cranaleith Retreat Center
Jun 3 all-day

Just Be, Just Breathe: Reclaiming True Self, Finding Sanctuary: A Series of One-Day Courage & Renewal® Retreat

Cranaleith Retreat Center, Philadelphia, PA

February through December 2017

Based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal®, this retreat combines both an opportunity 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, re lationships, and underlying life patterns, to live in alignment with your deepest values and the courage to act with integrity and authenticity. In a safe, quiet, nurturing, and confidential environment, this retreat promotes trust, reflection, clarity and insight. Prioritize your self-care and develop practices that support you. Restore body, mind, and spirit for greater calm, clarity, insight, and energy while connecting with others.

This Retreat is Designed Just for You…

  • Are you seeking rest and renewal, a time set-aside just for you from the busyness of daily stress?
  • Are you 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 in building ongoing practices that help you integrate your deepest intentions into your life and work?
  • Are you curious about how to bring more trust and courage into your life?

What People Are Saying:

  • “…profoundly moved to a deeper level of “getting it””.
  • “It is an amazing spiritual journey where you can learn more about yourself and experience the capacity of love of humanity.  It’s life changing and uplifting.”
  • “The program helped me go beyond what I thought I was seeking and give clarity to my questions.”
  • “It was marvelous!  You must do this for yourself.”

Our Venue…
Cranaleith

Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center, an oasis of natural beauty, a ‘Sanctuary of Trees’, and a place to ‘get-away-from-it-all’, is located in Philadelphia, and is easily accessible by mass transit.  Focused on promoting health and well being, Cranaleith serves nutritionally balanced meals with a sense of joy and good taste.

Details & Registration

Cost:  $195.00 per person, per retreat. Attend one or the entire series.  Sign up for all four retreat dates, and take $25.00 off the price of each retreat.  Payment in full is required to secure your place in the retreat.  See our Cancellation Policy for details.

Cost includes:

• Light breakfast, gourmet lunch, and refreshments
• Retreat facilitation
• All retreat materials
• Day use of Cranaleith Spiritual Center grounds

How to Register: Please fill out the registration form and submit with payment as instructed on the form.

Participation:  The retreat minimum is 8 people.  The retreat maximum is 15 people.  Early registration is encouraged.

Cancellation Information: All cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be issued due to late arrival, early departure, or any unused portion of the retreat. The Assumption of Risk / Liability Waiver form must be signed and completed upon registration. Cancellations received 30 days or less prior to retreat start date, no refund is permitted.  Cancellations prior to this will receive a refund of 50% of the cost of the retreat.  Lead Smart Coaching, LLC reserves the right to change, modify, or cancel the retreat prior to the start for any reason, including lack of participants or acts of nature and/or circumstances beyond our control. In this case, any payments received will be refunded in full, and this will constitute full settlement.  Lead Smart Coaching, LLC is not responsible for any additional expenses due to a cancelled retreat, such as the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets.  Lead Smart Coaching, LLC reserves the right to accept, refuse, or decline any participation at any time for any reason of any person. In such a case, Lead Smart Coaching, LLC liability is limited to the actual cost of the unused services.

Dates/Time:
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Each retreat begins at 8:30 am and ends at 4:30 pm. 

Download Event Flyer

Register Here: Registration Form

 

Sep
17
Sun
2017
Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain
Sep 17 – Sep 26 all-day

Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain, September 17-26, 2017
(A Kinder Camino)

IMG_4765“…even before you sat down with them,
broke bread and drank wine,
wiped the wind-tears from your eyes:
pilgrim they called you again. Pilgrim.”
—David Whyte, from Camino

Reunite body, mind, and spirit through transformational and sacred travel, and connect with fellow seekers while walking the famed pilgrimage trail, El Camino de Santiago, Spain, September 17-26, 2017.

Camino foodEmbark on a pilgrimage to discover something new about yourself. It isn’t so much a choice you make, as a response to a call already whispered to you. In the experience of encounter with unfamiliarity, you are able to move out of your assumptions, expectations, and preconceived ideas, as a new way of seeing yourself and the world emerges.

This unique, slow-paced walking pilgrimage explores the little known parts of El Camino, following Spain’s dramatic coastline while building community, engaging ritual, practicing sacred silence, and opening to personal encounters with local people and stunning landscape.

What to Expect on this Pilgrimage…

Even before you arrive in Spain, we prepare you fully for this once in a lifetime experience. You can expect to get to know fellow pilgrims before your arrive in Spain, building a safe and supportive community. You will receive a comprehensive and customized training schedule to build confidence and to nurture you in every way. Our pilgrimage newsletters and comprehensive materials offer you an ‘insider’ and unique perspective, preparing you fully for this epic journey.

Lodging is in charming countryside farmhouse inns. Enjoy regional-delicious Spanish meals. Walk at a snail’s pace with the support of a private van (loaded with healthy snacks) to transport luggage and heavy backpacks and for a ride whenever we want, which means you get to really enjoy the scenery. A ‘Lazy Day’ or Sabbath Rest Day is included to give you plenty of time to savor your transformational journey.

About the Landscape…

Camino foodWe’ll explore the little known pilgrimage route along Spain’s northern coastline of Galicia, from Santiago de Compostela to Muxia and Finisterra, the ‘end of the world’, where the cliffs plunge steeply into the western sea and the sun disappears each evening. 
We leave the bustle of the stunning and lively medieval city of Santiago de Compostela, entering the fullness of the rural landscapes of high plateaus, forested tracks, and country villages. Breathtaking coastal trails and headlands, await us as our pace slows to that of centuries of sea faring life. Upon reaching Finisterra, you can collect your Fisterrana, a certificate of completion of this epic pilgrimage, an added bonus!

Why Private Van Support for this Pilgrimage?

This is a 10-day walking pilgrimage, fully supported with a private van, sets it apart and makes it accessible to all. Our private van is loaded with cold drinks, for starters, and plenty of healthy snacks. Extra maps in case you’ve left yours behind. Sunscreen, band-aids, a bit of coaching on technique, if you want it—plus free moral support are always available. And, of course, a comfortable seat if you’d like a lift, whether to the top of the next hill, the nearest village with a shady square, a local cafe, or all the way back to our charming country farmhouse inn, where there’s a comfy chair with your name on it. Whatever kind of support you’re looking for, this pilgrimage will deliver it.

Finisterre, Spain, the End of the Earth

Map Route

Please visit the links below for a complete profile of route from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre, Spain:
This map has a vertical relief profile that shows where you are as you slide along the profile:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/693596

http://santiago-compostela.net/camino-de-finisterre-muxia/

What People Are Saying…

  • “The scenery is spectacular and the beautiful rhythm of walking the Camino is truly revelatory.”
  • “To walk the Camino my own way empowered and stretched me into new horizons, safely and in community….”
  • “Everyday was a feast for the senses….”
  • “I am venturing home with my heart burst wide open, full of hope and possibilities. I am deeply grateful.”

Valaerie Brown Registration & Fees

Price: $3599 per person double occupancy. $4249 per person single occupancy.

Payment: A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of $500.00 per person is required to reserve your space.  Space is limited to 12 participants.

The price includes:

  • Expert guides
  • Charming lodging in family-run hotels/farmhouse inns
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • Private van support loaded with healthy refreshments
  • Luggage support
  • Three-pre-departure conference calls to prepare you for this journey of a lifetime
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including customized training schedule and monthly newsletters
  • Pilgrimage Kit, including pilgrim’s passport and shell
  • Daily maps of route
  • Farewell Dinner & Closing Pilgrimage Ritual

Price DOES NOT include:

  • Round trip airfare
  • Ground travel in Spain to and from meeting location
  • All lunches
  • Tips & Gratuities

Cancellation:  Please see registration website for details.
Questions? Contact Valerie Brown valeriebrown95@gmail.com

Read my latest blog post on lessons along El Camino:

http://www.couragerenewal.org/inner-journey/

Space is limited to 12 persons.

This pilgrimage fills fast

Register Here:   El Camino Registration Form
El Camino, Walk in Beauty Flyer
Brief History of El Camino
El Camino Daily Schedule & FAQ
El Camino Confidential Questionnaire
El Camino Medical Form

Space is limited to 12.  This pilgrimage fills fast.

 

Oct
25
Wed
2017
Journey Toward Wholeness: A Courage & Renewal® Retreat
Oct 25 – Oct 27 all-day

logo

Journey Toward Wholeness: A Courage & Renewal® Retreat

October 25-27, 2017
Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, NY

Join this deep dive with friend and colleague Dan Hines as we explore the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal.   This retreat explores life transitions, life meaning, purpose, and direction to live in greater alignment with your deepest values.

For more information: https://www.eomega.org

 

Dec
2
Sat
2017
Just Be, Just Breathe: Reclaiming True Self, Finding Sanctuary: A Series of One-Day Courage & Renewal® Retreat @ Cranaleith Retreat Center
Dec 2 all-day

Just Be, Just Breathe: Reclaiming True Self, Finding Sanctuary: A Series of One-Day Courage & Renewal® Retreat

Cranaleith Retreat Center, Philadelphia, PA

February through December 2017

Based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal®, this retreat combines both an opportunity 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, re lationships, and underlying life patterns, to live in alignment with your deepest values and the courage to act with integrity and authenticity. In a safe, quiet, nurturing, and confidential environment, this retreat promotes trust, reflection, clarity and insight. Prioritize your self-care and develop practices that support you. Restore body, mind, and spirit for greater calm, clarity, insight, and energy while connecting with others.

This Retreat is Designed Just for You…

  • Are you seeking rest and renewal, a time set-aside just for you from the busyness of daily stress?
  • Are you 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 in building ongoing practices that help you integrate your deepest intentions into your life and work?
  • Are you curious about how to bring more trust and courage into your life?

What People Are Saying:

  • “…profoundly moved to a deeper level of “getting it””.
  • “It is an amazing spiritual journey where you can learn more about yourself and experience the capacity of love of humanity.  It’s life changing and uplifting.”
  • “The program helped me go beyond what I thought I was seeking and give clarity to my questions.”
  • “It was marvelous!  You must do this for yourself.”

Our Venue…
Cranaleith

Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center, an oasis of natural beauty, a ‘Sanctuary of Trees’, and a place to ‘get-away-from-it-all’, is located in Philadelphia, and is easily accessible by mass transit.  Focused on promoting health and well being, Cranaleith serves nutritionally balanced meals with a sense of joy and good taste.

Details & Registration

Cost:  $195.00 per person, per retreat. Attend one or the entire series.  Sign up for all four retreat dates, and take $25.00 off the price of each retreat.  Payment in full is required to secure your place in the retreat.  See our Cancellation Policy for details.

Cost includes:

• Light breakfast, gourmet lunch, and refreshments
• Retreat facilitation
• All retreat materials
• Day use of Cranaleith Spiritual Center grounds

How to Register: Please fill out the registration form and submit with payment as instructed on the form.

Participation:  The retreat minimum is 8 people.  The retreat maximum is 15 people.  Early registration is encouraged.

Cancellation Information: All cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be issued due to late arrival, early departure, or any unused portion of the retreat. The Assumption of Risk / Liability Waiver form must be signed and completed upon registration. Cancellations received 30 days or less prior to retreat start date, no refund is permitted.  Cancellations prior to this will receive a refund of 50% of the cost of the retreat.  Lead Smart Coaching, LLC reserves the right to change, modify, or cancel the retreat prior to the start for any reason, including lack of participants or acts of nature and/or circumstances beyond our control. In this case, any payments received will be refunded in full, and this will constitute full settlement.  Lead Smart Coaching, LLC is not responsible for any additional expenses due to a cancelled retreat, such as the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets.  Lead Smart Coaching, LLC reserves the right to accept, refuse, or decline any participation at any time for any reason of any person. In such a case, Lead Smart Coaching, LLC liability is limited to the actual cost of the unused services.

Dates/Time:
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Each retreat begins at 8:30 am and ends at 4:30 pm. 

Download Event Flyer

Register Here: Registration Form

 

Dec
28
Thu
2017
Open Heart, Peaceful Mind: A Courage & Renewal® Retreat for Rest & Reflection @ Pendle Hill
Dec 28 2017 – Jan 1 2018 all-day

Open Heart, Peaceful Mind: A Retreat for Rest & Reflection

PENDLE HILL, WALLINGFORD, PA (near Philadelphia)
DECEMBER 28 to JANUARY 1, 2018

Register early for this annual event to bring in the new year!

Winter Cabin Discover Your Path

Relax into a time of serene rest and renewal. Open to the new year’s unfolding with a retreat that honors your heart, mind, and soul. Practice mindful meditation in the rhythms of daily life with sitting, walking, and eating meditation, as well as mindful dialogue. Savor sustained periods of silence, quiet reflection with poetry and stories by the fireplace, small and large group discussion, creative arts, laughter, gentle Kundalini yoga, and deep relaxation. Restore your spirit and enter the new year with greater calm, clarity, and energy — and ways to sustain yourself in the coming year.

Celebrate the new year with an alcohol-free gathering that includes, hors d’ oeuvres, gourmet dinner, musical concert, and candlelight Meeting for Worship.

Here’s What People Say About This Retreat…

“The retreat created spaciousness to be real, go deeper, be witnessed, learn from others, explore the covered up places longing for me to come home.”

“The retreat created space and thoughtful guidance toward identifying and prioritizing and embracing a better me.”

“I gained insight into what gives my life meaning, and how I should honor it.

“Sweet and lush.”

Registration

Registration materials are available from Pendle Hill in late Spring 2017. Visit www.pendlehill.org for more details.

Feb
14
Wed
2018
Courage & Renewal® Peace & Social Justice Pilgrimage
Feb 14 – Feb 27 all-day

Courage & Renewal® Peace & Social Justice Pilgrimage

SOUTH INDIA
FEBRUARY 14-27, 2018

Mumbai – Chennai – Puducherry – Madurai – Thekkady – Alleppey – Kollam – Cochin

Join me and Dr. Mukta Panda for this transformational journey.

India Serenity

What to expect on this pilgrimage…

India, and particularly south India, is one of the most spiritual destinations in the world.  It is a land surrounded by ocean and sea, rice fields, cashew-nut and mango trees, misty peaks and dense tropical forest, sacred temples and extraordinary diversity of religious culture:  Jains, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and Christians.

On this 14-day pilgrimage, we begin in Mumbai, a gateway to south India, and then on to Chennai and the beautiful and romantic temples at Dakshinachitra and Mahabalipuram, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of the seven sacred cities of India.

Ashram visits….

India CultureOur pilgrimage includes a rare visit to some of India’s most well known ashrams, including, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville in Puducherry, described as an “experiment in international living where men and women could live in peace and progressive harmony with each other above all creeds, politics, and nationalities.”  We also visit Matha Amrithanandamayi Mission, a famous ashram founded by one of India’s few female gurus, Amrithanandamayi, also known as Amma (Mother) or ‘The Hugging Mother’ because of the darshan (audience) she offers, often hugging thousands of people in marathon all-night sessions.

Grassroots Women’s Cooperatives visits….

Visit women’s self-help cooperative projects in Tamil Nadu, financed by the Quaker micro-credit lending organization, Right Sharing of World Resources. Learn first hand from women and children how microfinance empowers mutual trust, collaboration, and interdependence. Return home inspired by lives of dignity and courage.

Cruise the backwaters of blissful Kerala….

We journey to Kerala, South India’s most serenely beautiful state with hundreds of miles of glorious Arabian Sea coast and beaches; a network of glistening backwaters; and the spice and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats. Our Sabbath Rest Day, based in an ayurvedic center Kerala, offers rest, relaxation, and integration. We then board air-conditioned house boat or kettuvallum” (meaning rice barge), for a traditional and stunning backwater two-day cruise along the vast network of lagoons, lakes, and rivers of Kerala, a highlight of any visit to this region.  On this cruise, we will cross shallow palm-fringed canals and lakes, studded with Chinese fishing nets, and long shady canals. An abundance of bird life is found in the area while you observe rural village life as you live aboard the house boat. The houseboats tie up at sunset, to overnight along the water’s edge.

India CruiseOur evenings are a time to build community with reflection, discussion, and integration, using the Courage & Renewal® Approach.  A Sabbath Rest Day allows you to slow down to savor this transformational pilgrimage.

Serene Kochi (Cochin) is the final destination on this pilgrimage. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant Chinese fishing nets, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses, and the remains of the British Raj.

The goal of this pilgrimage is twofold:

—to facilitate a transformative experience through exposure to south Indian religious traditions and culture, promoting greater understanding; and

—to reflect on critical issues of peace and social justice, using Courage & Renewal Principles & Practices, supporting greater awareness and action.

About the climate, transportation, and hotels….

India BeautyWith nine hours of sunshine and average temperature of 82 degrees, south India in February, is ideal. Transportation is domestic air, air-conditioned coach, and boat. The following meals are included: 13 breakfasts, two lunches, four dinners, including a welcome and farewell dinner. The hotels are four-star. International air is not included.

This pilgrimage is suitable for anyone of average fitness.

Registration & Fees

Price: $4599 per person double occupancy. $5999 per person single occupancy.

Payment: A non-refundable deposit of $500.00 per person is required to reserve your space.  Space is limited to 12 participants. See payment schedule.

The price includes:

  • Expert guides
  • Daily Courage & Renewal® reflection
  • Domestic flights
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts, two lunches, four dinners, including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Luggage support
  • Sabbath Rest Day to integrate the pilgrimage experience
  • Entrance fees listed temples
  • House boat cruise in backwaters of Kerala, including all meals
  • Ashram visits
  • Small group travel to build an intimate community of pilgrims
  • Three-pre-departure conference calls to prepare you for this journey of a lifetime
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials

Download and share this flyer with a friend (PDF)

Download Registration Form (PDF)

Download Pre-Pilgrimage Medical Information and Information Form (PDF)

Price DOES NOT include:

  • Round trip international airfare
  • Tips & Gratuities

Travel Documents Required to Travel to India:

After you register, we’ll ask you to confidential medical information form and pre-pilgrimage questionnaire.

Passport

A passport is required for this pilgrimage. It must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date. This information about travel documents pertains to participants holding U.S. passports. All other passport-holders should call us for specific requirements.

Visa

  • Your passport must have 2 blank passport page(s) for entry/exit visas in this country.
  • A travel visa is required. And it must be obtained in advance.
  • The cost of this visa is not included in the cost of this pilgrimage.
  • You may obtain your Indian Visa (eTA or e-Tourist Visa) online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html

Cancellation:  Please see registration website for details.

 

About Your Leaders…

Valerie BrownValerie Brown is an international retreat leader, writer, leadership coach, and Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness in daily life (www.leadsmartcoaching.com).  She transformed her high-pressure career as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections.  Valerie’s books include, The Road that Teaches:  Lessons in Transformation through Travel (QuakerBridge Media, 2012) and The Mindful School Leader:  Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (Corwin, 2014), named one of the ‘best books on courage’ in 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal.  She has studied and practiced mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition since 1995 and was ordained in the Order of Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003.  Valerie is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a certified Kundalini yoga teacher.

 

Mukta PandaDr. Mukta Panda
Bio coming soon.

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.