Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness: Life is Happening Now. How Present Are You?

It’s true that you’re working harder, but are you working smarter? Mindfulness is living life ‘on pupose’, living as if this day really mattered. While that sounds simple and even obvious, the truth is that it’s really challenging because we’re all crazy busy, driven by false urgencies, and ‘live in our heads’ a lot. You may have heard about mindfulness and may be curious about how it can improve your effectiveness, but maybe you’re not sure where or how to start. With regular practice, mindfulness will help you to cultivate and wake up to a wide array of leadership skills, such as focus, clarity, and creativity – skills that may be dormant within you. Mindfulness is not a theory, but instead is grounded in your body, your bones, in now. Mindfulness can support your leadership and your life in many ways, as it:

  • Enhances your ability to respond rather than react, even in tense situations
  • Strengthens your capacity to understand and creatively engage complex situations
  • Boosts focus and clarity
  • Strengthens your connections with yourself and with others
  • Fosters positive mood, promoting greater well being, compassion, open-heartedness, and happiness
  • Nurtures your physical, mental, and emotional resilience

Lead Smart Coaching offers the following mindfulness services:

  • Mindfulness coaching for leaders and teams
  • Mindfulness curriculum review and development for schools
  • Professional development training in mindfulness
  • Mindfulness retreats
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course — this is a transformational classic 8-week session designed to promote and enhance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society

An exquisite composite of deep wisdom, intentional study, mindful awareness, and compassionate presence shines through Valerie Brown’s work. Val’s keen insight and willing witness to both process and personhood in the people and systems that benefit from her consultation is unparalleled. She possesses both macroscopic vision and microscopic attention to detail. Val’s own soul work lends spacious generosity to her vocational life. I met Val’s smile first; and in my encounter with the quiet of her spirit, flame of her mind, and richness of her vast experience have found my journey as an educator of spiritual leaders, administrator of a multi-campus hospital chaplaincy system, mother, poet and human being forever transformed.
— Rev. Amani D. Legagneur, M.Div., Manager, of Chaplaincy Services, Northside Hospital System, Atlanta, GA.

“Valerie, you remind me of a deep, calm, cooling current running steadily below everything. In a world which feels so frenetic and heady, you inspire me to more slowly and intentionally, stay grounded and rooted in my truth.”
— Katrina Peterson, Harvard Divinity School, M.Div. Candidate

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.