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The Soul Never Forgets: Leading from Your Deepest Values, Finding Sanctuary, A Courage & Renewal® Retreat

Saturday, December 2, 2017
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center - Philadelphia, PA

December 2, 2017
9 am to 4 pm

Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

$195 per person

Click to register now

Come meet your soul through this retreat based on the work of American activist and writer Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal.   Explore 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. Remember what your soul has forgotten in a safe, quiet, nurturing, and confidential environment and community through a retreat that promotes reflection, clarity and insight.   Guided by core principles and practices, which include the belief that everyone has an inner teacher, an inner source of truth, we will engage in contemplative practices to support personal and societal transformation

During this retreat, we will use seasonal themes and metaphors and explore poetry, prose, music, gentle guided movement, video, journaling, stories from various wisdom traditions, periods of silence, mindfulness meditation practices, and the quiet beauty of Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center, ‘A Sanctuary of Trees’.  This retreat includes periods of quiet self-reflection, and large and small group discussions, as well as much laughter and lightness.

As you remember your soul, your deepest values, your True Self, you enter the heart of transformation.   Joining with others in the Circle of Trust, you move toward greater self-awareness, greater wholeness, and support social transformation.

What you will learn during this retreat:

  • Understand the Circle of Trust® Touchstones and Approach
  • Dive deep into the mystery of your soul, your deepest values
  • Practice deep listening skills to build relational trust in a supportive community
  • Learn the power of honest, open questions to support understanding
  • Engage in reflective inquiry through poetry, prose, and video
  • Savor Sabbath rest and renewal
  • Practice journaling as a tool of discernment
  • Explore Way of Council Practice
  • Engage in mindfulness meditation
  • Experience body movement/Body awareness
  • Explore creative expression through art

What people are saying about these Courage & Renewal® retreats:

"quote-LThe most valuable thing I learned was embracing all of the elements of myself—all my pain and sorrow, all my love and joy—all of my journey, all of its traveling companions.  Embracing it all and realizing I can weave it together to create wholeness and acceptance—and that I am not done with the weaving.”


If you want to clarify your vision of how to integrate authentic living into your work, these circles of trust provide the opportunity to listen to the soul for guidance on the path.”

"quote-LThis is a special opportunity to reflect on and strengthen your life’s purpose.  A warm and supportive community.”



Meet Your Facilitator

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 (  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

cranaleith-spiritual-retreat-centerCranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center is an oasis of natural beauty, a ‘Sanctuary of Trees’.  It is a place to ‘get-away-from-it-all’, to savor respite, reinvigorate your values, what matters most deeply, refocus, restore, and refresh your body and spirit.   Operated by the Sisters of Mercy, Cranaleith is committed to stewardship of a safe and sheltering place accessible to all, and “especially to persons who are poor and those who work in solidarity with them.”  Focused on promoting health and well being, Cranaleith serves nutritionally balanced meals with a sense of joy and good taste.   Most foods are made in-house with local and organic produce or sourced from Cranaleith’s garden. Meals are varied, including vegetarian options from organic grains, beans, cheeses, and fresh eggs from their chicken coop. Gluten free options are also available upon request.  A hidden gem located just outside Center City, Philadelphia, Cranaleith is easily accessible by mass transit.

Details & Registration

Cost:  $195.00 per person.  Payment in full is required to secure your place in the retreat.  See the Cancellation Policy for details.

Cost includes:

  • Light breakfast, gourmet lunch, and refreshments
  • Retreat facilitation
  • All retreat materials
  • Daily 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 Policy: 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 60 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.

Questions about this retreat?
Contact Valerie Brown at

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