Make Life Less Difficult

Valerie Brown: Hope Leans Forward

January 17, 2023 Episode 96
Make Life Less Difficult
Valerie Brown: Hope Leans Forward
Show Notes

My guest today is Valerie Brown.


VALERIE BROWN is a Buddhist-Quaker Dharma teacher, facilitator, and executive coach. A former lawyer and lobbyist, she is a co-director of Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership as well as founder and chief mindfulness officer of Lead Smart Coaching. 


She is an ordained Buddhist Dharma teacher in the Plum Village tradition, founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, and is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher. In her leadership development and mindfulness practice, she focuses on diversity, social equity, and inclusion. 


Valerie is an award-winning author whose books include The Road That Teaches and The Mindful School Leader with Kirsten Olson. She holds a juris doctor from Howard University School of Law, a Master of Arts from Miami University (Ohio), and a bachelor of arts from City University of New York. Valerie tends a lively perennial home garden in New Hope, Pennsylvania.


Valerie’s most recent book is Hope Leans Forward, Braving your way toward simplicity, awakening, and peace.


In this book, Valerie beautifully blends pieces of her own journey, including many aches, pains, losses, and challenges with stories from other inspiring people, including Susan Cross, George Lakey, LoAn Nguygen, Fanny Brewster, and more.


The thread: Hope, courage, and fear.  Now, that’s my summary of the thread that runs through this book, so you’ll have to read it and see what threads appear for you, as there are many.


For me, something that stood out is the fact that just about every story wove together hope, courage, bravery, and fear.  Sometimes we look at other people and see them doing things that amaze us and we think, “I could never do that.  I’d be too afraid.”  


And here’s the thing, courageous and brave people also have fear.  And they go forward anyway.  In the book, Valerie quotes Margaret Wheatley, from her essay, “The Place beyond Fee and Hope,” where she says, “Hope never enters the room without fear at its side.”


This conversation with Valerie is a bit briefer than other conversations on Make Life Less Difficult, due to some uncontrollable circumstances, but it’s nonetheless real, impactful, and inspiring.


Valerie, thank you for the work you do in the world, the light you share, the inspiration you live.


Find more of Valerie’s work and offerings:


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