My Spiritual Awakening

Valerie Brown was a high powered lawyer. Then she had an experience that changed everything.

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Valerie Brown was a high powered lawyer. Then she had an experience that changed everything.


My name is Valerie Brown, and my Meeting is Solebury Monthly Meeting, here in Solebury Pennsylvania or New Hope, Pennsylvania. And my work is as a leadership coach, and I do a lot of writing and speaking, and it’s sort of strange because, even as I’m saying this, I’m still getting used to describing myself in this way. For many years—most of my life, up until about 3 years ago—I had a very high-powered career as an attorney and a lobbyist.

My Spiritual Awakening

The last 3 years has been this becoming. A new career, a new life, and I jokingly call my job title “Chief or Director of Purposeful Life and Work” and that feels about right.

The Process of Transformation

So the leaving of my lawyer job to what I’m doing now is a process. Sort of like the process of Winter becoming Spring. Winter doesn’t immediately turn to Spring. It is a process of becoming.

I became a lawyer before I knew who I was or what I believed, and I became a lawyer essentially for some very crass reasons, primarily to make money and to get out of Brooklyn. I can assure you that Brooklyn was not the swanky place it is today. There weren’t yoga studios and latte shops and all of that. It was very much a place that a person wanted to leave. And so that was my priority.

A Moment That Shifts Things

But I had one of those moments in a person’s life that shifts things. The moment was I was in a really stressful time at work, so like many people I decided I was going to take myself on vacation. I took myself to one of my very favorite places in New Mexico and I climbed to the top of a very big hill and I took off my backpack and laid back against a nurse log.

I was just looking up at the sky, just chilling and as I looked up, I noticed that the clouds were moving. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Duh. Of course clouds move.” But for me, that was a revelation.

A Revelation That Became a Practice

I was so nose to the grindstone, so about work, so about running, so about getting ahead, I was completely alienated from the natural world, which of course meant that I was alienated from myself. That moment of actually noticing how the clouds move was a revelation for me. It changed everything.

Even now today, my spiritual practice every day is to look at clouds. Every day. I find a great sense of the presence of God there in the movement of clouds.


It has been an honor to serve Friends as the founder and director of QuakerSpeak. Now I am pleased to announce my next endeavor, a Quaker media project for the modern era. Find out more at

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