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November 22, 2024—November 24, 2024

Healing Our Way Home: A Retreat for Women of Color

Healing Our Way Home:
Touching Ancestors, Joy and Liberation

A Retreat for Women of Color

with Dharma Teachers
Dr. Marisela Gomez, Kaira Jewel Lingo and Dr. Valerie Brown


This is a retreat for women of color.

Our focus will be the book Healing Our Way Home and the importance of ancestors, joy, and liberation. Join us for an exploration of how we can see ourselves in each other’s path of joy and liberation, and take refuge in our individual and collective healing.

There will be daily dharma teachings, daily mindful walking/moving, sitting/stationary meditation, mindful eating, singing, dharma writing, and dharma sharing.

Reading of the book before the retreat is highly recommended.



If you would like to learn more about this retreat, we will be holding a free virtual informational session on June 15, from 1-2:30 p.m. ET.

Click here to register for this session.




There are a limited number of partial HEMERA scholarships available for this retreat. Please do not sign up for the retreat if you have submitted an application. Please wait to hear from us. For questions, please contact us at: scholarships@garrisoninstitute.org. Please visit us here for more information, and to apply.


There are a limited number of Garrison Institute General partial scholarships available for this retreat. Please click here to apply. Please do not sign up for the retreat if you have submitted an application. Please wait to hear from us. For questions, please contact us at: scholarships@garrisoninstitute.org.



Marisela Gomez resized.jpg

Marisela Gomez MD PHD is a mindfulness practitioner in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, public health scholar activist, preventive/alternative medicine physician. Of Afro-Latina ancestry, she lives in Baltimore involved in social justice activism and community building/research and co-facilitates mindfulness gatherings with Baltimore and Beyond Mindfulness Community for BIPOC and Social Activists. She is the author of Race, Class, Power and Organizing in East Baltimore, Healing our Way Home, and numerous book chapters in popular and scholarly publications. She has blogged at Huff Post and mariselgomez.com on the intersection of wisdom justice and mindfulness. Dr. Gomez is also a co-founder of the non-profit Village of Love and Resistance whose mission is to organize for community land control in historically marginalized communities in Baltimore MD.

Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher of Black and biracial heritage with a lifelong interest in spirituality and social justice. Her work continues the Engaged Buddhism developed by Thich Nhat Hanh, and she draws inspiration from her parents’ lives of service and her dad’s work with Martin Luther King, Jr. After living as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community, Kaira Jewel now teaches internationally in the Zen lineage and the Vipassana tradition, as well as in secular mindfulness, at the intersection of racial, climate and social justice with a focus on activists, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, artists, educators, families, and youth. Based in New York, she offers spiritual mentoring to groups and is author of We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons in Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption and co-author of Healing Our Way Home: Black Buddhist Teachings on Ancestors, Joy and Liberation from Parallax Press. Her teachings and writings can be found at www.kairajewel.com.

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Valerie Brown is an author, Buddhist-Quaker Dharma teacher, facilitator, and executive coach specializing in leadership development and mindfulness practices with a focus on diversity, social equity, and inclusion. A former lawyer and lobbyist, Valerie transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career into serving leaders and nonprofits to create trustworthy, authentic, compassionate, and connected workspaces.

An award-winning author, her latest book Hope Leans Forward: Braving Your Way toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace (Broadleaf, 2022) received the Nautilus Gold Award for Eastern Spirituality for 2023, and Healing Our Way Home: Black Buddhist Teachings on Ancestors, Joy, and Liberation (Parallax Press, 2024). Her books include The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (with Kirsten Olson, PhD), and Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement: A Guide for Educators (contributor).

She is an ordained Buddhist Dharma teacher in the lineage of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village tradition and facilitates national and international gatherings and retreats for nonprofits and corporations and leads an annual pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago, Spain to celebrate the power of sacred places. She is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher (500 hours), engaging leaders to embody somatic wisdom and creativity.

An accredited leadership coach, she is the Founder and Chief Mindfulness Officer of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, supporting leaders to apply and integrate leadership and mindfulness for greater resilience, clarity, and compassion, and is a co-director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

Valerie’s unique and extensive training blends social justice, evidenced-based mindfulness practices, leadership development, and spiritual growth. She holds a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law, Master of Arts from Miami University (Ohio), and Bachelor of Arts from City University of New York.

Of Afro-Cuban descent, Valerie is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and lives and tends a lively perennial home garden in New Hope, PA. To learn more about Valerie, visit www.valeriebrown.us.



The health and safety of our guests and staff is a top priority for the Garrison Institute. To attend a retreat or event all guests, teachers, and staff are required to self-test (at home antigen test is acceptable) within the 48-hour window prior to arriving for a retreat on site, and to bring a 2nd self-test kit when coming on site. We encourage everyone to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses before your visit. If you experience symptoms or have a positive diagnosis, please notify us immediately at events@garrisoninstitute.org We will continue to follow any COVID-19 guidelines set forth by our local officials, New York State and the CDC.