5 books to help you cultivate care and connection
Are you looking for ways to build community? Do you want to cultivate deeper connections in your life? Here are five books to deepen connection, cultivate care, and help you better show up where it matters.
1. How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong - In this book, Mia shares examples of different ways people are cultivating community, prioritizing chosen family, and enabling transformation and healing within community. These examples lay a groundwork for us to consider how to create change in our own lives, grow deeper connections, and foster stronger communities.
2. Listen Like You Mean It by Ximena Vengoachea - Listening well is one of the core skills to building strong relationships and cultivating community. But listening is a skill, and like all skills it takes intentional practice to improve. This book is full of actionable advice for how to improve your listening skills to be a better friend, partner, and community member.
3. The Care Manifesto by The Care Collective - At the root of wanting to build a better world is care -- caring about each other, caring about the world, caring about the future. The Care Manifesto explores care in our society, both the current lack of it and a future vision of a society that centers care. What would it look like if we all acted from a place of care? If care were prioritized in our work and our homes? This book gives us a future to work toward.
4. Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown - Written by an experienced organizer, this book shares a range of different thoughts around how to organize for change from the perspective of emergent strategy. This book is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live.
5. Beyond Survival edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha - This book is more focused in specifically on transformative justice, which is an approach to responding to harm that centers healing and support instead of further abuse. If you're new to transformative justice (like I was when I read this book) this is a great entry point. It's a collective of essays from many different viewpoints and practitioners, so you get a wide ranging look into what transformative justice is and how it can be applied in communities. For anyone interested in cultivating stronger communities, an idea of what to do when harm occurs in those communities (as it inevitably will) is paramount, and transformative justice will give you that.
Let me know if you pick up any of these books! And if you'd like to read them with others, consider joining the Soft Heart Book Club where we read books like these in community and work together to grow our capacities to create the world we want to live in.