Imagine feeling safe and valued just as you are, presenting your authentic self. What would it mean to create community in the context of being whole and held in that wholeness? Think of the energy undimmed and undimmed by that kind of refuge, that kind of relationship where we acknowledge each other’s true nature and worth.
Restorative refers to a way of being that recognizes our inherent belonging and interconnectedness, with the understanding that well-being is interwoven; our capacity to flourish is rooted in the well-being of the collective—so we strive to create communities knit together with empathy, compassion, accountability, and joy. This means right relationship forms the basis of everything we do.
Being restorative extends beyond a singular practice to encompass moving through the world responsive to the needs of any given situation. It includes re-imagining justice, replacing retributive models with processes of accountability that acknowledge systemic injustices and dismantle root causes of harmful behaviors while affording individuals the opportunity to inhabit our full humanity. Being restorative means offering warm accompaniment and holding space. Being restorative invites us to re-imagine the world and its possibilities—summoning us to learn by foregrounding curiosity, practicing humility, and expanding our fluency in languages beyond human words.
What an honor to learn from the life stories and wisdom of a whole-hearted practitioner like Leaf Seligman. This book reflects not just on how restorative practices can re-shape our world but also on how each of us can be more restorative in our world. Weaving the doing with the being, the lessons learned with the frameworks, the poetry with the memoir, is both helpful and hopeful. On top of that, Leaf’s work on co-creating a restorative pedagogy is enlivening and expanding young people’s sense of safety, imagination, and community in these uncertain times. By connecting the practices of restoration with the challenging contexts of our world, Leaf is showing how possible it is to shift from an all-or-nothing, fear-based, punitive approach, to one that encompasses the both/and, the wholeness of life, and love for all. Thank you Leaf for sharing your insights, your inquiries, your passions, your vulnerability, with us all so generously. You show how reckoning with compassion can yield lasting repair and give our relationships and systems what they long for and need: inspiring paths forward.
—Shilpa Jain, beloved community-builder, conflict transformation practitioner, and former Executive Director, YES!, Berkeley, CA
Leaf Seligman is a preacher. Period. But she isn’t a preacher from the pulpit; rather, her ministry is embodied and brought forth in her every engagement with the world. Her ministry is restorative. Her ministry, as it unfolds in this book, paints a picture of humanity in deep relationship with ourselves and nature as a whole, illuminating the ethical reason for such a relationship. She asks good questions of us all while making a gentle yet urgent call for readers to shift their mode of being through a solid seven-point foundation and a tender five-point process of accountability. The vulnerability of her own personal stories woven into this work begs readers to reflect on how they themselves are showing up in the world. If we all leaned into this work as laid out by Leaf, the world would be a better place, reminding us that “the first step is to nourish the capacity to imagine.”
—Dr. E. Jabali Stewart, circle keeper and co-founder of Huayruro
Leaf Seligman considers herself a daughter of the trees, grateful to live in Maple Nation and be close enough to spend time among beloved copper beeches. She has taught in colleges, prisons. and community settings since 1985. As a restorative practitioner, Leaf draws on her experience as a jail chaplain, prisoner educator, congregational minister, college instructor, and human being. She facilitates peacekeeping circles, immersive learning experiences, and restorative processes of accountability, healing, and transformation. Leaf delights in bringing tenderness everywhere. Her previous books include Opening the Window: Sabbath Meditations, A Pocket Book of Prompts, and From the Midway: Unfolding Stories of Redemption and Belonging. She lives in New Hampshire.
Click here to change this text