The Lightmaker's Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy

The Lightmaker's Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy

Many of us have strong convictions. We want to advocate for causes we care about--but which ones? We want to work for change--but will the emotional toll lead to burn out?

Leadership coach, lawyer, photographer, and activist Karen Walrond knows that when you care deeply about the world, light can seem hard to find. But when your activism grows out of your joy--and vice versa--you begin to see light everywhere.

In The Lightmaker's Manifesto, Walrond helps us name the skills, values, and actions that bring us joy; identify the causes that spark our empathy and concern; and then put it all together to change the world. Creative and practical exercises, including journaling, daily intention-setting, and mindful self-compassion, are complemented by lively conversations with activists and thought leaders such as Valarie Kaur, Brené Brown, Tarana Burke, and Zuri Adele. With stories from around the world and wisdom from those leading movements for change, Walrond beckons readers toward lives of integrity, advocacy, conviction, and joy.

By unearthing our passions and gifts, we learn how to joyfully advocate for justice, peace, and liberation. We learn how to become makers of light.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506469942
  • eBook ISBN 9781506469959
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 234
  • Publication Date November 2, 2021


"We yearn for more joy in our lives. We feel called to change the world. But we struggle because joy and activism feel so separate and, sometimes, even mutually exclusive. Karen Walrond offers us a completely different path--an integrated and intentional approach to life that ignites and fuels both our joy and our ability to make change. I can't stop thinking about joy-fueled activism and Karen's ability to shine her light so we can find our own."

Brené Brown, PhD, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Dare to Lead

"The Lightmaker's Manifesto is essential reading for all those determined to change the world without sacrificing their humanity and joy. Karen Walrond's writing shimmers with wisdom, truth, and light."

Glennon Doyle, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Untamed

"Tired. Stressed. Overwhelmed. These are the words that often accompany the change-makers and justice-seekers in the world. But in The Lightmaker's Manifesto, Walrond graciously invites us to connect our work to a deeply abiding joy." 

Austin Channing Brown, author of New York Times bestseller I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness 

"Karen Walrond's wondrous book The Lightmaker's Manifesto is an inspired guide for those who want to learn to prioritize joy. Walrond shares personal stories, profiles of lightmakers, and specific activities to help you move toward joy. We all need a copy of this book."

Shauna M. Ahern, author of Enough: Notes From a Woman Who Has Finally Found It and James Beard Award-winning cookbooks, and founder of Finding Your Joy

"The Lightmaker's Manifesto is precisely the book so many of us have been waiting for. More intimate than one-size-fits-all self-help and more expansive than a memoir, this is a practical and inspirational guide to help each of us discover how we can create more light: light by which to navigate a nervous world, illuminate next steps, and heal the world in tiny and global, personal and sweeping ways. Like the joyous, keen observer that Karen Walrond is, her book widens the aperture through which we understand the world. This book of wonderment includes stories and expertise from a wide spectrum of world-changing lightmakers, and the result is a guide to cranking up the wattage on all the light we can collectively muster so we can shine it brightly now and for generations to come."

Cathleen Falsani, journalist and author of The God Factor and Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace

"At Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, we have a simple motto: 'Change the world by being yourself.' However, because trying to change the world, even in a small way, is tough work, and being yourself isn't always easy, we often feel disappointed and joyless. We don't experience the great joy in just being alive, or remember that joy comes in the midst of disappointment, not instead of it. Karen Walrond has grasped this deep truth, and she invites us to see what we have so often been missing. The Lightmaker's Manifesto offers all of us a way to look at a broken world, and at our incomplete selves, with a fresh and vital perspective."

Meredith Walker, producer and cofounder of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls

"The Lightmaker's Manifesto offers compelling stories that put life back into the right perspective. Karen Walrond shares life lessons that will compel you to go back and pick up the parts of you that were sacrificed in order to serve. Walrond gives us examples of what it looks like to be fully present to yourself in order to be fully present for others. This book reminds you that you're not alone in your experiences and you're going to be okay. The Lightmaker's Manifesto will allow you to take a deep, calming breath and offer yourself grace."

Romal Tune, author of Love Is an Inside Job: Getting Vulnerable with God


"A self-care guidebook designed to bring light to change makers and, by extension, the world."

Foreword Review