Parker J. Palmer

Parker J. Palmer

is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Wednesday.

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include Healing the Heart of Democracy, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.
Wednesday
BY Parker J. Palmer
February 03, 2016

We're trained to demonize and combat those who disagree with us. But what if we cultivated better habits that didn't unravel the fabric of our civic community?

BY Parker J. Palmer
January 27, 2016

What are the last things you want to cherish? The last things you want to give up? Parker Palmer on treasuring those things that anchor one to the blessings of life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
January 20, 2016

On a retreat at a cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin, Parker Palmer strings together pearls of contemplation on silence and solitude. With the help of Merton and Rumi, he finds the catharsis of being forced to reckon with one's angels and demons.

BY Parker J. Palmer
January 13, 2016

It's when we sit with our silence that the world opens before us, in ways large and small. Parker Palmer reflects on Gunilla Norris' poetic words and the regrounding silence brings.

BY Parker J. Palmer
January 06, 2016

Each year brings the loss of a life we loved. But what if our grief served as a conduit to community and creating a more thoughtful, interconnected world?

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 30, 2015

A serendipitous typo inspires our columnist Parker Palmer to come up with a list of five "revolutions" for the New Year, resolutions to counteract grim realities in order to regain our humanity in 2016.

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 23, 2015

Remembering a passage from the Christmas services of his childhood, Parker Palmer finds counsel for living an honest and genuine life. We must, he says, allow the good words we speak to become incarnate in our actions.

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 16, 2015

Through the story of the famous Christmas Truce of 1914, a ballad and some thoughts on holding despair and human possibility.

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 09, 2015

The feeling of being stuck is one we all have experienced at one time or another. Beleaguered by writer's block, Parker Palmer calls upon his beginner's mind and encourages us to move forward with hope.

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 02, 2015

Nearly 30,000 delegates from 200 nations are in Paris talking about climate change this week. Parker Palmer encourages us to open our eyes to the beauty with a poem and a challenge.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 25, 2015

American democracy is illumined by multiple voices calling us to pursue questions of personal, communal, and political meaning. A Quaker reminds us to vigorously question those who say the U.S. is a Christian nation.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 22, 2015

Parker Palmer pens an elegy to mark the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination — a balm for a hurting world.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 18, 2015

In the wake of the Paris attacks, Parker Palmer highlights the importance of "wounded healers" and what we can do to let heartbreak open ourselves to suffering and the kindness necessary for social change.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 11, 2015

There are those people who know how to get ahead of the train wreck and those folks who are called to their senses after the collision has happened. But, catastrophe, too, can be a contemplative path if you choose to accept it.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 04, 2015

What makes each child unique cannot be measured or scored. A nourishing story from a school principal on the "many ways of being smart" and testing children.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 28, 2015

In response to Courtney Martin's letter, Parker Palmer corresponds with his dear friend about the uncertainty of life. A contemplation on the value of being vulnerable and open to supportive friends.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 21, 2015

Has technology failed to deliver on its promise: to lighten our load? A wry meditation on play, gratitude, and the gift of life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 14, 2015

With the visual glories of autumn, the living is hidden within the dying. A pondering about this season of paradox and the "the endless interplay of living and dying" we all must embrace.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 07, 2015

The metaphors we use matter. Parker Palmer claims the metaphor of seasons to gently remind us that we're not in charge, that we're not alone, that it's possible to transform and be transformed in this world.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 30, 2015

Politics can divide more often than unite. But, deep involvement in the civic sphere doesn't mean we have to sacrifice empathy and civility.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 23, 2015

Summer's passing and earth's decay can elicit a deepening melancholy for some. A pondering on the "paradoxical dance" of darkness and light and giving oneself over to its endless interplay — with lyrical assists from Rainier Marie Rilke and Thomas Merton.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 16, 2015

With the words of Rilke, an encouragement to ask life-giving questions and create new pathways.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 09, 2015

The politics of rage so often focuses us on lack of action and despair. But, the broken heart is an important political and personal reality, one that can liberate the mind if exercised properly.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 02, 2015

Each summer, our columnist has been making a pilgrimage to one of nature's great treasures: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In his twilight years, he ponders the resurrection that takes place under the most destructive circumstances and the "vast web of life in which body and spirit are one."

BY Parker J. Palmer
August 26, 2015

Generosity and gratitude don't require extraordinary means, just the gift of time and attention. Parker and Wendell on giving yourself away.

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