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.
By Parker J. Palmer July 22, 2015

The imprint a father leaves on his child remains. Parker remembers his deceased Dad and the values he imparted with a poem.

By Parker J. Palmer July 15, 2015

Thomas Merton and Lao Tzu make compelling cases for flowing around obstacles rather than butting up against them. If we do so, we fight inequities in the world with equanimity and make a life worth living for all.

By Parker J. Palmer July 08, 2015

"How can we learn to embrace with love the whole of who we are?" Parker Palmer with three tools to help us show up as we really are and live and love fully as we engage with the world.

By Parker J. Palmer July 01, 2015

As we celebrate the Fourth of July in the States, Parker Palmer contemplates the hope, the promise, and the opportunity of "we the people" with a song from Leonard Cohen.

By Parker J. Palmer June 24, 2015

Recent events in the life of the world have made it challenging to engage in trust and hope. Parker Palmer turns to another type of knowing that leads to grace.

By Parker J. Palmer June 17, 2015

Father's Day is just around the corner in the U.S. Parker Palmer shares some of his dad's most humorous gems and a poem by Dana Gioia to celebrate all the men in our lives.

By Parker J. Palmer June 10, 2015

In remembering a great civil rights leader not many know of, Parker Palmer shares a story about a man of few words.

By Parker J. Palmer June 03, 2015

With Gerard Manley Hopkins as his guide, Parker reflects on the sacredness and beauty of life and difference.

By Parker J. Palmer May 27, 2015

Inspired by the words and actions of Thich Nhat Hanh, Parker Palmer asks what it means to hold our differences in ways that open us to possibilities we never would have imagined.

By Parker J. Palmer May 20, 2015

How we ask each other questions can evoke a deeper sense of self. Words of advice from Parker Palmer and a poem by Denise Levertov on the power of asking with good intention, and hearing each other into being.

By Parker J. Palmer May 13, 2015

The word "depression" is used to describe a personal condition as well as large-scale economic collapse. Parker Palmer shares a story of personal story of his last encounter with depression and two interviews that talking about depression and economic crisis.

By Parker J. Palmer May 06, 2015

A trip down the Grand Canyon (and, of course, a poem) reveals a truth and shows us all that we are most whole when we live in the layers of our being.

By Parker J. Palmer April 29, 2015

In silence, there is a depth of communion that trumps what we can achieve with words. In laughter, there is a depth of communion that trumps what we can achieve with solemnity. Parker Palmer on shadow and quiet.

By Parker J. Palmer April 22, 2015

We all have one of those transcendent moments when we're immersed in nature and experience the immensity of it all. On this Earth Day, Parker Palmer shares one of those times while camping in the Grand Canyon.

By Parker J. Palmer April 15, 2015

Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering. But how do we turn the power of suffering toward new life? It depends on our willingness to exercise our hearts so that when suffering strikes, they are suppler and more able to break open to new life.

By Parker J. Palmer April 08, 2015

We all want to be of service, to be needed and of use to others and to ourselves. Parker Palmer tells the playful story of a neighbor who takes this to an extreme.

By Parker J. Palmer April 01, 2015

We are born baffled. Acknowledging this can be key to becoming a writer or a person who seeks to understand the world around you better. Parker Palmer muses on a writing life and distills his experience into three principles of living deeply and richly within this world.

By Parker J. Palmer March 25, 2015

How do we celebrate our diminishment as we age? We look for beauty in "that which the world rejects as ugly."

By Parker J. Palmer March 18, 2015

Regret and humility are two ways we relate to the past, but they can spawn very different approaches to life. Embracing adversity can open up hope for the future depending on how we embrace it.

By Parker J. Palmer March 11, 2015

Inspired by a mother's observation of her toddler's awe of the world, Parker Palmer reflects on the mystery of the world and the grace of wholeness — delighting in the gift of life as a septuagenarian.

By Parker J. Palmer March 04, 2015

Parker Palmer shares one of his favorite stories about the Dalai Lama and a poem from Stephen Levine on the majesty of humor and love.

By Parker J. Palmer February 25, 2015

Aided by Hafiz, Parker Palmer reminds us that the inner life does not have to be a somber one, but a life rich with experience.

By Parker J. Palmer February 18, 2015

We are told to embrace the fact that death is part of life. Embracing emotional honesty, Parker Palmer shakes his salty fist at fate's inevitable hand with a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

By Parker J. Palmer February 11, 2015

Cynicism beckons to us with ease at times. But how do we remain open to the good within and around us? A reminder to keep hope alive when the demon inside us bites down. And, lyrical lines from Mary Oliver!

By Parker J. Palmer January 28, 2015

No matter what decade of your life you're in, your journey to find a fulfilling work life is one often clouded with worry and self-doubt. Parker Palmer writes this helpful story about finding the way — not by what opens in front of you but by what closes behind you.

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