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
January 18, 2017

What would it look like to quarrel with our country in a way the soul would affirm? A contemplation of patriotism turned inward, and the "fierce-love truth-telling" that will help us become the democratic community we aspire to be.

BY Parker J. Palmer
January 11, 2017

With the wisdom of Jane Kenyon, a contemplation on gratitude and ordinary grace in our own finite lives.

BY Parker J. Palmer
January 04, 2017

After an exchange with an angry man, a poem about a woodland encounter bestows unexpected guidance — about how acknowledging the spaces we share can be what closes the gaps between us.

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 14, 2016

A return to the gritty heart of the Christmas season, and a vision for a holiday celebration that does real and practical good for those around us.

BY Parker J. Palmer
December 07, 2016

As we turn the seasonal corner to the longest nights of the year, a reflection on the time we spend in the darkness, and what we can learn from it before turning back to the light.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 30, 2016

Even at our most broken and scattered, Mary Oliver seems to say, we can uncover new wholeness by examining each shattered piece.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 23, 2016

An appeal to move beyond anger and reactiveness, and to concentrate instead on the immediate, crucial work of embodying justice.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 16, 2016

Leonard Cohen's timeless lyrics are a beacon of hope for even the most broken among us. An expression of gratitude to our latest lost legend.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 09, 2016

Our body politic suffers from deep wounds, seen and unseen, and all real. Wisdom gleaned from a beloved baseball team on resilience in the face of heartbreak, and the spirit of unity that will move us into a new age.

BY Parker J. Palmer
November 02, 2016

In this transitional season, we leave behind the time of lush greenery and new life. It’s also about cherishing moments of clarity in peering through the spaces that are left.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 26, 2016

A life doesn't have to be extraordinary to have an impact in the world. A reminder that we can build lives that have meaning, no matter what cards we're dealt.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 19, 2016

What if our disenchantment is an opportunity? This moment calls us not to fall backward into cynicism, but to face difficult truths, and to work together to create a new reality.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 12, 2016

Compassion is a virtue, but do we direct it inward as much as outward? Parker Palmer gleans wisdom from Mary Oliver on mending ourselves so that we might be better companions to loved ones in need.

BY Parker J. Palmer
October 05, 2016

An autumnal poem from Linda Pastan guides Parker Palmer to a realization: that we can become enraptured with the world around us once again, if only we revive our childlike capacity for wonder.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 28, 2016

Genuine communication is a collaborative process marked by respect. Parker Palmer reminds us of the importance of what we say, how we say it, and how we listen — in politics as in life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 21, 2016

As the days grow shorter and the air grows crisp, Parker Palmer invokes Rainer Maria Rilke on lessons from the season: on having faith when we fall, and trusting in the mysterious resilience of life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 14, 2016

The violence of our culture can trap us in a spiral of fear and paralysis. Parker Palmer on the importance of centering our minds and hearts in sacred spaces of our own, wherever we may find them.

BY Parker J. Palmer
September 07, 2016

Weary of political correctness, but wary of its opposite, Parker Palmer offers up some practical wisdom on owning our shadow selves with grace and asking the same of our leaders.

BY Parker J. Palmer
August 17, 2016

Parker Palmer shares the poetry of a president: a testament to the healing power of words, and embracing the shadow and light within.

BY Parker J. Palmer
August 10, 2016

Is a life made, or grown? A contemplation from Parker Palmer and Marge Piercy on the quiet, joyful work of tending to ourselves as wild, flourishing thickets of life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
August 03, 2016

An invocation for gratitude — for the open spaces around us, for the quiet resilience of nature, and for the power of vulnerability to open us to new possibilities.

BY Parker J. Palmer
July 27, 2016

Parker Palmer offers up a remedy for feeling adrift: embracing surprise, and taking on sense of reverence to mystery.

BY Parker J. Palmer
July 20, 2016

Can we be more generous in understanding those who are different from us? Parker Palmer recounts lessons learned over a lifetime on our true proximity and kinship with “the other.”

BY Parker J. Palmer
July 13, 2016

When the weight of the world is heavy, music can be a balm. A musical offering for this uncertain moment, for mercy and the courage to walk together toward the beloved community.

BY Parker J. Palmer
July 06, 2016

Learning from our mistakes doesn't mean we have to obsess over our failures. Parker Palmer and Mary Oliver on the space nature provides for catharsis, so that we can move on to self-forgiveness.

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