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
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.

BY Parker J. Palmer
June 29, 2016

The enduring beauty of nature can be a comfort, but sometimes our pain needs a more empathetic salve. Parker Palmer turns to the unique, healing power of language in times of darkness and hardship.

BY Parker J. Palmer
June 22, 2016

It's easy to blame Donald Trump for the fear and anger in this election cycle; it's much harder to see the deep roots of prejudice in ourselves and in our culture. Parker Palmer seeks a political reckoning beyond the language "us" and "them," toward a language of shared responsibility.

BY Parker J. Palmer
June 15, 2016

Loss and trauma can cast us into uncertainty. Parker Palmer finds solace in the words of William Stafford, and wonders if being lost is the first step on a path to something better.

BY Parker J. Palmer
June 08, 2016

Guided by Naomi Shihab Nye's beloved poem "Kindness," Parker Palmer reflects on our capacity to emerge from the depth of suffering, into the fullness of compassion.

BY Parker J. Palmer
June 01, 2016

Involvement is exhilarating, but saying yes to everything can be unhealthy in its own way. Guided by a poem by William Stafford, Parker Palmer points to the value of knowing when to engage, and when to let go.

BY Parker J. Palmer
May 25, 2016

Walk straight into your not-knowing. Exercise your heart. Live as variously as possible. In this season of graduations, Parker Palmer offers six suggestions for traversing the savage and beautiful terrain of life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
May 18, 2016

Trying to answer the existential question of worth is inevitable, but flawed. With words from Czeslaw Milosz as his guide, Parker Palmer on the question we need not answer and the ultimate definition of love.

BY Parker J. Palmer
May 11, 2016

Parker Palmer examines the guiding principles of care and healing at the center of a physician's practice, and wonders how they might revive the heart of political life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
May 04, 2016

Facing fear is easier said than done. Parker Palmer on having an empathetic imagination for the inner battles we're all fighting, especially those we can't see.

BY Parker J. Palmer
April 27, 2016

A helpful word can be a salve, but it's not always what we need. Parker Palmer on the power of quiet, unobtrusive presence to heal in troubled times.

BY Parker J. Palmer
April 20, 2016

Being part of the human race means embracing the fullness of people's behaviors. Parker Palmer on the demanding path toward wholeness with Rumi, Merton, and other mystics as his escorts.

BY Parker J. Palmer
April 13, 2016

Wisdom isn't exclusive to folks with more years under their belts. Parker Palmer invites older generations to celebrate the gifts of the young — energy, vision, and hope — and recognize the valuable knowledge contained within in every age.

BY Parker J. Palmer
April 06, 2016

A story of travel gone bad and the catalyst for generosity, sharing, and making good on circumstances beyond one's control.

BY Parker J. Palmer
March 29, 2016

The beauty of spring is as much in its muddiness as in its blooms. An encouragement to revel in the dance of mess and lavishness in this most colorful season.

BY Parker J. Palmer
March 23, 2016

What we need is within us and between us. With Wendell Berry at his side, Parker Palmer on the amazing abundance of self and community, and identifying what each of us has to offer.

BY Parker J. Palmer
March 16, 2016

The best education is one in which we listen to each other. Parker Palmer tells the story of a New York City cab driver and how he exhibits the many qualities necessary to be a good citizen today.

BY Parker J. Palmer
March 09, 2016

The greatest threat to American democracy doesn't come from outside but from within. Parker Palmer serves up three traits to look for in a fascist leader — and words and a poem from Abraham Lincoln and W.H. Auden.

BY Parker J. Palmer
March 02, 2016

An encouragement from our house sage to see what others don't and not be afraid to show others that vision.

BY Parker J. Palmer
February 24, 2016

To love life in its fullness is the key to wise living. Parker Palmer with a poem on transforming suffering and restoring life.

BY Parker J. Palmer
February 17, 2016

A brief meditation on the curious concept of the Möbius strip and how it relates to life itself.

BY Parker J. Palmer
February 10, 2016

Life, like verse, contains beauty, grit, and uncomfortable truth. Inspired by a couplet from Thoreau, our columnist reflects on the journey of life as an artistic, creative craft, in the vein of lyrical composition.

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?

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