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
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?

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.

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