Living an Undivided Life
When we live behind a mask, how do we connect and establish trust with one another? Parker Palmer on reclaiming our identity and integrity.
I don't know anyone who'd recommend living "a divided life" — a life in which our words and actions conceal or even contradict truths we hold dear inwardly. And yet our culture counsels us to do exactly that:
"Don't wear your heart on your sleeve." "Play your cards close to your vest."
Sadly, most of us learn early on that it's not safe to be in the world as who we really are with what we truly value and believe.
But everyone pays a price when we live behind a mask. Ever have a masked relative, colleague, teacher, or physician? There's no way to connect and establish trust with such a person — and the quality of what might happen between us suffers as a result.
Of course, the person who lives a divided life also suffers. I can't imagine a sadder way to die than knowing I never showed up on Earth as who I really am. But every time we show up as our true selves, we reclaim identity and integrity, and new life can grow within, between and around us.
In the six-minute video above, I talk about "living divided no more." It's a theme at the heart of the work of the Center for Courage & Renewal, a nonprofit I founded some 20 years ago. It's also at the heart of my book, Healing the Heart of Democracy.