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 A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. His book On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old will be published in June.
A blessing and a challenge for the holidays: to keep a spirit of gratitude and giving no matter the season.
From the solitude of nature, a poem on reclaiming a sense of welcome in our own lives.
A hopeful poem by Portia Nelson on the slow but cathartic process of breaking out of our harmful habits.
On stripping away the clutter of life to live more deeply, inspired by a Mary Oliver poem on the clarity that comes from winter’s sparseness.
A poem from Mary Oliver on the ultimate act of gratitude: offering up our own gifts of the mind, heart, and spirit.
A poem from David Whyte on escaping the noise of the world, and listening instead to “questions that can make or unmake a life.”
Humor and poetry are therapeutic, and together they can be the ultimate balm. A verse from Ron Koertge — on a happy misunderstanding about the order of Carmelites.
For when the world’s trouble starts to overwhelm, a poem from William Stafford on savoring and safeguarding the refuge of life’s quiet, peaceful moments.
Parker finds comfort in a poem from Carrie Newcomer — on learning how to occupy our space in the world with the wholeness and grace of trees.
Our columnist turns a critical eye to his own convictions about race and white privilege. He finds there’s always room to face our hubris — and in that humbling experience, we find hope to do better the next time around.