The On Being Project

Parker J. Palmer
Parker J. Palmer

is a columnist for On Being. 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 Prayer for When We Wake Up Empty and Frightened

by Parker J. Palmer

A reminder for beauty and gratitude in a time when gun violence is at the heart of our public consciousness.

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A Prayer for When We Wake Up Empty and Frightened

Never Forget What You Can Do

by Parker J. Palmer

The depth of understanding that diversity can bring is rooted in each of our commitment to never forget our own, small contribution to the world.

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Never Forget What You Can Do

Finding Your Way Home in Anxious Times

by Parker J. Palmer

In times of anxiety, distraction, and dissonance, it can take courage to turn away — to ground yourself in the focused anger needed to bring about change.

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Finding Your Way Home in Anxious Times

To Live and To Love in Birdsong

by Parker J. Palmer

There is joy in seeking out the boundless newness of the world. To embrace this is to welcome the uncertain, the mysterious, the unknowable — whether you are in the spring of youth or the sunset of seniority.

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To Live and To Love in Birdsong

You Have No Power Over Me

by Parker J. Palmer

For Black History Month, Parker Palmer commemorates Rosa Parks’s courageous act of civil disobedience and the great change that can come from resisting one’s own diminishment.

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You Have No Power Over Me

The Light in the Darkness Around Us

by Parker J. Palmer

Can we stop trying to fool each other and start telling the truth, “lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark?”

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The Light in the Darkness Around Us

How To Be A Poet

by Parker J. Palmer

Gentle guidance for how to write — or simply to stay centered in our lives — from the poet Wendell Berry.

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How To Be A Poet

Great Power Lives in Our Love

by Parker J. Palmer

Parker Palmer asks us to consider: Are we using whatever power we have in the service of love? In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy.

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Great Power Lives in Our Love

Winter Calls Us Back to the Questions

by Parker J. Palmer

A poem from Mary Oliver transforms the depths of winter into wonder at its otherworldly beauty.

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Winter Calls Us Back to the Questions

Let This Season Be a Reminder to Keep Your Heart Open

by Parker J. Palmer

A blessing and a challenge for the holidays: to keep a spirit of gratitude and giving no matter the season.

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Let This Season Be a Reminder to Keep Your Heart Open