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.

Through Darkness, Into the Light

by Parker J. Palmer

At our darkest hours, when light fails to find a home, a path of buttercups may lead us back. Parker Palmer offers up thoughts and a Willow Harth poem for many of us caught “underground.”

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Through Darkness, Into the Light

The Place Where We Are Right

by Parker J. Palmer

Parker Palmer reflects on “sharing our loves and doubts” as way into more generous conversations — all through the lens of a poem by Yehuda Amichai.

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The Place Where We Are Right

Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity

by Parker J. Palmer

Parker Palmer celebrates the act of finding clarity in one’s life through the poetry of Mary Oliver and listening to the trees.

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Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity

Interdependence and the Good Society

by Parker J. Palmer

As many of us Americans approach the July 4th weekend, Parker Palmer proposes an Interdependence Day to remind us that “we’re all in this together.”

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Interdependence and the Good Society

What We Need Is Here

by Parker J. Palmer

Parker Palmer draws on the words of two poets to remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude to live a full life.

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What We Need Is Here

Lincoln’s Melancholy and the Better Angels of Our Nature (video)

by Parker J. Palmer

A video with Parker Palmer discussing Lincoln’s depression and how he sees the 16th U.S. President’s ability to reconcile the darkness and lightness within himself as a lesson for us all in healing the heart of democracy.

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Lincoln’s Melancholy and the Better Angels of Our Nature (video)

The Courage of Small Offerings

by Parker J. Palmer

Some thoughts on Leonard Cohen, our small and imperfect contributions to solving big problems, the “potluck supper approach to social change,” and how the light gets in.

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The Courage of Small Offerings

Reflections on the Inner Work of Holding Paradox

by Parker J. Palmer

To be human is to live with paradox and hold it in our hands. Parker Palmer offers some grounding advice on creating more spaces to do so gracefully — and a poem by May Sarton.

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Reflections on the Inner Work of Holding Paradox

Poetry That Helps Shape Our Lives

by Parker J. Palmer

Life has its moments of melancholy. Parker Palmer reminds us to stop, take it all in, and write some poetry to recall life’s aspirations.

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Poetry That Helps Shape Our Lives

How Then Shall I Live?

by Parker J. Palmer

As you read this poem, Parker Palmer asks us to ponder a simple question: “How, then, shall I live?”

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How Then Shall I Live?