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.

The Gift of “Welcome Home”

by Parker J. Palmer

From the solitude of nature, a poem on reclaiming a sense of welcome in our own lives.

Read More >
The Gift of “Welcome Home”

Learning from My Mistakes

by Parker J. Palmer

A hopeful poem by Portia Nelson on the slow but cathartic process of breaking out of our harmful habits.

Read More >
Learning from My Mistakes

The Clarity and Truth in Winter’s Scarcity

by Parker J. Palmer

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.

Read More >
The Clarity and Truth in Winter’s Scarcity

The Finest Gifts Are Intangible

by Parker J. Palmer

A poem from Mary Oliver on the ultimate act of gratitude: offering up our own gifts of the mind, heart, and spirit.

Read More >
The Finest Gifts Are Intangible

In Quiet Places, We Face the Questions That Can Make or Unmake Us

by Parker J. Palmer

A poem from David Whyte on escaping the noise of the world, and listening instead to “questions that can make or unmake a life.”

Read More >
In Quiet Places, We Face the Questions That Can Make or Unmake Us

The Saving Grace of Poetry and Laughter

by Parker J. Palmer

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.

Read More >
The Saving Grace of Poetry and Laughter

Any Morning Can Be a Little Corner of Heaven

by Parker J. Palmer

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.

Read More >
Any Morning Can Be a Little Corner of Heaven

To Have the Good and Grace of Trees

by Parker J. Palmer

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.

Read More >
To Have the Good and Grace of Trees

Owning Up to My Toxic Biases

by Parker J. Palmer

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.

Read More >
Owning Up to My Toxic Biases

I Want to Write With a Simplicity That Says Everything

by Parker J. Palmer

A poetic reminder for writers: that the simplest words can be the most powerful.

Read More >
I Want to Write With a Simplicity That Says Everything