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 Healing the Heart of Democracy, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.
Some good humor on forgetfulness and poignant verse from the poet Billy Collins to sweeten the swallow.
Parker Palmer pays homage to Krista Tippett with some words of wisdom on “the savage and beautiful country that lies in between.”
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.”
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.
Parker Palmer celebrates the act of finding clarity in one’s life through the poetry of Mary Oliver and listening to the trees.
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.”
Parker Palmer draws on the words of two poets to remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude to live a full life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you read this poem, Parker Palmer asks us to ponder a simple question: “How, then, shall I live?”
Parker Palmer draws inspiration from the words of Wendell Berry on celebrating one’s obstacles and the impeded stream that sings.
Parker Palmer turns to a famous Mary Oliver poem to remind him to be grateful for the “family of things.”
A vexing question receives a profound answer. And Parker Palmer asks: “What task is calling you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it’s impossible?”
When we live behind a mask, how do we connect and establish trust with one another? Parker Palmer on reclaiming our identity and integrity.
Parker Palmer offers a light-hearted vignette on the unexpected visitor and welcoming her in — all by way of a metaphor by Rumi.
Parker Palmer encourages us to look with child-like imagination to better understand the world’s mysteries.
Drawing on Joseph Campbell, Parker Palmer asks: where might you turn for news that is “true and worth attending to”?
In our busy lives, a reminder from Parker Palmer that what matters most is not our ability to produce but our ability to love, and to just be. With a poem by Lynn Ungar.
The Quaker elder offers this poetic reminder on trusting that the writing process itself will help you dig into your bafflement.