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Parker J. Palmer quotes (showing 1-30 of 42)

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks--we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.”
Parker J. Palmer
“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“Like a wild animal, the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient: it knows how to survive in hard places. I learned about these qualities during my bouts with depression. In that deadly darkness, the faculties I had always depended on collapsed. My intellect was useless; my emotions were dead; my will was impotent; my ego was shattered. But from time to time, deep in the thickets of my inner wilderness, I could sense the presence of something that knew how to stay alive even when the rest of me wanted to die. That something was my tough and tenacious soul.”
Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
“I want to learn how to hold the paradoxical poles of my identity together, to embrace the profoundly opposite truths that my sense of self is deeply dependent on others dancing with me and that I still have a sense of self when no one wants to dance.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“Humility is the only lens though which great things can be seen--and once we have seen them, humility is the only posture possible.”
Parker J. Palmer
“By choosing integrity, I become more whole, but wholeness does not mean perfection. It means becoming more real by acknowledging the whole of who I am.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“The highest form of love is the love that allows for intimacy without the annihilation of difference.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.”
Parker J. Palmer
“If we want to grow as teachers -- we must do something alien to academic culture: we must talk to each other about our inner lives -- risky stuff in a profession that fears the personal and seeks safety in the technical, the distant, the abstract.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“We need a coat with two pockets. In one pocket there is dust, and in the other pocket there is gold. We need a coat with two pockets to remind us who we are.”
Parker J. Palmer
“In my own life, as winters turn into spring, I find it not only hard to cope with mud but also hard to credit the small harbingers of larger life to come, hard to hope until the outcome is secure. Spring teaches me to look more carefully for the green stems of possibility; for the intuitive hunch that may turn into a larger insight, for the glance or touch that may thaw a frozen relationship, for the stranger's act of kindness that makes the world seem hospitable again.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
tags: hope
“Eventually, I developed my own image of teh "befriending" impulse behind my depression. Imagine that from early in my life, a friendly figure, standing a block away, was trying to get my attention by shouting my name, wanting to teach me some hard but healing truths about myself. But I-- fearful of what I might hear or arrogantly trying to live wihtout help or simply too busy with my ideas and ego and ethics to bother-- ignored teh shouts and walked away.

So this figure, still with friendly intent, came closer and shouted more loudly, but AI kept walking. Ever closer it came, close enough to tap me on the shoulder, but I walked on. Frustrated by my unresponsiveness, the figure threw stones at my back, then struck me with a stick, still wanting simply to get my attention. But despite teh pain, I kept walking away.

Over teh years, teh befriending intent of this figure never disapppeared but became obscured by the frustration cuased by my refusal to turn around. Since shouts and taps, stones and sticks had failed to do the trick, there was only one thing left: drop the nuclear bomb called depression on me, not with the intent to kill but as a last-ditch effort to get me to turn and ask the simple question, "What do you want?" When I was finally able to make the turn-- and start to absorb and act on the self-knowledge that then became available to me-- I began to get well.

The figure calling to me all those years was, I believe, what Thomas Merton calls "true self." This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another from of self-distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life in clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self-planted in us by the God who made us in God's own image-- the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be.

True self is true friend. One ignores or rejects such friendship only at one's peril.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
tags: life
“Relational trust is built on movements of the human heart such as empathy, commitment, compassion, patience, and the capacity to forgive.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“I want my inner truth to be the plumb line for the choices I make about my life - about the work that I do and how I do it, about the relationships I enter into and how I conduct them.”
Parker J. Palmer
“As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“The academic bias against subjectivity not only forces our students to write poorly ("It is believed...," instead of, "I believe..."), it deforms their thinking about themselves and their world. In a single stroke, we delude our students into believing that bad prose turns opinions into facts and we alienate them from their own inner lives.”
Parker J. Palmer
“Why does a literary scholar study the world of "fiction"? To show us that the facts can never be understood except in communion with the imagination.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“As a young man, I yearned for the day when, rooted in the experience that comes only with age, I could do my work fearlessly. But today, in my mid-sixties, I realize that I will feel fear from time to time for the rest of my life. I may never get rid of my fear. But . . . I can learn to walk into it and through it whenever it rises up . . . naming the inner force that triggers . . . fear . . . Naming our fears aloud . . . is the first step toward transcending them.”
Parker J. Palmer
“We must come together in ways that respect the solitude of the soul that avoid the unconscious violence we do when we try to save each other that evoke our capacity to hold another life without dishonoring its mystery never trying to coerce the other into meeting our own needs.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Mentors and apprentices are partners in an ancient human dance, and one of teaching's great rewards is the daily chance it gives us to get back on the dance floor. It is the dance of the spiraling generations, in which the old empower the young with their experience and the young empower the old with new life, reweaving the fabric of the human community as they touch and turn.”
Parker J. Palmer
“We are exploring together. We are cultivating a garden together, backs to the sun. The question is a hoe in our hands and we are digging beneath the hard and crusty surface to the rich humus of our lives.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Long into my career I harbored a secret sense that thinking and reading and writing, as much as I loved them, did not qualify as "real work.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already posses.”
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Science requires an engagement with the world, a live encounter between the knower and the known.”
Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
“Spirituality is not primarily about values and ethics, not about exhortations to do right or live well. The spiritual traditions are primarily about reality...an effort to penetrate the illusions of the external world and to name its underlying truth.”
Parker J. Palmer
“Formation may be the best name for what happens in a circle of trust, because the word refers, historically, to soul work done in community. But a quick disclaimer is in order, since formation sometimes means a process quite contrary to the one described in this book----a process in which the pressure of orthodox doctrine, sacred text, and institutional authority is applied to the misshapen soul in order to conform it to the shape dictated by some theology. This approach is rooted in the idea that we are born with souls deformed by sin, and our situation is hopeless until the authorities "form" us properly. But all of that is turned upside down by the principles of a circle of trust: I applaud the theologian who said that "the idea of humans being born alienated from the Creator would seem an abominable concept." Here formation flows from the belief that we are born with souls in perfect form. As time goes on, we subject to powers of deformation, from within as well as without, that twist us into shapes alien to the shape of the soul. But the soul never loses its original form and never stops calling us back to our birhtright integrity.”
Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
“A scholar is committed to building on knowledge that others have gathered, correcting it, confirming it, enlarging it. ”
Parker J. Palmer

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