Parker J. Palmer quotes

  • Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Mean #Perfection #Doe

  • It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Fall #Heart #One Day

  • A scholar is committed to building on knowledge that others have gathered, correcting it, confirming it, enlarging it.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Building #Committed #Scholar

  • I will always have fears, but I need not be my fears, for I have other places within myself from which to speak and act.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Needs #Speak

  • By surviving passages of doubt and depression on the vocational journey, I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act -- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Selfish #Journey #Giving

  • 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

    #Integrity #Self #Joy

  • 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

    #Life #Choices #Lines

  • 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

    #Values

  • Is the life I'm living the life that wants to live in me?
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Positive #Live Life #Want

  • The kind of teaching that transforms people does not happen if the student’s inward teacher is ignored… we can speak to the teacher within our students only when we are on speaking terms with the teacher within ourselves.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Teaching #People

  • The spiritual life is about becoming more at home in your own skin.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Spiritual #Home #Skins

  • Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Integrity #Teaching

  • The people who help us grow toward true self offer unconditional love, neither judging us to be deficient nor trying to force us to change but accepting us exactly as we are. And yet this unconditional love does not lead us to rest on our laurels. Instead, it surrounds us with a charged force field that makes us want to grow from the inside out - a force field that is safe enough to take the risks and endure the failures that growth requires.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Unconditional Love #Self #Judging

  • When we generate utopian visions and hope to make them happen soon – when we elect Barack Obama and expect all our problems to be solved, and solved quickly, by his presidency – the outcome is both predictable and tragic. That is not the way to engage social change in a democracy. And it is not the way to help democracy itself survive and thrive. Democracy is a non-stop experiment. Each generation must help sustain it, which means being in it day-by-day for the long haul.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Mean #Long #Vision

  • Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one's self. It is not about the absence of other people -- it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people -- it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Mean #Reality #Self

  • In every story I have heard, good teachers share one trait: a strong sense of personal identity infuses their work.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Strong #Teaching

  • 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

    #Garden #Hands #Hoe

  • 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

    #Animal #Self #Ego

  • 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

    #Opposites #Self #Dancing

  • The highest form of love is the love that allows for intimacy without the annihilation of difference.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Love #Differences #Intimacy

  • 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

    #Humility #Lenses #Posture

  • Afraid that our inner light will be extinguished or our inner darkness exposed, we hide our true identities from each other. In the process, we become separated from our own souls. We end up living divided lives, so far removed from the truth we hold within that we cannot know the 'integrity that comes from being what you are.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Integrity #Light #Soul

  • What do I want to let go of and what do I want to give myself to?
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Letting Go #Giving #Want

  • 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

    #Life #Work #Who I Am

  • Some journeys are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled. But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Journey #Needs #World

  • Each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Doors #World

  • Disabused of our illusions by much travel and travail, we awaken one day to find that the sacred center is here and now - in every moment of the journey, everywhere in the world around us, and deep within our own hearts.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Heart #Journey #One Day

  • Science requires an engagement with the world, a live encounter between the knower and the known.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #World #Encounters #Engagement

  • 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

    #Imagination #Doe #Fiction

  • 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

    #Real #Integrity #Mean

  • 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

    #Teacher #Safety #Culture

  • As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Soul #Together #Way

  • 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

    #Believe #Writing #Heart

  • Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

  • The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in the hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Pain #Loss #Doubt

  • 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

    #Spiritual #Reality #Names

  • Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness - mine, yours, ours - need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Dream #Mean #Knowing

  • We are here not only to transform the world but also to be transformed.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #World

  • The inner life of any great thing will be incomprehensible to me until I develop and deepen an inner life of my own.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Great Things

  • Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one's inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge-and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Running #Educational #Teaching

  • Teaching like any truly human activity emerges from one's inwardness.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teaching #Humans

  • Perhaps, the answer is that my ravaged mind rails against the idea of God, but something deeper in me calls out as if God might answer. 'There are not foxholes,' I guess, and depression is the deepest and deadliest foxhole I've been in. It may be the 'dark night of the soul' that the mystics talk about but in depression it is not so much that one becomes lost in the dark as one becomes the dark.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Depression #Dark #Night

  • Self-care is never a selfish act - it is only good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Selfish #Self Confidence #Earth

  • How easily we get trapped in that which is not essential - in looking good, winning at competition, gathering power and wealth - when simply being alive is the gift beyond measure.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Gratitude #Winning #Competition

  • Integrity requires that I discern what is integral to my selfhood, what fits and what does not-and that I choose life-giving ways of relating to the forces that converge within me: Do I welcome them or fear them, embrace them or reject them, move with them or against them? 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

    #Real #Integrity #Moving

  • Mentoring is a mutuality that requires more than meeting the right teacher: the teacher must meet the right student.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Teaching #Mentoring

  • Our equal and opposite needs for solitude and community constitute a great paradox. When it is torn apart, both of these life-giving states of being degenerate into deathly specters of themselves. Solitude split off from community is no longer a rich and fulfilling experience of inwardness; now it becomes loneliness, a terrible isolation. Community split off from solitude is no longer a nurturing network of relationships; now it becomes a crowd, an alienating buzz of too many people and too much noise.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Loneliness #Opposites #Giving

  • Whoever our students may be, whatever the subject we teach, ultimately we teach who we are.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teaching #May #Who We Are

  • Opposing what's wrong is a halfway measure at best. A rebel must also have a vision for something better, a strategy for moving toward that vision and a capacity to rally and join with others in achieving it. If the anger that drives rebellion is not transformed into the hope that inspires movement communities, it will do more harm than good.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Moving #Community #Inspire

  • Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about-or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions…..Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live-but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Real #Heart #Who I Am

  • Fear is so fundamental to the human condition that all the great spiritual traditions originate in an effort to overcome its effects on our lives. With different words, they all proclaim the same core message: "Be not afraid." Though the traditions vary widely in the ways they propose to take us beyond fear, all hold out the same hope: we can escape fear's paralysis and enter a state of grace where encounters with otherness will not threaten us but will enrich our work and our lives.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Spiritual #Fear #Effort

  • Community cannot take root in a divided life. Long before community assumes external shape and form, it must be present as seed in the undivided self: only as we are in communion with ourselves can we find community with others. Community is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace, the flowing of personal identity and integrity into the world of relationships.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Integrity #Self #Roots

  • Every good teacher and every good parent has somehow learned to negotiate the paradox of freedom and discipline. We want our children and our students to become people who think and live freely, yet at the same time we know that helping them become free requires us to restrict their freedom in certain situations.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Children #Freedom

  • No scientist knows the world merely by holding it at arm's length: if we ever managed to build the objectivist wall between the knower and the known, we could know nothing except the wall itself. Science requires an engagement with the world, a live encounter between the knower and the known. That encounter has moments of distance, but it would not be an encounter without moments of intimacy as well. Knowing of any sort is relational, animated by a desire to come into deeper community with what we know.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Wall #Distance #Knowledge

  • There's often a distressing disconnect between the good words we speak and the way we live our lives. In personal relations and politics, the mass media, the academy and organized religion, our good words tend to float away even as they leave our lips, ascending to an altitude where they neither reflect nor connect with the human condition. We long for words like love, truth, and justice to become flesh and dwell among us. But in our violent world, it's risky business to wrap our frail flesh around words like those, and we don't like the odds.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Odds #Media #Justice

  • ... circles of trust ... are a rare form of community - one that supports rather than supplants the individual quest for integrity - that is rooted in two basic beliefs. First, we all have an inner teacher whose guidance is more reliable than anything we can get from a doctrine, ideology, collective belief system, institution, or leader. Second, we all need other people to invite, amplify, and help us discern the inner teacher's voice.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Integrity #Circles

  • The power for authentic leadership is found not in external arrangements, but in the human heart.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Heart #Found #Humans

  • Community is a place where the connections felt in our hearts make themselves known in the bonds between people, and where the tuggings and pullings of those bonds keep opening our hearts.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Heart #People #Community

  • We are participants in a vast communion of being, and if we open ourselves to its guidance, we can learn anew how to live in this great and gracious community of truth.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Community #Guidance #Communion

  • The human soul doesn't want to be fixed, it simply wants to be seen and heard. The soul is like a wild animal - tough, resilient and shy. When we go crashing through the woods shouting for it to come out so we can help it, the soul will stay in hiding. But if we are willing to sit quietly and wait for a while, the soul may show itself.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Animal #Waiting #Soul

  • I now know myself to be a person of weakness and strength, liability and giftedness, darkness and light. I now know that to be whole means to reject none of it but to embrace all of it.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Mean #Light #Darkness

  • In a culture of technique, we often confuse authority with power, but the two are not the same. Power works from the outside in, but authority works from the inside out. . . . I am painfully aware of the times in my own teaching when I lose touch with my inner teacher and therefore with my own authority. In those times I try to gain power by barricading myself behind the podium and my status while wielding the threat of grades. . . . Authority comes as I reclaim my identity and integrity, remembering my selfhood and my sense of vocation.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Integrity #Teaching

  • The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Crazy #Winter

  • Don't let anyone or anything rob you of the beauty and meaning at the heart of life. It's your birthright gift.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Heart #Birthright

  • The past isn't fixed and frozen in place. Instead, its meaning changes as life unfolds.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Past #Frozen #Fixed

  • We think it's about little techniques and tricks, but techniques only take you so far. We need teachers who care about kids, who care about what they teach, and who can communicate with kids.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Education #Teacher #Kids

  • I now understand what Nelle Morton meant when she said that one of the great tasks in our time is to "hear people to speech." Behind their fearful silence, our students want to find their voices, speak their voices, have their voices heard. A good teacher is one who can listen to those voices even before they are spoken-so that someday they can speak with truth and confidence.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Teacher #Teaching #Voice

  • Let’s not forget that American democracy started with ‘We the People’ agreeing to work hard to create ‘a more perfect union.’ We’ve lost the idea that politics begins at home with what happens in families, in neighborhoods, in classrooms, in congregations. We called this democracy into being – and if we want to call this democracy back to its highest values, it’s got to be the us doing that calling. That’s not going to happen if ‘We the People’ don’t know how to talk to one another with civility and hold our differences in a creative, life-giving way.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Home #Hard Work #Ideas

  • 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

    #Mean #Self #Treasure

  • Hospitality is always an act that benefits the host even more than the guest. The concept of hospitality arose in ancient times when the reciprocity was easier to see: in nomadic cultures, the food and shelter one gave to a stranger yesterday is the food and shelter one hopes to receive from a stranger tomorrow. By offering hospitality, one participates in the endless reweaving of a social fabric on which all can depend-thus the gift of sustenance for the guest becomes a gift of hope for the host.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Offering #Yesterday #Culture

  • What passes for political realism may make for lively academic debates. But it often functions, ironically, as a tool of social control, rendering us passive with an analysis that overwhelms and paralyzes us.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Political #Analysis #Tools

  • 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

    #Soul #Solitude #Trying

  • Death in various forms is sometimes comforting, while resurrection and new life can be demanding and threatening. If I lived as if resurrection were real, and allowed myself to die for the sake of a new life, what might I be called upon to do?
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Death #Real #Comforting

  • Authority is granted to people who are perceived as authoring their own words, their own actions, their own lives, rather than playing a scripted role at great remove from their own hearts.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Heart #People #Roles

  • Relational trust is built on movements of the human heart such as empathy, commitment, compassion, patience, and the capacity to forgive.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Commitment #Heart #Compassion

  • We listen for guidance everywhere except from within.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Guidance

  • 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

    #Teaching #Giving #Empowering

  • 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

    #Men #Age #May

  • 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

    #Kindness #Spring #Winter

  • I am not sure that any sight or sound on earth is as exquisite as the hushed descent of a sky full of snow.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Sight #Sky #Snow

  • 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

    #Dust #Two #Gold

  • In classical understanding, education is the attempt to "lead out" from within the self a core of wisdom that has the power to resist falsehood and live in the light of truth, not by external norms but by reasoned and reflective self-determination. The inward teacher is the living core of our lives that is addressed and evoked by any education worthy of the name.
    -- Parker J. Palmer

    #Education #Teacher #Determination