Leonard Cohen – Democracy Is Coming to The USA

I dedicated this initially to the Independence Day of the USA. You may also read HERE a text written by Parker J Palmer for the same celebration day.

However, after the US strangely elected Trump as president, I find the lyrics of this song most fitting for the present situation.

So, is democracy really coming to the USA? We shall see.

Here are the lyrics.

Continue reading “Leonard Cohen – Democracy Is Coming to The USA”

Wendell Berry – The Peace of Wild Berry

Wendell Berry - The Peace of Wild Things

Poem shared by Parker J Palmer, on his Facebook wall, in memory of the victims of the Orlando shooting.

Parker J Palmer – Does My Life Have Meaning?

Parker_Palmer

Parker wrote today on his Facebook wall:

Last week, my friends at On Being — Krista Tippett’s extraordinary public radio program — posted a short piece I wrote titled “The Big Question: Does My Life Have Meaning?”

In case that’s a question that interests you — not re. my life but your own! — clicking on the image below will take you to that essay (and the lovely poem at its heart).

If you want to “Like” and/or comment on it, please come back here to do so. Thanks!

Here is the text published on the On Being website. If you have never browsed through it, you should do. It is absolutely amazing. Continue reading “Parker J Palmer – Does My Life Have Meaning?”

Parker J Palmer – Lost in the Wilds of Your Life

lost

Ever been lost in the wilderness — or in the wilds of your own life? Me too! Because I get outwardly and inwardly lost from time to time, this poem by David Wagoner means a great deal to me.

A couple of years ago, I got lost hiking alone on a poorly marked mountain trail at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, where I was on a ten-day silent, solitary retreat. It was starting to get dark, I panicked and began to run. Just the right thing to do when you have no idea where you’re going, don’t you think!

Then I remembered the wisdom in this poem, stood still, and listened. I could not tell you what I was listening to, except that it was something both in me and around me. After five minutes or so, as my fear subsided, that something told me to turn around and walk slowly back up the mountain, looking to the left as I climbed. That’s how I found the trail I’d missed in my fearful run down.

For me, that story and this poem have all kinds of implications for those times when I’m inwardly lost. I’ll spare you the long version of what I mean! I’ll simply say, with the poet, “Stand still. The forest knows/Where you are. You must let it find you.”

Lost
by David Wagoner, from Collected Poems 1956-1976

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. you must let it find you.

 

(Source, On Being.)

Parker_Palmer

Parker J Palmer

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.

 

 

Laughter & Silence: The Spiritual Odd Couple | On Being

Laughter & Silence: The Spiritual Odd Couple | On Being.

Parker J Palmer at his best.

Parker J. Palmer – The Questions We Ask Ourselves

Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart… Try to love the questions themselves… Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them — and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

It took me a long time to learn it, but the questions we ask ourselves are at least as important as the answers we come up with, often more so. And our deepest questions are the ones Rilke writes about — questions that cannot be answered right away but can only be “lived into” over the long haul. These are the questions that shape our lives, so we should choose them with care.

Continue reading “Parker J. Palmer – The Questions We Ask Ourselves”

Parker J Palmer – Memo to Myself: Avoid Domesticating Our Prophets

Prophet_Ezekiel

I once heard a politician who calls himself a Christian say, in effect, “While Jesus encouraged personal acts of compassion for the poor, it doesn’t follow that he wants us to use other people’s money [i.e., tax revenues] to put an economic safety net under the poor. That’s compassion on the cheap.”

I disagree with that politician on so many counts I can’t enumerate them right now. Instead, I’ll put a slight spin on a line from Anne Lamott:

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God agrees with your tax policy.”

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Parker J Palmer – Five Simple Things to Reweave Our Civic Community

Parker_Palmer
Parker J Palmer

The On Being website of Krista Tippett (one of my favourites) has just published a little piece including five suggestions or reviving civility in America, by Quaker spiritual writer Parker J Palmer. Since I think these may also work very well in other cultures, here they are, for your enrichment.

  1. Go downtown, or to the mall, turn off your cell phone or your iPod, and don’t let the crowd blur out. Instead, do some focused people-watching. Notice the faces, body language, and behavior of the people passing by. Imagine their life stories. Practice empathy. Enjoy diversity. Remember we are all in this together.
  2. If you use public transportation, or frequent a coffee shop or cafe, start a conversation with a stranger that might move from a comment on the weather to a question about something in the news. But instead of agreeing or disagreeing with what he or she tells you, ask questions that draw him or her out. Play the role of “roving reporter” whose purpose is not to tell others what you think but to find out how they see the world. Most people want a sense that someone sees and hears them. Be that someone.
  3. If new folks move into your neighborhood, introduce yourself. Tell them you want your neighborhood to be a place where people watch out for each other. Give them your phone number, and invite them to call if there is something you might help with, like keeping an eye on their house while they are gone. A caring neighborhood is next-door democracy.
  4. If you know someone who holds political beliefs different from yours, tell them that you learn by listening, not arguing, and ask them about the experiences that led to their convictions. Ask questions that take them behind their opinions to the real-life stories about people and events that helped shape what they believe. Don’t comment, just listen and learn. The more you know about another person’s story, the harder it is to dislike or distrust them.
  5. If you hear something hateful being said about people of certain backgrounds or beliefs, don’t get into a dog fight. Tell the speaker that you find what he or she said personally hurtful. Say that you value everyone’s humanity and find it painful to live in a world where we tear each other down rather than build each other up. Tell them you want a world where we can all say to each other, “Welcome to the human race!”

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