Let Your Life Speak - Parker J. Palmer

reading list Mar 31, 2022

In Let Your Life Speak, Parker J. Palmer explores what it takes to find the true vocation for our lives. 

Below I've gathered my favorite insights from this book:

"Ask me whether what I have done is my life."


"By all appearances, things were going well, but the soul does not put much stock in appearances. Seeking a path more purposeful than accumulating wealth, holding power, winning at competition, or securing a career, I had started to understand that it is indeed possible to live a life other than one's own."


"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."


"Why must we go in and down? Because as we do so, we will meet the darkness that we carry within ourselves - the ultimate source of the shadows that we project onto other people. If we do not understand that the enemy is within, we will find a thousand ways of making someone "out there into the enemy, becoming leaders who oppress rather than liberate others."


"One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition call burnout. Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess - the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have: it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place."


"I once heard Alan Watts observe that a Chinese child will ask, "How does a baby grow?" But an American child will ask, "How do you make a baby?" From an early age, we absorb our culture's arrogant conviction that we manufacture everything reducing the world to mere "raw material" that lacks all value until we impose our designs and labor on it."


"When we are insecure about our own identities, we create settings that deprive other people of their identities as a way of buttressing our own."


"... nature teaches a steady lesson: if we want to save our lives, we cannot cling to them but must spend them with abandon. When we are obsessed with bottom lines and productivity, with efficiency of time and motion, with the rational relation of means and ends, with projecting reasonable goals and making a beeline toward them, it seems unlikely that our work will ever bear full fruit, unlikely that we will ever know the fullness of spring in our lives."


"Another gift is the reminder that times of dormancy and deep rest are essential to all living things. Despite has gone underground to renew itself and prepare for spring. Winter is a time when we are admonished, an even inclined, to do the same for ourselves.


To learn more about or purchase this book, click here: https://www.letyourlifespeak.com/ 


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