Top 100

Top 120 Parker J. Palmer Quotes (2023 Update)
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Parker J. Palmer Quote: “But many educated Americans who rise to positions of responsibility believe they must operate almost exclusively on the basis of what can be observed and measured because they are educated in a system that mistakenly defines reality that way. And yet, everything human is driven by the invisible powers of the heart.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Each time I walk into a classroom, I can choose the place within myself from which my teaching will come, just as I can choose the place within my students toward which my teaching will be aimed. I need not teach from a fearful place: I can teach from my curiosity or hope or empathy or honesty, places that are as real within me as are my fears. I can have fear, but I need not be fear – if I am willing to stand somewhere else in my inner landscape.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “The human self also has a nature, limits as well as potentials. If you seek vocation without understanding the material you are working with, what you build with your life will be ungainly and may well put lives in peril, your own and some of those around you. ‘Faking it’ in the service of high values is no virtue and has nothing to do with vocation. It is an ignorant, sometimes arrogant, attempt to override one’s nature, and it will always fail.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “It seems ironic to suggest that some of us may be called to build community in our churches, for the church as it was meant to be is a historical archetype of community.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Smashing clay pots is called iconoclasm, a good thing when it’s needed. The failure to do it when needed is called idolatry, always a bad thing. In both writing and faith, we need to commit conceptual suicide again and again – if we are serious about the vastness of the treasure and the inadequacy of our frail, finite, and flawed words.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “One of the most painful discoveries I made in the midst of the dark woods of depression was that a part of me wanted to stay depressed. As long as I clung to this living death, life became easier; little was expected of me, certainly not serving others.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “I no longer ask, “What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to hang on to?” Instead I ask, “What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?” The desire to “hang on” comes from a sense of scarcity and fear. The desire to “give myself” comes from a sense of abundance and generosity. That’s the kind of truth I want to wither into.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Our strongest gifts are usually those we are barely aware of possessing. They are a part of our God-given nature, with us from the moment we drew first breath, and we are no more conscious of having them them than we are of breathing.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “The punishment imposed on us for claiming true self can never be worse than the punishment we impose on ourselves by failing to make that claim.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “What seed was planted when you or I arrived on earth with our identities intact? How can we recall and reclaim those birthright gifts and potentials?”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “It took me a long time to understand that although everyone needs to be loved, I cannot be the source of that gift to everyone who asks me for it. There are some relationships which I am capable of love and others in which I am not. To pretend otherwise, to put out promissory notes I am unable to honor, is to damage my own integrity and that of the person in need – all in the name of love.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Rightly understood, a myth is an effort to tell truths that cannot be told with mere facts or known by the senses and the mind alone, truths that take form only in that integrative place called the heart.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “A fault line runs down the middle of my life, and whenever it cracks open-divorcing my words and actions from the truth I hold within-things around me get shaky and start to fall apart.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “During the Civil War, traumatized combatants developed a condition that they called “soldier’s heart.”8 The violence that results in soldier’s heart shatters a person’s sense of self and community, and war is not the only setting in which violence is done: violence is done whenever we violate another’s integrity. Thus we do violence in politics when we demonize the opposition or ignore urgent human needs in favor of politically expedient decisions.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “There are times when the heart, like the canary in the coal mine, breathes in the world’s toxicity and begins to die.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Every profession that attracts people for “reasons of the heart” is a profession in which people and the work they do suffer from losing heart. Like teachers, these people are asking, “How can we take heart again so that we can give heart to others?” – which is why they undertook their work in the first place.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “One dwells with God by being faithful to one’s nature. One crosses God by trying to be something one is not. Reality-including one’s own-is divine, to be not defied but honored.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “When we allow emotions to trump the intellect, we swallow “facts” that are demonstrably untrue, letting them fly around unchallenged in a mockery of civic discourse, supporting public figures who promote fictions to further their own cause.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “The attempt to live by the reality of our own nature, which means our limits as well as our potentials, is a profoundly moral regimen.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “When I forget my own inner multiplicity and my own long and continuing journey toward selfhood, my expectations of students become excessive and unreal. If I can remember the inner pluralism of my own soul and the slow pace of my own self-emergence, I will be better able to serve the pluralism among my students at the pace of their young lives.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “If we lived close to nature in an agricultural society, the seasons as metaphor and fact would continually frame our lives. But the master metaphor of our era does not come from agriculture – it comes from manufacturing. We do not believe that we ‘grow’ our lives – we believe that we ‘make’ them. Just listen to how we use the word in everyday speech: we make time, make friends, make meaning, make money, make a living, make love.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “But if I am to let my life speak things I want to hear, things I would gladly tell others, I must also let it speak things I do not want to hear and would never tell anyone else! My life is not only about my strengths and virtues; it is also about my liabilities and my limits, my trespasses and my shadow. An inevitable though often ignored dimension of the quest for ‘wholeness’ is that we must embrace what we dislike or find shameful about ourselves as well as what we are confident and proud of.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “By attaching our identity to things only a few can have, we ignore the intrinsic preciousness of all human life.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “As a white, male American who has always been well-off – the kind of person for whom this nation has always worked best – the gift of full citizenship, unquestioned and unchallenged, came to me as an accident of birth. Today I realize the magnitude of that gift. But for years I was an unconscious and ungrateful recipient because attaining citizenship required no effort from me.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “The punishment imposed on us for claiming true self can never be worse than the punishment we impose on ourselves by failing to make that claim. And the converse is true as well: no reward anyone might give us could possibly be greater than the reward that comes from living by our own best lights.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “I cannot imagine a spiritual pain deeper than dying with the thought that during my sojourn on earth, I had rarely, if ever, shown up as my true self. And I cannot imagine a spiritual comfort deeper than dying with the knowledge that I had spent my brief time on this planet doing the best I could to be present as myself to my family, my friends, my community, and my world.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “We find common bonds in the shared details of the human journey, not in the divergent conclusions we draw from those details.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “We suffer, ironically, from our indifference to those among us who suffer.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “To grow in love and service, you must value ignorance as much as knowledge and failure as much as success.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “It’s unfair to lay all responsibility for the future on the younger generation. After all, the problems they face are partly due to the fact that we, their elders, screwed up. Worse still, it’s not true that the young alone are in charge of what comes next. We – young and old together – hold the future in our hands. If our common life is to become more compassionate, creative, and just, it will take an intergenerational effort.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “I’ll be asking if I was faithful to my gifts, to the needs I saw around me, and to the ways I engaged those needs with my gifts – faithful, that is, to the value, rightness, and truth of offering the world the best I had, as best I could. For helping me understand this – and for imbuing.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up. All we need to do is stop pounding on the door that just closed, turn around- and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to our soul.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “If it’s true, as I claimed in the Prelude, that old is just another word for nothing left to lose, then taking the risk of a deep inward dive should get easier with age. It’s a risk we need to take. Aging and dying well, like everything else worth doing, require practice – practice going over the edge toward “the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “If one grows up in a family where trust does not exist and support cannot be found, one becomes an adult fearful of further rejection, an adult who will not risk community again.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means calling that I hear.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “We are first among the nations in per capita giving: it would take three Frenchmen, seven Germans, or fourteen Italians to equal the charitable donations of one American.”
Parker J. Palmer Quote: “The God whom I know dwells quietly in the root system of the very nature of things.”
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