“Parker J. Palmer is an American author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He has published ten books and numerous essays and poems and is founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage and Renewal.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer
Only 117 pages, Palmer’s small book, Let Your Life Speak, (c) 2000 by Jossey-Bass, is filled with candor and wisdom about his (and our) search for right livelihood, for a meaningful vocation.
A couple of quotes from this book inspired by his Quaker practice are:
“there is much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more.” p.39
“If I try to be or do something noble that has nothing to do with who I am, I may look good to others and to myself for a while. But the fact that I am exceeding my limits will eventually have consequences. I will distort myself, the other, and our relationship – and may end up doing more damage than if I had never set out to do this particular ‘good’. … 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 relations in 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.” pp.47-48
“We can make choices about what we are going to project, and with those choices we help grow the world … Our complicity in world making is a source of awesome and sometimes painful responsibility – and a source of profound hope for change.” p.78
“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 make the world seem hospitable again. … if you receive a gift, you keep it alive not by clinging to it but by passing it along.” pp.104-105
Today’s senryu: Let Your Life Speak
I can do myself,
I cannot do you – that is
yours to make happen.