Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"What we need is here."

I just went to see Parker J. Palmer speak. I was fortunate enough that he came here to Wellesley College, to the very building next to my dorm to speak. I was captivated, and made tender by his words. "We need to learn how to wear our hearts on our sleeves," he said, in a society so focused on what's outward and ignorant of what's within. We need to think with our minds in our hearts. The soul is like a wild animal; resilient and tough, but very shy. We need communities that support and encourage our souls. He spoke of a moment where one stops living a divided life - with the divide between our inward souls and the outward way of life - and starts living in ways that reflect what is within. He called this the "Rosa Parks Moment", as it is what she did when she sat at the front of that bus for the first time. She started living her life from within, honoring her selfhood and worth, her humanness, rather than setting it aside for the racist societal standards by which she was surrounded. Parker spoke of when the police came on the bus to take her off to jail she said "You may do that" as a free human being. No physical jail could overcome the freedom she gained from the prison of that divide.

His words struck a deep chord within me as memories of past experiences and current struggles flipped through my mind, wordlessly relating themselves to these things of which Parker spoke. In a sense, I've been having a long and drawn out "Rosa Parks Moment" as I struggle to draw closer to living outwardly that which I find within.

I feel that I'm drawing nearer to something profound within me, some profound potential. I'm beginning to climb that mountain. Or perhaps it is that I've been climbing it all along, but just discovered something new about how to climb. The world around me is beginning to feel differently.


On that note, I'm leaving town (and the internet) until Sunday. Tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon I will be leaving for FGC Central Committee in Maryland as an invited member. The only way my excitement is concealed right now is through an odd sense of disbelief or denial about how exciting it really is for me. I'm one of those nuts who loves Quaker Process.

Love and Light,


Blogger Liz Opp said...

Y'know, I have yet to hear Parker Palmer in person... Way has not been open, even when he spoke in a facility near the meetinghouse in town. Yours is the first description of his presentation, however, that makes me genuinely curious to hear him.

Thanks for writing about it.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

1/11/05 6:57 PM  
Blogger Contemplative Scholar said...

Wow -- amazingly enough, I have just been re-reading Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak, and was struck by these very same ideas. I have heard him speak several times, and every time I have heard him speak, I have found it to be an amazing experience. And his writings about teaching have given me great hope that the life of faith can be integrated with the academic life -- whenever I feel the dis-integration of the two pulling apart in my own life, I go back to his writings for renewed inspiration about how to re-integrate.

5/11/05 10:06 AM  

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