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Standing In The Tragic Gap

What does it mean to stand in the “tragic gap,” the gap between the difficult realities of life and the knowledge of what is possible? In this podcast, Parker Palmer speaks about the tragic gap, and about the importance of having a capacity to stand in it, especially for those who want to help make this a better world.

The Inner Life of Rebellion – Parker J. Palmer and Courtney E. Martin

The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin and Quaker wise man Parker Palmer come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.

Leadership and Change

The work we help people do inwardly has consequences in the larger world. It’s true for the teachers, physicians, and clergy who go back to their institutions not only with personally renewed hearts, but with new ways of being in the world which spread renewal to others. It’s also true for leaders, the best of whom are able to bring their own identity and integrity into their public work, those whose inner transformation flows out into a needy world.

In this podcast, Parker Palmer speaks of the link between inner work and institutional and social transformation.

The Clearness Committee

During his appearance on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal in February 2009, Parker Palmer spoke about being present for someone suffering from depression, based on a practice known as “The Clearness Committee.” Read Parker’s writings on The Clearness Committee and learn more about retreats in your area where you might be able to experience this transformative practice.

An Undivided Life

What does it mean to live a divided life, one in which we keep our inner lives separate from our interactions in the world? In this podcast, Parker Palmer speaks about the powerful reasons for us to care about, and work toward, living an undivided life.


Leadership and the 5 Habits

This podcast is an interview of Parker J. Palmer by Tom Heck of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators, initially recorded on May 16, 2012. In it, Parker draws connections between leadership, spirituality, and the 5 Habits of the Heart as addressed in his book Healing the Heart of Democracy.

Democracy, Here On Earth

This podcast is a re-broadcast of an interview of Parker J. Palmer by Jean Feraca on her Wisconsin Public Radio Show, Here on Earth. Parker discusses his newly released book, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.

Stories from Healing the Heart of Democracy

“The heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy.” -Parker J. Palmer, from Healing the Heart of Democracy.

In this podcast, Parker Palmer tells the story of three political leaders highlighted in his latest book – Quaker John Woolman, President Abraham Lincoln, and activist Rosa Parks – and how their “habits of the heart” prepared them to live undivided lives in American democracy.

An Undivided Life: Seeking Wholeness in Ourselves, Our Work & Our World

This podcast playlist is from the 5-CD set from Sounds True, called An Undivided Life: Seeking Wholeness in Ourselves, Our Work & Our World.

In Hearts Broken Open, Parker discusses his conviction that the journey toward wholeness almost always involves having your heart broken open. “I argue there are two ways for the heart to break: APART into many shards like a fragment grenade, or OPEN into greater capacity so we can hold life’s inevitable tensions creatively, not destructively.”

In The New Year Parker shares two segments entitled “Perfection is not the goal of an undivided life,” and “Trust and distrust in personal and political life.”

In The Woodcarver, Parker shares one of his favorite teaching stories, “The Woodcarver” by Chuang Tzu, which is also featured in Parker’s book A Hidden Wholeness.

In The Divided Life and the Quest for True Self, Parker reflects on the consequences of living a divided life and the quest for wholeness.

Parker Palmer on Repossessing Virtue: Economic Crisis, Morality, and Meaning – On Being

Parker Palmer’s appearance on the National Public Radio Program “Speaking of Faith.”  In this podcast from On Being, Parker Palmer discusses the human and spiritual aspects of economic downturn.


The Soul of the Citizen / Summer

This podcast has two parts. First, Parker Palmer reflects on how circles of trust can contribute to diminishing divisiveness and to restoring the soul of the citizen, and thus, the soul of democracy. In the second part, Parker reads his essay on “Summer,” which is included in his book, Let Your Life Speak.

In this podcast, we hear from Parker Palmer on three timely topics. In the first segment, he reads his essay on Autumn, which appears in Let Your Life Speak. In the second segment, he speaks about the relationship between the inner and outer lives, and in the final segment, reflects on the study Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for Improvement by Tony Bryk and Barbara Schneider.