Parker Palmer on the Six Pillars of the Wholehearted Life

One of my favorite thought leaders right now is Maria Popova of Brainpickings. She has singlehandedly culled a magnificent amount of old and new wisdom and makes it all relevant for what's happening in present time. She captured Parker Palmer's commencement speech that he gave at Naropa in May of 2015. There's too much good stuff in here not to share. 

He discusses the six pillars of a wholehearted life. Here are just a couple gems:

"As you integrate ignorance and failure into your knowledge and success, do the same with all the alien parts of yourself. Take everything that’s bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself. Let your altruism meet your egotism, let your generosity meet your greed, let your joy meet your grief. Everyone has a shadow… But when you are able to say, “I am all of the above, my shadow as well as my light,” the shadow’s power is put in service of the good. Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of your life."

"Be reckless when it comes to affairs of the heart. What I really mean … is be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you. No one ever died saying, “I’m sure glad for the self-centered, self-serving and self-protective life I lived. Offer yourself to the world — your energies, your gifts, your visions, your heart — with open-hearted generosity. But understand that when you live that way you will soon learn how little you know and how easy it is to fail."

"The old majority in this society, people who look like me, is on its way out. By 2045 the majority of Americans will be people of color… Many in the old majority fear that fact, and their fear, shamelessly manipulated by too many politicians, is bringing us down. The renewal this nation needs will not come from people who are afraid of otherness in race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation."

Amen, Parker Palmer. Amen.