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Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

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Imported from USA

.com Review
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The old Quaker adage, "Let your life speak," spoke to author Parker J. Palmer when he was in his early 30s.
It summoned him to a higher purpose, so he decided that henceforth he would live a nobler life. "I lined up the most
elevated ideals I could find and set out to achieve them," he writes. "The results were rarely admirable, often
laughable, and sometimes grotesque.... I had simply found a 'noble' way of living a life that was not my own, a life
spent imitating heroes instead of listening to my heart."

Thirty years later, Palmer now understands that learning to let his life speak means "living the life that wants to
live in me." It involves creating the kind of quiet, trusting conditions that allow a soul to speak its truth. It also
means tuning out the noisy preconceived ideas about what a vocation should and shouldn't be so that we can better hear
the call of our wild souls. There are no how-to formulas in this extremely unpretentious and well-written book, just
fireside wisdom from an elder who is willing to share his mistakes and stories as he learned to live a life worth
speaking about. --Gail Hudson

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From Publishers Weekly
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A gifted academic who formerly combined a college teaching career with community organizing, Palmer took a
year's sabbatical to live at the "intentional" Quaker community of Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania. Instead of leaving at
year's end, he became the community's dean of studies and remained there for 10 years. Palmer (The Courage to Teach)
shares the lessons of his vocational and spiritual journey, discussing his own burnout and intense depression with
exceptional candor and clarity. In essays that previously appeared in spiritual or educational journals and have been
reworked to fit into this slim volume, he suggests that individuals are most authentic when they follow their natural
talents and limitations, as his own story demonstrates. Since hearing one's "calling" requires introspection and
self-knowledge (as suggested by the eponymous Quaker expression), Palmer encourages inner work such as journal-writing,
meditation and prayer. Recognizing that his philosophy is at odds with popular, essentially American attitudes about
self-actualization and following one's dreams, Palmer calls vocation "a gift, not a goal." He deftly illustrates his
point with examples from the lives of people he admires, such as Rosa Parks, Annie Dillard and Vaclav Havel. A quiet but
memorable addition to the inspirational field, this book has the quality of a finely worked homily. The writing displays
a gentle wisdom and economy of style that leaves the reader curious for more insight into the author's Quaker
philosophy. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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