One of the most important books in my journey has been Parker Palmer’s little book Let Your Life Speak. It’s a wise book, a book needful for stages in our lives that we all pass through. I read it not long after it was first published. I read it again many years ago in the midst of great crisis and self-condemnation and disappointment with myself.
Since then, I’ve gifted it to friends looking for perspective, meaning, and hope. Friends learning to listen to their lives, friends in a place of being willing to listen deeply to their lives – needing to listen to the wisdom and insights of their lives – listening for meaning and significance and ways forward and into depth and greater authenticity and freedom. In part too, letting your life speak is about growing up, which is quite a different notion than “aging” – many adults, whether 35 or 70 never face into their dysfunction, illusions, truths, unconscious and conditioned ways of being and acting, woundedness etc. This in many ways is understandable. What Palmer is talking about takes real courage and is a difficult path to tread – a narrow path, few discover, let alone walk.
It was a gift then when a friend recently sent me a quote from this little book that they’d written in their journal some time ago and had now come back to, back to reflect again on it’s significance for them. It’s been a gift to me to do the same thing.
I was reminded again of the importance of listening to your life as it is, and of also listening for what it wants to become.
Here’s the quote:
“…If we are unfaithful to our true self, we will extract a price from others. We will make promises we cannot keep, build houses from flimsy stuff, conjure dreams that devolve into nightmares, and other people will suffer – if we are unfaithful to our true selves…”
_ Parker J. Palmer