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A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life Hardcover – September 22, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787971006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787971007
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Palmer (The Courage to Teach) seeks to help us "rejoin soul and role," so that individuals and communities can be healed from the ravages of consumerism, injustice and violence. No small task, yet in classic Palmer style, this mission is fleshed out with stories, poems, personal confessions and a plan—concrete steps for creating "circles of trust" where honest, open sharing allows each person's "inner teacher" to show up. (Ground rules: "no fixing, no saving, no advising, no setting each other straight.") Palmer's concern is that too many people have "divided lives," with personal values that don't match what they are asked to do in the world to succeed. He argues that "the soul is real and powerful" and is "safe only in relationships with certain qualities," ones that "protect, border and salute" the time it takes to hear our "inner teacher." Never naïve, Palmer warns that these "circles of trust" are not management tools that organizations can force on employees for some grand motive, such as crisis control or increased productivity. They are the opposite of quick fixes—places where we sit and wait for our souls to tell the truth. This book is a treasure—an inspiring, useful blueprint for building safe places where people can commit to "act in every situation in ways that honor the soul."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Parker J. Palmer's latest book is a gift...a guide for living...compassionate, deeply insightful...heart opening and transforming." (BookSense, September 2004)

"A Hidden Wholeness is a rich and accessible resource for all who want to nurture their souls in community...explores the meaning of community, teaching and learning for transformation, and the importance of nonviolent social change." (Spirituality & Health, October 2004)

"Parker Palmer's soul-tempering work explores, in intimate, illuminating ways, the promise of the voice of vocation that speaks to every one of us..." (Common Reader)

"Whenever Parker Palmer publishes a new book, it's worth a careful look. His latest work is an examination of maintaining integrity, a life based on inner truth, in the face of a world of fragmentation. Palmer provides vivid portraits of integrity, describes the consequences of sublimating our true self, offers a map for creating "circles of trust" which would support our soul self, and explores how the principles and practices of the book can help the reader walk the path of nonviolence every day. This book is a lovely, spiritually nourishing and ultimately hopeful exploration." (Friends General Conference)


More About the Author

PARKER J. PALMER is a writer, teacher and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. He is founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include "A Hidden Wholeness," "Let Your Life Speak," "The Courage to Teach," "The Active Life," "To Know as We Are Known," "The Company of Strangers," "The Promise of Paradox," "The Heart of Higher Education," and "Healing the Heart of Democracy." He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named him one of the thirty most influential senior leaders in higher education and one of the ten key agenda-setters of the past decade. In 2010, he was given the William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mead, Marshall McLuhan, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel). "Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer," was published in 2005. In 2011, the Utne Reader named him as one of "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World"--people who "don't just think out loud but who walk their talk on a daily basis." (See the Oct-Nov 2011 print or online edition.) He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Customer Reviews

Already I have read it three times cover to cover.
Readytolearn
No matter what you do as a vocation you can find this book helpful as it assists you into an understanding of what living a Whole Life means.
Suzanne Field-Rabb
Still, I appreciate his intentions and don't mean to dis it because I'm sure it's valuable to many people; it just didn't do much for me.
Allyn Van Dusen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

153 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Fredrika G. Harper on October 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Parker Palmer has gifted us all with his revealing reflections and insights about living an undivided life. He writes about the conflict that we experience when our professional life and our inner beliefs are not aligned.

"A Hidden Wholeness" addressed many questions for me including:

What happens when the person that I have become, shaped by my work experiences, faces decisions that have to be made... decisions that I know will feel 'bad' or 'wrong' because they threaten my integrity?

What happens when I find myself part of an organization or profession that has evolved and changed in ways that are troubling?

What happens when I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place and can't see clearly where to go?

What happens when advice from others and self-help books are of little or no value?

Palmer shows how we can support one another in today's busy and often impersonal world by creating a unique and very special kind of community. The ideas presented in this book are well grounded and applicable to all.

This is an important book for all individuals who are concerned about or troubled by the divisions that exist in the lives we lead. Spending a few quiet hours with Parker Palmer's new book, "A Hidden Wholeness", may just change your mind about what is possible... and this book is one that you will want to pass on and share!
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109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Quaker Annie on May 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
By everyman I mean, of course, men and women, young and old, retired and working, republicans and democrats, believers and non-believers. This is a book I wish I'd found years ago (before it was written)!

Almost everyone lives the divided life. (I suspect the Dalai Lama does not). As Palmer notes, sometimes we have to -- this is a choice we sometimes must choose to make. One of the reasons I love this book so is that Palmer does not have rigid judgmental expectations of us (we probably are harsh enough on ourselves). He offers guidelines and explanations for the human condition, and some help on getting through.

Parker Palmer takes a long time Quaker practice -- the Clearness Committee - and uses it to provide for everyone a Circle of Trust. This mutual support network is unusual -- it isn't an advisory committee but more support for listening to that inner voice which we may joke about, but which exists (you know, the one you should have listened to, that nagging feeling, that annoying little warning sign).

One thing that makes us crazy is the denial of that inner voice, our true self, the divided side of self that knows the questionable aspects of our work life, the one we hush up so we can get by and make a living. This isn't just a teacher's issue or a spiritual issue. For some it may be a spiritual divide; for others, a more humanistic one. In any case, we become emotionally, mentally and otherwise unbalanced if our day to day movements and choices feel separate from -- or in conflict with -- our beliefs and values, and yet we deny that they are so.

We do not allow ourselves to hear that inner voice, afraid of the changes we might have to make.
Read more ›
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Caryl Hurtig Casbon on October 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For most of our lives we have talked about, experimented with, and attempted many forms of spiritual community, often with disappointing results. Not until we met Parker Palmer did we find and learn reliable ways to not only explore our inner lives, but to witness and discover the 'hidden wholeness,' not only in ourselves, but in others, in cirlces of trust. We have been priviiledged to learn this way of living and being in community through working with Parker and other facilitators through the Center for Teacher Formation over the last ten years. Now Parker, in HIDDEN WHOLENESS, shares his legacy, the 'live encounter' thousands of people have experienced through a retreat process he began. Now, the reader can find, in clear, simple language, a description of these practices, and begin to consider a way of being with others that honors the soul and supports us in living the undivided life we all deeply yearn for.

Caryl & Jay Casbon

Bend, Oregon
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer L. Manlowe on October 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In A HIDDEN WHOLENESS, the highly respected writer, lecturer, teacher and activist, Parker J. Palmer describes the creation of a "circle of trust," a specific kind of community that welcomes the soul and helps those involved to hear its voice. Over the last several years, Palmer and his colleagues at the Center for Courage and Renewal [[...] have forged, tested, and re-worked the practices and principles of creating such circles. This book reflects both Palmer's own transformation from living a divided life to finding the courage to live divided no more. He reflects on his own and others experience as they have moved into circles of trust to live lives of deep integrity.

"Circles of Trust" are not easy things to create. Individuals, communities, or congregations looking for ways to work with long-standing problems of isolation, fear, and soul-forgetfulness will find reason for optimism in this writing, but readers looking for "seven easy steps" will not find them here. Parker Palmer is a sharp and witty writer who invites the rest of us into a practice that is messy, countercultural, and deceptively complex. For those willing to take the journey, this book, like the circles of trust it speaks of, offers lessons on the power of trust and acceptance as "soul and role" are reunited.

[...]
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