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Parker Palmer on Vocation

July 3, 2010

The following quotes are from the teaching of Parker Palmer who is a senior associate for the American Association for Higher Education and are taken from Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. (2000, Jossey-Bass.)

Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live – but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.” (Pages 4-5)

The deepest vocational question is not ‘What ought I to do with my life?’ It is the more elemental and demanding ‘Who am I? What is my nature?’ (Page 15)

Seasons are a wise metaphor for the movement of life, I think. It suggests that life is neither a battlefield nor a game of chance but something infinitely richer, more promising, more real. The notion that our lives are like the eternal cycle of the seasons does not deny the struggle or the joy, the loss or the gain, the darkness or the light, but encourages us to embrace it all – and to find in all of it opportunities for growth.” (Page 96)

To learn more about issues of the nature of humanity, seasonality of calling and being who you are rather than who you want to be consider examining Professionals: Men and Women Partnering with the Trinity in Everyday Life.

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