Welcome to the Human Race

    —
June 9, 2015

Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker, and activist who is world-renowned for his many insightful books, including Let Your Life Speak and Healing the Heart of Democracy. With Sounds True, he has most recently contributed to the anthology Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Parker discuss his own passages through clinical depression and the meaning he derived from them. They also speak on the modern cultural taboo surrounding depression, and how depression is actually an innate part of the life journey. Finally, Parker and Tami talk about how depression can act as “a befriending force pushing you down onto safe ground”—an agent that can help course-correct a life lived “at altitude.” (86 minutes)

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Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker and activist, as well as founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His wisdom has reached millions worldwide through his eight books, including Healing the Heart of Democracy, A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, The Active Life, To Know as We Are Known, The Company of Strangers and The Promise of Paradox. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, along with ten honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press, and major grants from the Danforth Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, and the Fetzer Institute. In 2011, Palmer was named an Utne Reader Visionary, one of “25 people who are changing your world.” To learn more, visit www.CourageRenewal.org.

Author photo © Dan Kowalski Rollingbay Works

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Meet Your Host: Tami Simon

Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

Also By Author

Parker Palmer: Welcome to the Human Race

Why is depression so hard for us to bring out into the open? Why does it stir up so much shame and fear? How can we shift our view of depression from a problem that needs to be fixed to a gateway to empathy, courage, wholeness, and belonging? These are the profound questions explored by Tami Simon and Parker Palmer in this incisive, insightful podcast. 

Join Tami and Parker as they discuss: Being present for those in depression; suffering and empathy; courage and resilience; integrating (rather than disowning) experiences of depression; showing up in the world as who you really are; the vast intelligence of life—and the weaving of shadow and light; embracing paradox; Parker’s metaphor of “living at altitude” (or the level of ego) vs. living from one’s soul; depression as a befriending, grounding energy; how Abraham Lincoln’s depression served as a force of reconciliation for a nation at war with itself; learning to be “hallowed by our diminishments”; and more.

Welcome to the Human Race

Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker, and activist who is world-renowned for his many insightful books, including Let Your Life Speak and Healing the Heart of Democracy. With Sounds True, he has most recently contributed to the anthology Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Parker discuss his own passages through clinical depression and the meaning he derived from them. They also speak on the modern cultural taboo surrounding depression, and how depression is actually an innate part of the life journey. Finally, Parker and Tami talk about how depression can act as “a befriending force pushing you down onto safe ground”—an agent that can help course-correct a life lived “at altitude.” (86 minutes)

Parker Palmer: Living the Undivided Life

Tami Simon speaks with Parker J. Palmer, author of the bestseller The Courage to Teach and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, as well as being the founder of  the Center for Courage and Renewal. They discuss Parker’s perspectives about what he calls “an undivided life: seeking wholeness in ourselves, our work, and our world.” (79 minutes)

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The Greatest Wealth Is Found When We Gather Together

When people ask for my personal secret to living a life that is authentically happy and liberating, the first thing that comes to mind are my friends. I’ve known for a long time that I am a wealthy and blessed person. The wealth that I’m referring to has nothing to do with my bank account balance. The wealth that I’m talking about are the meaningful connections that have sustained me over the years. What I lacked in familial bonds, the divine provided in long-term platonic relationships.

One of the clearest indicators of someone who is flourishing is their ability to build and keep meaningful connections and quality relationships. When designing a life that supports your becoming the most fully expressed version of yourself, the people who are closest to you can either support or hinder your progress. This is why I’m adamant about being intentional about my connections.

My “Presidential Cabinet,” which is basically what I call my trusted circle of friends, is filled with some amazing folks. I’m forever grateful for my community of friends that became family, strangers that became mentors, and colleagues that became accountability partners.

In the chapter “What About Your Friends?” from my book, Evolving While Black, I share with you that people who have strong relationships feel the support of family, friends, and others in their community. When you know you have a village of folks you can count on, it improves your ability to recover from stress, anxiety, and depression.

An agreement I made with myself in my early thirties was to commit to choosing connection and community over isolation. This decision is the gift that keeps on giving. The investment you make in choosing your connections is the greatest pathway to wholeness, prosperity, and longevity.

What you should consider as you’re continuing to build out your own Presidential Cabinet

Your connections should include people who:

  • Energize you and help you to create a life of ease
  • Encourage you to make your mental and emotional well-being a priority 
  • Consider you for opportunities when you’re not in the room
  • Show mutual support and respect 

Now that you know what to consider, use these prompts to create a plan

  • Who’s in your Presidential Cabinet, and how do they support you? 
  • Who do you need to add, and how will they support your journey? 
  • If you change nothing, what will your life look like three months from now? How does this make you feel?

My hope for you is that you attract meaningful connections that bring you joy and make your heart smile, laughs that make your cheeks hurt, and love that covers you like a warm blanket. You deserve to feel loved, supported, and cared for.

Until we meet again.

Currently evolving,

Chianti


Evolving While Black
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True


Evolving While Black
Sounds True

Chianti Lomax is a sought-after international speaker, certified mindset coach, and leadership trainer who thrives at the intersection of mindfulness, technology, and transformative coaching. As a registered yoga instructor, certified personal and executive coach, certified workplace mindfulness facilitator, and positive psychology practitioner, Chianti teaches doable habit changes to help increase our well-being and elevate the overall human experience. For more, visit chiantilomax.com.

Author photo © Ambreia Williams

Erica Djossa: Releasing the Mother Load

What have we done to our mothers? Sociologists call our times “the era of intensive mothering,” a period in which moms must be it all and do it all for their children and families. Psychotherapist and maternal mental health specialist Erica Djossa has made it her mission to teach today’s mothers how to take care of their well-being in a sustainable way. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Erica about her much-needed new book, Releasing the Mother Load, and the steps we can take to challenge the norms and change the culture around mothering. 

Enjoy this empowering discussion of: values-centered mothering; mothers as martyrs; the pressures facing a generation of “overinformed, overeducated, and overwhelmed” moms; equally sharing our household duties; the cost of cognitive or invisible labor; boundaries; using the “load map” to redistribute the work; “mom rage,” its roots, and the unique nature of anger in motherhood; identifying the “red light and green light” times for difficult conversations with partners (and sticking to them); overcoming perfectionism; self-compassion; re-parenting yourself while you’re parenting your children; the disempowering belief that I’m failing as a mom; effective self-care for moms (it’s not just bubble baths!); advice for making changes—start small; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Ep 3 Bonus: Lovingkindness Meditation

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 3, “We Begin with Gratitude,” deeper into your life. 

In Episode 3, we talked about how in the Work That Reconnects we always start with gratitude, because it gives us the strength to speak the truth and act in service of life.

Lovingkindness meditation is a simple and powerful way to feel and express our gratitude and love for our world. 

All you need to do this bonus exercise is a quiet place where you can meditate. We hope you’ll do this exercise with someone else, so that you can talk together about your experience after you finish.

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

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