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Rejoining Soul and Role


From chapter two of  Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness. Some highlights:

We commute “daily between the public world of role and the hidden world of soul.”

“As we become more obsessed with succeeding, or at least surviving, . . . we lose touch with our souls and disappear into our roles.”

The more dividedness we perceive in each other, the less safe and sane we feel.

Wholeness is always a choice

We choose against wholeness. We use

  • Denial
  • Equivocation
  • Fear
  • Cowardice
  • Avarice

This pattern of self-evasion is powerful and persistent

The divided life is a wounded life, and the soul keeps calling us to heal the wound. Ignore that call, and we find ourselves trying to numb our pain with an aesthetic of choice, be it substance abuse, overwork, consumerism, or mindless media noise. Such anesthetics are easy to come by in a society that wants to keep us divided and unaware of our pain.

Integration . . . spans the contradictions between inner and outer reality, that supports both personal integrity and the common good.

Solitude is essential to personal integration. . . . Community is equally essential for rejoining soul and role.

Picture by Gholareza Jamali

circle of people by Gholareza Jamali

Community . . . that knows how to welcome the soul and help us hear its voice—I call a “circle of trust.”

Not all circles honor the soul: some insult and invade it.

Talking about a company that had said they were flattening out their leadership but still were hierarchical at heart. “As long as we pretend to be something that we are not, our work won’t get any better and it may get worse.”

A circle of trust holds us in a space where we can make our own discernments, in our own way and time, in the encouraging and challenging presence of other people.

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