06 April 2017

If we want to support each other's inner lives, we must remember a simple truth: the human soul does not want to be fixed, it wants simply to be seen and heard. If we want to see and hear a person's soul, there is another truth we must remember: the soul is like a wild animal - tough, resilient, and yet shy. When we go crashing through the woods shouting for it to come out so we can help it, the soul will stay in hiding, but if we are willing to sit quietly and wait for a while, the soul may show itself. 

Parker Palmer


  1. What a beautiful quote. I am enjoying stopping by and catching up here. I seem not moved to post at the moment but I am so glad you still do...

    1. How lovely to see you comment again after such a long time. I miss your blog.

  2. You find the most exquisite quotes, poems, excerpts. It is the mark of your own discernment of the beauty in our world, and its fragility, too.

  3. Such a beautiful quote. Thank you for posting it, Sabine.

  4. Quite moving to watch and listen to those soulful women in the context of Parker Palmer's quote.

    Tu del Ciel ministro eletto
    non vedrai più nel mio petto
    voglia infida, o vano ardor.
    E se vissi ingrata a Dio,
    tu custode dei cor mio
    a lui porto il nuovo cor.

    He elected Minister of Ciel (sky)
    you will not see in my chest
    desire treacherous, or ardor compartment.
    And if I lived ungrateful to God,
    You guardian of my heart
    him bring the new heart. (Google Translate)

    When my R was in the last months of his life, I went to talk with a spiritual director once a week. I continued to meet with her after he died for some time. I am not a religious person, but I sensed that I could learn something from that woman who was decidedly religious. She suggested a book by Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.

    I've been reading Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard. An older cousin recommended it to me in 1970 while R was in Vietnam. I was unable to finish it then. It went way way over my head and what I did understand disturbed me and I didn't want to read a book that kept talking about God. My cousin was not religious, although she had been raised as a Lutheran. The fact that she recommended The Feminine Mystique to my mother at the same time (my mother did not relate to the book) makes me wonder if she suggested Either/Or to me so that we could have conversation about Women's Liberation. It was not easy to read Either/Or to its end, but I am grateful now to my cousin for suggesting it all those years ago. My cousin died in 1999. I wish I could talk with her about the book. Knowing what I know about her now, that she attempted suicide several times as a young woman (a few years before she suggested the book to me) before her life turned around in a profoundly positive way when she met the man that she married and had children -- the beginning of a remarkable life.

    As I was looking at the women in the video and listening, I imagined Søren Kierkegaard hearing them sing and being inspired to write from a new understanding of women that he couldn't possibly have had in the 1800s. What he wrote in Either/Or (fiction) about the women in Mozart's "Don Giovanni" led me this last Sunday to a local performance of "Don Giovanni," listening to men's and women's voices, watching the orchestra composed of men and women, wondering what the children in the audience made of the spectacle.

    Sending love to you, Sabine. Thank you for letting us see and hear you. I didn't realize that I had so much to say today. Where else to say it?

    1. This song is from an oratorio by Handel (his second version of it) "Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno" (the triumph of time over disappointment) which is one of my all time favourite pieces of music. It is very basic and moralistic, a battle between beauty and desire and time/age and truth and guess who wins etc. but Handel just had a knack for melodies, like the best pop musicians of our time.
      Wow Kierkegaard! He is way beyond me, I'm afraid. Full points for reading it to the end.
      You always find the most amazing and meaningful connections and once again, thank you for commenting so carefully and detailed. I truly appreciate that you do this.

  5. Great quote and a good reminder. I am also happy to learn about Parker Palmer.

  6. It's wonderful what we can discover when we are truly listening.

  7. This made me so happy.

  8. Thank you for the beautiful piece of music.

  9. Don't think I'd care to see or hear anyone's soul; otherwise where's the mystery? Surely certain things were always meant to be unreachable.

    Natalie Dessay is the only singer who could have persuaded me to watch the silliness of La Fille du Régiment. Good grief, she was able to act and sing superbly while ironing a pile of shirts. Tell that to Debra Voigt.