From beloved and bestselling author Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, Healing the Heart of Democracy), comes a beautiful book of reflections on what we can learn as we move closer to "the brink of everything."
Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, which offers long-term retreat programs for people in the serving professions, including teachers, administrators, physicians, philanthropists, non-profit leaders and clergy. He is the author of nine books--including several award-winning titles-- that have sold over 1.4 million copies and been translated into ten languages.
"Parker Palmer is one of our wisest minds and lives and one of my
greatest mentors. He has the spirit of a poet and the stature of a
prophet. There is no one I'd rather eavesdrop on as he ponders 'the
brink of everything.' This book is a companion for not merely
surviving a fractured world but embodying--like Parker--the
fiercely honest and gracious wholeness that is ours to claim at
every stage of life."
--Krista Tippett, founder of On Being Studios, author of Einstein's God and Becoming Wise, and winner of the 2013 National Humanities Medal
"Parker Palmer is the most integral and wholehearted teacher of
our age. For nearly eight decades, he has seen much, questioned
everything, and returned with a wisdom essential to everyone. His
latest book, On the Brink of Everything, is a deep
reflection on aging that offers a master's earned view of the large
and the small and how we're all vital threads woven together by
life. This book will stir your soul and bring you closer to
--Mark Nepo, author of More Together Than Alone and The Book of Awakening
"Parker J. Palmer's tenth wise book, On the Brink of
Everything, is a wondrously rich mix of reality and
possibility, comfort and story, helpful counsel and poetry, in the
voice of a friend. It's an honest wake-up chime, no matter where
you are in your own time line, because somehow, these pages hold
all of time--past and present, stirring together--refreshing the
spirit. This is a book of immense gratitude, consolation, and
--Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Transfer and Voices in the Air and National Book Award finalist
"Our entire culture is deeply in need of true elders, and you
can't be one until you have arrived there--chronologically,
spiritually, and intellectually. Parker J. Palmer is a writer and a
man who has clearly earned the title of elder. And he elders with
such readability and humor! This book is a generous gift to all of
us--and to our attempts at a truly human civilization."
--Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation and author of Falling Upward and Adam's Return
"Parker J. Palmer's books are long-treasured companions on my
personal journey. His newest offering is clear-eyed and
good-humored, luminously prophetic and disarmingly honest. It is
tender to the core for our shared human condition and fierce with
love and unguarded hope for our shared human possibility. It has
the feel of a lovely kitchen table conversation between the author
and reader, exploring thoughtful aging, finding meaning in hard
times, and how we can deepen and balance our inner and outer
landscapes at any stage of life. This book is a generous gift to a
worried and weary world."
--Carrie Newcomer, musician, recording artist of The Beautiful Not Yet, author of A Permeable Life, and Grammy Award-winning songwriter
"Parker Palmer has given me so many gifts through the years. His
writing has done for me what I can only hope mine does for others.
On the Brink of Everything has given me new and special
gifts. Parker, now in his late seventies, has helped this guy in
his early sixties think of my years ahead as 'triple wrapped in
mystery.' Savoring this book is a kind of mentorship in aging, and
it ends in a crescendo of poetry. My first thought when I turned
the last page: 'I want to read this again from the beginning,
starting right now.'"
--Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration
"Parker Palmer has been a mentor and midwife to countless young
people in my generation, including me. When I was in my twenties
standing at a crossroads, his book Let Your Life Speak
inspired me to pursue an untraditional path as an activist-artist;
he released the music within me. Now in my thirties, as the
cacophony of vitriol and violence becomes deafening, his friendship
teaches me how to remain faithful to my own melodies and keep
playing them. In the darkness, Parker has taught me how to wonder
at the night sky, keep death in my mind's eye, and listen to the
wisdom of my grandfather and ancestors, whose music lives within
mine. He has poured these insights into a book that feels more like
a treasure chest. On the Brink of Everything is filled with
gems of wisdom, each a prism that helps us see our own vast
interiority and sing our own truths. My greatest aspiration is to
journey through life and arrive at the brink as Parker has, with
humility and faithfulness, and pockets full of gems."
--Valarie Kaur, civil rights activist, lawyer, filmmaker, and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project
"One of the wisest people on the planet has written one of the
finest books on growing b/old gracefully. This warm and witty book
will delight and inspire readers of all ages."
--Richard Leider, bestselling author or coauthor of The Power of Purpose, Repacking Your Bags, and Life Reimagined
"Warm, generous, and funny, this impassioned book invites
readers to the deep end of life where authentic soul work and human
transformation become pressing concerns."
"Through essays, poems, and reflections, he covers subjects such as the importance of staying connected with younger generations; the writing life; engagement of the soul; and where it is we go when we die. He is also an 'angry Quaker' as he might say, unafraid to address issues of diversity and political engagement in a time when we no longer have the luxury of inaction. My favorite part of the book is the chapter titled 'Keep Reaching Out, ' where he encourages older humans to keep up their serious engagement with the world. It gives vitality and purpose to life and allows elders to share their unique gifts. Also, he notes, it would be ridiculous not to. This is a bracing book, indeed."
--Kathryn Drury Wagner
"In his discussion of spirituality, Palmer covers his quest for the true self, the call to community, and a memorable retreat. In his commentaries on work and staying engaged with the world and your soul, this seasoned writer keeps us attentive with short gems on living from the inside out, the movie Begin Again, and some very right-on-target assessments of today's tense political scene. Palmer even takes responsibility for being hooked on anger and the challenges he faces in bringing love to the fore in all his relationships, both private and public."
--Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat