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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer: Paul Wallis author 'Be Thou My Breastplate".
I took this book on retreat with four friends in widely various forms of Christian ministry. Over the course of the next few days, the book was passed, like a peace-pipe, from retreatant to retreatant and we each devoured it, transfixed from cover to cover. We returned each to buy several copies for family, friends and colleagues.

For anyone with an appetite to...
Published on 12 Feb 2009 by Paul A. Wallis

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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea, though still some useful insights
Clearly this book works wonders for some people - and his idea that we 'let our life speak' by looking within, rather than without, is an important corrective for those of us who spend too long trying to be what others would have us be. But it is also a recipe for self-indulgence, and unless you share Parker's left-wing activist bent, you may struggle to identify much...
Published on 25 Jun 2010 by T. J. Jones


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer: Paul Wallis author 'Be Thou My Breastplate"., 12 Feb 2009
I took this book on retreat with four friends in widely various forms of Christian ministry. Over the course of the next few days, the book was passed, like a peace-pipe, from retreatant to retreatant and we each devoured it, transfixed from cover to cover. We returned each to buy several copies for family, friends and colleagues.

For anyone with an appetite to find meaning in life; for anyone who has ever struggled with ambition, self-doubt, pressure, burnout, hyper-activity and all the pressing corporate imperatives of church-life, this book is a MUST-READ.

Educator, Parker J Palemer writes insightfully and powerfully with an openness and vulnerability that totally disarm and denude the reader. So much of the well-intentioned falsity to which our ideas of 'spirituality' push us gets evaporated by the honesty and reality of this little volume - yet all is done gently and with a light and refreshing touch.

To anyone to whom 'vocation' is an important idea I would recommend this book without hesitation. Thought-provoking and potentially life-changing, this is a warm, human, gentle and acessible read. Don't miss out on Parker J Palmer's avuncular and friendly advice. You'll be glad you read it. 'Let your life speak" changed the course of my ministry. Perhaps it will do the same for yours!

Paul Wallis - author of "BE THOU MY BREASTPLATE - 40 days of giving your life to God the Celtic way." "This serene, superb...book is...a rich gift to the Church." (Phyllis Tickle)
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stopping and listening, 27 Dec 2005
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
One thing that our world does not encourage very well is stopping and listening -- stopping and listening to each other, stopping and listening to life around us, or stopping and listening even to ourselves. This is a skill that, given our cultural conditioning, must be cultivated. That is one of the things that this book by Parker Palmer, `Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation', strives to do -- to help the reader, the seeker, to be more attentive to life.
Palmer is a well-known author in the area of vocational care and consideration. I first encountered Palmer's writing in another book, The Courage to Teach, as various of us explored the meanings of our vocations as educators in the fields of theology and ministry.
Palmer states at the outset in his Gratitudes (a wonderful substitution from the typical words Preface or Introduction) that these chapters have in various guises appeared before. However, they have been re-written to fit together as a complete and unified whole for the purpose of exploring vocation.
Chapter 1: Listening to Life, starts as an exploration through poetry and Palmer's own experience in vocation. What is one called to do? What is the source of vocation? Palmer states: `Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about -- quite apart from what I would like it to be about -- or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.'
The very word vocation implies both voice and calling. Crucial to this understanding is that one must be present and attentive to hear that voice, that call.
Chapter 2: Now I Become Myself, continues, through the words of May Sarton, Palmer's self-exploration and self-discovery of the vocation not as an achievement but rather as a gift. One must be ready to receive the gift.
Many people, and Palmer is no exception, go through a period of darkness, despair, and depression before reaching a clear understanding of the vocation to which they are called. It requires courage. It requires diligence. It requires (and again Palmer uses the words of Sarton) the understanding that this will take 'time, many years and places'. It requires patience.
Chapter 3: When Way Closes explores one of the frequent problems along the vocational trail -- what happens when something stops or closes? Is it as simple as thinking a window opens when a door closes?
Sometimes it is not so simply identifiable. Our vocation sometimes propels into action or inaction because what we are doing rather than what we should be doing. Palmer says we must learn our limits, and sometimes we subconsciously force ourselves into action by closing off the past.
Palmer used the example of having lost a job. Palmer was able to discern, through reflection, that he was not fired from that job because he was bad at the job, but rather because it had little to do with his true vocation, and his heart would never be in it. His vocation required that he lose that job.
In stopping ourselves from dwelling on the past, beating on the closed door, but rather looking at where we are and where we can go from there, that our vocation opens for us.
Chapter 4: All the Way Down, deals with that depression we often face on the way. While it may sound cliche to talk about hitting bottom before being able to progress, there is a truth behind the cliche.
Depression ultimately is an intimately personal experience. Palmer explores the mystery of depression. He frankly admits that, while he can understand why some people ultimately commit suicide in their depression, he cannot full explain why others, including himself, do not, and recover (at least to a degree).
Chapter 5: Leading from Within talks of Palmer's return from depression into a world of action. Quoting from Vaclav Havel, the playwright-president of the Czech Republic, he says, `The power for authentic leadership, Havel tells us, is found not in external arrangements but in the human heart. Authentic leaders in every setting -- from families to nation-states -- aim at liberating the heart, their own and others', so that its powers can liberate the world. `
By unlocking those places in our hearts -- places that include faith, trust, and hope -- we can overcome fear and cynicism, and move to a firm grounding where we can be leader of our own destiny by following our true vocation.
Chapter 6: There is a Season winds through a treatment of the seasons of nature in relation to the seasons of our lives. We in the modern world have forgotten the basic cyclical nature of our ground of being. Decline and death are natural, yet we always flee from these and treat them as tragedies beyond understanding. We see growth as a natural good, but do not trust nature (even our own self-nature) to provide the growth we need for all.
The various chapters are remarkable in their sense of spirit and flow. For a book of only barely more than 100 pages (and small pages, at that), this book opens up a wonder of insight and feeling that helps to discern not one's own vocation, but rather how to think about discerning a vocation. This is, in many ways, a book of method, by showing a personal journey combined with other examples, principles and honest feelings.
This book can, quite simply, make a difference in the life of reader. There is no higher praise or recommendation I am able to give than that.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read, 7 Oct 2011
This is truly a life-changing book. The last book that inspired and affected me this deeply and compelled me to finish it in a day or two, and which was simultaneously the last book I read in a matter of 2-3 days rather than re-visited throughout weeks, was the novel called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and that was more than 10 years ago, putting in mind that I am an avid reader. Again, this is truly an exceptional book with such a profound message.

The author is obviously Christian, and I am not, yet I am a monotheist believer in God. I was not the least bit alienated by the author's message; his message is universal and very respectful. He covers topics like leadership, depression, and death, and for each of those subjects, he teaches you things about the topic that most of us never imagined, let alone knew or thought about. His chapter on depression, which had him describing his own experiences with such admirable frankness, made my eyes water; he describe things that you may be able to relate to, but you never imagined them the way he describes, and when he hits you with that image or that conversation with the self...that moment of anger or realization, he can make you feel emotional. His words about death are comforting and inspiring, given that you believe in a hereafter or after-life. But, of course, not to miss the point...the main message of listening to our life, with its events, listening to that mysterious wise voice within, which tries to guide us every day of our life. You may wonder what leadership or death have to do with that, but there is a relationship if you think and contemplate deep enough, and he gives you hints about the relationships; for example, when saying that we are all leaders one way or another.

I honestly cannot understand how anyone would dislike this book. A reviewer gave a negative rating to the book and justified that with some political slur, and I have absolutely no idea where he could ever see a political hint in such a deeply spiritual and inspirational book that does not offend a non-Christian like me the least bit, and objecting on the author's alternative idea of business to be collaborative rather than competitive. I do not need this book or its author to tell me that business can be done collaboratively among companies in the same industry, rather than competitively! This is something that [can] be done, has been done, and has proven to be beautiful and mutually profitable. Why would anyone insist that we must live in constant struggle or in a peaceful, commercial "war"? It is beyond me, but some people seem to not want to change.

I have read so much before about finding one's ideal career, have taken psychometric tests and the likes, have followed a book with extensive exercises to be written and researched and followed, all to find my ideal career or "calling", but none of the things I have read in the past has ever covered this concept of "listening" to one's life, or listening to the wise inner guide in each one of us, or finding clues in life about our identity and our calling, none of my past readings has ever covered this concept as profoundly as this book does. In fact, none of my past readings have linked the idea of "listening" to the universe, to God's signs, however you want to think about it, to the endeavor of finding one's ideal career or vocation. This book showed me the link, and at the same time, it helped me to better "read" my life and its signs, better hear the wisdom that may come from God or from my inner self.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and deep, 30 Aug 2002
This is a truly refreshing book. By sharing his personal story and the lessons he has learned along the way, the author points a way to discovering who we truly are i.e. who we were before we started trying to fit in.
It is an enjoyable read and very thought-provoking. He has a lot of wisdom and an unusual perspective. I'm sure I will be digesting the wisdom in it for some time to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully reassuring and Inspiring, 5 Jun 2010
By 
E. M. Flanagan (Wales) - See all my reviews
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I am so grateful to the wonderful f/Friend who lent me her copy. It came at a particularly horrible time in my life when I felt that much that I held dear had been snatched away. reading this book helped me to see that my life was unfolding as it should - I just had some lessons to learn about letting go, and building trust again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read, 24 Nov 2011
By 
Julie Surycz (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I am a prolific reader and this is one of the best books I have ever read. Outstanding! Beautiful writing and life changing wisdom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommened, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (Kindle Edition)
The author Parker J Palmer wrote a wonderful account of his chosen, meaningful, aspirations in life he wished to express. I enjoyed reading this book because I was in the correct frame of mind to receive optimum benefit from the author's work.

At the very least I certainly found it thought provoking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Educational., 14 Dec 2013
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Got this book for my daughter, she loves reading. She had this one in her Wish List, so I thought it would make a good Birthday present.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone who is seriously thinking about what ..., 14 Oct 2014
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A must for anyone who is seriously thinking about what, or who, ultimately drives their career and life choices. Practical, profound, poetic; five out of five.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea, though still some useful insights, 25 Jun 2010
By 
T. J. Jones "tjamesjones" (London) - See all my reviews
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Clearly this book works wonders for some people - and his idea that we 'let our life speak' by looking within, rather than without, is an important corrective for those of us who spend too long trying to be what others would have us be. But it is also a recipe for self-indulgence, and unless you share Parker's left-wing activist bent, you may struggle to identify much with the examples he throws up of lives lived well. Most particularly, his ideas around business seem at best half formed, at worst frightening (collaboration rather than competition is the gist, whatever that might mean). This probably reflects my bias & business background - and at least for a counsellor to be anti-business is better than for a president to be so...
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