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.

We need ground rules for dialogue that allow us to be present to another person’s problems in a quiet, receptive way that encourages the soul to come forth, a way that does not presume to know what is right for the other but allows the other’s soul to find its own answers at its own level and pace.

–Parker Palmer–

Photo: White-tailed deer fawn, northern Minnesota, August 11, 2016
Compassion is a Relationship Between Equals
The Discontented Animal

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