When I express my opinion, I sometimes start with the phrase, “my current misunderstanding of the situation is….” Doing this reminds me that, while I have enough information to form an opinion, I don’t have all the information nor do I claim complete insight. I express my opinion not to draw a line in the sand but to engage the discussion and draw out the opinions of others.
Palmer’s fifth habit of the heart states: We must strengthen our capacity to create community. This community most often happens in those “settings between private lives and large-scale institutions where ordinary citizens can act with dignity, independence, and vision.”
A few years ago, Peter Kageyama visited Kalamazoo to discuss his book, For the Love of Cities. His workshop explored how people love their cities by creating art, activities, and other enticements that encourage people to gather in these “settings” that Palmer describes.
Ultimately, Kageyama and Palmer put it back on us. Democracy and community are not formed in Washington DC, the State Capital or City Hall. It’s “We the People” who form and perfect these. By restoring and participating in the venues and vitality of public life, we will strengthen local connections many times over. And being “connected to one another is happier, healthier, and safer than living in isolation.”
While experience can change the way we look at the world, the converse is also true: the way we look at the world can change the meaning of our experience. Parker Palmer
In this brief video, Parker Palmer explains how we can engage each other into deeper levels of conversation through creating circles of trust (watch video)
Note: all quotes above are from Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer