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On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old

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.”

Drawing on eight decades of life — and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist — Palmer explores the questions age raises and the promises it holds. “Old,” he writes, “is just another word for nothing left to lose, a time to dive deep into life, not withdraw to the shallows.”

But this book is not for elders only. It was written to encourage adults of all ages to explore the way their lives are unfolding. It’s not a how-to-do-it book on aging, but a set of meditations in prose and poetry that turn the prism on the meaning(s) of one’s life, refracting new light at every turn.
From beginning to end, the book is laced with humor as well as gravitas — beautifully enhanced by three free downloadable songs from the gifted singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer, written in response to themes in the book.
Table of Contents

I. The View from the Brink: What I Can See from Here
II. Young & Old: The Dance of the Generations
III. Getting Real: From Illusion to Reality
IV. Work & Vocation: Writing a Life
V. Keep Reaching Out: Staying Engaged with the World
VI. Keep Reaching In: Staying Engaged with Your Soul
VII. Over the Edge: Where We Go When We Die

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Anonymous says:

Part Poetry, Part Wisdom—All Great This is the first time I have been introduced to Parker J Palmer. Why have I not read any of his books before?! He is part poet, part storyteller. I am in my 40’s and it is refreshing to have someone in the sunset of life talk about what it is like to age—but do so gracefully. I think two quotes from the book sum his wisdom up best: “I would be lying if I said that I am awed by all that comes with old age … and yet it is because of the diminishments of age, not in spite of them, that I…

Anonymous says:

A book on aging as opening rather than closing As I’ve witnessed my family and mentors age, I’ve often wondered what sets apart those who manage to open up to the world, get more humble, more curious, more grateful, more awed, and those that close in, get bitter, start navel-gazing, lose sight of wonder and the wideness of the world. This book feels like one extremely readable, often funny, deeply vulnerable version of the answer. It’s about relationships. It’s about pausing to take in the preciousness of these brief, terrible, beautiful…

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