"Hear me, my Chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From

       where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever"

Chief Joseph, May 1877


   For a man born in a cave in the wilds of Oregon, Joseph made a surprising impact on our understanding of the enduring human ideals of liberty, justice, and non-violent dissent. 

  The Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-06 sparked a steady influx of settlers into the heart of Nez Perce country.  Although the U.S. government failed to enforce many Indian treaties, Joseph's people lived amicably with their uninvited neighbors. That was, until the summer of 1877, when escalating hostilities resulted in the killing of several whites by rebellious Nez Perce braves, who rejected Joseph's pacifism. He admonished the perpetrators, and rather than see more bloodshed, Joseph led his people in a desperate flight of more than a thousand miles in a valiant effort to reach the safety of the Canadian border. Woefully depleted and facing inevitable defeat, he surrendered to General O. O. Howard on October 5th. Joseph and his beleaguered band were eventually relocated to the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State, where their descendants still reside.

  In the aftermath of the War of 1877, Chief Joseph met with President Rutherford B. Hayes, and spoke before Congress to plead for fair treatment of the Native peoples. He became one the principal voices of the human conscience, calling for freedom and equality for men of every race and creed.

  Joseph has been hailed by many as the finest of the Indian leaders, by others as one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. Before there was a Ghandi, or a Martin Luther King, there was Chief Joseph. At his death, the attending physician reported that he died of a broken heart. The true peacemaker is frequently the man with the deepest reservoir of courage and love. Chief Joseph was just such a man.

1840-1904 . Nez Perce Chief

Hin-mut-too-yah-lat-kekht (Chief Joseph)



The Sierra Club was founded in 1892 by a group of influential members of the fledgling American conservation movement. John Muir was elected as its first president, post he held until his death in 1914. Each year since its inception, the Sierra Club has published an annual report of the club's outings and activities. For the man with a spirit for adventure, Sierra Club Bulletins of any era (especially pre-1940) are great reads.   

In this powerful little pink book, Parker Palmer repeatedly asks this haunting question: "Are you living the life that wants to live in you?" Let Your Life Speak points the way for the reader to come to terms with his or her shortcomings and disappointments. Then, Palmer offers a stunningly simple recipe for moving ahead, that of merely waiting and listening. By one of America's leading spiritual trail masters, this book is a real gem!

                                               Published by: Jossey-Bass, ISBN 0-7879-4735-0 

Let Your Life Speak, Listening for 

the Voice of Vocation"

by Parker J. Palmer

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our schools, and especially with our families. We hear: "Have you done your chores today?", "Do you have a plan for addressing the problem?",  "How can we better service that account?" We are told that it is important (a value) to respect your elders, to learn followership skills, to communicate better, to improve our abilities by taking a class or seminar. These are outer-life considerations. What don’t we hear? "Are you spending time every day in reflection?", "Do you meditate (many choices), or perhaps pray?", "Do you think about those spiritual practices, designed to help you get out of your own way and live a less anxious life?" 

   Ten to twenty minutes of daily reflection unlock a number of benefits that will quickly elucidate your internal world and, it is proven, reduce stress—a welcome benefit for us all. For some, this may mean reading a chapter of reflective material (I’m not talking about the newspaper or the latest mystery novel, but rather something that speaks to you for the purpose of awareness, perhaps the Bible, a memoir of a spiritual nature, or a self-improvement/self-help book.


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Support groups and meetings serve a similar purpose, as discussion can often open new avenues of introspection. For others, a more solitary endeavor like taking a walk (important: phone off!) provides the quiet focus to turn thoughts inward. Another great reflective exercise is to keep a journal. Putting down your thoughts and feelings with an eye toward what it says about you and your choices can, both help you know yourself better and solve problems more effectively. My thoughts and experience have led me to conclude that if we cannot discover our authentic selves, we will not have the courage to live a life true to ourselves. And when we live the life that others expect us to live, we end up spending time on people and things that drain us of energy. Avoid a destiny of repeating unproductive thoughts and behaviors. Start small with a goal of only a few minutes of reflection a day and grow your practice from there. Slowly add a minute or two every week. Notice the changes: What falls away? What grows? Put the highest value on your inner-work and make this practice a priority.

Seven Men, by Eric Metaxas

In Praise of Slowness, by Carl Honore

Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr

Power vs. Force, by David Hawkins

   Perhaps it is an overstatement, but I have yet to meet a person over fifty years old who was void of a spiritual life, who could still claim personal fulfillment and happiness. Maybe a better way of saying this is, “Our frequent failure as leaders to deal with our inner lives​ leaves too many of us and our institutions in the dark.” (Thank you, Parker Palmer; Let Your Life Speak).      

Through Palmer's wisdom, we are encouraged to ask ourselves: Do we value “inner-work”, the emotional and/or spiritual effort we make to become more aware of our personal needs? We see examples day after day of people behaving in ways that are counter-productive to themselves, their goals, and the welfare of their organizations. We don’t need to list the ways. People get in trouble because their “shadow side” shows up, resulting in ineffective, detrimental behavior.

​    We must lift up the value of inner-work. This notion strongly suggests that inner-work is just as important (if not more important) than outer-work. Mr. Palmer suggests that the term inner-work should become commonplace in our language; its practice should start in