Healing our Democracy

“For those of us who want democracy to survive and thrive, the heart is where the work begins—that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten our unity as openings to new life for us and for our nation.”

In his newest book, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, Parker J. Palmer examines the personal and social infrastructure of American politics. Palmer offers citizens a path to heal our divided nation, to rebuild the compassion and creativity still found among “We the People.”

Healing the Heart of Democracy workshops focus on citizens, and explore the “five habits of the heart,” habits that offer a framework for rebuilding a compassionate and effective democracy. These habits help citizens to hold tensions even when strong disagreements arise, to honor others who even as they hold different views, and to work to build national community in difficult times. We will explore practical and hopeful methods to restore a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Adapted from Parker J. Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit (2011)

The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up—ever—trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?        

— Terry Tempest Williams

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.             

— Václav Havel

We work with all civic and religious groups in developing these 5 habits of the heart.


Courage & Renewal® programs can be offered in a variety of formats, from two hours to weekend retreats.
To learn more, contact David Sadker at dsadker@gmail.com or call 520-282-3431.