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The Concept of Integrity in The Lives of Parker Palmer, Wangari Maathai, and John O'donohue

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In a modern world where everything has changed so much and the concept of integrity is getting lost, is wonderful to find people who still carry this code of behavior with them. People who not only pursue honesty but try to inculcate it in others, people who, with literature show us the beauty and the majesty of blessing other people by doing small things and being ourselves. The 3 characters I’m referring to are: Parker Palmer, Wangari Maathai and John O’Donohue.

The Senior Partner and founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal, teacher and writer Parker Palmer, was a man who dedicated his life to show people how important it is to have a vocation and be our true selves. Palmer proved that both the concept of being ourselves and vocation are deeply connected, that people can’t have one without having the other. He states that “We find our calling by claiming authentic selfhood, by being who we are” and he bases most of his ideas on his own experience throughout the path of self-realization. In addition, in his book Let Your Life Speak he points out that by not being true to ourselves we’re corroding our own existence and that of others as well. Most importantly not being ourselves can guide us into a profound period of darkness from which is difficult to get out.

The next is an incredible woman who fought for women’s issues, environmental causes and who meritously won the Nobel Peace Prize, her name was Wangari Maathai. Maathai was a woman who believed in equity and fought for it until the end of her days. The reason she won the Nobel Peace Prize is because she, along with her Green Belt Movement planted billions of trees around the world. She believed by planting trees many political issues could be solved “Trees are a living symbol of peace and hope… It signifies that no matter how many awards we receive, our power and strength and our ability to reach our goals depend on the people, those whose work remain unseen…” she also sensed her trees would empower the people with resources and she went on and on with the cause. In addition, Maathai always encouraged leadership, especially with women, she talked them into being a part of something and as for the rest of the people she clearly stated that her native Africa needed the new opportunities and commitments that true leaders bring with them.

The last but not least character is an Irish former priest, philosopher and poet who dedicated his life to reflect on beauty and its necessity, his name was John O’Donohue. In his interview with Krista Tippet and also in some of his poems, O’Donohue expresses his points of view about beauty. He points out how important it is to have beauty in our lives and that when we have a vision of beauty we find faith and believe our existence in the world has a purpose. He designates that in fact it is quite interesting to live when you see beauty through your eyes. He brings up “It’s strange to be here, the mystery never leaves you” which can be quite frightening but is also what makes life interesting. He encourages people through his interview to find something beautiful in their lives and focus on that. O’Donohue’s works are quite enlightening; he talked people into relearning the art of blessing one another and take a time from their rushing lives to interact. He believes the landscape makes a difference in how we see life as well, the more beautiful the place where we reside, the more plentiful our lives are, which many people will agree with.

In conclusion, Palmer, O’Donohue and Maathai displayed the concept of integrity throughout their whole lives by writing and subtly motivating people with their actions to make a difference, to not only be but to be and to give. They’ve shown us that by following our hearts we will indeed be able to do something pretty amazing and bless one another in an endless pattern. That beauty is not something you see but feel and should seek, that we must first claim selfhood in order to serve others better and that something as simple as planting a tree can help thousands.

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The Concept of Integrity in the Lives of Parker Palmer, Wangari Maathai, and John O’donohue. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from
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