Penn and his Sword

One of the great things about Quakers is that they’re prolific writers, which allows me to learn from the wisdom of others. I paraphrase the words of Geoffry Durham in his book Being a Quaker: A Guide for Newcomers:

William Penn, renowned Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania had a problem: he had troubles living a life of simplicity and had difficulties giving up his fancy clothes. In particular he had difficulty giving up the sword which hung by his side, as was tradition for the English aristocracy. Heck – it had once saved his life. He asked for Quaker “founder” George Fox’s advice how to deal with his frustrating dilema. Fox’s response was “Wear the sword as long as you can.”

I’ve been stressing out and beating myself up this week for a variety of reasons. While I won’t go into details, this story resonated with me. It helped me gain some much needed self compassion and helped me realize that while I might hold myself to some pretty high ideals, beating myself up or being impatient isn’t the answer.

Sometimes waiting and letting yourself season a bit is all we need.


  1. Just as long as you aren’t walking around the office wearing your sword, I think you can do whatever you’d like. (; Hope this humor found you well!

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