Diane M. Millis is founder and director of the Journey Conversations Project, a partnership of educators and other leaders dedicated to preparing and equipping people to facilitate conversations for discovery and discernment. She is also an inspirational speaker, organizational consultant, and spiritual director specializing in the fields of spirituality, communication, and family studies.
This timely, practical, and inspirational paperback is a volume in the SkyLight Path Series "The Art of Spiritual Living." Millis laments the loss of true presence due to our reliance on digital devices to keep us connected. Face-to-face conversations enable us to go deeper with sharing that explores our heartfelt yearnings and truth. To accomplish this we are called to encounter the sacred within ourselves, within others, and between ourselves and others. A foundational goal of these three-dimensional conversations has been expressed long ago by Douglas Steere in Gleanings: A Random Harvest:
"To 'listen' another's soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another."
For Millis, the best word to describe the essence of the sacred art of conversation is "namaste," the Sanskrit greeting which has been translated as "the divine in me greets the divine in you." We were very happy to see the author's emphasis on noticing as a way of praying along with her discussion of creative individuals who have modeled this approach for us, such as novelist Frederick Buechner, poet Ted Kooser, and photographer Jim Brandenberg.
We were also impressed with chapters on cultivating attention, receptivity, and compassion through conversation. Millis concludes with three substantive appendixes that offer contemplative practices for conversations, more guiding principles and questions for appreciatively focused dialogue, and conversation catalysts for sustaining conversations over time.