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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch,
a smile, a kind word, a listening ear,
an honest compliment,
or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

- Leo Buscaglia

January 24, 2013                        

This January, like every January, our holiday “visions of sugarplums” are replaced with thoughts of New Year's Resolutions.  With the blur of the holidays behind us, New Year’s resolutions become an opportunity to make a plan for a positive change in the future.  An easy resolution for most of us is to to be better at listening, truly listening.  As Stephen Covey admonishes, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  It takes effort to listen and really hear what someone else is telling us.  Joan’s story reminds us that listening is an intrinsic part of the universal desire to make a connection.  This month, give someone the gift of listening with your heart as well as your ears and see what happens.

            Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year and remember, "Where there is great love, there are always miracles."

Joan, Katie and Meb

            On my frequent trips to San Francisco from my home in Pebble Beach, I often follow Rt. 1 North along the coast, through verdant fields overflowing with artichokes, up and over the hill in Santa Cruz, the road winding recklessly into the heart of Silicon Valley before crossing over and turning north on Rt. 280.  There, backing up to one particularly scenic vista of rolling hills dotted with grazing sheep, I see the massive circular disc pointed skyward that’s known as the Stanford Listening Station.  It’s manned 24/7 by modern day Lt. O’Horas constantly listening for communication from other galaxies.  I always know when I pass it because in an ironic twist, my cell phone coverage is interrupted and my personal listening device is rendered useless.  Annoying as this experience is, it reminds me of the importance of communication and connection, where the simple act of listening can be transforming.  What if they (or we) actually hear something?!   

            Somewhere along the way we’ve lost our ability to listen and really hear someone else.  Ernest Hemingway recognized this disconnect, commenting, “When people talk, listen completely.  Most people never listen.”  As teens we chattered constantly.  In college we spent whole nights brainstorming solutions to the problems of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  As we entered our cocoon of work and family, the connections we came to depend upon become funneled down to a limited few.  As a parent, I‘ve had moments (ok, whole weeks) where I wondered whether I was talking to myself about picking up the dirty laundry, getting homework done on time, and being in before curfew.  I have even had discussions with my husband after he’s forgotten a message from weeks earlier, when he innocently asks, “Did you tell me it was important?”
           As we travelled the country on our book events, Katie, Meb and I heard time and time again that we were lucky to be such close friends.  Many were shocked to hear we didn’t start off that way, but over the years of working together we had our own personal 24/7 listening devices open to what each other had to say.  Our willingness to listen empathetically, without judgment and with compassion, facilitated our deeper connection as well as our continuing successful collaboration.

           At a series of talks we did last year, we spoke about the importance of having, and being, an empathic listener - someone who listens and really hears us as we express our thoughts, our dreams and even our fears, with a willingness to provide honest feedback.  Even complete strangers were stunned at the connections they found in the first two minutes of conversation.  Some of us find this connection in marriage, others with friends, and sadly, some don’t know what they are missing.  In our case, as we chased miracles, not only was it the listening that was important, but the non-judgmental atmosphere that facilitated really being heard and our willingness to challenge each other to go beyond the obvious telling to really understanding the ‘back story’.  Listening forged not only a deepening connection of trust and commitment to each other, but Joseph Campbell’s comment, “Love is a friendship set to music,” became music to my ears.  (Joan)


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Upcoming Events

Santa Clara University
Alumni Association

Santa Clara, CA
Luncheon Presentation
Sunday, February 24th

Avon Public Library
Avon, CT
Area Book Club Discussion
Spring, 2013

Council for Women
of Boston College

Washington, DC
March, 2013

Thank you to the Council of
Women of Boston College
we love chasing miracles with
you. The groups in SF, LA,
Pittsburgh and Chicago have
been fantastic and we look
forward to sharing additional
events with you.

F  acetime and Skype have nothing
on us! What a wonderful venue for
sharing conversation and connecting
over miracles. Thank you to the
wonderful women in the Las Vegas
book clubs who have invited us in
to their homes and their lives. 
It has transformed and rewarded
all of us. Please let us know if you
would like us to virtually visit
your book group!

We have been enjoying scheduling
events surrounding the recent
release of the paperback version
of The Miracle Chase.
If you have any suggestions for
venues where we can continue
the miracle discussion, please
contact us.

Thank you to the Portland Book Review

and the PrayersWork blog

for featuring The Miracle Chase
with such inspirational reviews.

Thank you to Christ Episcopal Church
in Denver and the public libraries
in East Hampton, NY, Naperville, IL
and Simsbury, CT for liking
The Miracle Chase on
Facebook and recommending it to
readers and book clubs.

Earlier editions of this enewsletter
are available at 

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improving this enewsletter can be
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Joan, Katie and Meb
co-authors of The Miracle Chase
It's About Friendship
"We agreed from the very beginning that we would be open with each other...[we] had to trust each other, knowing that once we were vulnerable, we wouldn't be abandoned, laughed at (ok, maybe a little), or criticized." The Miracle Chase, p. 204