Deepening Engagement 

Is it possible for our institutions of work to become, in the words of American political analyst Yuval Levin, ‘soul-forming institutions’? If so, what does leadership become? In this book, Dr. Millis clears a path and points the way for those willing to set out on this journey. The personal stories she asks us to ponder and put into practice transform abstract ideas such as ‘deep engagement’ into living realities. Leadership becomes a personal quest and calling.

— from the Foreword by Rob Lehman, Fetzer Institute

Impressively well written, organized and presented, Deepening Engagement: Essential Wisdom for Listening and Leading with Purpose, Meaning and Joy is an inherently fascinating and informative read and highly recommended for both community and academic Self-Help/Self-Improvement/Personal Growth reference collections.

— Midwest Book Review 2015-05-01

Educator, spiritual director, and consultant Millis (Conversation: The Sacred Art) proposes a new method to help individuals and communities connect more honestly with one another. Millis suggests a way to move from deep listening to deep engagement on any scale. Chapter titles are short maxims, like “be who you are" and “use everything," that are developed into invitations to pause, ponder, and practice each chapter's core concept. Some ideas help readers examine their own lives, while “listen generously" and “ask meaningful questions" are guidelines that can be applied to relationships with others. Drawing on her work teaching leadership skills with the Fetzer Institute and the Lilly Endowment, Millis writes that strong communities can be founded on honest engagement and the willingness to improvise. Appealing to both corporate leaders and self-help readers, Millis writes with heart and compassion without veering into fuzziness or jargon. She includes a good bibliography for those wishing to deepen their explorations of her ideas. (Apr.)

— Publisher's Weekly

This beautiful gem of a book sparkles with clarity, gently inviting the reader to open-heartedly engage self, other, and community. A must-read for anyone wanting to listen and/or lead authentically and effectively.

— Margaret Benefiel, Executive Director, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and author, Soul at Work and The Soul of a Leader

Diane Millis has once again provided a magnificent soul searching resource with her new book Deepening Engagement. Drawing on a deep well of writings Millis has created a dynamic journey for the reader to develop a simple, yet powerful practice to truly engage both the inner and exterior world.  A true treasure for both individuals and small groups that I will make great use of.

— The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Bishop, Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Whether read alone or in groups (I'd recommend groups!), this book is a marvelous guide to all who seek to venture into the self-renewing spiritual depths awaiting us.

— John Wimmer, program director, Religion, Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Deepening Engagement by Diane Millis is deeply engaging!  It gets to the heart of engagement by seeing it as an inside-out, holistic dynamic of engaging oneself, others and the community to contribute on-purpose and in-service.

        — Kevin Cashman, Senior Partner of Korn Ferry and author, Leadership from the Inside Out and The Pause Principle

"Authentic leadership" begins with reflective leaders, and reflective leaders tune to the "sound of the genuine" in themselves, their colleagues, and their communities. This wise, luminous volume trains the ear to listen and the heart to be still.

— Marty Stortz, Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation at Augsburg College


Conversation-The Sacred Art

Millis (founder, Journey Conversations Project) has tackled an unusual topic in spirituality: conversation.  We think of conversation as an element in democratic governing or an ornament in society, but Millis makes a good case for using conversation to approach the sacred in the self and others; she shows how to enlarge the element of the sacred in dialog, with examples from many traditions.  VERDICT  An interesting and truly multifaith approach to a topic of broad application (we all talk!); good for reading groups and retreats, as well as individuals.

— Library Journal, 8/1/2013, Vol 138: 13, p. 81.

The book offers practical, concrete ways to reach the depths of sacred conversation. The reader is guided to deep listening as a means of seeing each person as a unique creation of God. The structured activities, based on Millis’ research and teaching, offer the reader the opportunity to develop a mature understanding of the depths of our own holiness and how we can offer ourselves more fully when we allow conversation to become a sacred art. . .

— Collegium News, Conversation — The Sacred Art, Fall 2013, pp 8-9.

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. . .

— Spirituality and Practice, Review of Conversation — The Sacred Art by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.

In this "age of distraction," we're losing the sacred art of conversation, and that's a profound loss. True conversation helps us become more human. It evokes that which is deepest in us and gives us a chance to discover the new life that might emerge between us. So this is an important book, one that can help us recover a vital but endangered everyday spiritual practice. Diane Millis writes beautiful prose and offers practical suggestions to deepen our conversational capacities. For me, reading this book was like having a true conversation with the author, and with myself, one that will help me share its gifts with the larger world.

— Parker J. Palmer, author of many books including Healing the Heart of Democracy and Let Your Life Speak

In our increasingly screen-based culture, we are in danger of losing the ability to be deeply present and engaged with others. This book, integrating the author’s intensive study of spiritual guidance with her personal and professional experiences, offers both inspiration and practical guidance to restore the art of conversation as a sacred activity.

— Dr. Aostre N. Johnson, professor of education, Saint Michael's College, co-editor of Educating from the Heart

This is a beautiful book in so many ways, yet its deepest beauty introduces us to the sacredness of one another, which we discover as we listen, offer, extend and join together in true conversation. "Whenever two or more are gathered, there will I be also" has been my favorite scripture for many years.  Diane has illuminated how we discover the truth of this teaching.  I am deeply grateful that this book appears now, when its wisdom and practices are most needed to restore the sacred to our relationships.

— Margaret J. Wheatley, author of many books including Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future 

This is an exquisite book about the loving and nourishing art of sacred conversation throughout our lives.  Diane Millis writes with the grace, wisdom and caring of a wise and skillful spiritual director, leading us all to touch the sacred within ourselves, within others, and in the midst of all of our conversations.  Thank you, Diane!

— Rabbi Amy Eilberg, author of From Enemy to Friend

The very best spiritual books do not just describe the depths of the interior life; they transport us there. Diane Millis’s wonderful book falls into that category, plunging us into that holy space from which we can connect with God, with ourselves, and especially with others at a depth we would have thought impossible. Our conversations will never be the same after reading this book—they will be infinitely richer.

— John Backman, author, Why Can’t We Talk? 

This is a beautiful book filled with exquisite insights, practices and stories. They illuminate our heart and mind and awaken us to Presence.

— Imam Jamal Rahman, author of many books including Spiritual Gems of Islam