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The Architect of Listening

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

I met Habib Khalafi on a sidewalk outside of Lou Malnati's the evening before we were to attend the Chicago Coldplay concert over Memorial Day Weekend 2022. Read It Was All Ian for the complete backstory.

Habib is an architect not only of structures but also of listening. After listening during our short conversation, he became the architect of what transpired thereafter, setting into motion the finale of a weekend full of Love and healing.

Habib later sent me a quote: "Communication, conversation, language are predominately thought of, anchored in our minds, as an expressing, a speaking, a vocalizing. That outward expression goes far beyond talking, far beyond describing or representing reality—it is in fact what allows for “who” and “how” we are in the world. It’s what allows for the futures we create, where we evoke experience in others, where our ideas become clear and possible, where we share ourselves, and where others are expanded by our participation with them. But speaking is not where things get handled—it’s not powerful enough. The possibility that there’s an edge, the possibility of impact, lies in our listening." - Brian Regnier

Habib introduced me to Dr. Sadeghi who arranged for us to receive new concert tickets. Dr. S asked us to transfer our originally purchased awesome tickets to a complete stranger. After a bit of nervousness and hesitation that this was all really happening, we "listened" and did just that.

Kristine Steiner is the person who received our original tickets and will now always be connected to us. She listened to her inner voice and happened to record the complete "Yellow" performance from those seats. (Click here for the video.) Kristine is a fashion illustrator who lives in Chicago and can be found on Instagram @kyjsteiner.

Below is Kristine's story of her weekend. She then generously created the beautiful illustration above, which captures the joy of the experience.

As Habib pointed out to me, anything is possible if you open yourself up to communication, conversation, listening and participation.

Peace and love, ~Ian's Mom


Memorial Day Weekend 2022 was one of the most memorable weekends to date!

It kicked off with an impromptu dinner on Friday with my unni (Korean term of endearment literally meaning “older sister”), Suzan, who was visiting Chicago from California with her business partner. I happened to catch her Instagram story of the Riverwalk and messaged her asking how long she would be here. It turned out they were free for dinner that night so we made plans to meet a few hours later.

Over a delicious meal, Suzan mentioned they were attending the Coldplay concert the next night and asked if we were free to join. Sadly I was already booked to illustrate a wedding on Saturday, but wished them a fun time!

On Sunday morning Suzan called and asked if we were free that night to go see Coldplay. I hesitated and Suzan promptly interjected, “Kristine, just say yes!” Before I knew it she introduced me to her good friend Dr. Sadeghi via text who then introduced me to Kelly to coordinate transferring the pair of Coldplay tickets.

I hopped on a quick call with Kelly and learned of her very serendipitous 24 hours. She also met Dr. Sadeghi by chance and was invited to a VIP Coldplay experience. A few hours later she transferred her original tickets to me. My boyfriend and I were all set to go see Coldplay!

As we sat in our Lyft on the way to Soldier Field, Dr. S texted asking if we could use 2 more tickets. Moments later Kelly’s friend Julie transferred her 2 tickets to me. We invited our friends who happen to be newly engaged and fortunately, they were free to join us. It turns out this was their first concert together!

As we sat in these amazing seats we were still trying to process this immense kindness of strangers. It felt so surreal to be there. The show was incredible and we loved experiencing irl all these songs that were so integral to our formative teenage years.

The crowd wore wristbands that lit up throughout the concert and as soon as they lit up yellow I knew I had to get my phone ready to record the upcoming song. Yellow is a meaningful song for my brother as it’s tied to the day my niece was born. I had intended to record the entire thing and send it to him. As the song came to an end, Chris Martin continued to strum the guitar. At first, I thought it was just a long transition into the next song. I had my finger on the red button to stop recording, but something told me to keep recording. As it turned out, he was dedicating Yellow to a young man gone too soon named Ian Minnick and his parents. It was beautiful. The love within the crowd as we sang together was palpable.

On Monday Kelly texted to check in and asked if we enjoyed the concert. She then shared that she and her husband were the Minnicks. Their son Ian was the one to whom Chris Martin had dedicated "Yellow." I felt chills and explained that I had recorded the entire song including the dedication. I immediately sent the video to her - what a full circle moment!

The weekend taught me the importance of staying in touch with those you love and being open to new friendships and experiences. Stop coming up with reasons why not and “just say yes!” The world is small, we are all connected, and even the smallest gesture of kindness can mean the world to someone else. Everything is indeed a miracle.



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