Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation

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Overview


Craft Your Way to Inner Peace

In this wild and wired world, it is increasingly difficult to truly relax and find stillness within. Maggie Oman Shannon's Crafting Calm is a DIY guide to peace of mind, offering an abundance of ways you can achieve serenity and satisfaction by living the handmade life. Author Oman Shannon, the spiritual director of a Unity Church, explores crafts and creativity as a lifelong practice with enormous physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. And by...

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Overview


Craft Your Way to Inner Peace

In this wild and wired world, it is increasingly difficult to truly relax and find stillness within. Maggie Oman Shannon's Crafting Calm is a DIY guide to peace of mind, offering an abundance of ways you can achieve serenity and satisfaction by living the handmade life. Author Oman Shannon, the spiritual director of a Unity Church, explores crafts and creativity as a lifelong practice with enormous physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. And by knitting love and hope into every stitch, handicrafts help form new friendships and community. From making a desktop shrine or mini-Zen garden, to stringing intention beads and painting personal prayer flags, Crafting Calm is an essential tool for making mindfulness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shannon turns the focus she placed on beading in A String and A Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads (with coauthor Eleanor Wiley, 2002) to other crafts that can be vehicles for spiritual exploration and development. In eight chapters, the author, an interfaith minister and spiritual director, describes how the act of making things can foster in the maker feelings of calm, comfort, community, and connection with others and the divine. But as she is quick to point out in her introduction, this is not a “how-to” craft book intended to guide the reader to finished products suitable for sharing or sale. Rather, the goal is to help readers tap into the process of creativity that Shannon finds so deeply connects her to the divine. To that extent, the book is a success, with ample adaptations of established crafts to spiritual ends. Also very satisfying are interviews, woven in the text, with artists who describe how their own work informs their spirituality. The book’s 40 illustrations disappoint; they are rough sketches, where actual photographs of crafted objects would have been more inspirational. (May)
From the Publisher

"No matter what kind of crafter you are, whatever your raw materials, the projects, quotes, and commentary in this book will inspire you. I found myself with a new and deeper appreciation not only for my crafts, but also for all crafts. It is indeed through this use of our creative energy to transform something common into something special, that we touch the universal creative spirit, that our craft becomes a divinely inspired spiritual practice."
—About.com

"The book is divided into 8 crafting sections to serve different intentions; calm, clarity, comfort, contemplation, creation, community, connection with others and connection with spirit. Author Reverend Maggie Oman Shannon's message is that we are inherently creative, and the book is permission to explore, play and discover your own creativity."
—Examiner.com

"If you are spiritual, seeking calm and looking for avenues to express your creativity, you should get Crafting Calm."
—The Baby Spot

"I firmly believe that crafting can be a great way to reduce stress, which is why I was immediately attracted to the idea of Crafting Calm. Written by Maggie Oman Shannon, this DIY guide showcases projects designed to help you achieve serenity and satisfaction."
—Smart Mom Picks

"An essential tool for mindfulness."
—La Splash

"Definitely a book that should be added to the library of any faith geek who loves to craft."
—Faith Geeks

"By immersing ourselves in a craft with intention and mindfulness, we can quiet those voices around us and in us."
Eco Child's Play

"Maggie Oman Shannon will show you how to “put down the prozac and pick up the prayer beads!” Shannon’s book, Crafting Calm, informs the reader of spiritual practices gathered from crafts communities around the world."
Life Mastery Radio

"Maggie Oman Shannon offers numerous creative exercises to ignite your spirituality and your craft."
Science of Mind

"Important on that journey to truly live our purpose."
On Purpose Radio

"Within these pages, countless crafts and projects — from anointing oils and collage treasure maps to inner wisdom dolls and prayer pots — jump off the page, just waiting to be brought into existence [...] Pick it up and get ready to refresh your soul."
Somerset Studio

"Each of the eight chapters in this delightful book suggests five simple practices for calm, clarity, comfort, contemplation, creation, community, connection with others, and connection with spirit, including a tabletop meditation fountain, personal prayer flags, mandalas, and more."
Spirituality & Health

"Crafts are more than just artistic creations ... Prayer beads, prayer journals, pastel mandalas and tiny tin shrines are just some of the soul-connecting projects Oman Shannon has guided in crafting workshops through the years."
Unity Magazine

"This book walks you through ways to quiet your mind, and find a bit of peace through crafting. It was certainly an inspiration to turn off the TV, or the laptop, or cell phone, and do some crafting."
Emily Reviews

"I found all sorts of peaceful ideas to make my world a better place to be."
My Journey with Candida

"Crafting Calm is more powerful than a craft book. It's a spiritual guide, it's peace of mind, it's calming and exploring your creativity. Maggie gives idea's, history and quotes throughout the book. Crafting Calm brings together creativity, spiritual practice mixed together with the love of arts and crafts to bring calm into your life."
Peanut Butter and Whine

"Creative projects that can bring peace and insight to busy lives."
American Craft Council

"Oman Shannon (Prayers for Healing), a San Francisco–based interfaith minister, finds spiritual calm through creating, and this collection of stories, journal prompts, inspirational quotes, and craft projects is designed to help others find their own inner peace. The author’s focus is on the Christian faith, but she includes anecdotes from crafters from other faith traditions, including Judaism and paganism. The projects are fairly simple, and all focus on bringing spirituality, prayer, or meditation into the mix. The intersection of crafts and spirituality is a popular topic, and Oman Shannon’s exploration will inspire crafters of a variety of faiths."
Library Journal

"With her latest book, Oman Shannon offers readers guidance for creating their own collage treasure map, along with more than three dozen other projects meant to provide serenity and satisfaction."
San Francisco Chronicle

"This thoughtful book would interest anyone who enjoys working with their hands and is interested in mindfulness."
San Francisco Book Review

"This is how good Crafting Calm by Maggie Oman Shannon is; I couldn’t help but dive right in and create something after reading it! I hope to try more soon!"
The Magical Buffet

"I strongly recommend this book, it would make an amazing addition to anyone's craft room."
—Tanya Rudd

"Crafts aren't a competition to get the most repins on Pinterest ;) but rather a way for us to find ourselves, achieve serenity, and relax. Use [Crafting Calm] as your inspiration to jump off to a whole new creative world."
—Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife

"Never again will you have to run to the store to buy a quick gift because you’ll have so much fun making these items that all your gifts will be special one-of-a-kind homemade ones. The author shows how to craft with intentions such as: calm, clarity, comfort, contemplation, connection with others, and connection with spirit. Use crafting as prayer and commune with the divine while making meaningful art. This is a terrific book you will use many times over."
New Spirit Journal

"In Crafting Calm, find inspirational crafts and activities that promote a sacred stillness in a world filled with busyness and noise."
Mother Earth Living

"In Crafting Calm, Oman Shannon shares a variety of creative activities, stories and resources that help readers relax, comfort ourselves, get clarity and connect with others. Ultimately, connecting to our creativity can help us connect to our spirituality. In other words, crafting can become a spiritual practice."
Psych Central

"Maggie Oman Shannon is an enthusiastic guide through all these project possibilities. She often shares about her personal attempts with different crafts, openly admitting that some things are just not for her. We were relieved by this . . . and encouraged to try some new things anyway! Crafting Calm is a practical resource we're sure you will enjoy dipping into when you feel inspired or are looking for inspiration."
Spirituality & Practice

"Crafting Calm is an inspirational book that will help get your ideas and feelings in order. It includes places to look for crafting inspiration and idea that will bring a smile to your face."
Networking Witches

"Anyone who has crafted, has probably experienced good things as a result of their creative labor. The author takes it a step further which can really help you get the most from this beneficial and practical hobby."
—Valerie Mitchell

"Crafting Calm was a revelation to me! Over the years I have enjoyed many of the crafting activities highlighted in Maggie Oman Shannon’s wonderful book. However, it was only after reading Crafting Calm that I understood the connection between creativity and the divine. Oman Shannon’s book helped me see that what I previously viewed as fun and satisfying, actually provides spiritual nourishment for my soul."
—June Cotner, author of the bestselling Graces

"The genius of this book is that it provides a practical and inspirational way of accessing two universal essential forces that sustain the human spirit: contemplation and creativity. A timeless and invaluable resource for anyone!"
— Angeles Arrien, author of The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates to Wisdom

“Awaken and illuminate your creative and spiritual connections with Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation. Nourish yourself and others with this practical, elegant, deeply inspiring book. The title alone will uplift your spirits!”
–SARK, author, artist, Succulent Wild Woman PlanetSARK.com

"One of the central challenges of any spiritual path is the need to weave the moments of insight that come from inner practice into the fabric of everyday life. Maggie Oman Shannon's new book
Crafting Calm draws on time-honored handicraft traditions to do exactly this, providing a rich
toolkit of approaches for the modern spiritual seeker."
-- John Michael Greer, Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and author of
Apocalypse Not: Everything You Know About 2012, Nostradamus, and the Rapture is Wrong

“As a lifelong artist, I am intimately familiar with the profound connections to spirit that are available to us when we engage in creative acts. Despite already knowing this deep in my heart, mind and body, I relish the opportunity to learn the way my artistic tools, techniques and mediums can open up specific spiritual channels and encourage an array of mindful, prayerful practices. I look forward to adding Crafting Calm to my bookshelf and sharing it with my artistic and spiritual sisters.”
– Christine Mason Miller, Artist and Author of Ordinary Sparkling Moments: Reflections on Success and Contentment

"In Crafting Calm, Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon gently reminds that we are by our very nature, both spiritual and creative beings. She inspires us to create as a way of self-exploration and spiritual growth and guides us through fun and illuminating projects. From anointing oils to visual journals and prayer paintings to messages in bottles Oman Shannon shows us how crafting can be part of our spiritual journey and a powerful way to connect to our very essence -- the creative spirit within all of us. This book will inspire, uplift and illuminate your spiritual path in a unique and important way – and you’ll also discover how much fun you can have when creating from spirit."
–Polly Campbell, Author of Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People

"During these tumultuous times it is more important than ever to cultivate our calm. Maggie Oman's Crafting Calm is a balm of a book that teaches us this subtlest of lessons."
— Phil Cousineau, author of Wordcatcher and The Painted Word

"Crafting Calm is the perfect gift for anyone who has ever had the urge to create. Maggie Oman Shannon’s writing is engaging and accessible, making her the ideal guide for those interested in embracing calm, deepening self-awareness, and renewing faith in the power of creativity."
-Kate Hopper, author of Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers and Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood

"I still have pictures in my head of my Mom sitting and knitting in the pre-television days of my youth. It was a peacefulness scene seeing her take a meditative moment out of her household responsibilities. Today, in our non-stop world of ever-present text messages and emails, it is nice to have a book like this to help us both quiet our mind and enrich our life, as the simple art of knitting did for my Mom. So, put down your cell phone, pick up this wonderful book, and begin creating your own comforting handiwork from Crafting Calm."
-Allen Klein, author of The Art of Living Joyfully and Words of Love

Library Journal
Shannon (Prayers for Healing), a San Francisco-based interfaith minister, finds spiritual calm through creating, and this collection of stories, journal prompts, inspirational quotes, and craft projects is designed to help others find their own inner peace. The author's focus is on the Christian faith, but she includes anecdotes from crafters from other faith traditions, including Judaism and paganism. The projects are fairly simple, and all focus on bringing spirituality, prayer, or meditation into the mix. Sometimes this works, such as the personal prayer flag; other times, it's a little forced, like the "sacred bath salts." VERDICT The intersection of crafts and spirituality is a popular topic, and Shannon's exploration will inspire crafters of a variety of faiths.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936740406
  • Publisher: Cleis Press
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 775,611
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon, M.A., is an interfaith minister, spiritual director, workshop and retreat facilitator, and author of five books: Prayers for Healing (Conari Press, 1997); The Way We Pray: Prayer Practices from Around the World (Conari Press, 2001); A String and a Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads (co-author; Red Wheel/Weiser, 2002); One God, Shared Hope (Red Wheel/Weiser, 2003); and her latest, Prayers for Hope and Comfort (Conari Press, 2008). In 2000, Oman Shannon founded The New Story, a coaching and consulting business focused on helping people create deeper meaning in their lives.

The former editor of three national magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Oman Shannon also served as Director of Marketing for the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Her writing has appeared in publications including Utne Reader and Beliefnet.com; and her work has been featured in publications ranging from the Miami Herald to Spirituality and Health magazine. She has taught workshops at venues including California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute for Health and Healing and Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY.

In addition to being a certified life coach, Oman Shannon completed the three-year training program of the Spiritual Directors Institute at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. A graduate of Smith College, Oman Shannon also holds an M.A. degree in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University. She is an ordained interfaith minister who graduated from Manhattan’s One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in 2010.

Oman Shannon currently has the honor of serving as Spiritual Director of Unity Spiritual Center of San Francisco. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter.

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Read an Excerpt

Crafting Calm

Projects and Practices for Creativity and Comtemplation
By Maggie Oman Shannon

Viva Editions

Copyright © 2013 Maggie Oman Shannon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781936740406

Crafting for Calm

“I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.”
–Saul Bellow

In this wired, wild world, it is harder than ever to truly calm oneself—everywhere we go, we are assaulted by noise, stimulation, the never-ending crawl at the bottom of our screens. As a recent Washington Post article explored, we are so caught up in our busy little worlds that sources of true beauty have trouble penetrating our rushed routines; how else to explain the fact that during a disheartening social experiment, in which world-class violinist Joshua Bell played unannounced and anonymously in a D.C. Metro station, hardly anyone (except children) bothered to stop and listen—and the collection for the renowned musician playing an hour-and-a-half in the subway was a mere $32?

The 20th-century Catholic priest and writer Henri Nouwen once wrote that “Through the spiritual life we gradually move from the house of fear to the house of love”—and the same thing could be said about the creative life. By immersing ourself in our creative activity, we can still those voices around us and in us—we can enter the stillness which characterizes prayer and the “house of love.” We can open ourselves and experience spaciousness.

Many if not all of us will find ourselves naturally calming or “gentling” down when we carve out the space to simply be with our Creator and our crafting materials. We will find, as the artist Corita Kent wrote, that “there is an energy in the creative process that belongs in the league of those energies which can uplift, unify and harmonize all of us.”

Some crafts themselves are inherently calming; both the process and the product serve as vehicles for calm and even prayer. As Susan Gordon Lydon reminds us in The Knitting Sutra, “Handcrafts throughout history have often been fashioned with the aid of prayer, one prayer for each bead or each stitch, while keeping good thoughts to enhance the spiritual purpose of the object.”

The practices in this section offer a spectrum of sensory appeal; from the smells and touch of anointing oils, to the sounds and sight of a tabletop meditation fountain, you will find activities here to truly help you to be still, and know that God is God.


Continues...

Excerpted from Crafting Calm by Maggie Oman Shannon Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Oman Shannon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Introduction

Crafting for Calm
Anointing Oils
Biblical Herb Garden
Spiritual Wisdom Wall Hanging
Sacred Bath Salts
Tabletop Meditation Fountain

Crafting for Clarity
Collage Treasure Map
Visual Journal
Personal Prayer Flag
Blessing Basket
Spiritual Toolbox

Crafting for Comfort
Portable Shrine
Prayer Shawl
Affirmation Blanket
Prayer Cards
Power Pouch

Crafting for Contemplation
Prayer Mat
Tray Sand Garden
Luminarias
Rock Cairn
Meditation Cushion

Crafting for Creation
Prayer Painting
Intention Beads
Inner Wisdom Doll
Icon
Messages in a Bottle

Crafting for Community
Talking Stick
Prayer Ribbon Weaving
Collage Mandala
Group Prayer Beads
Prayer Arrows

Crafting for Connection with Others
Thinking-of-You Candle
Prayer Pillow
Milagros Box
Homemade Bread Meditation
Prayer Rock

Crafting for Connection with Spirit
Prayer Outfit
Finger Labyrinth
Personal Holy Book
Tabletop Altar
Prayer Pot

Conclusion
Resource Section
Interview Subjects
Contributors
Acknowledgments
About the Author
Index [TK]

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Customer Reviews

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( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    One thing I found especially helpful in Crafting Calm were the j

    One thing I found especially helpful in Crafting Calm were the journal ideas and the inserts of quotes and phrases. Maggie Oman Shannon does such a wonderful job of bringing peace to simple tasks. Gardening, painting and cooking sounded like chores (to me), but Shannon turns them into calming spiritual activities. Even for those who aren’t that spiritual.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    I have recently become reacquainted with DIY projects and crafti

    I have recently become reacquainted with DIY projects and crafting in general. I'd like to begin (so that I can get it out of the way and not put all of my focus on this aspect) that the book was written by a Reverend and contains multiple projects and quotes that relate to religion (though it is NOT a prime focus). I am not religious at all and was only slightly put off by this, but really, let's get down to the main point: This book is FULL of creative projects that yield GREAT results (when I did them correctly....) From bath salts to meditation fountains, visual journals to  intention jewelry, and thinking-of-you candles to prayer shawls (though I just prefer to call them "shawls"), Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon has put together a helpful guide with useful suggestions for crafting to achieve calmness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    A must have for all crafters! As we all know, the art of craftin

    A must have for all crafters! As we all know, the art of crafting isn't only about the things we make, but it's about the journey we take in making them. This guide focus on that while still introducing a whole bunch of fun new crafts to do! Really great!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2013

    This book is great! It has so many crafts and Maggie really unde

    This book is great! It has so many crafts and Maggie really understands what it means to relax and become calm through crafting! She takes crafting from another thing to do to being a form of meditation and a way to deal with the chaos of the world. The great how tos and stories about her own life make this book a treasure and a great way to take away the crazy of your life!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    More Spirituality, Crafting Ideas, NOT Crafting Instructions Per Se

    If you are looking for ideas to express your spirituality, then this is the book for you. There are no pictures, a few subject pencil drawings and lots of information about different ways to express spirituality in it's various forms. Links are given to websites for ideas, purchasing items for ideas suggested and so far as I've read, only one link to a site to actually make anything. I was not looking for a long read on spirituality, but in that aspect, there was some wonderful writing. In this case, I just felt the description of book did not state clearly it's intended purpose is not the actual creation and instructions thereto of any crafts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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