Bigger Than It Looks, January 5, 2013
I’ve been reading Soulistry for five days now, and I am only on the second page. I think this little book is bigger than it looks! I have read many good books on creativity, inspiration and spirituality, but this one is different. It’s a guide, but not a how-to book of activities and projects. Journaling is strongly suggested, but not required. The format is simple: a quote (journal prompt) followed by questions to ponder.
A myriad of topics from aging to mystery to God are touched upon. The book can be read in a day, or it might take a year to get through it. Every prompt with its set of questions stands on its own. I would suggest that the reader become familiar with the back of the book which contains the epilogue and the appendices before reading and working with the prompts and questions.
June Maffin knows that a good teacher does not give students answers, but instead poses questions that will lead the students to the answers.
Personally, I find journaling to be a powerful tool as a prelude to doing art especially if it incorporates calligraphy. The quotes (prompts) and Soul-Questions of Soulistry become a vehicle for transforming the written word into a visual concept. Journaling facilitates the transformation with deep personal meaning.
So, the journaling becomes imagery, a sketchbook. Soul + Artistry = Soulistry. (Amazon review)
Bk Review: Patte Leathe (Amazon reviewer)
This book is a wonderful tool to getting inside the creative process, delving into the spiritual aspects of creating art.
Sharing this process was a wonderful gift from the author.
Maffin has given us a real gift in “Soulistry”.
Unlike far too many books on spiritual matters, “Souistry” offers all comers a cordial and restorative way into the exploration and care of the interior life.
www.phyllistickle.com Phyllis Tickle is the founding editor of the Religion Department of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and was Academic Dean to the Memphis College of Art before entering full time into writing and publishing.
June Maffin delivers what the subtitle of her book promises, “Creative Ways to Nurture Your Spirituality”.
Starting with the invention of a new word “SOULISTRY,” she guides her readers through the creation of a journal and lets them find their own “answers within”. She brings to the writing of this book an impressive educational background (ordained Anglican priest, PhD in pastoral theology among others) and a wide range of experience. However, the impact of an illness she suffered and the process of her healing became the primary impulse for writing this spiritual autobiography. Her approach combines spirituality and creativity.
The structure of the book offers a step-by-step guide to spiritual journaling. It is complex, yet easy to follow. The main and most important step is to move through the Journal Prompts and their Soul-Questions. This step is the crux and the purpose of the book.
The 86 Journal Prompts are inspirational quotations from extraordinary people from different centuries. Among those represented are priests (Herbert O’Driscoll), writers (Mark Twain), poets (Rainer Maria Rilke), philosophers (Lao Tzu), mystics (Julian of Norwich), monks (Thich Nhat Hanh), artists (Michelangelo), as well as proverbs. Some of the quotations and their authors are well known, others less so. All of them prompt a thought provoking response. Each quotation has a title such as Mystery, Faith, Happiness, Peace Within. The following Chinese proverb prompts the feeling of happiness. “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.”
Each Journal Prompt is accompanied by Soul-Questions. Together they are meant to stimulate the reader’s spiritual response and awareness. The title Happiness, for example, with its Chinese proverb prompt is followed by these Soulistry Soul-Questions:
* Do “being happy” and “being joyful” have the same meaning for you?
* If not, what is the difference?
* What contributes to your happiness?
* In your Soulistry Journal, reflect on a time in your life when you were happy. What was the occasion/circumstance? How did you feel?
* How can helping another bring happiness to the helper?
* What can you do to “help someone else” on a regular basis?
* Are there individuals, or community/environmental/political/religious organizations you might help? Journal who they might be and how you might be able to offer to help them.
In Dr. Maffin’s own words her book will encourage the readers to connect more intimately with their spirituality and offer new ways to nurture their spirit. In the Epilogue she asks the last question: “ Who are you?” Having journaled through the prompts and questions, the answer(s) may surprise the reader.
The remaining parts of the book provide biographies of the quotation authors, listing of the prompts and soul-question titles, the Soulistry story and Soulistry retreats and workshops.
Dr. Maffin’s book is useful even for those who are not able to journal. It can be used at any time, any place, on any page at any prompt and it will immediately lead the reader to a moment of spiritual calm.
SOULISTRY should be kept as a guide for contemplation. And that is where the value of this slender volume lies.
Hana Komorous, Librarian, Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, BC
A Book You Can Take With You !!, 23 Aug 2011
Soulistry is a simple book yet incredibly complex. It is a small book but hugely big. You can read it in an afternoon yet it can take a lifetime (or lifetimes) to fully absorb.
There is a saying that there is only one thing you can take with you – your evolution – and one thing you can leave behind – your art. Thanks to June Maffin, the wisdom is this book is something you can take with you and what ‘soul-full’ art she has brought to the planet.
I gasped in delight as I pulled Soulistry from its shipping envelope and saw the delicate image of dandelion seeds drifting on a gentle breeze. I smiled at an image of June Maffin’s thoughts wafting like the seeds of that dandelion, and wondered if they would sprout and multiply like the humble dandelion in souls around the world.
I was not disappointed. The slender volume packs a virtual universe into 144 pages. The seeds are contained within 80 quotations and the probing questions that follow each. These pages contain enough journaling prompts to keep a person writing for years, exploring and expanding with each small thought. The source quotations demonstrate the expansiveness of Maffin’s personal spirituality, including Christian classics such as St. Augustine and Thomas Merton and branching out into the whole world — American Indian, Chinese proverbs, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Anaïs Nin, Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Jesus … Without an overt word, she demonstrates that faith and spirit transcend boundaries of limiting belief structures.
The quotations and question-prompts would be a rich meal unto themselves, but she doesn’t leave it at that. The book begins with a brief Preface explaining how to get the greatest benefit from the book and a short Prologue that gently nudges anxiously questioning minds into soothing channels of encouragement. Any reader will appreciate at least a couple of her six appendices. She gives simple instructions for making your own Soulistry Journal volume and tells the inspiring story of the health affliction that led her to discover the combination of soul and artistry. Two more appendices will appeal to the inner organizer or librarian within many readers. She gives brief background sketches of each quoted person and lists the quotations alphabetically by the titles she assigned.
Even if you never write a word, this uplifting volume will give you plenty to think about, but your life will be much richer if you do record your responses to prompts. Orderly souls may prefer to begin with the first and work their way through in an orderly fashion. Free Spirits may pick and choose, selecting those quotes and prompts that resonate most strongly on any given day. Some may prefer to write simple, spontaneous answers and move on. Others may spend hours over a period of days or weeks drilling deeply into specific questions, fully mining their riches. However you use this book, your life will be richer for letting Maffin’s simple seeds take root in your soul.
StoryCircle Book Reviewer