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Binding Lessons

Thinkstock: CarmenMurillo

Designing and creating your own sacred journal can be an astonishingly simple contemplative practice that results in a beautiful and meaningful space for gathering and safekeeping your dreams. Here, a theologian and bookbinder shows you how.

This article appeared in the Summer 2000 issue of Spirituality & Health. I had been meditating, praying, journaling, and practicing visualization and tai chi for years when I came to a crossroads in my life. I had an opportunity to change careers and decided to use only my inner resources as navigation tools to sense the next step on my spiritual path and to find a new way of making a living. I remembered a dream I’d had. It was the kind of dream that stays in your mind for years. A dream about playing with jewels. I meditated on it, mused on it, and wrote about it. Finally, it became clear that my “jewels” were books, and that what I loved was to create them out of beautiful and old materials, no two alike. I became a bookbinder, and over the years I have spent doing this, I find that I get lost in the experience of creating and that my spiritual senses feel sharper. I have also noticed that by using old and well-worn leather, fragments of old books, and old jewelry, each book acquires a distinctive feel or energy that communicates itself as pleasing to the eventual buyer. It is the same energy t …

Sandra Kahn, Ph.D. ran Old Leather Books in Cambridge, MA


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