This is the perfect conversation for a time of pandemic and quarantine. Christine invited us to explore how the monastic view embraces all of life—treasures and sorrows, cygnets and compost. She offered rich insights into the practices of Stability, Wild Edges, Grief, and the paradoxical state of Holy Indifference. She took us into a gentle meditation of memory—a heart practice to rediscover the gifts in small experiences.
Christine Valters Paintner is a Benedictine Oblate, writer, poet, and virtual abbess of Abbey of the Arts, living in the wild west of Ireland. She is the author of The Artist’s Rule, Lectio Divina, The Wisdom of the Body and many more, including Earth Our Original Monastery, the focus of this conversation. Here are a few links to purchase Earth Our Original Monastery in the UK, on Bookshop.org, and IndigoChapters in Canada.
Real Prayer Action:
Christine gave us many simple practices to discover the riches right before us, even—or especially—in time of quarantine:
- Christine opened with this delightful poem, “St Cuthbert and the Otters.” This might be the perfect time to search online for otters at play and let the otters show us how to laugh and pray.
- In describing her childhood, Christine talked about the places she felt most alive and connected. What places bring you alive?
- Christine described a Benedictine Oblate as someone who shares in community, welcomes people of all traditions, explores how to live in a contemplative way, carves time for silence and solitude, looks for God in every moment and (surely this is the hardest) in all people. Are you a monk at heart?
- She expanded the concept of Wild Edges to include all thresholds, even your front door. What portals are inviting you to cross into another awareness?
Open your gift bags to read an excerpt of Earth Our Original Monastery and a wonderful song from Christine, “Columba and the Horse” from her forthcoming collection of poetry, The Wisdom of Wild Grace. Then, come to our Praying at the Speed of Love Facebook community and share your own insights and experiences with Earth as monastery.
And please, press any of the social media share buttons at the top of this page and introduce your friends to this timely podcast. We are all walking this pilgrimage together.