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Posts Tagged ‘Christine Vaulters Paintner’

Living the Days of Resurrection

 

Guest Blog from Christine Valters Paintner
Galway, Ireland

 

A love note from your online Abbess

Take My Hand

Please don’t plant me
neat rows of rosebushes
and tulips at attention,
no manicured gardens
or crystal vases of cut stems.

Instead, take my hand,
lead me onto
rain-softened grass
which undulates like a boat
on a summer lake,

lie down with me
in a quilt of sunlight and shadows
among yellow petals, violet trumpets,
a feast for hares and bees,
let’s linger and forget ourselves

until even the tiled sky above
is cracked open by stars
and all that is restless and wild
within us can roam the heavens
howling the moon aloft.

—Christine Valters Paintner

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

After the six weeks of Lent and our disciplines of letting go of distractions and listening more deeply to the sacred call in our daily lives we arrive to the Feast of Easter which initiates a 50-day season of practicing resurrection. I love this sense of invitation into what it means to live resurrection in the midst of the ordinary routines of life.

I wrote this poem a couple of years ago while up in Donegal on a writing weekend. It was being held at this lovely manor house with a large grassy area out front leading down to a lake. During one of the writing sessions, the instructor invited us to go outside for fifteen minutes and see what was inspired. I wandered out hungrily, so glad for time to move outside into the summer sun, sit under a broad tree offering shade.

For me it is a poem about the longing for wildness in my life. I am aware how having everything in order and well planned can be so seductive, but the divine presence is not a God of neat rows and lining everything up just so. Certainly the Easter story many of us celebrate today reveals a divine wildness which erupts into the world beyond our expectations. Practicing resurrection in part means opening to what happens when we release our ideas of how things should unfold.

There have been times in my life when I have embraced this sense of wildness with more vigor than others. Certainly selling everything we owned and leaving Seattle for an adventure living in Europe was one of those seasons. Now living in Galway for the last almost seven years, I have a lovely and sweet life that I adore and am grateful for each day. It involves certain sacred rhythms and times of silence to listen deeply. What is most nourishing to me is a wander down by the sea, to feel the roughness of wind, taste the salt on my skin, to shake loose all the things that have become too determined, too set in expectation.

I invite you to enter this poem as a form of lectio divina. Read it through slowly and notice what words or phrases are shimmering for you. Let those unfold in your heart and listen for the sense of invitation arising. Then watch the video below and see what new layers the visuals offer to you. It is a poem of direct address to someone – a loved one perhaps or a prayer to the sacred source. What is your prayer of resurrection as we enter into this season ahead?

……to shake loose all the things that have become too determined…

 

Art by Shh

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Photograph by Christine Valters Paintner

 

My dream is to make a pilgrimage with Christine and her husband John on the holy terrain of western Ireland, spin stories, open hearts, and pray together in our pilgrimage tribe. I still wish upon a star and stay open to the possibility it may happen,

But today I have to settle for re-subscribing to her newsletter and Abbey of the Arts information and inspiration from her website. And read chapters of several of her books I have in hard copy and on my Kindle Fire.

 

To meet the new privacy laws, I had to re-subscribe this morning and I had to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY, and reveal I am not a robot.

I love that! I think about the things I go about the day and do in a robotic fashion and reaffirm I wish to stop that and only do what fills my heart and soul. Or else, actually put my heart and soul INTO that which I am doing robotically.

I also do wish to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY. There is so much less than human behavior being put in front of us on a daily basis…on TV, on the Internet, on the roads, all over the place in politics,… in personal interactions,…the hot button is growing, inappropriate behavior is getting all the attention; we are all putting ourselves at risk ever more often, IF we don’t stop and think…

we are humans, homo-sapiens, made to a greater image and likeness than what is showing…

Today, I confirm my humanity. I do the things that are mine to do. I respect myself and I respect others. I plant kindness in my day. I watch my thoughts and actions. I apologize quickly. I don’t hold grudges. I look for the joy. I believe in the good. I am humane.  I am active in the Human Humane Society.

Below are words from Christine. You may find her at http://www.abbeyofthearts.com

Have a humane day today.

 

A guest post this morning from Christine Vaulters Paintner, contemplative artist and writer

in Ireland

 

 

I am a joyful member of the Disorderly Dancing Monks and here are words from our Abbess.

A love note from your online Abbess

“Dearest monks and artists,

Like many of you, global events lately feel quite overwhelming at times and I ponder and pray about my response. One thing I keep coming back to is a sense of deep certainty that the way of the monk and path of the artist make a difference in the world. What distinguishes these two ways of being is that each are called to live deliberately on the edges of things, in active resistance to a world that places all its value on speed and productivity, that reduces people to producers and consumers, and reduces the earth to a commodity for our use.

The longer I follow this path in my life, the more I consider hospitality to be one of the most essential of all the monk’s wisdom. To practice actively welcoming in what is most strange or other in my world as the very place of divine encounter – what St Benedict tells us in the Rule – is a holy challenge! But in a world where otherness sparks so much fear and policies which further divide us, learning to embrace the gift of the stranger, both within our own hearts, as well as in the world is a true balm.

This is what Jesus taught as well through his actions everyday – welcoming the outcast, the stranger, the foreigner. Always breaking boundaries to witness to immense love over fear.

Perhaps the other great essential for me is the practice of silence and solitude. Making time for a deep listening, rather than reacting to what we hear. What are the sacred invitations being whispered in quiet moments? And can we resist a culture of noise where we are bombarded with endless cycles of news.

In her book Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that “(Mystical hope) has something to do with presence — not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met, held in communion, by something intimately at hand.” Allowing time to feel met by the divine and held in communion is a reminder for us as we return to the demands of our lives and seek to make wise and compassionate choices. It helps to nourish hope deep within us.

In my book The Artist’s Rule, I include a favorite scripture passage:

Now I am revealing new things to you, things hidden and unknown to you, created just now, this very moment. Of these things you have heard nothing until now. So that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this. (Isaiah 48:6-7 – Jerusalem Bible translation)

It is a reminder that more than ever we need people willing to pause and listen, to open their hearts to what is uncomfortable, and to hold space and attention until the new thing emerges.

I don’t have the answers, but I do have ancient practices which help to sustain me when I would rather run away. Perhaps if we keep practicing together, we will hear whispers of a new beginning.”

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Newness1

Today, I share a short blog. It is an image and reflection I posted on the Abbey of the Arts new photography invite through the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Photo Party. Christine Vaulters Paintner practices Lectio Divina, a speaking with the scriptures, in which I also participate. I am “commissioned” as one of her Monks in the World, as it fits my contemplative desires so perfectly.

She says,

“We began this month with a Community Lectio Divina practice (stop by to read the beautiful responses).  As I prayed with the Isaiah text, this phrase kept shimmering for me: 

‘See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.’

I  (still Christine speaking) love this image of God seeing the newness of things to come before we do, God’s imagination so much wider than we can see, and the possibilities just on the verge of being birthed that are hidden to us in this moment.

September can have the feel of a new year beginning, especially for those of us connected to school calendars. The ushering in of autumn, the return to classes, programs gearing up again after the slower pace of summer.”

Above are the words of Christine Vaulters Paintner

I, Sue, need to be aware of the possibilities just on the verge of being birthed that are hidden in me in this moment. This refers to my work in placing workshops in many places sharing my soul’s passion for SoulCollage, in which I am deeply trained. At the present time, there is only a rosebud hint of that coming to fruition for me.

But I deeply believe in the rosebud hint and see the rose bush of many workshops fully flowering the world within the next year….a day at a time.

So I look to my front yard rosebush as witness to my faith. I photograph the new life seen in the small and almost overshadowed new bud coming forth amidst the larger blossoms. This is the life that is light. The light that overcomes the darkness of both doubts and reality. The light that the darkness cannot put out.

That light is within me and my work in SoulCollage. I am grateful and step out into the new life that awaits me.

And with my photograph, I post on Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks:

“Call to Newness; today on my newly planted Everlasting Love Rose Bush, I receive the holy image of newness in the late bloom of a new rosebud; protected by the greeness of health as it streches forth seeking the supporting light of the sun, leaves surrounding it with hints of red and the life that is to come. I walk today with that hint of life within me, seeking always the light — the light that darkness could not put out.”

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