Dearest fellow monks in the world,
2010 was a wonderful year for the Abbey. In January I began offering two online classes – Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist and Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Contemplative Practice – and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I ended up offering four different sessions of each class throughout the year, as well as a Lenten online retreat, an Easter season retreat, and a class on Lectio Divina. We are nearing the end of Birthing the Holy, our Advent and Christmas retreat, which has been a rich experience and was my first forray into teaching collaboratively online with some of my favorite in-person collaborators. I have loved the experience so much there will be more of these combining of gifts coming very soon. I will be announcing musical and movement additions to Water, Wind, Earth, & Fire next week (which already has fabulous Kayce offering SoulCollage(R)) and there will be an Easter season retreat offering this multitude of gifts. Hundreds of students have participated in these classes, many in multiple classes, and I am amazed at what can happen through this virtual medium. Out of the first Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist class we started a private online community for folks who have gone through that class and wanted to continue the journey with fellow monks and artists around the world, and so SOMA – the sacred order of monks and artists was born.
2010 also saw the publication of two new books for me – Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction (co-authored with the marvelous Betsey Beckman) and Water, Wind, Earth, & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements. I also finished two more manuscripts which will be published in 2011 – The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom and Lectio Divina: Transforming Words and Images through Heart-Centered Prayer (both books are available for pre-order on Amazon by clicking the links).
REMINDER: I invited folks a week ago to post a word that chooses you for the year and there have been over 200 responses. Stop by to read the beautiful reflections as to why this word has landed in their lives. Then share your own. If you are having trouble listening for the word, stop by this post for a variety of suggestions. Share before Monday, January 3rd to be entered into a random drawing for a spot in one of my online classes. I will be posting a word cloud on Monday incorporating all of the words shared here. (You can see last year's here).
As a visual meditation for the New Year stop by this video of Sigur Ros – Glósóli and make sure to watch it through to the end. (Thanks to Amber in Birthing the Holy who reminded me of this gem!)
With warmest blessings and deepest wishes for joy, peace, and commitment in the New Year!
May the New Year offer you new thresholds to cross and move even more deeply into the heart of the world.
Christine, your online Abbess
*photo below from my time in Vienna at the Belvedere Palace