Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Apprentice to Beauty

The phrase “apprentice to beauty” keeps coming up in my prayers and journaling time.  I think that captures, at the very heart, this call to which I keep responding.  Whether as writer, artist, spiritual director, teacher, dream-tender, wife, or friend, in crafting the art of my life I seek the wisdom and guidance of the Great Beauty of the world that beats through the heart of God. 

Beauty calls to us, wakes us out of our routine, surprises us, holds us in the present moment, fills us with awe, immerses us in the world of the senses, bridges us to the holy, helps us to see beneath and beyond, slows us down, invites us to linger, connects us to who we really are, and inspires in us a response.  An apprentice is one who submits oneself to someone else with more experience for the purposes of learning and growing in skill or wisdom.  I offer myself to Beauty, to be called, awakened, slowed, and inspired. 

When I was a child, my parents called me “the sensual child” because I loved textures, tastes, smells, and sounds.  I could never have known how that innate passion would be crafted into my work and relationships. Funny how the things we love as a child really do reflect some of our deepest desires.

I have been thinking that perhaps I should put "Apprentice to Beauty" on my business cards rather than the usual lists of job titles.  Or at least try that out as an answer to the question “what do you do?”  It is a question I dislike intensely because it reinforces our identities as tied up with what we do rather than who we are, yet I find myself asking that all the time.  I need a good alternative if anyone has one. 

So what do you do? :-)

~Christine Valters Paintner

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Meg Munro

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Meg Munro’s reflection and paintings on her relationship with the Beloved Mother-Virgin. I had been despairing that my passion for painting was

Read More »

4 Responses

  1. Hi Karen, Thanks so much for sharing about your poem. I loved Berkeley while I was studying there, a great city, progressive, diverse. I would have stayed there but cost of housing is far too expensive. I love how you describe the canvas of people there. Blessings, Christine

  2. Hi, this comment section, created a forum , which I used to write a beautiful poem, copy on paper and sent by voice via cell phone! to a loved one. Since then , the original piece here has gone some where once the page was closed.
    Thank you for the forum.
    Now to say…, this is a new space and sight for me to visit. I have been to the Berkley campus, and have been especially interested in a hospitality program run there at the park. Having interests in civil rights, advocacy, human services, ministry, as well as arts, sciences and mush more… I was delighted by the ease and simplicity of a people’s park setting and was hoping to introduce the concept else where in the country. The park and the people there are a living canvas, a live video, a moving stage and ,well, a daily scenery. I am interested in the programs that Berkley offers especially because the are more eclectic and integrate various topics of interest. Some people think of eclecticism as crazy making because they fear that a person may not stick to a point or task and accomplish much.
    I see ecclectisism as an opportunity to grow and to unite peoples and ideas harmoneously. Often times I think of seminars or other forums to speak on interesting subjects and would be happy to join in on some at Berrkley. Is there a budget for speakers in any programs you know of or shall I try for a grant?… Maybe both!
    The topic “Apprentice to Beauty” helped to inspire me to send the poetry to my beloved beautiful friend. Thank you. Good Blessings, Karen

  3. Hi Sally, there are lots of possibilities — Artisan, Weaver of Images, Collage Artist, Integrator, Playful Ponderer, just a few things that come to me in response to your image. Blessings, Christine