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


This season beckons me to ask, what am I preparing for?  What is the way that is being prepared within the wilderness of my life?  What does it mean for my own life to become a path, a way of welcome for the Holy One?  How do I give myself time to notice the ways that the path unfolds before me and within me?  What are the acts of preparation that bring delight to my daily life?  Whom do I ask or allow to help me prepare?-Jan Richardon, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas

Today I really begin to sink into my sabbatical time.  I have the day stretched before me, filled with possibility.  What is inviting me in this moment?  I see the sky outside has cleared after another night of heavy rain, I will walk and be present to autumn’s waning and winter’s waxing.  I will spend time tending my dreams, lots of images of crossing bridges and not being able to go back to the place I have been.  My dreams seem to be inviting me forward, deeper into the life I long for, the places I sense the sacred at every breath.  Some art-making beckons, time to spread my tools across the dining table and listen for what wants to emerge, crafting the images that sing within me.

I woke up early this morning and did some Advent reading, I just adore the Night Visions book and have read it through many times.  The questions above touched me this morning, especially “What is the way that is being prepared within the wilderness of my life?  What does it mean for my own life to become a path, a way of welcome for the Holy One?”  These are the questions that guide me as I move deeply into this gift of time I have offered myself.  A gift given in response to a holy invitation from somewhere deep inside of me, one I can only refuse at the expense of my own peace.  Some of the practices that anchor me and illuminate my path include dream-tending, walking, art-making, writing, Sabbath-keeping, and cooking.  Nourishing both my body and my spirit.  Becoming even more deeply aware of the cycles and rhythms of each day, of each moon phase, of each season.  I walk forward not seeing the ground before me, only knowing it calls to me.  If I am still enough I can hear it whispering to me, beckoning. It sounds like the deep notes of a cello, calling me into the landscape of my longing.

What is the path unfolding before you?  How are you preparing for what lies ahead?

-Christine Valters Paintner

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Jodi Blazek Gehr

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Jodi Blazek Gehr’s reflection on gratitude, wonder, and the sweet spot of life. As a Benedictine Oblate of a monastic community about

Read More »

Christine Interviewed on the Compass Podcast

Christine was interviewed about fasting and Lent on the Compass Podcast. She shares her insights on how fasting can go beyond traditional ideas of abstaining from food and can instead be a way to open ourselves to a deeper encounter with the divine. Christine outlines

Read More »