I spent some of my time away over Christmas reflecting on the year ahead and what direction I want to take some of my creative work. I am not much into goal-setting, because my spiritual path tends to be much more organic, focused on listening to what is emerging and unfolding in me in a particular moment and trying to honor that impulse. In many ways this practice is a balance to my own natural tendency to live in the future and always imagine what is next. I do value big visions, as long as part of my plans are to make space for the new things God is speaking into my life in this moment.
What has been emerging for me in this last year is a deeper confidence and vision for myself as a writer and an artist and much of my prayer these days is listening to how this will unfold for me in concrete ways.
One of my plans for the new year is to revamp my website a bit. I want to integrate this blog into it and use the space to express even more of my work, especially my art. That is still in progress and I am seeking help as I am somewhat technologically challenged. While my current website uses the templates from my web hosting company, what I have in mind now is beyond my ability to produce.
I thought a lot about a new name over my vacation. I like the Sacred Center name, but it doesn't quite express the creative connection I want it to. It was a name created many years ago when I was in a different time and place in my life. I love the Sacred Art of Living name for my blog, but there is already a center with that name in Oregon and I don't want to add to the confusion.
Because my spirituality is shaped largely by monastic tradition and practice, I have recently taken to calling my home The Abbey. It is a way of honoring the role my home plays as sanctuary and retreat space. I am also planning to begin some self-publishing soon (more on that to come), and wanted a press name for my new creations.
So welcome to Abbey of the Arts! It is in part a virtual Abbey, a sacred space where creativity is nurtured and nourished and artists can gather together to support and inspire each other through the blog. Our home is the physical Abbey, the place where I do most of my creative work, the place where I sit with people for spiritual direction and dreamwork, and the place where we invite friends both old and new for hospitality and breaking bread. Abbey of the Arts will also be the publishing name, when I finally get that far and decide how to offer some of my work in different ways.
So I'd love to know what you think. It will be another few weeks or so until the new website is up and running. The new website name will be www.abbeyofthearts.com but has not been developed yet. Eventually my Sacred Center site will point to the new website and this blog will be transferred over as well. You can be sure I will announce it when it is ready!
I am also working on a logo. I am imagining an open door and am hoping to carve a stamp for it in the next few days. This is just the beginning of a bigger dream and I am eager to tend to what emerges.
You might come to Abbey of the Arts in many different ways. However you find yourself here, it is my prayer that this space may offer creative inspiration and nourishment for you.
-Christine Valters Paintner