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

the way is made by walking

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the way is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road–
Only wakes upon the sea.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar.

-Antonio Machado, “Proverbios y cantares XXIX” in Campos de Castilla

I had a dream last week:

I am on an island with a friend (I don’t recognize who it is in the dream, but she feels familiar, intimate). The island looks like one of the San Juans or Gulfs, thickly forested and misty. There are two parts to the island, one has a network of trails covering it, the other is just wilderness. My friend wants to take the trails and I insist we explore the other trail-less part of the island.

There are some deep shifts happening in me right now, longings that can no longer go ignored.  I awoke from this dream and smiled because it captured so well this place I find myself right now, standing at the edge of the pathless Way.  I’ve spent years exploring the established trails and the contours of those paths will help guide me now into the wilderness where I must make my own way simply by walking ahead and listening for where the invitation lies. 

What is the way that is calling you forward?  Where are you being invited off of the established trails of your life to seek the gifts of wild places wholly your own?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

(photo taken at Mt Rainier National Park this past summer)

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Lori Kellogg

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Lori’s reflection and view her paintings of the archetypes. I am training to become a Creatively Fit Coach, and one of the

Read More »

New Monk in the World Self-Study Retreat!

We are pleased to announce the release of our revised and expanded Monk in the World retreat! The retreat is an 8 week self-study that explores the principles of The Monk Manifesto. The new version includes: Registration is offered on a sliding scale and all

Read More »

13 Responses

  1. Beautiful photo and beautiful image painted with words.

    I have applied to Spirations Institute and I sense that this is a call to a “pathless Way.” Yet already I have received gifts of affirmation along the way. Like you, I feel like I’m standing at the edge of the unknown, the path not taken, and for my well being I cannot not journey there. My you continue to be given all that you need and desire, when it is thyme.

  2. Kievas, when you said “backward” I suddenly imagined a circle, so that backward is really a linear term, perhaps from another perspective you are moving in just the right direction. Sounds like this is so from the context of your life.

    Thanks Wendy, I have sent you an email about this. Always happy to reproduce images for folks.

  3. Beautiful dream Christine. What i am stunned by most is this picture, it reminds me of the entrance to Avalon and i feel very connected to it.

    Hmmmm…if you are open, how much might it be to make this image into a high quality print? Maybe you could e mail me about it?

    Peaceful Weekend : ) Wendy

  4. Kristin, thanks for the beautiful blessing, it is warmly received. I feel filled with courage for some reason, some sort of grace, and so I know there will be painful moments (as there always are), I am so eager to receive the gifts that await. And of course, some of those gifts will be right in the center of the pain.

    Songbird, what a lovely image of waiting at the crossroads for the guide. I resonate a lot with this.

    Thanks Sue, yes God’s timing is of another world indeed.

    Blessings to each of you, my fellow wanderers. Christine

  5. At the moment, I have just come off yet another dark night of the soul. Yet another onion layer removal. Who would have thought there could be so many layers that are unfurled without disappearing completely? But the core seems to something that looks larger than it is :)

    Kudos to your trailless walking. I think Papa LOVES it when we do that :) All paths are light to him, after all. Me, I’m not sure where the latest trail walk will take me. I don’t even really know what it’s name is. But you know what? The longer I go on this wonderful journey of relationship, the less I care what the trail is called. I figure if the cows on a thousand hills are his, then he can come find me in the forest if I get lost (and there are treasures hidden in the forest; it gets dark though sometimes and I lose sight of them).

    God’s sense of time is vastly different to ours, isn’t it? Anyone would think he’s got all the time in the world :)

  6. I feel I’m standing at a fork in the road, and neither direction I see as a possibility is what I might have expected. It’s too soon to take a step, but I’m not yet sure what my guide will be, only that a guide will appear.

  7. Christine, your path into pathlessness is sounding so familiar. You seem so much more equipped for where you’re going than I felt when I embarked into wilderness, though…as though you still have a compass and also peace with more unknowing.

    I send a blessing to your ears in their listening…though I’ve a hunch they’re more than able to hear and decipher the invitations.