Abbey Bookshelf: Praying with the Body

Last weekend I attended the Northwest Women’s Convocation which was a pretty amazing event with almost 2000 attendees.  There were speakers like Riane Eisler, Ivone Gebara, Edwina Gately, Brian Swimme, and Margaret Wheatley (insights gleaned will be featured here soon).  I had an exhibit table next to St. Placid Priory where I am a Benedictine Oblate. They had this wonderful sign up (see above) — how honored I am to have the book I co-wrote with Sister Lucy Wynkoop to be in between Sister Laura Swan’s wise book on Benedictine tradition and Roy DeLeon’s wonderful new book on bringing body prayer to the Psalms.

Roy is a fellow Oblate at St Placid and a yoga teacher with a pilgrim heart.  Last December we co-led a Contemplative Art Retreat on praying the hours through art and movement.  It was four days of pausing for four “prayer stations” or hours of each day — dawn, day, dusk, and dark — and having Roy lead us in what he calls “blessed movements” to pray the Psalms.  In between I led us in praying lectio divina, writing poetry, and creating a contemporary book of hours.  I absolutely loved leading this retreat and we will be offering it again and in the meantime I encourage you to pick yourself up a copy of Roy’s wonderful book — Praying With the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life — where he invites you so gently into the gift of movement prayer.  He has several series of body prayers for the different hours of the day.  If you have wanted to bring movement to your contemplative practice or longed for a way to integrate your body more deeply into your prayer life, this book is for you. You can check out Roy’s blog here.

While you’re at it, pick up a copy of my book on Lectio Divina and immerse yourself in this ancient contemplative practice (plus there is a great chapter on using lectio to pray with the arts) and Sister Laura’s Engaging Benedict: What The Rule Can Teach Us Today. (She has also published the marvelous The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women).  A perfect trilogy for those of you looking to embrace monastic ways creatively into your practice.

© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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