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The Call of Retreat: Unfurl

unfurlingI go on a long walk through the forest listening for the word calling to me.  It is a form of lectio divina I practice where nature is the sacred text revealing holy wonders to my heart.  I step further into the silence of trees and moss and ferns.  The forest floor is covered with ferns, creation’s lush and extravagant gesture.  At first I notice the large and mature ones with their wide leaves, but soon my gaze is called to tend to these tender shoots unfurling themselves.  If I listen closely I can hear the quiet movements of a symphony rising, the steady rhythm of the forest breathing, the song of adoration whispered from outstretched branches.

Suddenly all I can see are a profusion of delicate green spirals  each slowly revealing the grace of beginnings.  I pause at each one bending down in an act of supplication.  Each one calls me to unfurl into my life’s deepest desires.  My heart quickens.  I sing my own holy yes in response.

What is unfurling within you?



Last week in celebration of four years of blogging here at the Abbey I invited you to share your own reflections on retreat.  The offerings were so beautiful, each one a beautiful jewel strung on a glimmering thread.  I drew a name at random to win a set of art journals (all five titles which are perfect companions for your own retreat) and the winner is Lisa Wellington – Lisa send me your snail mail to and I will mail those off to you!


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

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One Response

  1. I don’t know what it is [yet!] but I know this: for days I have been drawing nothing but various kinds of spirals in a journal and the only word I’ve written is ‘Beginnings’…..must be time to take a walk and listen!!