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Community & Solitude (a love note from your online Abbess)

Kilmacduagh AbbeyDearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

John and I just completed another pilgrimage here in Ireland with a beautiful group of pilgrims. We are continually amazed and humbled at the deeply soulful and wise folks that join us for our programs. Dancing monks are the most wonderful folks there are. Dwelling in these holy places where countless have prayed for thousands of years is an experience of connection to the community of monks across time. We step into thin time and place together, where the veil between the sacred and ordinary becomes sheer, the division is no longer clear.

Again, my heart came alive in so many ways, being with modern monks in ancient places, singing, praying, walking the holy rounds, bringing the spirit and wisdom of these holy sites alive through our presence. Cultivating community through ritual, shared silence, reflection, and feasting on the incredible food that Galway offers.

We are awaiting a private group arriving on Sunday for a couple of days of exploration of the wild edges here, and so I wanted to pause and send you a note, my beloved monks, wherever you may be, to let you know that you are deeply in my heart when we lead these journeys, connecting to the gathering of monks across space. I feel a particular kinship to the worldwide community of monks we have created together in this virtual space, and a profound sense of gratitude and privilege when I get to be with monks in person.

I am pondering the call to community a great deal these days and how that is unfolding for us here at the Abbey. How can we continue to nourish these meaningful connections among kindred souls, so that we come to know the path of slowness, intention, presence, and depth of meaning as a revolutionary force in the world? How do we gather together to nourish ourselves for this sometimes difficult path in a busy, preoccupied, and often violent world? What wisdom do the ancient monks offer to us today?

I am also preparing for a summer of writing, I will be finishing up a manuscript based on the online course I taught this past winter on Coming Home to the Body. I am thrilled to be spending much of the next couple months descending into the body’s wisdom and landscape. And so the paradox is that I am entering a season of relative solitude as I hold these invitations to community. It is a necessary time for me to dive into the writing process fully, and also dream some visions for the coming year (there are many wonderful things in store for the Abbey!)

We will be taking a break from the weekly creative invitations here starting June through August and the monk in the world guest posts (stay tuned for two more fabulous ones in June before our hiatus!)  The newsletters will be a little less frequent, although I know I will not be able to resist sharing some of what bubbles forth in the quiet spaces of summer.

This is a transition time, crossing a threshold into more stillness and slowness. It is a vital time of renewal and replenishment.

Where are you longing for more moments to simply pause and listen?

How might you craft open spaces for the Spirit to enter in with new dreams and visions?

For more reflection this week, stop by Ronna Detrick’s guest post on What I know for sure. The Abbey is thrilled to be offering a summer online class on Exile and Coming Home: An Archetypal Journey through the Scriptures and Ronna is one of the main teachers along with John Valters Paintner, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, and Roy DeLeon.

At the Abbey blog, this week we have a new Invitation to Dance and two new and fabulous Monk in the World guest post by fellow monk in the world Martha Jane Petersen and Sara Hillis.

If you want to join me this fall in the Northeast U.S., there are two opportunities, with very limited space left. Please consider the Sacred Rhythms Writing & Movement Retreat in Cape May, NJ (September 20-24, 2014) in Cape May, NJ with just ONE space left or Exploring Archetypal Energies through Expressive Arts (October 1-5, 2014) in Reading, PA with my fabulous teaching partner Kayce Stevens Hughlett and just a few spaces left in that one. Both promise to be soulful experiences of connection with your own deep longings in a community of kindred souls.

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Photo by Christine at Kilmacduagh Abbey

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