Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
Contemplative rhythms are essential here at Abbey of the Arts, both in terms of what we teach as well as what we practice. Each week we try to take a Sabbath day as a time to celebrate the lavish gift of rest. Each summer we take a month of sabbatical time to refresh and renew our bodies and spirits.
We both long for a longer time of sabbatical. If we still worked in a university or church setting this might be built in to the financial support, but since we are entirely self-supporting taking this needed time to step back and listen for the deeper call demands more planning and outside financial support.
About a year ago we realized that since we were coming up on our 50thbirthdays in 2020 (Christine and John's birthdays are a day apart – June 23 and June 24 – same year of birth) that we might take the opportunity to live into the biblical practice of Jubilee. Because the Jubilee is the 50thyear we realized that when we turn 49 is the start of our Jubilee year and this happens for us in June 2019 when we will begin a year of sabbatical.
Jubilee is a time of sabbatical but also a time to let the land lie fallow, for the forgiveness of debt, and for freedom for everyone in the land. It is a time for us to lie fallow for a while, and pay attention to the ways we have enslaved ourselves through busyness and productivity. It is an invitation into deeper listening and allowing new visions to emerge.
Mostly we want time to be at home in Galway and to rest and write. Writing is our first love for both of us and often gets squeezed between everything else we do. To have open and uninterrupted time to write will be a tremendous gift. We do have some travel planned, a retreat together to begin our experience, and some ancestral travel which has been so core to Christine's spiritual practice for many years.
We have been saving money for this time. Taking a year off demands a lot of courage, to risk our financial well-being and trust that the Spirit and our community will help us to meet our needs. Because we would like to keep our website going and the daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as admin assistance for responding to email inquiries, there are a lot of administrative expenses we are seeking support from you for helping to cover.
With this in mind we have created a yearlong online program. The content from the program will come from the writing projects we are both working on, so won't be added work during our sabbatical, but a chance for us to share with you what we are focusing our attention on.
For Christine, this means writing poetry and completing her book on Sacred Time. For John, he will be sharing some stories featuring Hildy, our mascot monk-ey, that illumine life here in Galway with some playfulness. We are also grateful to our wonderful Wisdom Council, as each member will be offering a mini-retreat to be featured each new moon (12 in all) to invite you into seasonal wisdom.
We hope you'll consider supporting us in this way if you are able. There are different funding levels, as well as both monthly and one-time commitments.
If you'd like to see the content included for different levels of support please click here>>
If you aren't able to offer support at this time, we ask for your prayers and blessings that this time be fruitful and offer the space needed for God's new birthing in our lives to come through.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner