Dearest monks and artists,
In these dark and difficult days the one thing that continues to offer me solace and strength is time spent in nature, in growing intimacy with Earth and her wisdom. We try to make time during our weekly Sabbath for a walk in the forest and I am blessed to be able to stroll daily by the sea. Inevitably I return feeling more grounded and centered, more certain how important this Earth-cherishing work is.
It has been the dominant theme in my writing this past year as I published Earth, Our Original Monastery this past spring and my second poetry collection, The Wisdom of Wild Grace is being released this October (If you are in the U.S. you can pre-order your copy here). The Christian contemplative tradition, rooted in monasticism, has many gifts to offer us in discerning a way forward. This time of pandemic has asked us to examine our willingness to act in ways that are compassionate to the whole community (and I extend this beyond human to all of Earth) and it has lifted the curtain on systemic oppression which is rooted in a mindset of exploitation of both human and natural resources. All of these things are deeply connected. We desperately need to listen to good science and the urgency with which our lives and patterns of consumption need to change. But accompanying this, we need inner ways to navigate so that we fall more deeply in love with Earth and this fuels our drive to protect and cherish her.
Poetry is an essential part of this. Poetry asks us to slow down, to look at the world in a different way, to receive the gifts being offered at every moment. Poetry moves us into an intuitive space where we rely less on the old patterns of doing and achieving, and rest more fully into new patterns of listening and reverencing.
You can read the Table of Contents for my new poetry collection and read a couple of sample poems at this link. The video above is a book trailer and includes brief excerpts from a series of six poem videos we will be sharing over the next six weeks.
A brief excerpt from the introduction to The Wisdom of Wild Grace:
These poems are invitations.
When I long for expansiveness and connection to something far greater than my own daily concerns and struggles, a walk by the sea or in the forest expands me.
We live in a time when Earth is threatened on so many fronts by human development. Slowly we seem to be awakening to the truth that our personal well-being is intimately woven together with the well-being of all creatures and plants. Many of us might have been taught by our religious traditions that humans have dominion over nature or that animals don’t feel pain or have souls.
The more we cultivate our own intimacy with the wild, the more we open to different truth. Wildness doesn’t mean we have to go out into the forest or travel long ways, the wild is a place within us.
Each poem here is a doorway into this inner wilderness, a call to sit and be present to what we discover beyond the borders of our neatly controlled worlds. Wildness is vulnerable, risky, spacious, and full of possibility. And this is where I invite you to sit and rest awhile dwell with me…
And we currently have a special gift if you order 2 or more items from our Shop (until the end of September)!
I have a short and fun interview over at Impspired (where I’ve had several poems published). Click over if you want to know what my last meal would be, the name of my memoir, and what Sourney thinks of me. ?
I am also delighted that my poem “Original Poetry” is published in the Ogham Stone journal published at University of Limerick. You can download the whole journal here (my poem is on page 107) with lots of other wonderful reading.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Video credit: Luke Morgan at Morgan Creative