Sometimes I awaken at night
although still in a dream
and the air around me is violet.
Here in the heart of the forest
I am elegance of swan,
fierceness of bear,
sweetness of squirrel,
I am all these things under
night’s generous embrace,
how the moon, a broken dinner plate
has the courage to soar
how my prayers for the world grow
more intense and I wonder
what of this grace will still
be left by morning?
—Christine Valters Paintner, The Wisdom of Wild Grace
Dearest monks and artists,
We continue our series of poetry videos this week with Nocturne. I love the wisdom of night and her invitation into stillness and mystery. I love that the ancient monks would enter into the deep silence of the darkness following Compline, their last prayer service of the day. Night calls us to remember the gifts that dreamtime brings – hints of our souls’ longings, stories that reveal the shape of who we are. Night asks us to embrace the mystery of things, to let go of our need to always be figuring things out. Sometimes we need to rest into the questions.
In the turning wheel of the seasons, we are moving toward longer nights in the northern hemisphere. This is the time of year my soul seems to awaken as I love shorter days, cooler weather, a sun that starts to move in a lower arc across the sky, the golden light of evenings.
It is vital in these difficult times to remember what we cherish and to make time for that. It is essential that we give ourselves the grace of enough rest, enough time to descend into the spaciousness that dreams can offer where we might begin to seed a new vision. When we let go of all the pushing and grasping and reaching, what wants instead to emerge in its own time and shape? This is the way of the monk, to listen to the world’s unfolding, to reverence it.
If you’d like support in cultivating your inner monk and artist, please consider joining us for our 12-week online retreat which starts in a week. I’ll be leading weekly live sessions (all recorded) and there is always an amazing community that gathers.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Video credit: Luke Morgan at Morgan Creative