Dearest monks and artists,
Today we release Day 6 Morning and Evening prayer of our Monk in the World audio podcast on the theme of conversion! Conversion is very much a monastic principle that has less to do with the idea of “being converted” as a one-time event and more of a commitment to a lifetime of growing and deepening. We are very much committed to the practice of conversion here at Abbey of the Arts, believing that none of us is done growing and transforming during our lives. There is always more to discover and awaken to.
This opening to holy surprise is perhaps most apparent in the creative process. When we show up with a beginner’s heart and allow the process to unfold without our interference or editing, we end up on a sacred journey of discovery. We draw this approach to creativity from the field of expressive arts which values process over product, creative unfolding over steering a course with a particular goal in mind.
We make space for this way of creating in our online and in-person programs. For many it is a revelation to have permission to play, to experiment, to see what unfolds when we get out of our own way and quiet the inner critic, judge, and planner. This, of course, also applies to life. Creative practice helps us to then approach the whole of our lives in this way.
Kayce Stevens Hughlett is one of our long-time Wisdom Council members. I became friends with Kayce about 15 years ago when she attended our first Awakening the Creative Spirit intensive, which at the time we led in Seattle. She became a poster child for creative awakening and the journey has taken her many amazing places, both internally and externally.
For a few years after moving to Europe I would travel back to the U.S. to offer our Awakening intensive with my wonderful co-teacher Betsey Beckman. I love teaching that program but it became apparent that so much transatlantic travel wasn’t sustainable for me. I realized that in order for that material to continue to be available I had to lean into support from others and Kayce stepped in to be Betsey’s co-facilitator for that program offered each year in the Pacific Northwest.
Awakening the Creative Spirit will be offered again this October 31-November 5, 2021 on the beautiful Hood Canal in Union, WA. I asked Kayce to say a few words in this love note and to share again a post she wrote a while back about what it means for her to be an artist of being alive.
From Kayce: “As I began to read the following post that I wrote almost 8 years ago, I wondered if it would stand the test of time. I'm delighted to answer with a resounding, "Yes!" Creativity and artistry in life are practices that ground me into my spirituality. In preparing to once again lead Awakening the Creative Spirit with Betsey Beckman, I offer immense gratitude for the priceless gift of holding space for others and helping nurture their artists within. I invite you to read on at this link and notice what internal nudges you might feel for yourself as an artist of being alive.”
If you are a soul care practitioner, consider joining Betsey and Kayce for this wonderful program gathering this fall in the Pacific Northwest, US.
And of course all are invited to continue to cultivate their inner artists, that part of ourselves that falls in love with the beauty of the world and sparks a creative aliveness and joy in living. With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner