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Origins + Mourning Pages ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

I am delighted to share I have a third poetry collection being published on May 9th from Paraclete Press titled Love Holds You: Poems and Devotions for Times of Uncertainty

This poem is a series of questions that emerged from a moment of reverie and wondering for me. The whole collection is on the theme of love and in writing it, I found myself encountering love in all corners of this beautiful world. 

What is the impulse for a robin’s song? What is the source of a flower’s fragrance? Where do my own words come from? And when I say Love is at the foundation of everything what do I mean? Of course, there are scientific answers to some of these questions, but these are questions of the heart as well. What are the things you wonder about? 

Allow a few moments to quiet yourself and read the poem below slowly. Then watch the poem video and see if the images add anything. If you find them distracting, close your eyes and just listen to me reciting the poem to you. 



If I could peer far enough down
a robin’s pulsing throat, would I see
notes piled there waiting to be flung
into freshness of morning?

If I close my eyes and burrow
my face into peony’s petals,
would I discover the source 
of its scent, a sacred offering?

Can I plunge inside 
and find a lifetime of words
spooled tightly inside my heart
ready for a tug?

If I dig beneath the bedrock 
will I find love there, 
solid like iron or does it flow like magma
filling in all of the empty spaces?


Pause after reading and listening to contemplate for yourself what origins you wonder about? Spend some time in reflection. 

What happens when you stop and gaze with loving wonder upon some simple, quiet and unadorned element of nature that throws itself into the wild world, and you are the lucky recipient present to witness it into being?

You might want to engage with a breath prayer. Here is a suggestion:

Breathe in: Love is

Breathe out: the foundation

An affirmation to close your reflection: 

Love is at the foundation of all I do or am. There is no place empty of love.

You can order a copy of Love Holds You: Poems and Devotions for Times of Uncertainty at this link. (Paraclete is offering a 20% discount for pre-orders when you use the code LoveHoldsYou at their website).

Join Simon and me tomorrow for our monthly contemplative prayer service on the theme of Holy Week. We have a special guest musician joining us as well, Te Martin will be sharing some of their passion for song with us. 

If you are feeling the weight of grief especially this year due to recent loss or other events, we are delighted to welcome Claudia Love Mair who will be leading us in a two-hour grief writing workshop called Mourning Pages this coming Friday. Join us for a way to honor Good Friday or listen to the recording later on to give your heart space to express its grief.

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Poem Video by Luke and Jake Morgan of

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