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Category: Cycles and Seasons


Visual Meditation: Savoring Stillness

When I was in Vienna over Christmas my husband and I took a magical walk on the Winter Solstice through the snow-covered gardens of Schonbrunn Palace.  The peace of that foggy day still sings in my heart.  Celebrate the gifts of winter with me.  Breathe deeply and feel the invitation to savor stillness.  Those of you who read here regularly know that winter calls to me and I am called to share her gifts. Early Registration Extended Register for the Lenten Online Retreat with the Desert Mothers and Fathers and receive a free gift (a mini-retreat on Stirring in the Belly). 

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Luminous Wisdom of Night

The darkness embraces everything, It lets me imagine a great presence stirring beside me. I believe in the night. -Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours The Christian feasts of All Saints and All Souls on November 1st and 2nd honor the profound legacy of wisdom our ancestors have left to us and continue to offer. In some denominations, we celebrate and honor the dead for the whole month of November. In the Northern hemisphere the world is entering the dark half of the year. The ancient Celtic people believed this time was a thin space, where heaven and earth whispered to

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“The Still Heart That Refuses Nothing”

Lake and Maple  I want to give myself utterly as this maple that burned and burned for three days without stinting and then in two more dropped off every leaf; as this lake that, no matter what comes to its green-blue depths, both takes and returns it. In the still heart that refuses nothing, the world is twice-born – two earths wheeling, two heavens, two egrets reaching down into subtraction; even the fish for an instant doubled, before it is gone. I want the fish. I want the losing it all when it rains and I want the returning transparence.

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Autumn’s Call

Today is the Autumn Equinox and we enter my favorite half of the year.  These days have been marked by a heaviness here at the Abbey though.  My mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s has been declining rapidly as of late.  And in the last couple of weeks our sweet old dog Tune has developed canine cognitive dysfunction, which essentially leads to increased confusion, anxiety, and distress, similar to Alzheimer’s in humans.  She is on medication now which is helping, but still the signs are there.  The anniversary of my own mother’s death is less than a month away.  As fall begins its brilliant journey I am being thrust

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Pink Petaled Profusion

What are your pink-petaled dreams? What is the longing deep within you just beginning to blossom forth into the world? Will you say yes? And YES? ________________________________________________ © Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts: Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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Stirring in the Belly

Monastic practice offers me the gift of paying attention to the seasons of the day and the year.  February 1st is a potent time.  On the Celtic wheel of the year it is Imbolc (meaning “stirring in the belly”) which is one of the cross-quarter days falling between the Solstice and the Equinox.  Imbolc marks the first day of spring, the time when the very beginning of earth’s stirrings and awakenings from winter can be seen.  In Christian tradition it is the Feast of St. Brigid (an Irish Saint who is associated with fire) and on February 2nd is Candlemas

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