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The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women

Author: Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE, OBLSB
Ave Maria Press
Publication date:
March 3, 2017

by Spirituality and Practice



“A lively, creative, and expansive vision of a spirituality of the body.” –Spirituality and Practice
The distorted view of the perfect female body created by popular culture, television, movies, and the media often causes women to become uncomfortable with their own bodies. Christine Valters Paintner, popular author of nine books and abbess of the online retreat center Abbey of the Arts, draws from Celtic, desert, and Benedictine traditions to help women connect with their bodies through writing, visual art, and movement.

In The Wisdom of the Body, Christine Valters Paintner focuses on the true meaning of the Incarnation—God became flesh—and points to the spiritual importance of appreciating the bodies God gave us.

Each of the book’s ten chapters is a mini-workshop designed to lead us to new ways of being in relationship with our bodies. Starting with the senses and shifting toward emotions and desires, Paintner explores their role as thresholds to discovering the body’s wisdom. She draws from Christian tradition to offer principles and practices such as stability, hospitality, and gratitude to lead us on a journey that ends with a sense of deep peace and self-acceptance.

Through expressive arts and creative movement, Paintner demonstrates a new a language and way of integrating and sharing our discoveries. By exploring the lives of women in the Bible and in the Christian tradition—including Eve, Mary, Hildegaard of Bingen, and Amma Syncletica—Paintner introduces us to companions that accompany us on our journey.

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Supplemental Materials

Audio Interviews with Christine:

Articles by Christine:

Written Interviews with Christine:

Guest Blog Posts by Christine:

Praise for the Book

"The Wisdom of the Body met me where I was and transported me to a place I haven’t been in a long time, drawing me across sacred thresholds and inviting me to pause, breathe, and renew my commitment to live life with attention and intention. Thank you, Christine Valters Paintner, for the gift of this book, this vision, this invitation!”
Mary DeTurris Poust
Catholic blogger and author of Cravings
"Christine Valters Paintner is a trusted guide, lighting the way home to body and soul. Sharing from experience, her compassionate voice speaks to us personally and offers creative resources, supportive allies, and wisdom from the great spiritual traditions. This book is a good map for the journey to wholeness. I put it at the top of my list to recommend to teachers and students seeking to embody the joy of spiritual life.”
Cynthia Winton-Henry
Cofounder of InterPlay
"Christine Valters Paintner is a stunningly gifted teacher; I am so grateful that she shares her wisdom on women and embodiment in this latest book. Christine’s ability to weave multi-faceted spiritual practice with the expressive arts in a sensitive and trauma-informed manner has long inspired me, and I know that many will be helped and inspired through this work. Christine is a true gem, a blessing, and a beacon of light to those of us who are on the path of healing—she is gentle, wise, and challenging in a harmonious blend that comes through in her spirit-filled teachings.”
Jamie Marich
Clinical trauma expert and author of Dancing Mindfulness
"Christine Valters Paintner has found gems from the Christian tradition—from scripture, the saints, and the Desert Fathers and Mothers—and combined them with other practices such as dance, yoga, and poetry to create an eclectic, hands-on book sure to deepen your spirituality. A mini-retreat you can take at your own pace, The Wisdom of the Body is inspiring and possibly life-changing for those who struggle with body issues but also meaningful for those comfortable within their body.”
Heidi Schlumpf
Executive Editor at National Catholic Reporter
"Christine Valters Paintner is so much more than a truly fine writer; she’s a teacher, a guide, and a friend along the way. In The Wisdom of the Body, she once again plumbs ancient monastic wisdom to help solve a contemporary problem: the sad rift between body and soul that too often limits our experience of God.”
Paula Huston
Author of One Ordinary Sunday