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A Different Kind of Fast: Lent Retreat 2023

February 22 – April 8, 2023

with Christine  &  John Valters Paintner, Amanda Dillon, and Jamie Marich

with Amber Andreasen and Polly Paton-Brown as forum facilitators 

Live sessions:

Ash Wednesday, Feb 22 and Mondays, Feb 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3

8-9am Pacific

11am-12pm Eastern

4-5pm Ireland*

*Due to Daylight Saving Time March 13 and 20 will be 3-4pm Ireland. (11am Eastern, 8am Pacific). Please be sure to double check your timezone on these days.

Program Description

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

-Isaiah 58:6-7 (NRSV)

Fasting is an ancient religious practice of abstaining from food for a limited period of time for greater clarity and focus which can bring a deeper intimacy with the divine. It was an essential dimension of the practice of the desert mothers and fathers as well as many of the mystics throughout the ages. When Jesus went out into the desert for 40 days fasting was part of his practice. This time of retreat is the model for our own Lenten retreat.

There are many different things we can fast from. The ancients advised not just abstaining from food but other things like unnecessary speech or unkindness. During this retreat you will be invited to consider and explore six other fasts:

  • Fast from multitasking and inattention (Embrace full presence to the moment)
  • Fast from anxiety over scarcity (Embrace radical trust in abundance)
  • Fast from speed and rushing (Embrace slowness and pausing)
  • Fast from strength and holding it all together (Embrace tenderness and vulnerability)
  • Fast from planning and deadlines (Embrace unfolding and ripening)
  • Fast from certainty (Embrace mystery and waiting)


These are fasts from certain ways of being in the world which can deplete us and increase our anxiety and suffering. We don’t just abstain from them, but also embrace their antidote which lead us to identify our true hungers. This Lent we will live more fully into a vibrant state of being so that we are resourced to bring our unique creative gifts into the world.

The live sessions are all recorded if you are unable to join us live or want to view the program again.

Weekly Rhythm of Content 

Monday: Live Zoom session with Christine on Ash Wednesday (Feb 22) from 11 am – 12 pm Eastern time and then all the Mondays in Lent also from 11 am – 12 pm Eastern (Feb 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3). These sessions include teaching, music, lectio divina practice, meditation, sharing, and opportunity to ask questions.

Tuesday: Written scripture reflection from John Valters Paintner

Wednesday: Contemplative Walk suggestion from Christine Valters Paintner (written text)

Thursday: Visual art reflection with Amanda Dillon (video)

Friday: Movement exploration with Jamie Marich (video)

Saturday: Closing ritual and reflection questions (written text)

Sunday: Sabbath rest and integration

There is also a facilitated discussion forum you can participate in at any time, day or night, to share questions, challenges, and graces from your experience of the retreat. The sacred space will be held by Amber Andreasen and Polly Paton-Brown.

Weekly Themes

Week 0


Begins Ash Wednesday

Week 1

Fast from multitasking and inattention

Embrace full presence to the moment

Week 2

Fast from anxiety over scarcity

Embrace radical trust in abundance

Week 3

Fast from speed and rushing

Embrace slowness and pausing

Week 4

Fast from strength and holding it all together

Embrace tenderness and vulnerability

Week 5

Fast from planning and deadlines

Embrace unfolding and ripening

Week 6

Fast from certainty

Embrace mystery and waiting

Your Guides for the Journey


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE is the online Abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery and global community integrating contemplative practice and creative expression. Her programs draw on the wisdom of the desert, Celtic, and Benedictine spiritual traditions as well as the joy of the expressive arts, embodied practice, and Earth-cherishing wisdom. Christine is the author of numerous books on spirituality and creativity, including three collections of poetry. She lives on the west coast of Ireland with her husband John and dog Sourney. Find out more about her here.


John Valters Paintner, MTS

John Valters Paintner is the online prior for Abbey of the Arts, where he assists his wife Christine in ministering to global community both online and through in-person programs. John was a youth minister and pastoral associate for four years before becoming a high school religion teacher for twelve years. He has a Masters of Theological Studies from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. His love for the Bible, particularly the Hebrew Scriptures, emerged when he taught the “Old Testament” at an all-boys high school. John is also a lover of the art of story-telling and has written dozens of short stories, one-act plays, and short films in a variety of genres. Learn more about John here. 

Amanda Dillon, PhD

Amanda’s research specialisation is Biblical Reception History with a particular focus on the New Testament. Her research interests include: Biblical Reception, Visual Exegesis, Multimodal Analysis, Hermeneutics, Theology and the Visual Arts. Female characters in the New Testament and their afterlives are another significant dimension of her current research and teaching. Amanda has published on the reception of the Bible in: 21st century lectionaries; contemporary Graphic Design; the art of Marc Chagall; Manga Bibles; Urban and Street Art.


Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, REAT, RYT-500

Dr. Jamie Marich (she/they) describes herself as a facilitator of transformative experiences. A clinical trauma specialist, expressive artist, writer, yogini, performer, short filmmaker, Reiki master, TEDx speaker, and recovery advocate, she unites all of these elements in her mission to inspire healing in others. She began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 2000-2003, primarily teaching English and music while freelancing with other projects. Jamie travels internationally teaching on topics related to trauma, EMDR therapy, expressive arts, mindfulness, and yoga, while maintaining a private practice and online education operations in her home base of Warren, OH. Jamie is the author of numerous books on trauma recovery and healing, with many more projects in the works. Marich is the founder of The Institute for Creative Mindfulness.

Forum Facilitators

Amber Andreasen

Amber Andreasen is a contemplative, ever desiring to deepen into and dance the rhythms of monk and artist. She has trained as a spiritual director, receiving her M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from The Institute of Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology. Wherever she finds herself, she desires to nurture a compassionate space where others can be listened and loved into fuller being by the Beloved. She is continually awed by the body as sacred storyholder and storyteller, and her heart beats loudly for the weaving together of creativity and spirituality in the discovering of what it means to live an embodied, fully human life in all its mystery and wonder.

Polly Paton-Brown

Polly Paton-Brown MA UKCP worked for many years as a psychotherapist and trainer in the field of trauma. More recently, Polly’s focus has been on helping people explore their spirituality and prayer,  using creativity and connection with nature. Polly has a particular passion for creating healing dolls as a portal to transformation. Always a lover of nature, horses and creativity Polly now integrates all of these into her practice. She has trained in Nature Based Practice and Eco-pychology, Environmental Arts, Expressive Arts and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy. She is a licenced facilitator of Chakradance,  The Art of Allowing , Creative Awakenings and the  Wild Soul Woman Programme. With roots in the contemplative and monastic traditions, Polly also draws wisdom from other spiritual paths such as Druidry and Sufism. She is passionate to help those wounded by the institutional church restore their image of God and themselves. Visit Polly’s website.


Polly Bio


Your registration constitutes an agreement with our online program Terms and Conditions below.

We offer a sliding scale of 3 fees for payment. The reduced fee for those who have lost their income and the sponsorship fee helps support our ability to offer scholarships. In an effort to keep this program accessible, please carefully consider both your own resources as well as honoring the expense, time, and energy required to run these programs and keep our work sustainable. Thank you!
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REduced Fee


Regular fee


3 monthly payments of $60

Sponsorship fee

If you need a different payment plan or a greater scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us.

Terms and Conditions

Please consider your purchase carefully and review the many free materials we have on our website to make sure the program will be a good fit or get in touch with any questions.

We ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.

Please contact us for permission to quote in settings beyond the program

These videos are made available to registered participants and may also be included in future versions of the program including self-study. If you choose to speak during a recorded gathering, you are giving us your consent to record that contribution. If you prefer not to be seen or heard, you can of course switch off or mute your camera or microphone at any time. Chat sessions are recorded and posted as well. Participation in the chat function is also giving consent to their recording. Breakout groups are never recorded.

If you choose a payment plan and stop payment before fulfilling the commitment without contacting us to make other arrangements, your access to the program will be removed.