Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Writing as a Spiritual Practice: A 28-Day Creative Journey

with Christine Valters Paintner

Forum Facilitators Amber Andreasen and Melissa Layer

August 19 – September 13, 2024

Live Opening Session Monday, August 19, 2024

4-6pm Ireland

11am-1pm Eastern

8-10am Pacific

Program Description

Would you be nourished by a 28-day commitment to writing as a spiritual practice? 
Do you long for some guidance and structure to get you into a sacred rhythm?

This 4-week program begins with a 2-hour online retreat led by Christine who will guide you through different exercises to help you yield to the process of writing as a journey of discovery, rather than holding too tightly to the end product.

In this way words become maps and help us to encounter new parts of ourselves, our calling, and our relationship to the divine. We will engage in both free writing and poetry writing, and all are welcome regardless of level of experience.

This is a generative program, we are not here to edit our work, but to show up for the Creative Source when we slow down and listen to what is erupting in the silence. In addition to the writing exercises Christine will include lectio divina, silence, reading of poems, and gentle movement invitations to shift your energy and focus.

Following the opening live retreat there will be 27 days of writing prompts designed to take about 15 minutes a day to cultivate a writing practice.

Each day you will receive a link to a video where Christine will introduce a theme in creative practice and connect it to one of her poems, giving a brief reflection about how the poem was inspired. Then she will invite you into a lectio divina practice with the poem through listening to her reading and then sharing a video version of the same poem. Repetition means we have a chance to let the images work on us. This is followed by a writing prompt and 5 minutes of quiet music to help hold the space for you.

In addition to the daily videos there will be two additional writing prompts included each day if you have some extra time to explore.

This retreat can be experienced as a private process of creative inspiration but for this initial offering there will also be a facilitated forum as an encouraging and supportive place for you to share your writing each day if you choose. This is not about workshopping or critiquing, but about witnessing and honoring the way the muse has shown up. You are also welcome to share your challenges with the creative process and find kindred spirits for the journey.

Live opening session on Monday, August 19th followed by 27 days of daily videos with prompts for journaling and poetry writing.

We will turn on closed captioning during the live Zoom session (which you are able to turn off in your settings if you find distracting) as well as provide a video recording with closed captioning available and a text transcript of the session.

The program will be recorded for those who pre-register but are unable to attend at the scheduled time or who want to view again. You will be sent a notification when this is ready to view.

You have lifetime access to all online programs.

Psalm 4

Week 1: Attuning with the Heart

This first week our poems and writing prompts will encourage you to cultivate the eyes and ears of your heart, those spiritual perceptions which allow us to see beauty all around us. One of the gifts we offer the world as writers and artists is to invite others into a contemplative gaze with us.

Week 2 — Sacred Rhythms

As creatives, when we attune to the rhythms of life and the natural world around us, we discover a flow of blossoming and fruitfulness followed by releasing and resting. We do not need to create non-stop all the time. The sacred cycles of the day and year help to attune us to the wisdom nature offers us.

Week 3 — Coming Into Wholeness

We often feel divided in ourselves. Part of us longs to create and write, the other is either distracted or pulled in other directions. What does it mean to be an artist of daily life? What are the old stories we carry about who we are and can be?

Week 4 — Following the Call

After three weeks of dedicated writing practice, we hopefully are able to start claiming our creative inheritance and birthright more fully. For this final week we will explore the signs and synchronicities which urge us on the writing path.

Writing 3

Your Guide for the Journey


Christine Valters Paintner

Christine Valters Paintner is the online Abbess and director of, a virtual monastery exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, Benedictine oblate, and author of numerous books on spirituality and the arts. Her deepest belief is that the earth is the original monastery–a wisdom guide and mentor in living a soulful and vibrant life. Visit the “About Christine” page for more information.

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. She has her B.S. and M.S. in Kinesiology and a Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition. She has also done training in BioSpiritual Focusing as a holistic approach to spiritual growth. Wherever she finds herself, she desires to nurture a compassionate space where others can be listened, beheld and loved into fuller being by the Beloved. She is continually awed by the body as sacred storyholder and storyteller and by dance and movement as conduits of deep interior silence, stillness and joy.  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.

Amber Andreasen

Melissa Layer

Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC honors the unfolding journeys of our wild and precious lives as compelling invitations for creative, integrative meaning-making in BodyMindSpirit.  Her sacred calling and formal training as a psychospiritual therapist, hospice grief counselor, and spiritual director have taught her about the potency of thin places in thresholds and dark nights of the soul.  Cultivating curiosity, Melissa offers expressive exploration of the Great Mystery through journaling, collaging, poem-making, dreamwork, visio and lectio divina, creation of rituals and altars, and engaged encounters with nature.  Like the honeybee for which she is named, she claims her role as “a bee of the invisible…passionately plundering the honey of the visible in order to gather it in the great golden hive of the invisible” (Rilke).  Melissa offers a compassionate, attuned presence and deep listening with the ear of her heart from the Pacific Northwest in Washington, where the Salish sea meets the evergreen forest. Visit Melissa’s website here>>

Melissa Layer 2


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

Please read our Financial Access Policy. 

We offer a sliding scale of 3 fees for payment. The reduced fee is for those who need financial assistance 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!

If you need additional financial assistance or a payment plan please complete our scholarship request form.

Please be careful to enter your correct email address when you register. 
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If you are in need of additional financial assistance please fill out our Scholarship Request form. 

Spiritual Writing Programs Bundle

Register for the 4 Week Writing as a Spiritual Practice retreat and the Writing Your Spiritual Memoir retreat on September 13th and save.


Spiritual Writing Programs Bundle

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

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.