A Companion Retreat to the Book
with Christine & John Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman
April 5 - May 30, 2021
We live in a breathless world.
Everything around us seems to move at faster and faster speeds, summoning us to keep up. We multitask, we organize, we simplify, we do all we can to keep on top of the many demands on our time. We yearn for a day with more hours in it so we can complete all we long to do.
We often talk about wasted time, or time spent like money, or time fleeting. This rushed and frenzied existence is not sacred time.
Sacred time is time governed by the rhythms of creation, rhythms that incorporate times of rest as essential to our own unfolding. Sacred time is being present to the moments of eternity available to us at any time we choose to pause and breathe.
In sacred time, we step out of the madness of our lives and choose to reflect, to linger, to savor, to slow down. We gain new perspective here. We have all had those moments of time outside of time, when we felt like we were touching eternity, bathed in a different kind of rhythm. Touching eternity brings a cohesion to our lives and reminds us of the goodness and surplus of living because it honors the rhythms of the soul.
The clock with its forced march is not the only marker of time. Our calendars with their five and ten year strategic plans rob us of our future as we desperately try to cram things in. Each slow mindful breath, the rising and setting of the sun, the expansion and contraction of the moon, the ripening and releasing of the seasons, these all mark a different quality of time and invite us into a deepened and renewed way of being.
It is only when we move more slowly and with intention that we can touch the vertical modes of experiencing time. In this online retreat you are invited to behold the slow witness of the natural world and how those rhythms offer us a portal into another experience of time and offer ways to begin practicing this alternate way of being.
This retreat is into an intentional way of life, one governed by presence, attention, spaciousness, slowness, and love.
Week 1: Breath
Our breath is the most primal element of our experience of time. Sometimes we are completely unaware of it and sometimes we slow it way down to bring ourselves more peace and ease in the world.
Week 2: Hours of the Day
The day unfolds in a series of Hours which ancient monks saw as offering us different questions to ponder throughout the day: How might we awaken at dawn? Come to fullness at midday? Release at dusk? Embrace mystery at night?
Week 3: Sabbath Rhythms
The weekly practice of Sabbath means making a commitment to set aside our work for a day and enter into a cathedral of time where we are invited into a space of being rather than doing.
Week 4: Lunar Cycles
When we pay attention to the phases of the moon – new, waxing, full, and waning – we grow more intimate with the wholeness that comes from honoring our sacred rhythms. We come to know the waning as being just as essential as the waxing in our lives.
Week 5: Seasons of the Year
The seasons of the year invite us to consider our own seasons of blossoming, fruitfulness, harvest and release, and call to deep rest. When we honor these seasons within us we move through the world in a richly restorative way.
Week 6: Seasons of a Lifetime
As we move through our lives from childhood to young adulthood to middle adulthood to elderhood we have many different experiences of joyfulness and deep grief and sorrow. Paying attention to our life seasons means to honor all of the challenges and gifts as holding the possibility of grace.
Week 7: Ancestral Time
When we honor ancestral time, we remember that we come from a whole lineage of thousands who walked this earth before us. We can open up to their wisdom and listen for the insight they have to offer to us, and discover a vast reservoir of love.
Week 8: Cosmic Time
Cosmic time means honoring the grand scale of time that moves in epochs and aeons, rather then minutes and days. It means embracing humility at our infinitesimal scale held within the universe.
How it Works
Six days each week you receive an email with a link to the day's content. The 7th day is a time for rest and integration. The materials are in written, video, and audio format which you can view and listen to at any time. You have lifetime access to the materials in the course.
Day 1: Live webinar session with Christine
Day 2: Scripture reflection from John
Day 3: Deepening into Practice
Day 4: Creative exploration
Day 5: Song and Movement experience (Betsey)
Day 6: Closing Blessing
Day 7: Sabbath rest and integration
- Weekly live webinar sessions with Christine Valters Paintner on Mondays (schedule TBD)
- Ongoing access to the materials in our private and easy-to-navigate retreat platform on Ruzuku.
- Weekly scripture reflections from John Valters Paintner
- Weekly songs and movement prayers with Betsey Beckman
- A vibrant community forum for sharing conversation and reflection facilitated by Melissa Layer and Amber Andreasen, two of our Wisdom Council members and trained spiritual directors.
NOTE: 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.
If registering for a scholarship rate for one of our retreats, please enroll in only one program at a time.
Special thanks to those choosing the sponsorship rate for helping to keep our programs affordable.
If you need a different payment option or plan than what is available, please get in touch with us.
You will need to purchase a copy of Sacred Time: Embracing an Intentional Way of Life (forthcoming February 2021, Ave Maria Press)
Your Guides for the Journey
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Christine is the director of AbbeyoftheArts.com, a virtual monastery exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of nine 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.
John Valters Paintner, MTS 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.
Betsey Beckman, MM is nationally acclaimed as a spirited dancer, storyteller, teacher of SpiritPlay and dancing Spiritual Director. With her extensive repertory of sacred storydances, she is regularly featured as artist/presenter at national conventions as well as local churches. She earned her Masters in Ministry degree from Seattle University, her certificate in Movement Therapy from the Institute for Transformational Movement, and is a certified InterPlay leader. As dancer, choreographer, author, mother, wife, teacher and spiritual director, she is passionate about living life fully and fostering creativity in all those with whom she shares life and ministry. Betsey's publications include books (she is co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction), recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible. Visit Betsey's website here>>
Forum Facilitators and Guides
Melissa Layer, MA honors our unfolding journeys through life’s challenges and transitions as compelling invitations for creative, integrative meaning-making in BodyMindSpirit. Her sacred calling and training as a psychospiritual therapist, hospice grief counselor and interfaith spiritual director have taught her about the potency of the “thin places” in thresholds and dark nights of the soul. Often utilizing expressive arts for curious exploration of the Great Mystery, Melissa offers her compassionate presence and deep listening to individuals and groups. 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). The evergreen forests of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest are her sacred sanctuary. Melissa is available for spiritual direction by Skype, phone, email and also in-person for those living near Olympia, WA. You can visit Melissa's website here>>
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.