A Companion Retreat to the Book

with Christine & John Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman

A self-study retreat (start any time, move at your own pace, lifetime access)


*You will need to purchase a copy of Sacred Time: Embracing an Intentional Way of Life (Ave Maria Press)

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 an invitation into an intentional way of life, one governed by presence, attention, spaciousness, slowness, and love.

Weekly Themes


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.

Artwork commissioned from Alexi Francis

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: Recording of session with Christine providing an overview of the theme and chapter. You will also be guided in the meditation.

Day 2: Scripture reflection from John. Includes an audio recording of Christine leading you in lectio divina with this scripture passage.

Day 3: Song and Movement experience. Betsey Beckman leads you in a gesture prayer to a song selected to deepen the chapter's theme.

Day 4: Creative Exploration. Includes an audio recording of Christine leading you through the creative process.

Day 5: Reflection Questions and Meditative Coloring. Questions to deepen your reflection and a PDF printable version of the chapter art for meditative coloring.

Day 6: Closing Blessing. Christine reads the closing poem to you in an audio recording and invites you to integrate what you have discovered.

Day 7: Sabbath rest and integration


What's Included

  • Video and audio recordings of eight weekly webinar sessions with Christine Valters Paintner. These sessions were first delivered during a community offering of this retreat in spring 2021 and there may be some reference to that season and time. Written transcripts of each session are also included. 
  • Lifetime 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
  • Weekly reflection questions to deepen your inquiry.


Your registration constitutes an agreement with our online program Terms and Conditions below.*
If you need a payment plan or a more of a scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us.

Terms and Conditions

  1. No refunds are provided for online program registrations. 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.
  2. You will have access to all the program materials for the lifetime of this website.
  3. The registration fee is per person; we ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.
  4. All materials presented in our online programs are copyright. Please contact us for permission to quote in settings beyond the program.
  5. Some self-study retreats include video or audio recordings of session that were recorded in a live community offering of the retreat and may make reference to forums or other modes of sharing. Please disregard these as self-study retreats do not have these available.
  6. All fees include VAT where applicable.
  7. If you need a payment plan or a more of a scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us. Small group discounts are also available.

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>>