with Christine Valters Paintner, PhD

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

Be. Here. This Moment Now is all there is, don’t go seeking another. Discover the sacred in your artist’s tools, they are the vessels of the altar of your own unfolding. Look at this cup of holy water, washing clean the brushes. See the blank page, awaiting your blessing. Gaze on the colors before you, each one a name of God: Saffron, Cobalt, Azure, Ruby. Say each one slowly and taste its juice in your mouth. Let this be your prayer. Brush them across the page. First the small strokes, then the larger sweeps. Lose track of all time. This too is prayer. Listen for the words that rise up: Awaken. Envision. Sing. Alleluia. Place marks on the page saying I am here. Watch as word and image dance together. Luminous. Illuminated. This is your sacred text. This is where God’s words are spoken, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in shouts. Be there to catch them as they pass over those sacred lips, tumbling so generously into your open arms.


Would you be nourished by a twelve-week commitment to exploring the place where contemplative practice and creative expression support and nourish each other?

Are you an artist or writer seeking more grounding for your creativity in ancient spiritual traditions?

Do you find yourself drawn to contemplative ways of being including silence, solitude, wonder, and presence?

Do you have a hunger to discover what emerges from being a contemplative artist and a creative monk?

We each contain within us a multiplicity of energies or “selves” which are archetypal in nature, meaning they are found across cultures and time periods. Two of these powerful archetypes are the monk and artist. Our “inner monk” is the part of ourselves that seeks the ground of all being and a mystical connection to the divine source, longing for what is most essential in life and cultivates this through a commitment to spiritual practice. The “inner artist” is the part of ourselves that engages the world through our senses, and is passionate about beauty, seeking to give it outward form and expression through a variety of media (including visual art, poetry, movement, song, gardening, cooking, relationships, etc.). Both the monk and artist are edge-dwellers, ones who commit to living in fertile border-spaces and who call the wider community beyond the status quo to alternative ways of being. Our class will explore where these two paths meet. Drawing on monastic spirituality from the wisdom of desert, Celtic, and Benedictine traditions, we will explore together contemplative practices that support and encourage the flowering of our creative visions.

This online program is for anyone seeking to make more explicit connections between their spiritual practice and their creative expression. You might consider yourself an artist, a poet, or simply someone who experiences joy in the process of creating. You might consider yourself a contemplative or have experienced a longing for more presence to each moment.

Our primary text for this program is Christine's book The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom. You will need to purchase a copy of the book in addition to your registration. It is not included in the program fee.

Overview of Each Week

Day 1: Audio recording of an hour-long webinar session with Christine Valters Paintner (recorded during a previous community offering of the program). During this session Christine invites you to center, then teaches on the week's theme, and then leads you in the guided meditation for that week. There is some sharing and questions from the group attending. These sessions also include 5 additional meditations that weren't included in the book.

Day 2: A written scripture reflection from John Valters Paintner connected to the week's theme. (Bonus reflections that weren't included in the book).

Day 3: Audio recording of Christine leading you in a guided lectio divina practice with the suggested text for that week.

Day 4: Audio recording of Christine giving guidance for the creative exploration.

Day 5: Audio guidance of Christine giving guidance for the creative exploration. (Includes two bonus creative practices not in the book).

Day 6: A quote or poem to inspire with reflection questions.

Day 7: Sabbath (time to rest and integrate).

What's Included
  • Retreat materials hosted on our course platform Ruzuku.com with lifetime access. 
  • Posts each day (except for Sabbath) for 12 weeks to help guide you slowly through the book.
  • Audio recordings and written materials each week to offer guidance for creative practices and meditations.
What You Need before Beginning the Retreat

Sessions Outline

Each week for 12 weeks you will be invited to read and explore one of the chapters from The Artist's Rule:

Week One: Establishing a Creative, Contemplative Practice
Week Two: Exploring Your Inner Monk and Inner Artist
Week Three: Sacred Tools and Sacred Space
Week Four: Sacred Rhythms for Creative Renewal
Week Five: Obedience, Stability, Conversion: Commitment to the Creative Life
Week Six: Humility: Embracing Your Imperfections and Limitations
Week Seven: Inner Hospitality and Welcoming the Stranger
Week Eight: Creative Community
Week Nine: Nature as Source of Revelation and Inspiration
Week Ten: Simplicity: Creative Asceticism and Learning When to Let Go
Week Eleven: Creative Work as Vocation and Holy Service
Week Twelve: Creating an Artist’s Rule of Life


Pay in Full


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

  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.

Christine Valters Paintner