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The Soul of a Pilgrim

Eight Practices for the Journey Within

Registration Fee: $150 USD

Program Description

Make a soulful journey in the coming season. 

Join us for an 8-week companion retreat to Christine Valters Paintner’s book The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within. Christine takes you on a new kind of pilgrimage: an inner journey to discover the heart of God. Eight stages of the pilgrim’s way–from hearing the call to coming home–are accompanied by scripture stories of great biblical journeys and  creative practices of prayer, writing, and photography.

In The Soul of a Pilgrim, Christine identifies eight experiences of the pilgrim’s way and shows how to follow these movements to make an intentional, transformative journey to your inner “wild edges.” Each phase of the exploration requires a distinct practice such as packing lightly, being uncomfortable, or embracing the unknown. She shows how to cultivate attentiveness to the divine through deep listening, patience, and opening oneself to the gifts that arise in the midst of discomfort.

Each of the eight chapters offers reflections on the themes, a scripture story, an invitation to the practice of lectio divina, and creative exploration through photography, midrash writing, and meditative movement (with Jamie Marich, founder of Dancing Mindfulness).

The Soul of a Pilgrim was named one of the best spiritual books of 2015 by Spirituality and Practice!

All materials are hosted on a private teaching platform with audio guidance from Christine Valters Paintner to deepen into the materials along with a special guided meditation to begin each week that is not included in the book. All mp3 files can be downloaded and all videos can be streamed.

Where have you been forced by circumstance of family or culture into a life that no longer feels like your own?

What has been sacrificed that you thought was lost?

How might you reclaim this in your life? Who are the wise ones to help you guide the way?

What's Included

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.

Monday: Audio recording of a webinar session Christine Valters Paintner led for the original community offering of this retreat. A closed captions version of the recording along with transcripts, and text of the poems read during the recordings are available.

Tuesday: Scripture reflection from John Valters Paintner (text with audio lectio divina meditation)

Wednesday: Midrash Exploration (with audio)

Thursday: Photography Exploration (with audio)

Friday: Movement Invitation from Jamie Marich (with video)

Saturday: Closing Blessing (with audio)

Sunday: Sabbath rest

  • 8 audio recordings of webinar sessions with Christine Valters Paintner.
  • 8 audio lectio divina guided meditations on the scripture text for each chapter.
  • 8 audio recordings offering guidance on the weekly midrash explorations.
  • 8 audio recordings offering guidance on the weekly photography explorations.
  • 8 videos from dancing mindfulness creator Jamie Marich inviting you into a movement exploration connected to each week’s theme.
  • 8 audio recordings of Christine reading her closing poem from each chapter.

Weekly Themes

Week 1

The practice hearing the call and responding

Week 1: The practice hearing the call and responding

The pilgrimage journey always begins with a call. Sometimes we are thrust on the journey unwillingly and sometimes we are asked. We can always choose how we respond.

Week 2

The practice of packing lightly

Week 2: The practice of packing lightly

Pilgrimage asks that we consider what we want to carry with us and what we want to let go of. Packing lightly means releasing burdens, old beliefs and stories that no longer serve our journey.

Week 3

The practice of crossing the threshold

Week 3: The practice of crossing the threshold

On pilgrimage we are stepping onto a threshold which is a liminal space where the old has dissolved and the new has not yet taken shape. Many traditions see this as a holy time and place where the veil between worlds is thin.

Week 4

The practice of making the way by walking

Week 4: The practice of making the way by walking

Rather than following a set trail and map, pilgrimage asks us to travel step by step, discerning which direction to go with each moment that unfolds.

Week 5

The practice of being uncomfortable

Week 5: The practice of being uncomfortable

The root of the word pilgrim is peregrini which means stranger. To go on pilgrimage is to court holy disruption and open ourselves up to releasing all the securities and comforts we usually rely on to navigate.

Week 6

The practice of beginning again

Week 6: The practice of beginning again

When we are on the spiritual journey, there will be many moments when we falter, when we forget our practices, when we wander far from our hearts. Pilgrimage invites us always to return again and again.

Week 7

The practice of embracing the unknown

Week 7: The practice of embracing the unknown

When we journey we move toward mystery. Pilgrimage is about releasing our certainties and embracing the unknowns of life.

Week 8

The practice of coming home

Week 6: The practice of beginning again

Ultimately pilgrimage is a journey we make for ourselves, but also on behalf of our community. We always return home again laden with gifts to offer to others.

Your Guides for the Journey

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Christine is the 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, 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 headshot 2

John Valters Paintner, MTS

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.


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.

Praise for the Course

It's Easter Monday and I am sad to see the end of this Creative Flourishing retreat, but oh so grateful for the multi-layered experience. I made the decision to take this journey at the last minute, but with great conviction it would deepen my Christian life. I had no idea what it would be like. It was like nothing I have experienced before. Thank you to Christine for originating the idea and doing such a thoughtful and tender job of guiding us through this journey. My deepest joy was to reconnect with the artist within me. The art literally flowed from me. Like living water. A well-spring fed by Christ himself.
Laurie Wagner
I'll be stepping into the season of Easter and spring with more ease, joy and awake from having prayed with, reflected on, moved with and daily witnessing of the mandalas during the past five and one half weeks. Thank you Christine for your vision, knowledge, design and guidance throughout this Lenten season; Hildegard of Bingen is now a living Saint for me. Betsey, i've become more embodied, through participating in your interpretations of Hildegard in dance and chant. This spiritual community has filled my heart with divine blessings. I will pass these blessings on.
Beatrice Randall
I'm so grateful for this retreat. It has been the most amazing experience of learning and growth, spiritually, artistically, and emotionally. Most of which I was not expecting when I signed up. Christine, I want to thank you again for this amazing Lent retreat. It was a joy, honor and privilege to attend. This has been an experience I won't soon forget. I've learned so much about myself and this process of healing through artistic expression. I look forward to doing more with you
Tamara Mapp
Thank you, Christine, for the best retreat I've ever experienced. I'm hooked on Hildegard! She will ever be part of my spirituality as she has added both depth and richness to my faith.
Evelyn Jackson
Sincere and grateful thanks for this marvelous retreat. Your guidance and song will live in my heart. Hildegard's presence has been a source of light and love. Your ministry is much appreciated. We are greener!
Mary Mason
This has been a very rich retreat. I have loved creating, singing, breathing, moving, reading and praying with you. Thank you.
Judith Bryan
My heart is so full. This has been the best retreat in my life.
Louise Thigpen


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The book is not included in the registration fee. You may purchase the book at the links below or at your local book seller. Thank you for your support!

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.

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Some self-study retreats include video or audio recordings of sessions 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.

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