Tag Archive: The Monk


Monk Endrts (2)

The “world” seems quite crazy right now, populated in the media by some very bizzare personalities, stories and situations presented and talked about all day long 24/7 . If one has the tv habit of watching, which I do NOT voluntarily have, the world presented to us is so disturbing, divisive and dangerous that one has limited choices for dealing with it ie  joining the fray with words and verbal combat, insuring a fractured angry heart, or the duck and cover response, insuring disaster and despair when it all goes down and one is left un-prepared to deal with new realities. A third choice is to be very very picky about information coming in from the outside, choosing wisely what informants we listen to, and taking time away from it all to listen from the inside-out.. listen to our own heart and intuition speaking the truth of sanity, peace, balance and love. It also is so important and healing to bring that inner-knowing of virtue back out in some form of creativity and self expression ( (writing, painting, poetry, music, gardening, cooking, STORYTELLING etc)  thus becoming an “Artist”..an Artist of Life, bringing beauty and mindful care to a chaotic world. YOUR world. 

A gem of a book recently came into my life by serendipity while I was deeply pondering these things. A timely toss from my Library Angel, “ACE”  (Angel- in -Charge of- My -Education), this treasure “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner came into my possession as one of the many “winks” from the Universe when I am on the right track in my personal unfolding into who I am meant to be or what I am supposed to be doing.

In this beautifully written book, much of which sounds like it is out of my own journals, the author ties together the similarities of spirit of the archetypes and practices of both the Monk and the Artist. Following her lovely suggestions for both the practice of the the Lectio Divina and especially the Praying/Presence of the Hours of the Day, I started to incorporate the markings of time s during the day to re-collect myself back into a state of peace, awareness of “the NOW” and gratitude and blessing for exact place and moment I was in. 

Often in my life…VERY often..when committing myself to this inner state of  stillness, peace, presence and LISTENING I receive surprise messages from the Ethers, from “The Universe” that cheerlead  me  on, often making me laugh out loud in the playful way my direction is validated. And this experimentation with the archetypes of Monk/Artist was no exception.

With book in hand, I drove as I often do to a special retreat center on a little island off of the coast of Connecticut, where I photograph the gardens, walk by the sea, and enjoy the peace and music of wind and water, and the solidness of earth for several hours. I parked the car, and found a big rock upon which to perch reading through the section about the “Inner Monastery” accessed through silence, solitude and nature. When, who should appear right in front of me, strolling with a friend across the vast lawn towards the sea, but a MONK himself, in grey habit, rosary beads hooked on the knotted corded belt around his waist, and sandals on his feet.

This retreat center’s grounds are open to the public like a park, and I am there so often during the week when there are few people there and I almost have the place to myself. I can tell you that in all that time, though I have sometimes shared the gardens with couples, people walking their dogs, friends sitting on lawn chairs by the ocean quietly having lunch, or pray-ers on retreat walking slowly in meditation, I have NEVER had a MONK cross my path.

But it did happen that very day as I held the book about the Monk and Artist open on my lap and for sure I recognized that manifesting that monk at that very moment was a very merry communicaton from that who watches and guides my own journey..a “wink” from God, from my angels and/or chorus of ancestor guides.

Enders Sept 4

Lest you think that these validated moments into the Inner Monastery shelter us totally from dealing with the chaotic life-times we live in , I must admit the inconvenient truth that the Monk/Artist first steps back to center and remember the assignment he/she was “given” when coming here, and is then required to go back out and engage the “world” in truth-telling, vision and beauty..making an artful life and bringing hope and healing. In the monastic Rule of St. Benedict centuries ago, he writes of the backbone of this task.

     “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way”.

I like that. And it frees me, gets me off the hook trying to explain the personal path that seems to wander in a different direction than the dominant culture and its consumeristic, militaristic, competitive prescriptions for “happiness” and fulfillment.

I feel okay if not delighted with this, and the “winks” that so playfully manifest all sorts of affirmations to ” keep on with it! “….

*** In another afternoon visit  to this place several weeks later,  I was walking down a path towards the gardens, when whom should appear walking this time down the spath TOWARDS me but this very  same monk! In our sudden  face to face encounter, we chatted and I found out his name…Brother Seamus…another surprise “wink from God”.

update Feb 2016 (2)From Christine, the Greening Spirit

***** DON”T BE SHY….SAY HI! *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauds

Do you have a “Library Angel”?

I do.

My Library Angel is named “ACE” (Angel-in-Charge-of- my-Education) and “shim”…not a him or a her, but a “shim”..is the invisible playful but serious being who regularly, faithfully and unexpectedly tosses to me just the right book from out of the ethers for exactly what  I next need in my unfolding life journey.

The latest of ACE’s suggested reading program for me was the book “The Artist’s Rule: nurturing your creative soul with monastic wisdom” by art therapist, spiritual director and lay Benedectine Oblate, Christine Valters Paintner.

It is an absolute jewel of a book with the delightful theme hilightimg the similarities between the archetypes of “The Monk” and “The Artist” and suggestions of how the Benedictine Rule of spiritual practices, prayer and presence enriches, supports, and enhances the daily lives of both of these authentic personal paths.

One of the lovely practices  of the Rule is being present to the ongoing cycle of hours in each day from darkness into light and back into darkness again, stopping at various points of the day, called “hours”, to appreciate the natural and symbolic energy of each point, and to reflect or pray joy, appreciation, awareness, peace or support.

In the early morning at sunrise is the magical hour of the return of the light after the long hours of night’s darkness…the Hour of LAUDS (praise).  What is the energy or message of that gradual transition from dark to radiance? Awe…renewal…freshness..the invitation to start a whole new day..a wondrous gift of life offering the possibility for a whole new fresh start…the gift of sight, as the world is revealed by illumination..and especially at this time of early summer here in the Northeast, colors, textures, shapes, and scents…the morning revelation of a very sensuous world…flowers, trees, herbs, vegetables, birdsong, insects and tree frog communications bursting with aliveness!

Sitting on the front porch with my morning coffee and the meditations for LAUDS the other day (and following days) I was mesmerized by the radiance of the light, dazzling itself upon the sky, the plants, the gardens, the trees..and especially the shimmering halo around the hanging pot of ferns.

Matthew Fox, pfeisty prophet/priest has said “Where there is awe, there is prayer”- that sudden in-breath of awe at the shock and recognition of beauty (..”aahhh”). Indeed  it is prayer not needing any words. And the words of the medieval mystic  Meister Eckhart on prayer: ” If the only prayer I say is  ‘thank you’, it is enough”

It is enough.

And THAT is the hour of LAUDS.

I like living this way.

PHOTO CREDIT: by Christine Phoenix Green

Lemon Balm, Lady's Mantle, Nettles

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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