I love books. I love contemplation. I love creativity. I love talking about these things with friends. I recently picked up Christine Valters Paintner’s book The Artist’s Rule: nurturing your creative soul with monastic wisdom. It’s a twelve-week course that draws on the insights and practices of Benedictine spirituality to explore the interplay between contemplation and creativity. This book is an invitation to nurture our inner monk and our inner artist.
Christine writes: “What I have discovered in my own journey is that the contemplative path allows my creativity to flourish in ways it never did before I embraced monastic practice. This book is for anyone who longs for ways to more deeply integrate his or her spiritual path and creative longings.”
“Creativity and contemplative spirituality nurture and support each other in their commitments to the slow way, to a close attention to the inner life, and to the sacred being revealed in each moment. When I use the word “artist” I include poets, writers, cooks, gardeners, and people who use all manner of creative expression; we are all called to be artists of everyday life.”
“The purpose of this book is to invite you into a process of transformation…. Art can reconnect us with our childlike sense of wonder. When we engage art as prayer, we can remember that play is also an act of prayer, praising God out of sheer delight. We can learn to take ourselves—our art and our spirituality—a little less seriously.”
Each week is only about 10 pages long. It explores a practice or two and invites us into both contemplative and creative responses. I’m really looking forward to beginning, and I was wondering if any of you might be interested in joining me.
Does this book sound exciting, intriguing, or interesting to any of you? Would you be interested in reading it along with me? If you are, let me know in the comments or by shooting me an email through my contact page. We could create a group to share what we are learning and creating. We could cheer each other on.
UPDATE: We will be launching a book discussion group the week of August 22 through Facebook. I will begin reading chapter one that week. Feel free to join us if and when you are able.