The Artist's Rule by Christine Valters Paintner

The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by [Paintner, Christine Valters]


For creatives with a strong bent toward the spiritual and the contemplative, you will find treasure in this book. Written by a Benedictine oblate, Christine Valters Paintner presents a 12-week course for establishing a spiritual/creative practice by using some of the Rules of St. Benedict.

I enjoyed the book to a point. Though I consider myself more reflective than unreflective, I still found her exercises, in most cases, something I wouldn't waste my time on.

Well, maybe when I was younger, I would have.

That's not to say others wouldn't find it to be just what they need. Or to say that I got nothing from the book.

I especially enjoyed her descriptions about The Divine Hours, which are the sacred cycles of each day, and their connection to the creative process.

I also enjoyed learning about a Benedictine monk's commitments to Obedience, Stability, and Conversion, and how those commitments can support the growth of a spiritual/creative practice.

Obedience is "listening deeply to the ways God calls you in everyday life and how you respond." It's about being faithful to the call God has put upon your life and not spending your precious time on things that don't further that call.

Stability is not responding to restlessness of heart and mind by searching for new experiences, new relationships, new geographical locations, in order to escape your problems by avoiding them. It's about finding mystery in ordinary life, growing long-lasting, deep relationships, and getting to know the people in the communities you're involved in. It's about staying with your problems and solving them where you're at.

Conversion is stability's opposite. It's asking yourself, "What is worth living for in this place at this time?" Having asked, it's acting in accordance with the answers discerned.

Those were the ideas I liked best in this book, however I also liked some of her other ideas as well.

If you're a fan of Kathleen Norris, you will be a fan of Christine Valters Paintner. 

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