Christine Valters Paintner: Wild Silence and the Cloister of the Earth (Part Two)

Our conversation with Christine Valters Paintner concludes with this episode.

Christine is the online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering programs and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She is the author of thirteen books on monasticism and creativity, including her most recent Earth, Our Original Monastery and her second collection of poems forthcoming this fall, The Wisdom of Wild Grace.

Wild, for me, is breaking beyond the confines of the limits of our imagination… wild, for me, is a doorway into this more expansive image of the Divine… wild, for me, is this understanding of the great Mystery that is. You can’t commodify wild or mystery, you can’t define it; this gift of wildness also asks us to access our intuitive knowing and our embodied knowing, as well. — Christine Valters Paintner

She leads writing retreats and pilgrimages in Ireland, Scotland, Austria, and Germany and online retreats at her website AbbeyoftheArts.com, living out her commitment as a Benedictine Oblate in Galway, Ireland, with her husband, John.

Christine returns to Encountering Silence (click here to listen to her previous interview with us, from 2018) bringing her warm, wise and inclusive spirituality which encompasses deep contemplation with an inspiring commitment to creative expression.

This is part two of a two part episode. Click here to listen to part one.

Some of the Resources and Authors We Mention In This Episode:

Episode 95: Wild Silence and the Cloister of the Earth: A Conversation with Christine Valters Paintner (Part Two)
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Date Recorded: March 30, 2020

Featured image photo credit: Burren/Seashore Photo by Gabriel Ramos on Unsplash.

Christine Valters Paintner: Wild Silence and the Cloister of the Earth (Part One)

Christine Valters Paintner is the online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering programs and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She is the author of thirteen books on monasticism and creativity, including her most recent Earth, Our Original Monastery and her second collection of poems forthcoming this fall, The Wisdom of Wild Grace.

This is part one of a two part episode. To listen to part two, click here.

Earth is the place where we learn our most fundamental prayers, hear the call of the wild arising at dawn to awaken us to a new day, participate in the primal liturgy of praise unfolding all around us, and experience the wisdom and guidance of the seasons. — Christine Valters Paintner, Earth: Our Original Monastery

She leads writing retreats and pilgrimages in Ireland, Scotland, Austria, and Germany and online retreats at her website AbbeyoftheArts.com, living out her commitment as a Benedictine Oblate in Galway, Ireland, with her husband, John.

Christine returns to Encountering Silence (click here to listen to her previous interview with us, from 2018) bringing her warm, wise and inclusive spirituality which encompasses deep contemplation with an inspiring commitment to creative expression.

Everything in creation becomes a catalyst for my deepened self-understanding. The forest asks me to embrace my truth once again. The hummingbird invites me to sip holy nectar, the egret to stretch out my wings, the sparrows to remember my flock. Each pine cone contains an epiphany; each smooth stone offers a revelation. I watch and witness as the sun slowly makes her long arc across the sky and discover my own rising and falling. The moon will sing of quiet miracles, like those which reveal and conceal the world every day right before our eyes.  — Christine Valters Paintner, Earth: Our Original Monastery

Some of the Resources and Authors We Mention In This Episode:

Episode 94: Wild Silence and the Cloister of the Earth: A Conversation with Christine Valters Paintner (Part One)
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Date Recorded: March 30, 2020

Featured photo credit: Kilmacduagh Monastery photograph by Carl McColman, copyright 2002.

Encountering Silence in Times of Crisis

This week the Encountering Silence podcast features just the three of us — Cassidy, Kevin and Carl — reflecting on this extraordinary moment we find ourselves in.

Recorded on March 24, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, naturally we are reflecting on the spirituality of silence and solitude while much of the world has embraced the necessity of sheltering-at-home and social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus.

But we also recognize that the challenges we are collectively facing during this pandemic could have parallels in almost any crisis situation — any time when life’s circumstances present us with situations where we recognize we are not fully in control, we are faced with silence and solitude that may not be of our own choosing, and we are invited to recognize how important it is to embrace our common humanity and relatedness to one another.

Silence is all about releasing control, and all about letting go and being, and melting into this vision of unity… this collective common good, this oneness. — Cassidy Hall

Carl, Cassidy, and Kevin

You’ve been trained, your whole life, to focus on thinking, words, achievement, doing… so now when you having something like silence and stillness, we don’t have places for that in our culture, forced upon you… well, it’s a struggle, because you’re fighting a habit. — Kevin Johnson

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

At the end of the episode, Cassidy quotes from the wonderful poem “Stay Home” by Wendell Berry. Here is a recording in which Berry reads his own poem, followed by a musical setting of it, from the CD Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music.

Silence and solitude and stillness and contemplation do not exist just to facilitate action. There is a place in which silence and solitude and stillness exist simply because they are good and they are necessary. — Carl McColman

Episode 93: Encountering Silence in  Times of Crisis
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Date Recorded: March 24, 2020

Featured image: Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash.

Pádraig Ó Tuama: Silence, Poetry, and Conflict Resolution (Part Two)

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, and conflict mediator, who brings interests in language, violence and religion to his work. He is the Poet Laureate and Theologian in Residence for the On Being project, and hosts the Poetry Unbound podcast. He was formerly the leader of the Corrymeela Community (Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community), and is the author of four books, including Readings from the Book of Exile, Sorry For Your Troubles, In the Shelter: Finding a Home In the World and Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community.

In this episode not only does Pádraig share some thoughts of some of his favorite poets and other authors, but he also offers detailed advice for the beginning writer of poetry.

This is part two of a two-part episode. To listen to part one, click here.

It is mostly poets that I turn to for theology. — Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó Tuama with Carl McColman in Northern Ireland, Summer 2010

 

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

There’s something about the space of loneliness and silence in writing something and wondering, ‘Will this stand the test of time?’ I know poets who won’t show a poem to anyone before it’s sat for a year, some editing, etc., but that they need it to distill, like whisky, that it needs to have that kind of a quality to it. — Pádraig Ó Tuama

Episode 92: Silence, Poetry, and Conflict Resolution: A Conversation with Pádraig Ó Tuama (Part Two)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Pádraig Ó Tuama
Date Recorded: February 17, 2020

Featured image photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash.

Pádraig Ó Tuama: Silence, Poetry, and Conflict Resolution (Part One)

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, and conflict mediator, who brings interests in language, violence and religion to his work. He is the Poet Laureate and Theologian in Residence for the On Being project, and hosts the Poetry Unbound podcast. He was formerly the leader of the Corrymeela Community (Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community), and is the author of four books, including Readings from the Book of Exile, Sorry For Your Troubles, In the Shelter: Finding a Home In the World and Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community.

This is part one of a two-part episode. Click here to listen to part two.

I think that the deepest spiritual practices are the deepest physical practices, and that the deepest practices of silence are an embodied practice. — Pádraig Ó Tuama

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Pádraig Ó Tuama with Carl McColman in Northern Ireland, Summer 2010

Silence has its own power, and silence can be a way of avoiding. I suppose the hope within any kind of practice of prayer of any tradition, is that any silence that we are holding is also being beheld. There’s something or someone or some way of that mystery we call God, that beholds us in the silence that we might be beholding for ourselves. — Pádraig Ó Tuama

Episode 91: Silence, Poetry, and Conflict Resolution: A Conversation with Pádraig Ó Tuama (Part One)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Pádraig Ó Tuama
Date Recorded: February 17, 2020

Featured image: photo by Adam Markon on Unsplash.

Therese Schroeder-Sheker: Silence, Music, and Death (Part Two)

Silence takes many forms: silent prayer, the silence of meditation and contemplation, the silence of the wilderness and the desert, the relationship between silence and creativity or silence and politics.

Silence also shapes and informs one of the great mysteries of life: the mystery of death.

This is part two of a two-part episode. To listen to part one, click here.

Photo credits: ©Lynn Johnson, all rights reserved, used by permission.
Photo credits: ©Lynn Johnson, all rights reserved, used by permission.

 

Harpist, singer and composer Therese Schroeder-Sheker has devoted her life to exploring this greatest silence of all, through more than forty years of clinical experience serving the physical and spiritual needs of the dying with prescriptive music. Ms. Schroeder-Sheker founded the palliative medical modality of music-thanatology and The Chalice of Repose Project, the first music-thanatology organization in the world. 

Her beautiful and award-winning recordings include The Queen’s MinstrelRosa Mysticaand The Geography of the Soul. She is the author of Transitus: A Blessed Death in the Modern WorldAs the title of that book suggests, her work has a contemplative dimension that explores how music can be a gift to those who are dying or in hospice or palliative care.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:

Episode 90: Silence, Music, and Death: A Conversation with Therese Schroeder-Sheker (Part Two)
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Therese Schroeder-Sheker
Date Recorded: December 17, 2019

Featured photo: ©Lynn Johnson, all rights reserved, used by permission.

Therese Schroeder-Sheker: Silence, Music, and Death (Part One)

Silence takes many forms: silent prayer, the silence of meditation and contemplation, the silence of the wilderness and the desert, the relationship between silence and creativity or silence and politics.

Silence also shapes and informs one of the great mysteries of life: the mystery of death.

Norman Lockwood was trying to teach me about fasting from sound, that helped cleanse both my inner life and the sensoria. And that set the stage for the possibility of being able to hear something new, as a composer or as a performing artist. — Therese Schroeder-Sheker

Harpist, singer and composer Therese Schroeder-Sheker has devoted her life to exploring this greatest silence of all, through more than forty years of clinical experience serving the physical and spiritual needs of the dying with prescriptive music. Ms. Schroeder-Sheker founded the palliative medical modality of music-thanatology and The Chalice of Repose Project, the first music-thanatology organization in the world. 

Her beautiful and award-winning recordings include The Queen’s Minstrel, Rosa Mystica, and The Geography of the Soul. She is the author of Transitus: A Blessed Death in the Modern World. As the title of that book suggests, her work has a contemplative dimension that explores how music can be a gift to those who are dying or in hospice or palliative care.

This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two will be released next week.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:

Episode 89: Silence, Music, and Death: A Conversation with Therese Schroeder-Sheker (Part One)
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Therese Schroeder-Sheker
Date Recorded: December 17, 2019

Featured Image: Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash.

Dr. Robert J. Wicks: The Tao of Ordinary Silence (Part Two)

Dr. Robert Wicks is professor emeritus of Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University Maryland, a prolific author, and an internationally-known speaker on topics such as spirituality, mindfulness, self-care, and stress management. His many books include Everyday Simplicity: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth, Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm, Night Call: Embracing Compassion and Hope in a Troubled World, and his latest, The Tao of Ordinariness: Humility and Simplicity in a Narcissistic Age

I think that anytime we can get together and speak about something that is so important as silence, it really is worth the effort, isn’t it? — Robert J. Wicks

Note: this is part two of a two-part interview. To listen to part one, click here.

Dr. Wicks received his doctorate in Psychology from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital. According to his website, his “major area of expertise is the prevention of secondary stress which encompasses the pressures encountered in reaching out to others.  He integrates sound psychology and basic spiritual truths to set the stage for profound personal transformation.  He has cultivated this experience through research and clinical practice with psychotherapists, physicians, nurses, educators, relief workers, lawyers, corporate executives and persons in full-time ministry.”

People say “Well, I can’t seem to sense God.” Well, you’re too busy in your head thinking. If you look at the energy in a city and experience it; if you’re in a quiet place in the forest and you hear the birds that you’ve never heard, you’re hearing the voice of God. The problem is, you’re not listening — you’re hearing, but you’re not listening. — Robert J. Wicks

Dr. Wicks joined the Encountering Silence team on Skype to share his thoughts on the sacred place where spirituality and mental health meet — and the vital place for silence in that nexus.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:

Episode 88: The Tao of Ordinary Silence: A Conversation with Dr. Robert J. Wicks (Part Two)
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall, Carl McColman
Date Recorded: December 9, 2019

Dr. Robert J. Wicks: The Tao of Ordinary Silence (Part One)

Dr. Robert Wicks is professor emeritus of Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University Maryland, a prolific author, and an internationally-known speaker on topics such as spirituality, mindfulness, self-care, and stress management. His many books include Everyday Simplicity: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth, Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm, Night Call: Embracing Compassion and Hope in a Troubled World, and his latest, The Tao of Ordinariness: Humility and Simplicity in a Narcissistic Age

Note: This is part one of a two-part interview. To listen to part two, click here.

Dr. Wicks received his doctorate in Psychology from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital. According to his website, his “major area of expertise is the prevention of secondary stress which encompasses the pressures encountered in reaching out to others.  He integrates sound psychology and basic spiritual truths to set the stage for profound personal transformation.  He has cultivated this experience through research and clinical practice with psychotherapists, physicians, nurses, educators, relief workers, lawyers, corporate executives and persons in full-time ministry.”

Dr. Wicks joined the Encountering Silence team on Skype to share his thoughts on the sacred place where spirituality and mental health meet — and the vital place for silence in that nexus.

Author Dr Robert Wicks, Ellicott City, MD

 

Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:

Episode 87: The Tao of Ordinary Silence: A Conversation with Dr. Robert J. Wicks (Part One)
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall, Carl McColman
Date Recorded: December 9, 2019

J. Brent Bill: Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love — and Holy Silence (Part Two)

For our latest “Encountering Silence field recording,” Cassidy Hall visits the farm of Indiana Quaker author J. Brent Bill for a conversation about silence and other essential elements of life. This is part two of a two-part episode; click here to listen to part one.

Cassidy Hall and J. Brent Bill

J. Brent Bill is a Quaker minister, retreat leader, and photographer. He’s written more than twenty books, including Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality and Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life. He has served as a local church pastor, denominational executive, seminary faculty member, and go-kart track operator. He lives on Ploughshares Farm, which is forty acres of former farmland being reclaimed to tall grass prairie and native hardwood forest.

Finding rhythms of silence throughout our days, our ordinary day, really returns us to center, returns us to God, and keeps us centered. — J. Brent Bill

Portrait of J. Brent Bill in coffee, by Chris Hagebak

In writing, especially, I need the centeredness of silence, especially in the editing stages, to say ‘Is this the right word? What am I conveying here, and am I conveying it in such a way that it can be heard? And the only way I can do that is to look at the words in silence. And I do regard my writing as a form of worship, in an exploration, too, in worship of where God is leading me. — J. Brent Bill

Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:

Episode 86: Beauty, Truth, Life, Love — and Holy Silence: A Conversation with J. Brent Bill (Part Two)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
Date Recorded: December 3, 2019