I AM a feather on the breath of God
Feathers come in different sizes, shapes,
colors and textures
God uses my uniqueness
to radiate the world
I AM one feather, and i delight
in the feather that i am.
I AM a flute through which the
wind of the hours plays music
There are a variety of flutes on this earth:
Different tones, different timbers
God uses my sometimes klunky instrument
to play in the symphony
I AM one flute, and i delight
in the flute that i am.
I AM a being through which the Divine river flows
All rivers return to the ocean,
Taking different routes to get there
God has wound my river on a
weird and wonderful path
I AM one river, and i delight
in the river that i am.
-Poetry and artwork by Dr. Jamie Marich,
based on lines from St. Hildegard of Bingen, Khalil Gibran, and Rainer Maria Rilke
The Wisdom of the Body: Review of Christine Paintner's Newest Book with Link to Teleconference with Dr. Jamie Marich (3/10/17)
What an honor and privilege to interview Dr. Christine Valters Paintner, a graduate of our Dancing Mindfulness facilitator training program as she celebrates the release of her 10th book, The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women (Sorin Books, 2017). Christine is the abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a vibrant and active ministry. Although based in Galway, Ireland, the abbey is global in its outreach, especially through a variety of courses, retreats, and other offerings made online (including the popular Facebook group, Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks).
In Christine's latest book, built from decades of personal experience of her own journey with embodied healing, readers are led through a self-directed retreat experience. Various topics of struggle for women are covered, such as desire, emotional expression, and depletion from true nourishment. Each chapter invites readers into a series of exercises where they can explore, and if they so choose, embody the content inherent in this journey. Expressive arts practices (including conscious dance), yin yoga, and invitations to reflect on wisdom of the ages (presented through Christine's own vibrantly lived experience) make this content come alive. A special feature is that in each chapter, Christine offers a sacred feminine guide for the journey. Women like St. Hildegard of Bingen, Eve, Amma Syncletia, and many others are presented in refreshed light so that modern women may be inspired to draw on these guides, and their teachings, as sources of wisdom.
I had the distinct pleasure of offering Christine consultation on her manuscript (and am delighted to be included in the acknowledgments), specifically in the area of trauma-informed presentation. Although Christine writes from a Christian ministry perspective and as an expressive arts educator, I believe that her work should be required reading for therapists who work with women. There are so many solutions offered within The Wisdom of the Body that can help women in their healing, especially from legacies of trauma that wreak havoc on the body.
Listen to an interview that I conducted with Christine on 3/10/17 (a live teleconference) as we talked about her own experiences with learning to honor her body, her work with Abbey of the Arts, and of course the newest book. The interview wraps up with a dynamic discussion about why this work is so relevant for women in modern times. Learning to love and embraces one's body in the face of cultural messages suggesting otherwise is a supreme feminist action! -Jamie
Listen on Website (above) or Download (below)
Beloved St. Hildegard, sacred doctor of spiritual knowing
A woman, a leader who spoke truth to corruption and power
Long before power was ready
A sage, a mystic, a healer who guided us towards
Nourishing the greening power in our lives
A creator, a vessel of the expressive and
Cultivator of the sacred, verdant fruits of
Watering our true natures with faith.
We find ourselves in a bit of a bind
Here in 2017, and we beg for your leadership as
Women are under attack in a new way
By the systems of power long seeking to silence us.
New leaders take the helm, put there by
Campaigns of fear and systems who feed from
The vulnerable and the weak
The green thread that binds humanity is severed.
We call upon you to teach us how to heal
The green thread.
Show us the way to water,
Help us to cultivate the soil.
Remind us how to nourish our lives with
The elements that service our souls and
The earth entire...
Grant us the patience as we realize that
Sometimes healing is slow---
Indeed, the richest healing usually is!
Help us to savor, to find the greening
Miracles in each day
To recognize that each morsel of healing
Will help us to repair, to replenish the earth.
Poem and painting by Jamie Marich
Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity