The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women

The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women

by Christine Valters Paintner


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The distorted view of the perfect female body created by popular culture, television, movies, and the media often causes women to become uncomfortable with their own bodies. Christine Valters Paintner, popular author of nine books and abbess of the online retreat center Abbey of the Arts, draws from Celtic, desert, and Benedictine traditions to help women connect with their bodies through writing, visual art, and movement.

In The Wisdom of the Body, Christine Valters Paintner focuses on the true meaning of the Incarnation—God became flesh—and points to the spiritual importance of appreciating the bodies God gave us.

Each of the book’s ten chapters is a mini-workshop designed to lead us to new ways of being in relationship with our bodies. Starting with the senses and shifting toward emotions and desires, Paintner explores their role as thresholds to discovering the body’s wisdom. She draws from Christian tradition to offer principles and practices such as stability, hospitality, and gratitude to lead us on a journey that ends with a sense of deep peace and self-acceptance.

Through expressive arts and creative movement, Paintner demonstrates a new a language and way of integrating and sharing our discoveries. By exploring the lives of women in the Bible and in the Christian tradition—including Eve, Mary, Hildegaard of Bingen, and Amma Syncletica—Paintner introduces us to companions that accompany us on our journey.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781933495828
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Publication date: 03/03/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 335,345
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Christine Valters Paintner is the online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering classes and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She earned a doctorate in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and achieved professional status as a registered expressive arts consultant and educator from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.

Paintner is the author of thirteen books on monasticism and creativity, including The Soul’s Slow Ripening; Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire; The Artist’s Rule; The Soul of a Pilgrim; Illuminating the Way; The Wisdom of the Body; and a collection of poems called Dreaming of Stones. She leads writing retreats and pilgrimages in Ireland, Scotland, Austria, and Germany and online retreats at her website, living out her commitment as a Benedictine Oblate in Galway, Ireland, with her husband, John.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Viriditas: Claiming New Body Stories 13

2 Breath: The Gateway to the Body 33

3 Senses: The Threshold and Sacrament of Experience 53

4 Feelings and Desire: The Ocean of Emotion 73

5 Thoughts: The Inner Witness 93

6 Exile and Lament: The Vulnerability of the Body 109

7 Holiness Made Flesh: The Incarnation and Embodied Life 131

8 Ecstasy and Reclaiming Joy: Expanding Our Threshold of Tolerance 151

9 The Greening of the Body: The Earth as Matrix 173

10 Coming Home to Your Body: The Vocation of the Body 189

Conclusion 203

Acknowledgments 207

Notes 209

Additional Resources 213

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