Vigils: Intimacy with the Void

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012 in News, Otherhood, Vigils | No Comments

The title of poet Paul Celan’s 1967 collection, Atemwende (in English: Breathturn), suggests that mysterious moment at the end of the out-breath and the beginning of the in-breath. What happens in that gap is… a gap. It permits no concepts (not even “emptiness”) and yet, ineffably, is a part of the fullness of human experience. The breathturn has its […]

Otherhood, the Podcast: Episode 1, Christine Valters Paintner and “The Artist’s Rule”

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Otherhood | 24 Comments
Otherhood, the Podcast: Episode 1, Christine Valters Paintner and “The Artist’s Rule”

Meet Otherhood, the Podcast. In this, the first episode, I interview Christine Valters Paintner about her new book (the Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul With Monastic Wisdom), the oblate life, and what it means to be both an artist and a monk. BTW, we’re giving away a free copy of the Artist’s Rule to […]

Creating an Art Monastery

Posted by on Mar 6, 2011 in Otherhood | 10 Comments
Creating an Art Monastery

Living in intentional community is not for everyone—the idea triggers an autoimmune response in some people, for whom it might signify the sacrifice of personal autonomy and individuality—but once you develop a taste for the stuff, it doesn’t fade. I unabashedly love it.

Since I began this blog-inquiry into monasticism just six months ago, dissecting Taoism, Vedanta, Eastern and Western Christianity, as well as the various vehicles of Buddhism into what I have called the elements of monasticism, community is an element I haven’t written about directly much at all. Yet it figures in my mind as an important piece of what all monasticisms are aiming at. For those individuals who dwell in abbeys, ashrams, friaries, priories, sketes, lavras, mathas, mandirs, koils, gompas, lamaseries, wats, viharas, community is a powerful spiritual practice.

So we’re making a monastery.Living in intentional community is not for everyone—the idea triggers an autoimmune response in some people, for whom it might signify the sacrifice of personal autonomy and individuality—but once you develop a taste for the stuff, it doesn’t fade. I unabashedly love it.

Since I began this blog-inquiry into monasticism just six months ago, dissecting Taoism, Vedanta, Eastern and Western Christianity, as well as the various vehicles of Buddhism into what I have called the elements of monasticism, community is an element I haven’t written about directly much at all. Yet it figures in my mind as an important piece of what all monasticisms are aiming at. For those individuals who dwell in abbeys, ashrams, friaries, priories, sketes, lavras, mathas, mandirs, koils, gompas, lamaseries, wats, viharas, community is a powerful spiritual practice.

So we’re making a monastery.

Economies of Merit

Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 in Otherhood | No Comments

In many monastic and religious traditions, ethical and spiritual “merit” gets traded like a commodity.1 Nuns and monks agree to live a certain way, abiding by a certain kind of behavior (which their society has deemed the most virtuous or ethical), and in exchange they don’t have to earn their own money to stay alive, […]

Baudelaire was an artmonk (kinda)

Posted by on Oct 20, 2010 in Blog | No Comments

At One O’Clock in the Morning A prayer of sorts by Charles Baudelaire: Alone, at last! Not a sound to be heard but the rumbling of some belated and decrepit cabs. For a few hours we shall have silence, if not repose. At last the tyranny of the human face has disappeared, and I myself […]

Announcing: 2011 Artmonk Retreat, Joshua Tree, CA

Posted by on Oct 1, 2010 in Otherhood | 2 Comments

What Artmonk Retreat. 10 days, 9 nights. Part silent meditation retreat, Part transformational art ritual. Vipassana, Gregorian chant, musical improvisation, ritual theater, group exercises, and more, in an incredible setting. When The second-ever Artmonk retreat will begin (after a concert in the Integratron by a handful of artmonks) in the late afternoon on Saturday January […]

Up to our necks in Augustine

Posted by on Sep 30, 2010 in Otherhood | No Comments

On Saturday the Art Monastery, a community of artists from a wide range of spiritual traditions working to apply the tools of monasticism to art-making instead of religion, will embark on a 7-day silent retreat in the Jesuit tradition, in which the primary form of activity (and inactivity) will be to read the Rule of […]

Huffington Post » Sister Joan Chittister, OSB: The Artist and Monk Are One

Posted by on Aug 28, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Here’s something that almost completely captures what we’re doing at the Art Monastery: If, indeed, truth is beauty and beauty truth, then the monastic and the artist are one. Monasticism, in fact, cultivates the artistic spirit. Basic to monasticism are the very qualities art demands of the artist: silence, contemplation, discernment of spirits, community and […]

Five leadership secrets of the Trappist monk, in the Washington Post

Posted by on Aug 18, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Meath Conlan posted a July 14th Washington Post article that comes close to the point of In Otherhood, learning from monastic tradition. Head over to Conlan’s blog to read “5 leadership secrets of the Trappist monk,” by Stephen Martin. Trappist monks, Martin points out, are some of the best social entrepreneurs on the planet. It is […]

Getting the questions right

Posted by on Aug 16, 2010 in Otherhood | No Comments

Examples of the secular world learning from the world’s ancient contemplative and spiritual traditions abound.  Neuroscientists, psychologists, doctors, cognitive scientists and cosmologists are learning from inner technologies of meditation and contemplative practice. But what of the outer, visible, measurable technologies of those traditions? How are we learning from those technologies that fit into what is […]