The Experience of Contentment

"Contentment doesn't mean we are always happy about life events or deny the reality of pain. We cultivate contentment by cultivating the inner witness who is able to respond to life from a place of calmness, peace, and tranquility. It means we honor that what is given to us in any moment is enough. So it is the 'still heart' — the heart of equanimity — that can welcome everything in. Instead of always living with a sense of dissatisfaction about our lives, or anticipation over what comes next, we live in the knowledge that this moment contains everything we need to be at peace, to experience freedom, to develop compassion for ourselves and others, to find God. Benedict's rule counsels contentment with what we have, a sense that what is, is 'enough.' We don't need anything more and so we are content. When we experience contentment we have softened our bodies, minds, and hearts so that we are able to release the unconscious resistances we hold to our own experience."
Lectio Divina - The Sacred Art

Live Simply

"When we live simply, we relinquish expectations for how things will or should be, and remain present to the way things really are. We bring a contemplative presence to the world, compassionate and curious about what we might discover. Simplicity opens wide the doors for a process of letting go, allowing us to be fully present to the graces given us in this precise moment."
The Artist's Rule

In Praise of Walking

"The contemplative dimension of walking comes through my presence to the world around me and to what is moving through me as I walk. I listen for the ways the divine is speaking through the world. I listen to my own heart beating more loudly because of the vigor of my movement. I listen for the ways that new ideas arise in this space."
The Artist's Rule

Two Spiritual Exercises with Flowing Water

"Keep a bowl of water or a shell on your altar to remember the element of water in your prayer. Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift from the Sea contemplates a shell and asks, 'What is the shape of my life?' Take a walk along the beach and look for a shell that captures your attention; ask what its shape might be telling you about your life.

"Spend some time by the sea, paying attention to the rise and fall of the tides. Honor what is rising and falling within you. Listen to what the sound of the waves evokes within you. Take time to free-write in a journal in response."
Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire


"Honoring our limits as creatures can be deeply liberating, as is surrendering our demanding inner perfectionism. How often do we resist beginning a creative project due to the fear that it will not live up to the image in our minds? Humility invites us to release those expectations and enter into the call of our gifts, knowing that it may look very differently from what we imagined.

"Gently and compassionately recognizing our flaws can bind us closer to others and to God. We must have patience with the unfolding of our lives and the world, and understand that God's kingdom unfolds in God's time. When we do so, we discover that we are not solely responsible for saving the world. Acknowledging these limits can liberate us from our compulsions and frantic busyness and lead us toward recognizing our interdependence. In this way, each of our gifts contributes to the whole."
The Artist's Rule

Try Blessings

"In Jewish tradition, there are blessings for most activities of the day as a way of consecrating each action. Blessings allow us to bring our awareness to everything we do as a participation in the unfolding of the sacred mystery in our daily lives. If you find writing the blessing for your creative work satisfying, consider writing short blessings for other daily tasks like cooking, sleeping, and cleaning."
The Artist's Rule

Honoring the Four Elements

"By bringing the four elements into our prayer, we can cultivate two primary connections: First, by rooting our prayer in connection with the elements, we begin to forge an awareness of how much we are a part of creation and share in the earth's elements. We may begin to experience ourselves as part of the same creation as other of God's creatures.

Second, in opening ourselves to the metaphors that the elements offer us for how God works in the world, we discover a God who dwells at the heart of all living things, who sustains and transforms creation moment by moment, and who is an indispensable presence in the world. Reflecting on the nature of God in connection with the four elements helps to strengthen our sense of the sacred presence in our midst and reveals a God whose immanence shimmers through creation."
Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire

Blessing of Water

"Spirit of Living Water,
You hold all of creation in your womb
And spring us forward onto the earth at birth.

Spirit of the Tides,
Remind me of the rise and fall of your rhythms
So that I may discover them deep within my own being.

Spirit of Greenness,
Bring moistness and vigor to my life
So that I may savor the experience of your energy
Moving through me out into the world.

Blessings of water be upon me.
May I be carried by the flow of the great river of life.
May I discover a hidden spring within, gushing forth,
May I be carried to the shores of the sacred and renewed."
Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire

Journeying Through Life

"The monastic way and artist's path are both ways of being in the world and journeying though life. . . .

"The inner monk seeks God as the source of all being, searches for a mystical connection to the Divine Source, longs for what is most essential in life, and cultivates this through a commitment to spiritual practice. The monk is nourished through silence and a commitment to see everything as sacred.

The inner artist engages the world through the senses and is passionate about beauty, seeking to express it through a variety of media (including visual art, poetry, movement, song, gardening, cooking, relationships, etc.). Artists bring a sense of wonder to their work and open up new ways of seeing the world."
The Artist's Rule

Sacred Tools and Sacred Space

"Be. Here. This moment. Now is all there is, don't go seeking another. Discover the sacred in your artist's tools; they are the vessels of the altar of your own unfolding. Look at this cup of holy water, washing clean the brushes. See the blank page, awaiting your blessing. Gaze on the colors before you, each one a name of God: Saffron, Cobalt, Azure, Ruby. Say each one slowly and taste its juice in your mouth. Let this be your prayer. Brush them across the page. First the small strokes, then the large sweeps. Lose track of all time. This too is prayer. Listen for the words that rise up: Awaken. Envision. Sing, Alleluia. Place marks on the page saying I am here. Watch as word and image dance together. Luminous. Illuminated. This is your sacred text. This is where God's words are spoken, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in shouts. Be there to catch them as they pass over those sacred lips, tumbling so generously into your open arms."
The Artist's Rule