Christine Valters Paintner

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.

(Christine Valters Paintner)

Christine Valters Paintner

This is not a poem

but a rain-soaked day keeping me inside
with you and you loving me like a storm.

This is a record of a hundred mornings
when the sun lifted above the stone hills outside my window.

This is not a poem but me standing perfectly still on the edge of the lake
in autumn, watching a hundred starlings like prayer flags fluttering.

This is my face buried in May’s first pink peony,

petals just now parting, eyes closed, inhaling.

This is the place where clocks no longer matter unless
it is the dusty gold watch which belonged to my grandfather.

This is not a poem but me standing desolate in a parade
of white gravestones, when a single bluebird lands and sings.

This is the bunch of Gerbera daisies you handed to me one foggy
February afternoon, pale yellow like the long-forgotten sun.

This is the first bite of bread after too many hungry days,
this is my grandmother whispering her secrets to me after dusk.

This is not a poem, but me taking off my clothes
and stepping eagerly into the cold mid-December sea.

This is the silence between breaths and in that stillness
this is me saying yes and yes and yes.

Christine Valters Paintner is an American poet and writer living in Galway, Ireland. She is the author of ten books of nonfiction on creative process and contemplative practice and her poems have been published in The Galway ReviewBoyne BerriesHeadstuffSkylight 47Spiritus JournalAnchorPresence: Journal of Spiritual Directors InternationalARTSCrannogNorth West WordsTiferet, Artis Natura, The Blue Nib, and U.S. Catholic and are forthcoming in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, and Anglican Theological Review. Her first collection, Dreaming of Stones, is forthcoming from Paraclete Press in 2019.

She was shortlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award in 2013, 2014, and 2017, was a featured reader at Over the Edge in 2015, came in second for the Galway University Hospital Arts Trust Poetry Competition in 2016, and was shortlisted for the Dermot Healy Poetry Prize in 2017.

Christine is the author of ten books:

  • The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women
  • Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics
  • The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within
  • Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice
  • Desert Mothers and Fathers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings — Annotated & Explained
  • The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom
  • Lectio Divina–The Sacred Art: Transforming Words and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer
  • Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements
  • Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction
  • Lectio Divina: Contemplative Awakening and Awareness

Here are comments on a few of her books:

On Illuminating the Way:

In this creative work Christine Valters Paintner offers us a pilgrimage through the lives of sages, healers, mystics, visionaries, and more—inviting us to feast on their wisdom and explore how their gift of life can illuminate the way for us. This is a wonderful resource and I joyfully recommend it. (Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B., author, spiritual guide, and a Benedictine monastic of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.)

On Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice:

Opening Christine Paintner’s Eyes of the Heart is like entering a garden in full bloom. This modern-day monk knows the essential secrets to sacred living and joyful being and she shares them freely. (Jan Phillips, photographer and author)

On Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements:

Simple and powerful, this book will be a welcome new resource for individuals and groups seeking spiritual connection to creation. (Publishers Weekly)

Here is how Christine describes herself:

There are three identities I currently hold dear:

Poet: I look beneath the surface to find beauty in all things and then offer that back to others. I seek to cultivate this kind of presence in the midst of ordinary life, finding poems everywhere.

Hermit: Silence nourishes me deeply and I take regular times of solitude, often in the woods or by the sea to help me hear a deeper voice.

Mystic: I am called to follow in the tradition of the many who have felt a passionate desire for connection to the divine and I am blessed to share this path with others.

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