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Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  20 reviews
How can we meet God in our everyday lives? In Earth, Our Original Monastery, Christine Valters Paintner, bestselling author and online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, shares how living contemplatively with an appreciation for the natural world can make you more aware of the presence of God in every aspect of your life. She explores monks, mystics, and saints who have experie ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 3rd 2020 by Sorin Books
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Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read the Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner several years ago, so when I saw on NetGalley she had a new book out I was immediately interested in it. I am so glad I requested it, the book turned out to be exactly what I needed at this point in my life.

The overall theme of the book is that Earth is the original monastery and therefore, the original teacher of contemplative practice. The author states that “monastic tradition has its roots in a call to be in intimate connection with natu
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Earth, Our Original Monastery, offers a framework for deepening one's relationship with the Earth. Through original material, quotes, scripture, prayer and blessings, Painter invites us into experiencing Earth as more than place rather as friend. She challenges to be thankful not only for the resources we gain from the Earth but also for what it teaches us. Each chapter guides us into a fresh perspective of the Earth, seeing the Earth as: "Original Cathedral, Original Scriptures, Original Saints ...more
Judith King
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Earth, Our Original Monastery is an answer to our prayer of overwhelm as to where to start with our restoration and reparation of our relationship to Earth. Challenged by the evidence of the scientists and the haunted cries of the children, we find ourselves wringing our hands not knowing what to do about the immensity of the threat to our homeplace of precious origin, the literal ground of our being, the very breath of our continued living. In this gift of a book, Christine Valters Painter offe ...more
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecotheology
For those of us who are looking for something a little more spiritually nourishing and less "corporate" during these trying times, Christine Valters Paintner has produced an excellent guide to getting started with growing in relationship with nature. This is a primarily Christian approach (and, more specifically, a Catholic approach) but it doesn't get too bogged down in either theological concepts or detachment of the natural world from God. It offers a good starting point for further research ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this time of the global COVID pandemic, many, if not most human beings are feeling groundless, and unmoored. The world has suddenly become a much quieter place as billions of people around the globe have suspended their usual busy routines and are told to ‘shelter in place.’ As the hustle and bustle of daily life has come screeching to a halt, enter the latest book by Christine Valters-Painter, “Earth, the Original Monastery” and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

“Earth, the Original Mon
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the second book by Christine Valters Paintner that I have read, the first being THE SOUL'S SLOW RIPENING, which I loved! When I saw that she had released another book, I knew with a certainty that I'd be in for a cozy treat. What I didn't expect, was to breeze through the book in two days time. I just couldn't seem to put it down! EARTH, OUR ORIGINAL MONASTERY answered a part of my heart and spirit that was hurting and in need of mending.

Every single page is full of wisdom and comfort,
Bonnie Westmark
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We are going to discuss this book when we meet together as Benedictine Oblates at St. Placid Priory. However, once Amazon delivered this book, I could not put it down. In the house s time of fear and uncertainty, it was a breadth of fresh air, a personal retreat of the mind and soul. I put technology away, and snuggled in front of the fire with my dog beside me to savor every page. It inspired me to plant seeds in the garden and to be aware of God’s presence and sacredness in all of nature, I so ...more
Emily Yager
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book takes on a spiritual nature walk and shows us how to connect with God through his creation. It helps us to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the earth. It gives lots of ideas to help and encourage you in your spiritual life and to draw nearer to God.

While there were a few points that didn't necessarily sit well with me (theologically speaking); this is an interesting read and definitely leaves you with some thoughts to mull over.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing

In the words of John Muir, “ Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the body’s and soul”, Earth, our Original Monastery is your spiritual field guide to experience this. Christine’s writing, invitations and bountiful resources found in this rich book leads one into the possibilities of inner growth and transformation. To begin she proposes the invitation to live in a new way as one remains open to receive a Divine embrac
Michele Hogan
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For several years I have known of Abbey of the Art. Through the years the practices and teachings of the online Monastery has nudged me to explore my own creativity while deepening my relationship with the sacred. As I turned each page of this timely book “Earth, Our Original Monastery” I discovered a kindred truth that I’ve always experienced in nature. The author writes with clarity and offers a format that is meaningful to anyone who is seeking a connection with the Holy. Christine shares way ...more
Feb 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Some lovely ideas but the overall idea of the book did not take hold for me. Still, worth reading and exploring.
Stephanie Bell
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like Christine Valters Paintner’s other books, “Earth, Our Original Monastery” is an experiential journey that invites the reader to slow down and listen through embodied practices. Christine’s writing style is both authentic and authoritative. She elegantly weaves a tapestry of ancient wisdom with modern poetic expression which organically draws the reader towards a wholistic understanding of the natural world. As a Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader, I appreciate the tangible contemplative ...more
Kayce Hughlett
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To sit and be present with Mother Earth is to be present to our most intrinsic ways of being. It is like entering a wide open cathedral whose arms embrace us with her branches, teach us lessons on the wind, and offer us grace in times of confusion and hardship. In Earth, Our Original Monastery, Christine Valters Paintner offers us beautiful ways to see, experience, and expand our relationship with Earth & nature while cultivating and deepening our personal sense of wonder and gratitude for the w ...more
Deb Nondorf
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You need to know that I own all of Christine’s books. I am a big fan, and eagerly await each new publication. Earth, Our Original Monastery is a wonderful addition. The invitation to lean into gratitude while experiencing creation is woven throughout. Other reviewers have beautifully spoken to the layers of content. I will, therefore, simply encourage you to get your own copy, pour yourself a nice cuppa, and enter into this exquisite volume.
Michelle Winter
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is the wisdom we need now. Christine Valters Paintner gives words to what we have all experienced when we walk in the woods, pick up a pebble or delight in the wind. She affirms and explains why those simple encounters with Nature nourish us so profoundly. Then she gives us the ideas and encouragement we need to care for the earth as we care for ourselves. I have enjoyed many of Paintner's books but this one is by far my favorite. ...more
Val Hornburg
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To see that teachers of grace exist everywhere means to bring a sense of reverence to the way we walk in the world. ...all our interactions with nature can be sacramental. Earth, Our Original Monastery, invites us into a constant communion with our earth and the world around us at such a critical time. It is both a love song to creation and also filled with practical, embodied prayer practices. Deeply moving, deeply grounding...beautiful.

Jessica White
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All of Christine's books are amazing, but the timeliness of slowing to look at nature couldn't be better for my soul as we've entered this specific season of self-isolation. My neglected yard has become my sanctuary. The hundreds of weeds speaking a liturgy of hardiness and persistence. The birds singing an eternally faithful worship overhead. And all the tom cats who seem to love to wander through my yard are visiting saints, sharing their street wisdom that even if the worst happens and we ca ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
In my work as a spiritual director, I often invite clients to seek the divine in nature. Christine Valters Paintner’s latest, Earth Our Original Monastery, is a wonderful resource for reading the scripture that is written throughout creation. Each chapter offers a variety of modes of prayer and exploration that engage the mind, body and spirit; contemplative walks, scripture reflection, story, creative exploration, and even invitations to try working with herbs. I particularly appreciated the bo ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those book that makes you reflect and gives you a lot of ideas for your spiritual life.
I didn't know the author but I will surely look for her other books as I loved her style of writing.
A very helpful and interesting read, I will surely read it again.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Linda Courage
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Earth, Our Original Monastery, helps us to find and know our rightful place in relationship with Earth. Each chapter engages our senses to penetrate, sink into, and rest in this finding and knowing.

Using her extensive knowledge and practice, Christine shows us how Earth is the origin of our ideas of Cathedral, Scripture, Saints, Spiritual Directors, Icons, Sacraments, and Liturgy.

Each chapter looks at how Earth gives in meaningful ways. By slowing down to engage with the transformative, creativ
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Christine Valters Paintner, PhD is the online Abbess at and the author of 13 books of nonfiction on contemplative practice and creative expression and 2 collections of poetry. She lives in Galway, Ireland where she leads pilgrimages and writing retreats with her husband John, as well as in Scotland, Germany, and Austria. They also offer a series of online companion retreats to h ...more

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