Tag Archives: body

Sculpting Project Eight: Talking Back: Week 2

Sculpting Project Eight: Talking Back Week 2

Jill B. Taylor, a brain scientist from Harvard, suffered a stroke in a portion of her left hemisphere. Through eight years of healing she recovered the use of the affected brain regions and found her experience to be a Stroke of Insight.

The ‘Story Teller’ is the name she gave to a portion of her affected left brain. All of our brains have a Story Teller that has the job of taking bits of data and putting them together into a logical story. As Jill Taylor recovered her Story Teller she became intrigued with it’s ability to take tiny pieces of information and turn them into stories. She was amused at the Story Tellers antics until she realized that her brain fully expected her to believe the stories it made up. She had become savvy enough to realize that these sketchy stories “ain’t necessarily so”.

When we Talk Back we are correcting some of the assumptions of the Story Teller.

Martin Seligman, past president APA and the founder of Positive Psychology offers us a tool he calls ABCDE. The ‘D’ step is Talking Back.

ABCDE: (with adjustments to add the reality of the Holy Spirit)

A – Adversity. The problem happens, or comes to mind.

My new friend does not return my phone call.

B- Belief. I start talking to myself about my beliefs related to this situation.

Why haven’t they called back? They probably don’t really like me. And they aren’t the only ones; none of my friends call me any more. For the rest of my life I will just be sitting at home, lonely. There is nothing I can do to fix it.

C – Consequences. My emotions kick in, my body starts to feel their effects and my behavior follows.

I become sad. My stomach starts to churn. My body becomes weak. I crawl off to bed ignoring the phone when it rings.

D – Disputation. I correct my belief by disputing with it. I invite the Holy Spirit to come and give me wisdom in dealing with this situation. I ask God to come to my aid in this situation and I give Him thanks.

God, I am hurting. I feel so alone here. My stomach is all knotted up with sadness, help me to see things your way. Holy Spirit, guide my thinking. Maybe I don’t have all the facts here. And I do have some friends that call me, thank you for them. In fact, last week I went out to lunch with one. Maybe my friend’s answering machine is not working. Or maybe they are sad and just crawled into bed like I have. Maybe that phone call I just ignored was them.

E – Energization. My emotions and body start to feel better and I am energized with better behavior.

I get out of bed and make another phone call.

A: Adversity, B: your beliefs and C: the consequences happen naturally. D: disputation is where we step in with the guidance from God and are able to adopt a new belief about the adversity. E is the resulting gift from God.

Redwood forests, aspen forests in the early winter and my mind after Talking Back: deeply quiet.


Sculpting Project Six: The Gift of Breath: Week 2

Sculpting Project Six: The Gift of Breath Week 2

Sneeze, sniff. I sit down to do my Centering Prayer Project. I can’t seem to settle into the quiet of this prayer method. Sniff. Sure, I have a cold but I don’t feel that badly. “Why is Centering Prayer so hard today?” That was the day I realized how central the simple inhale through my nose was to my ability to do Centering Prayer.

Our style of breath is a powerful tool for shaping mind, body and soul.

There are many ways of altering your breath to promote health for your body, improve mental functioning, and control emotions. There are breathing methods for assistance with panic attacks, blood pressure, heartburn, asthma, stress, pain, energy, sleep and more. Athletics and CEO’s use methods to improve performance.

Here are some examples:

To increase oxygen intake and enjoy the many benefits of more oxygen in your brain and blood:

1. Inhale deeply taking in as much air as you can. (Then inhale even more.)
2. Hold the breath briefly (until it becomes uncomfortable).
3. Exhale through pursed lips as much as you can blow out. (Then blow out more.)

Managing Depression (The Mindful Way through Depression, Mark Williams and others):

Method 1: Pay attention to Breath. This is the first project choice from last week.

Method 2: Breath Into. (also useful for pain management)
Locate a part of your body where you are experiencing a sensation and focus on’ breathing into’ that place.

Method 3: Breathing With. Whatever we are doing we are breathing. It is the background to all our thoughts and activities. ‘Breathing With’ is bringing this background of breath to our awareness. Continually become aware of your breath.

Breath is also a tool to assist us in Christian prayer practices.
A couple of examples from history:
Ignatius of Loyola suggested we use a rhythm of breathing while saying the Lord ’s Prayer.
Eastern Orthodox teachers tell us to use breath to focus on our heart and soul and then God.

Ideas to expand our use of breath and prayer:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpiritual breathing: as soon as we become aware of a sin we exhale our confession of sin and inhale God’s cleansing forgiveness.
As you inhale think of breathing in God’s gift, the breath of life, as you exhale think of giving yourself to God.
Inhaling, ask for the filling with the Holy Spirit and as you exhale ask to be living out the fruits of the Spirit.
Silently say a prayer phrase with each inhale and exhale. Such as inhale, ‘Thank-you Lord’, exhale, ‘have mercy on me.’
Recite a portion of Scripture with each breath. Such as inhale, ‘let every thing that has breath’ exhale ‘praise the Lord’ Ps. 150:6. Or inhale, ‘don’t worry about anything’, exhale, ‘pray about everything’ Phil 4:6.

Communicate. Tell fellow sculptors how your projects are going. We need each other.

A Little Bible Study

Breath has two main Hebrew words nesh-aw-maw’ (puff) roo’-akh (wind) and two main N.T. Greek words e-mi-phu-saw and ph-ne-o.
These are usually translated “spirit’ in N.T.
In the very beginning (Gen 1:2) the roo’akh (spirit/ breath/wind) is moving over the surface of the waters.
In Gen 2:7 God formed Adam from “the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”
It is God who continues gives life and breath to all living things (Acts 17:25).
The breath of God is powerful; creative power and destructive power. The host of heaven was created by the breath of God’s mouth (Ps. 33:6) and the enemy was destroyed by the breath of God’s mouth (2 Sam. 22:16).
It was breath that brought the Holy Spirit to the disciples in a whole new way. In John 20:22 when Jesus came to visit his disciples after his resurrection he gave them his peace and then breathing on the disciples he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
In both Hebrew and Greek the words we use to translate breath and Spirit are often the same words.


Sculpting Project Six: The Gift of Breath: Week 1

Question: What is the #1 tool in most people’s sculpting tool box?
Answer: Breath
1. It is always available, whether we are resting or running.
2. It is easy to use.
3. It is a powerful link between our thoughts and feelings, and our body.

Breath has been a sculpting tool used by Christians throughout history, assisting us in becoming quiet and open to the heart of God.

God created us to breathe without thinking (involuntary body function), yet gave us the ability to control breath (voluntary). This ability to choose the way we breathe gives us a key for controlling emotions and operations of the involuntary nervous system.

A few of the many benefits of intentional breathing practices that have been demonstrated in research:

Relates to lowering heart rate and blood pressure
Move from fight or flight response to rest and digest response
Reduce physical and psychological effects of stress
Lower anxiety
Better sleep
Reduces heart burn
Helps control panic attacks
Reduces asthma difficulties
Improved athletic performance
Boosts energy
Changes your brain wave states, especially to alpha and theta states

The Project:

Choice 1: Simply Pay Attention

Take a few minutes each day and simply pay attention to the way you are already breathing.

God’s gift of breath.

You do not need to change it, just watch it.
In this project you pay attention to your in-breath, your out-breath and the space in-between.
You begin by becoming aware of your breath somewhere in your body.
Then you pay attention to one breath.
Then you pay attention to a second breath, then adding a third.
When your mind wanders you just note the wandering and return to attending to the next breath.

Choice 2: Breathing On The Go

1. As you do activities pay attention to the way you are breathing.
2. Experiment with changing your breath to deeper, smoother and more regular.
Optional: add a mental prayer to your inhale and exhale. ( Inhale: Holy Spirit, Exhale: fill me with your ( joy…), or Inhale: Father, God, Exhale: I give myself to you.)

God formed Adam from “the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Genesis 2:7