Tag Archives: God

Sculpting Project 10: The 4 Minute Mile and The 4 Hour Mile: Week 1

Sculpting Project 10: The 4 Minute Mile and The 4 Hour Mile Week 1

Speed of Life

Between a three-toed sloth or a school of fish in a feeding frenzy I tend to feel like the fish. I frequently sense God’s call for me to ‘Go Slowly.’

When I move more slowly my eyes open to a world I was missing. When I take a slow walk in summer I see the mica flecks sparkling everywhere, tiny bright red insects scurrying on the rocks, hawks soaring in the blue. Winter days I watch icicles drip from the cliffs, tiny plants growing under the snow and hear the sounds of snow geese forming their V’s.

With its wall to wall miracles
Tucked in the hidden picture
Suddenly visible
In the slow

God has filled my world with gifts that I am completely ignoring when I rush though my days.

Going slowly brings me back to myself and God’s presence.

There is a time for slowness, but there is also a time for quickness and zeal.

One year on an extended retreat I experimented with low activity. It became so low that I began to feel achy. Not well in mind or body. Zeal became my new goal. I took an energetic walk and began to feel my aches disappear. Zealous, energetic movement can be a mood lifter as well. Aerobic activities are one effective therapy for depression.

This two weeks we will explore speed of movement and its many effects on us.

How does our speed affect our mood, our body, our spirit? Do we sense God’s presence differently in the times of slow movement than in times of energetic movement?

Project 10: Speed of movement

Part one: The 4 Hour mile: Spend 2 minutes a day moving slowly.

Part two: The 4 Minute Mile: Spend 2 minutes a day moving quickly.

Tips: Keep this project easy.

Walking is the easiest way to do this project for me.
Pick a time you walk every day for 2-4 minutes.
Then connect this project with your activity. ”When I walk to my mail box I will move very slowly. When I walk back I will walk very quickly.”

Connecting a project to an existing activity will:
1. Help you remember.
2. Remove the need to decide, which takes will-power energy.

Speed of movement has a significant effect on my well-being and sense of connection with God.

Let us know what you discover. Is God calling you to go slowly or move with zeal?

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Then secondly, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31

Using our strength to sculpt our heart, soul, and mind to love God and our neighbor.


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

Sculpting Project Four: Slow Bites, Week 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFully ripe, it has a little ‘give’ when I squeeze it. The juice flows out as I slice it open. The perfect peach. I have eaten many over my years. But today is different. Today I will attempt a feat I’ve seldom done. I will attempt to eat this perfect peach being fully here and now, with the peach, with my surrounding and with Jesus. My strategy: Eat slowly.

Sculpting Project #4 Slow Bites

Method 1: Each time we eat take three of the bites very slowly.

Notice the bites, notice yourself, notice your surroundings, notice God’s presence .


Method 2: Daily, eat one entire snack or meal slowly.

Give your full attention to the experience of eating and God’s presence.


Digestion Digression

God has built our bodies so that if we appreciate/ take pleasure in our food we actually get more out of it. Cephalic Phase Digestive Response is our experience of the taste, aroma, satisfaction, and over all pleasure of a meal.

When we eat with pleasure this response causes our bodies to get the most nutrition the food has to offer.

When we eat mindlessly we significantly diminish the assimilation of specific nutrients, and even calorie burning power.

When we eat with stress we create a digestive shutdown. A stressed body does not consider digestion a priority. When we are stressed enzymes in our saliva that breakdown food are reduced and blood flow to the small intestine is decreased by up to 4X. This creates poor assimilation of nutrients.

Slowing down, giving attention to our food in a spirit of gratitude will help our bodies benefit from our eating. It’s the way God built us.


Tip: I find it helpful to take a few deep breaths during a meal. It seems to signal me to relax and the extra oxygen is beneficial as well.

Summary: Slow Bites Sculpting Project

1. Eat slowly. 3 bites per meal or 1 meal/snack a day;

2. Paying attention to the food in the company of God.

3. Keep accountable: write down what you bite.

4. Communicate with others about your sculpting!

Whether, then, you eat or drink or what ever you do, do all to the Glory of God.


Sculpting Project Three: The Jesus Prayer, Week 2

Sculpting Group: Jesus Prayer Project Week Two

Sculpting Notes:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Brain and Repeated Prayer:
Repetition is like creating a rut in a muddy road. When the road dries the rut is still there and we easily steer into it. When we say something over and over we build a strong pathway in the brain. Like ruts in a dirt road we easily fall into whatever we have repeated. Some of the things we repeat to ourselves are not helpful ruts. Repeating the Jesus Prayer and other desired phrases creates ruts that we will find helpful. Now and in the future dry days.

This is your sculpting project. So try it on, remembering that one size does not fit all. Make adjustments in the project so it fits your mind, heart and soul.

Some adjustment fellow sculptors have made in this project:

1. Saying the Jesus Prayer in 30 sec. segments throughout the day. (Instead of one block of time.)
2. Changing the words of the Jesus Prayer to “Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with your (light, love, hope, . . .).”
3. Saying a different prayer or phrase. “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty . . .”, “ Thy Will be done.”
4. Singing the Jesus Prayer.

A little theology to inform your prayer.
Lord: recognizing authority, both personally and in the larger society.
Jesus: the factual, historical person. Name means: savior.
Christ: Anointed One, Messiah.
Son of God: Special relationship with God. Deity.
Have mercy on me: God is able and willing to be merciful and wants relationship with us.
Sinner: Created beautiful, but we have fallen from some of that beauty and need restoration.


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Then secondly, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31
Using our strength to sculpt our heart, soul, and mind to love God and our neighbor.
1 Cor. 10:31


Sculpting Project Three: The Jesus Prayer, Week 1

Sculpting Group: Jesus Prayer Project Week Two

The Third Sculpting project: The Jesus Prayer Week 1

Repetition leads to habit, habit leads to second nature. St. Isihios

It was 18 below and 12:00 midnight when Evan drove me past the bank clock. Now I’m laying in the birthing room in the last phase of contractions. Breathe-in “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” Breathe-out “have mercy on me a sinner.” Repeat. Repeat again. Two hours later Terese arrives. I don’t remember when I first learned the Jesus Prayer but this was my most memorable use.




Two week Sculpting project: The Jesus Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.

This ancient prayer tradition from the Christian Orthodox Church came to my attention through the book The Way of a Pilgrim. On an autumn Sunday in the 1850’s a Russian peasant heard the reading of 1st Thessalonians 5:17 admonishing him to, “Pray without ceasing.” He took the verse to heart but felt very perplexed as to how to accomplish it. So he traveled around looking for someone who could help him understand the way to “Pray without ceasing”. He finally met an old monk who invited him to his cell and loaned him an ancient book of teachings from the Orthodox Fathers. The book gave instructions in the saying of the Jesus Prayer. The monk became a tutor in this prayer method and the Russian man spent the summer working in a local garden and learning the Jesus Prayer by heart. He repeated it up to 12,000 times a day, until the prayer filled his heart and dreams.

In our Sculpting project for the next two weeks we will work on training our heart to “Pray unceasingly.” Rather than 12,000 times a day I suggest a more modest goal of 5-10 minutes a day.

Two ways to sculpt with the Jesus Prayer:
1. In time set aside from activity:
Sit or walk for 5-10 minutes repeating the prayer silently or out loud. Using your breath is very helpful. Inhale: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God” exhale: “have mercy on me a sinner.”
2. In the midst of activity:
A. Select an activity you do each day that does not require much attention. Examples: getting dressed, washing dishes, bathing, walking to a location.
B. Place a reminder note or your check off sheet in a location to remind you to use this time for the Jesus Prayer.
C. Say the Jesus prayer as you do this activity.

Variation: This prayer is very similar to the one used by Blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-7. If it does not feel like the right prayer for you then select another prayer from Scripture or create your own.
Key Verse: Pray without ceasing 1 Thess. 5:17


The Project: 5-10 minutes a day repeat the Jesus prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
Communicate: Comment on this blog, talk to others, or post on face book. We need each other to successfully sculpt ourselves.

Three Things Challenge:
Over a year ago I began my list of 1000 things I love: Gifts from God. Would you like to join me in this challenge and create your own 1000 things list? Or you may wish to design your own challenge of 200 or 500 or 5000 things you love list. If you want to join in the challenge let me know so we can cheer each other on.