Tag Archives: Scripture

Sculpting Project 9: Mono-tasking: Week 1

Sculpting Project 9: Mono-tasking Week 1

Q: How can you be two places at once when you are not really anywhere at all?
A: Multitask
(Paraphrase with thanks to Fireside Theater.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI write #99 for the 1000th time, 401 more numbers to go. This was not my first plan, but hand numbering the gratitude journals seemed like the best way to complete the products. My numbering tool, a colored pencil, is not very forgiving when errors require erasing so I must write from 1 to 100 14 times without making a mistake. Single minded focus in a repetitive, boring task. This required mono-tasking.

I completed the numbering with only two errors and a genuine peace of mind.

Multitasking is the effort to use our mind to do two or more tasks simultaneously. When it comes to walking and chewing gum at the same time we can be pretty successful. But when both tasks require attention our success rate is quite another matter.

Mono-tasking is the effort to keep our mind’s attention on one task at a time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I am making candles. I have done this task many times so my need to give full attention is limited. I really want to learn more about research on multitasking, so I decide to try some multitasking to learn about multitasking. I am cutting and tying wick as I listen to a lecture that explains my brain’s inability to pay full attention to two things at the same time. Sure enough I find that I can not tie wick and retain the information that I want to remember. So I stop working with wick and give my attention to the short lecture. Multitasking requires our brains to continually switch the focus of attention. I notice that for me this constant switching requires energy and creates stress.

When I have a lot to do I am tempted to multitask, but this choice is actually counterproductive. The more I have to do the more I need to mono-task.

Sculpting Project 9: Mono-tasking

Each day this week select one task/period of time to mono-task.
Give your full attention to that task, remembering that you are continually accompanied by the Holy Spirit.
So far as it is possible remove everything that would require your brain to shift attention, even music in the background.
Let us know what you choose to mono-task and any discoveries you make.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

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.

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Sculpting Week 18: R&R: Rest and Review

Sculpting Week 18: R&R: Rest and ReviewOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small steps over 18 weeks and I can see a new horizon. I am so grateful to report that other sculptors in our group are also establishing a new way to ‘be’.

Our sculpting projects, from historic and current Christian practices, are supported by research in Positive Psychology. They increase the well-being of our mind and body and therefore benefit everyone we relate to, as well.

Here is where we have been:

Project 1: Three Things (daily list three things you love.)
Project 2: Here and Now for 2-10 ( being in the present moment)
Project 3: The Jesus Prayer (mindful repetition)
Project 4: Slow Bites ( attention to eating)
Project 5: A Day of Kindness (1 day of kind actions)
Project 6: Breath (attention to breath)
Project 7: Flash Prayers ( prayer for others)
Project 8: Talking Back (disputing thoughts)

Week 18: Use this week for Rest and Review.

Revisit and Refine one of the eight previous projects.
Rest-up for a new project coming next week.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou 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 Eight: Talking Back: Week 1

Sculpting Project Eight: Talking Back: Week 1    

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am out working in the fall garden and my mind is far away. It is trying make sense of a troubling situation. It has been trying to make sense of this situation for a number of hours and I am beginning to notice that I am circling back to earlier attempts at a solution. This is starting to look like rumination. Rumination: analyzing problems over and over without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. Analyzing can be very helpful, to a point that is. Endless circling attempts to solve difficulties can led into depression. And today’s problem is the kind that comes with a knot in my stomach which is not a helpful condition to prolong. So how can I break this cycle of rumination. Today the trick that works for me is an old one I learned from Evagrius a forth century monk. His method is called Talking Back.

Talking Back in a nut shell

We get a thought in our minds that is not helpful.
We use a phrase to talk back to this thought

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday I take a phrase from Scripture that feels like it relates to my struggle and I say the Scripture out loud. The rumination starts in again immediately so I Talk Back again with this Scripture. The ruminating pattern is so strong in my brain that I find it helpful to just repeat the Scripture over and over. After several minutes of repetition I take a break. My mind is quieter; for a minute or two and then the rumination rut is back. So I begin Talking Back until I gain some control of my thinking and some peace of mind.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Two days later: Now I am working on pottery. Trimming finished pots and creating lids. The problem is not solved and my brain seems to feel obligated to keep dragging it up again. But no solution comes. My mind sometimes reminds me of an unruly two-year old. As I form the clay another Talking Back idea comes. The perfect word for this two-year old. “No.” As soon as my brain starts in again I simply say, “no”. My brain is startled. It pauses before it makes the next attempt at a solution. Kindly and firmly I say again “no”. “Really”, my brain asks, “ I can let this go for a while?” I begin to feel peaceful.

I use my Talking Back “no” throughout the day whenever I catch myself in the rumination rut. This is a very effective tool.

Sculpting Project summary: Watch our thoughts.

When we notice an unhelpful thought then:
We Talk Back using Scripture or another appropriate word.

Key verse: Take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5b

Background:

Evagrius of Pontus (AD 345-399) wrote the book Talking Back to give monks a tool for their own soul sculpting. Aware of the power of thoughts, Evagrius encouraged the monks to keep a vigilant watch over each thought that entered their minds. In Talking Back Evagrius divided problematic thoughts into 8 categories (these are the origin of the seven deadly sins.) In each category he listed a typical thought and then provided a passage from Scripture to ‘Talk Back’ to this thought.

Evagrius listed 492 thoughts and Scriptures. Here is #71 in the Sadness(depression) section.

71. Against the soul’s thought that supposes that it is tested beyond its strength:

God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13).

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.