Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Examen

Photo courtesy Max Pixel

It's hard to believe we're at the middle of 2018. Time flies when you're having fun. Or even if you're not! So here we are in the middle of this year, looking back on what has already been accomplished., looking forward to what remains. It's a time to pause. I've written about this pause in the middle of the year before, linking it to the breath and the pause between inhale and exhale. It's a time to reflect before we turn the corner and move on toward lies ahead.

Perhaps you might center your reflections around your one little word for the year or simply examine what has occurred from January to July.

A few years ago, I was introduced to the Ignatian practice of the examen. Here's a simple guide to the daily examen. It includes gratitude, petition, review, forgiveness, and renewal.

In his book, The Practice of Prayer, Robert Warren takes the pattern and expands it "to help us stop and be aware of life and what is happening to us," in order to make a "freely chosen response" to life.

Let's take the last six months as our period of time under review. Warren breaks this review down into three categories.

How have you been aware of God's presence in the last six months? Does any experience stand out? Maybe something you read or someone said. Note anything that comes to mind and give thanks for what is good in your experience.

How have your experienced change in yourself? How have you changed your attitude toward God, yourself, or others? What are the positive growth changes? Are there any signs of negative or stuck responses?  Thank God for his presence with you in your joys and struggles.

Can you identify any sense of going/stepping out in faith during this time? Give thanks and reaffirm your commitment to continue. Have you sensed God's call to go, but not yet gone? Hold that before God and let him reaffirm your confidence in his ability to help.

Warren closes with this note: "Remember, this is not to be an inquisition in which you criticize yourself for how you have failed, but a trusting review before the One who is for you. The purpose is to listen more fully to the One who is Love."

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  1. Dear Doraine - this is such a lovely mindfulness practice! I am printing the pdf. :) Thank you, sweet friend. And I can't believe I haven't said this already, but I love your new colorful yoga-inspired profile pic. Bold beautiful spirit you! xo

    1. Thanks, Irene. I had a professional photographer come to the studio and make pictures. We had fun with it. I'm glad the reflection pdf is helpful. It's such a good practice.

  2. Thank you for hosting, Doraine! I love your post and will be printing out those questions and doing a little examening of myself! I'm so happy you chose this subject as it has already been the catalyst to looking back and ahead in a good, building way! Have a wonderful summer!!

  3. Dori: Thanks for this thoughtful and helpful post. Yes, we need our pauses in the middle. People in the pre-industrial days often got up in the middle of the night to stoke fires, empty bladders, write or do a little light housework before going back to bed. Even sleeping can benefit from a pause.

    My word is resolve, and I am looking at it from the standpoint of re-solving, or solving anew. Just this past week an issue that I have been working on and praying about was resolved, but done so in a way that raised my hackles. I agree with the conclusion, but I am unhappy with the way people were treated in the process. So the lesson I'm learning is that resolution is not the only thing I need to focus on, but the best process for resolution. That will be another journey.
    Thanks again, and blessings for a gratifying and restful summer.

  4. Dori, thanks for this invitation to pause and to breathe. I would love to attend one of your yoga classes! Thanks for your words that led me to a place where I was willing to pause, to remember the One who is for each of us, and to be willing to listen more fully.

  5. Doraine, I am coming back to your post to reread it tomorrow since it was beautifully written and holds many important messages on self-reflection. I am curious about the Examen also.

  6. Dori, I thought I sent you a comment about rich your post is. It has led me to deep introspection. This line touched me since hope is my one word this year: "Feel deep gratitude, knowing God has already answered your prayer and tomorrow is already blessed." My deepest hope is for blessed days of peace but life is fragile and uncertain so I need to count my blessings each day even in the midst of challenges. Thank you for your guidance.

  7. I loved the questioning format for this. I have internalized the questions and answers - it is all too much to write about this year for me. Way too much stuff has gone on, and I am still sorting through quietly. I am not too hopeful that it will change for the last half, so I need to just be prayerful and wait.