Each night as I would prayerfully consider my day, I had trouble really remembering or getting in touch with what I had experienced internally. I could remember the day's events, of course, but had a hard time expressing to God all that I had been feeling in that given day. The "Examen" step where you are to "pay attention to your emotions" as you analyze throughout the day was frustrating and felt unhelpful. Apparently, I generally walk through a good portion of my days very much unaware and very much in auto-pilot.
So, I have been trying something "new" these past few weeks. I am trying a "Stephanified-version" of the Ignatian Examen. Maybe we could call it the Examen for the Unaware. Or the Examen for the Memory-Impaired. Whatever you want to call it, I have been trying something new!
And there is something big and beautiful shifting inside me as a result!
Three or four times a day, I attempt to purposefully stop whatever I am doing. (I do have alarms that ring to help remind me!) I stop and internally ask one simple question: Where am I or where have I been these past hours?
Maybe it is an overstatement, but I have felt slightly stuck for years. Years and years I have been asking God for more awareness and more consciousness of His Presence throughout my day. I think He is answering my prayer in a strange and unexpected way. Where I have been asking Him to show me Himself... He is teaching me to see myself, instead. I think He is teaching me to really see myself. Where am I?
I am not "looking" for Him perse, anymore. I am trying to find me. And, in return, I am seeing Him! He is showing Himself to me. As I become more aware of where I am, I am sensing Him with me... in the processing. In the awareness. He is with me right in the "red dot moment".
I stop. I ask myself, Where am I? Where have I been these past few hours?
...sad. upset. ...harried. ...overwhelmed. ...joyful. ...irritated. ...worried. ...prayerful. ...peaceful. ...fearful. ...angry. ...annoyed. At any given part of my day, I can "be" in any of these places.
There is something shifting inside me. I believe the Holy Spirit is shifting something deep within. Awareness seems to be the key. I don't even feel a great need to analyze or judge these "places" or these "feelings". They just are. Realities.
They are just true. And, they are covered and contained by Him and in Him.
As I have been watching these moods, these feelings, these reactions... I am seeing some patterns. God and I will need many new discussions about the whys of these realities. Why do I feel this way, for example... when this or that happens? But, for right now, that doesn't seem to be the point.
I know where I want to go. I know the "shop" I am aiming for: more awareness of Him and His Presence. I am realizing that first I need to know better, or figure out more truth, about where I am before I journey toward that End.
"How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self? Grant, Lord, that I may know myself, that I may know thee.” ~St. Augustine