“You may say I’m a dreamer…
But I’m not the only one.”
–John Lennon’s Imagine
Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I’m rarely 100 percent present. Maybe this shows I don’t live on the edge enough… since my mind has carte blanche to wander away in a daze of day dreams.
It’s excusable in those first feet-hit-the-floor moments of the day before I walk and shake off my sleepiness. But I must not walk and shake enough. Because I float through the rest of the day — anchors aweigh—on my stream of activities only partially awake. I feed the dogs, get my coffee and glance at the newspaper – headlines only. And then I pray and work through a spiritual exercise. After that, I do whatever needs or wants done that day… cooking, gardening and maybe a project or two. And when I look up, it’s almost time for bed. And I think. Where did my day go?
To keep my days from thinning out into a sea of nothingness, I drop anchor sometime between supper and bed. I grab my journal and find a quiet and comfy spot to contemplate my day. And with three simple questions to guide me, I begin the age-old prayer practice, examen of consciousness:
- What happened today that I don’t want to forget… or that I can’t forget?
- How was God present in that event? What quality of God was revealed?
- How am I being drawn (or called) to respond?
I set aside no more than ten minutes to do this. But it’s important I do it before sleep softens the crisp edges of the day.
This helps me gain my bearings, so I possess a better sense of where I’ve been and where I may go. It helps me get underneath the surface of life, to uncover the weightier treasures that gets buried in the floor of my unconsciousness. What were my thoughts about this or that? What caused me to react in this way or that? Where are my thoughts and actions taking me? Am I moving closer to or away from God?
I write what I wish remembered in my journal. Sometimes I shape my words into written pieces for this blog. Writing keeps me awake and keeps me real. But I am enriched by this practice in a way that defies words. It is beyond words in the same way God is beyond all understanding. Heady stuff for someone who operates mostly on feelings and intuitions.
Examen is my anchor to reality…. a way out of my anchors-aweigh daze.