Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Holding what gives you life and the prayer of examen

I've been pondering if I can use my blog as a way of intentionally thinking about that which is sustaining. Or in other words, I want to spend the rest of this week (as an experiment) blogging on that which I am finding life giving, spacious, and nurturing in what's been a stretching couple of months. It's a way of at least starting the day, thinking about things that make me excited to be alive instead of things that cause me to feel overwhelmed.

One of my all time favorite books is "Sleeping with Bread, Holding what gives you life." The story goes that during WWII there were a number of children rescued (I think from concentration camps but I have to check that part out). They couldn't sleep because they were so afraid. No on knew what to do. Finally they figured out if they were given bread to sleep with they knew that they would have something to eat in the morning and they went to sleep. This is where the title for the book came from. Figuring out what is "bread" and sustaining for you. In this book it is explored through in terms of the "Prayer of Examen", which is just a way of reflecting on your day or week. I've been praying this way for years.

Often I light a candle (because I LOVE candles) and then see if I can sit still and ask myself "What am I most grateful for from today?" and "What am I least grateful for from today?" Another way of asking the same question is "What was my consolation and desolation today?" When I come across things that I am least grateful for I name it, feel it, and appreciate the fact that I am not denying it and God is in it with me. (this is actually a line from the book too). Just this simple way of reflecting (or if you pray praying) has made a huge difference in my ability to recognize what is life giving (bread for tomorrow) and what I can name, feel, and let go of.

This is what I wrote in my journal last night: I am most grateful for the long run I went on and how proud of myself I felt for going as far as I did. I also am most grateful for the fact that I have people in my life who have spacious, welcoming, gentle hearts. I feel joy and rest and they help me hold my own heart with more gentleness as I seek to figure out where God is in all of this.

Feel free to share what you are most and least grateful for if you want. :)

3 comments:

Daphne said...

woot! First post :)

I'm grateful for people who find me genuinely amusing. I'm grateful that I have the ability to pay for the root canal that I had yesterday. I'm grateful that, being alive, I live in relative luxury and have food, water, shelter and (most importantly) internet access. I'm glad I don't hate God anymore.

I'm least grateful for the fact that I had a root canal. That I have to wake up in the mornings. Before 10. That I seem unable to put aside the niggling feeling that tells me I graduate this year and do not have a job lined up yet.

Woah- that was long. Must have been all the wine- makes me particularly chatty :)

just me - titration said...

daphne: Oooo. Thanks for sharing. I recently had a root canal and so I totally know what you mean! I love your line: grateful for people who find you genuinely amusing.... I think I am grateful for genuinely amusing people.

Daphne said...

Oh- and (with apologies for my self preoccupation) belated well wishes to you with regards to your convo with your parents- at least they "know" know now and I hope that this only (eventually) strengthens your relationship with them :P