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Daily Examen

St. Ignatius of Loyola was a Catholic Saint from the 1500s who founded the Jesuit order of priests. He also developed a daily practice called an “examen” which the priests used to assess each day. It isn’t so much as “assessment” or an "exam"as in did I accomplish great things etc. But it is an opportunity to look back over each day to see how you spent it and what you might learn from it. It has been rewritten in several different fashions and is used outside the Catholic world as well. The practice is meant to take 10 minutes or less at the end of the day. This is a version that I learned of from the Irish poet and theologian Padraig O’Tuama.

Consider these questions each evening with an open heart.

1. Tell the story of the day – just recall how you spent the day – what activities were you engaged in?

2. What moments stick out? Either because they were pleasant or unpleasant, surprising or especially meaningful.

3. What led to life – in the broadest sense? What part of your day was most life-giving?

4. What wisdom do you want to take from today?

5. Think about tomorrow.

And here is a related poem for you by Rosemary Wahtola Trommer

So sweepingly pink

the sunset over the city

that it pours

into the emptiness—

not to fix it, no,

more as if to show

what a little splendor can do

when given a place

to enter.

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