Themes and patterns
One of the benefits of practicing examen regularly, is noticing themes and patterns that occur. For instance, I am forever aware that I am least loving before 10am and when cleaning the house. This pattern comes up all the time in my practice of examen. So, I know that in the morning I must be very aware of the Spirit in me asking me to respond with love and patience. And when I am cleaning the house, I must be aware that my tendency towards perfectionism comes out and gets ugly. So, I must ask the Spirit to remind me to be self-disciplined and to move towards love instead.
I also make a regular habit of reviewing a month at a time. I simply read back through my journal looking for themes from that period of time. After I have reviewed my own writing and sometimes my calendar as well, I ask God for an image to represent that month. The image that came from March of this year was a turtle. As I experienced stress surrounding my husband’s open heart surgery and recovery, I had withdrawn into myself, like a turtle hides in its shell. God’s invitation to me that month was to come out now because it was safe. I am not an artist so I simply used PowerPoint to create a slide of the image. Now, at the end of the year, I will have a single slide from each month as a way to see how God has moved in my life.
This is one of many ways to use examen to notice God moving in the big, and small areas of your life, and to notice how you are responding to those movements.
May your practice of noticing God be rich!