Tag Archives: Examen

Sparks will fly #37 #onemore

Remember when you were little and you counted the sleeps towards something and there was just one more sleep to go? The idea of one more has been haunting me in my sprint to holidays, putting my belongings into storage, handing over work, finalising papers and board and business responsibilities. One more email, one more call, one more meeting, one more conversation, one more bag … and now it is one more sleep. It is quite a heady mix of letting go, relinquishing on the one hand and taking up on the other. My quest is to remain open, open the road and to the questions that might emerge along the way. The question I am trying to hold onto is: What will the road reveal?

Despite all the trials, tribulations, betrayals and horrid things I have endured that have worked their way through me in various guises these past years, I am arriving once again to a new threshold – as we all do each new day. Every moment is uniquely gifted for us to receive with as much open heartedness as we can muster. I am thankful I have arrived with one more sleep to go. One more night, the last one in what will soon have the title of the old bed. I won’t be returning to that bed ever again. My grandfather made it for my parents and I have written about it before. We are parting company and it is the last vessel other than my own body that held a marriage. We are breaking up, the bed and I, and are freeing each other from our shared history.

The experience of a dry mouth from anxiety, fear, stress, followed by the insatiable desire to quench the thirst by drinking copious amounts of water, seems like the body reaching out to be a well seeking to be filled. This instruction is one for the road too. Fill up often, leverage off the fear to dip into the well. Shaking off the dust and emptying shoes of sand and pebbles so you can walk on more freely … all the feels of one more sleep.

There were days and so, so many nights, when I didn’t think I could get to this day and now it has arrived with the ease of a gentle reassuring kiss, and a blessing to go forth. As well as some basic clothes, my walking sticks and notebook, I will be taking my own version of the Examen with me – it always seems to help move me forward.

1. Resting into the presence of creative energy of love and the UniVerse – the one Word some call God.
2. Reviewing the day with gratitude.
3. Paying attention to my emotions – how did they show up during the day.
4. Choosing one feature of the day and reflecting on it with love and curiousity
5. Looking toward tomorrow.

There is always one more of something to do, to anticipate, to welcome, to farewell. There is always one more David Whyte poem to journey with, and it has been The Well today (posted below). There are always more sparks to fly and as I fly with my little spark inside of me I wonder what will the road reveal?

The Well

David Whyte

Be thankful now for having arrived,
for the sense of
having drunk
from a well,
for remembering the long drought that preceded your arrival
and the years walking in a desert landscape of surfaces looking for a spring hidden from you for so long that even wanting to find it now had gone from your mind
until you only
remembered the hard pilgrimage that brought you here,
the thirst that caught in your throat; the taste of a world just-missed
and the dry throat that came from a love you remembered but had never fully wanted for yourself, until finally, after years making the long trek to get here it was as if your whole achievement had become nothing but thirst itself.

But the miracle had come simply from allowing yourself to know that you had found it,
that this time
someone walking out into the clear air from far inside you
had decided not to walk past it anymore;
the miracle had come at the roadside in the kneeling to drink
and the prayer you said,
and the tears you shed
and the memory
you held
and the realization
that in this silence
you no longer had to keep your eyes and ears averted from the
place that
could save you,
that you had been given
the strength to let go
of the thirsty dust laden
that brought you here,
walking with her
bent back, her bowed head and her careful explanations.

No, the miracle had already happened
when you stood up,
shook off the dust
and walked along the road from the well,
out of the desert toward the mountain,
as if already home again, as if you
deserved what you loved all along,
as if just remembering the taste of that clear cool spring could lift up your face
and set you free.


Photo by Bram. on Unsplash

Advent Examen

Dear Sor Juana,

Advent has begun and the questions of this season of transition have begun to be revealed.  Starting first with a familiar face behind a camera asking me at a public event: “How would you like to be remembered?”  I answered “… as a woman who lived with grit, grace and gratitude”.  And so as this season has begun I am asking myself, just exactly how am I living like that, how does grit, grace and gratitude actually transpire through, in and around me?

The babe born in a stable, into a family in transit and on the move, surrounded by creatures, honored by followers of stars and welcomed by those unseemly shepherds is a powerful of metaphors on what it means to be born into this species.  This child, native to that space, this is The Nativity, the single instruction of simplicity, the code for inclusivity and the guide to living.

The idea of “going native” by taking on some (or all) of the cultural traits of the people around you is surely embedded into the hay of manager. The nativity is asking us to ‘go native’ and follow this little one, to take on the traits of humility and to receive gifts from afar, from the wise and the simple, to hear the songs of angels praising your arrival, to be held and adored.  If you really believed and accepted that your presence was a cosmic act and each moment contained divine inspiration surely you would be living with plenty of grace and gratitude!  The grittiness is something else, the very human stuff, that brings humility and a constant call back to the labour pains of transition from one world to another. This is all part of the advent season too – trusting in the transition as well as the promise of what is beyond. 

When the children were young, each Advent I would buy a new book of the nativity story (and we have quite a collection). It was part of the preparation, along with decorations, cheesy carols and traditional ones floating from various devices and making music together from saucepan drums, guitars and maracas.  This season of preparation calls on more from me this year and I am being invited to grit to herald grace and gratitude and I come to the nativity scene to help me get to the other side of this transition with my examen for advent.

Examen for Advent

Are you ready to have a home in the hay?

Are you ready to receive the gifts of strangers?

Are you ready to hear angels singing your praises?

Are you ready to be held?

Are you ready to be adored?

Are you ready to share your breath with the animals?

Are you ready to lie under the stars?

Are you ready to be fed by mother’s milk?

Are you ready to cry in the dark?

Are you ready to be embraced?

Are you ready to flee from oppression?

Are you ready to trust, knowing the sacrifice ahead?