Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Examen and My Laptop: Tuesday's Reflection

How good it is to return to my garret and see my laptop waiting and willing to return to my writing routine. While I was not quite despondent when it was not available for my use, I recognized once again my dependency. Once I realized, however, that I had to detach for several days, I decided to enter a period of examen about my reactions. 

The examen is the process of asking most often at the end of each day questions about our day. For example: For what am I most grateful? Least grateful? When did I feel most alive today? When did I feel life draining out of me? When was I happiest today? The saddest? What was today's high point? Low point?

The examen is another practice of being awake, of staying present to the movement of God in one's life. The examen is a way to open to all the feelings and experiences in one's life and to embrace one's  strengths and understand the weaknesses. 

I determined to observe myself during these days. Doing that helped me maintain a level of equanimity. 

Here are some of my observations.
* When I realized I had been hacked, I almost immediately felt shame. What did I do wrong? I should have been smarter, more careful etc, etc. I was embarrassed and felt inadequate and helpless, and I wanted the problem to just go away. How quickly I went into that dark corner of shame and self-blame. I wondered how often I limit myself because shame has entered the room.

* Once I made the decision to get help I felt lighter. I am so grateful there are people in the world who can solve these kinds of problems. And do it in a way that doesn't add to my feelings of inadequacy. I willingly surrendered to their care and what a difference that made. A lesson in asking for help.

* I allowed myself to have moments of sadness about losing writing time, but I also am proud of how I adjusted to something out of my control. I made a list (I know this is no surprise to my faithful readers!) of ways to use this time. One day, for example, I got out the bins of fall decorations and fully enjoyed arranging velvet pumpkins and fall/winter pillows and candles. I never once thought about what I could be doing or should be doing if I had my laptop. 

* I spent more time reading, meditating and praying. That is never lost time. 

* One of the laptopless days I attended a workshop led by the English spiritual writer Margaret Silf. How perfect that this event, which had been on my calendar, for a long time should land during a time when I needed to be filled and even distracted. A bonus: instead of heading straight to my desk after the workshop day, I rested and allowed the messages of the day to move deeper into my heart.

* The first day of the laptop's homecoming coincided with a plan to spend the day with my sister. For one brief moment I thought about cancelling or modifying our plans so I could get back to work, but I am proud to say I didn't do that. I was able to pause and think about what is most important and what my spirit most needed. And I needed sister time. 

The week was full of many loving and happy moments, and I was able to open to them and envision the Big Picture. 

An Invitation
What are you noticing about yourself? How does observing yourself help you open your heart? I would love to know. 

Margaret Silf
A simple resource to learn about the examen:
Sleeping with Bread by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn


  1. I hope you realize now that it was not your fault—anybody can be hacked. It's an awful commentary on the people who lurk around, looking for someone to victimize. But they do exist. So glad you have your computer back and all is well.

  2. As soon as I realized I was feeling shame, I was able to stand back and be more objective. Plus, my Geek Squad knights in shining armor were great reinforcements.


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