Take a moment for yourself, each and every day

Fall 2011 Red Cloud Country

Years ago, Fr. Peter Klink, S.J., former president of Red Cloud Indian School, began each meeting of the board of directors with a Lakota-Ignatian moment—an opportunity for those gathered to pray, discern, reflect and understand how Lakota and Jesuit spirituality impacts their work. That tradition continues today under the guidance of Fr. John Paul, S.J., board member. Red Cloud Country recently spoke with Fr. Paul about one of the items introduced in this Lakota-Ignatian moment—the “Examen”—and how anyone can apply it to their own life.

Each of us should take time out of our day—no matter how busy we are—to sit back and reflect on how we have experienced God’s presence in what we are doing. Think of it as a ‘spiritual or mental coffee break’…a chance to get distance from the day and grow closer to our emotional, psychological and spiritual self. Turn off the computer, put the book down, find a quiet and solitary place, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Today, where have I experienced God in my life? 
  • Where have I not experienced Him? 
  • Where do I experience frustration or challenge? 
  • If there is darkness or desolation in my life, what is that? And what role am I playing in inviting that? What is God saying to me through that moment of darkness or desolation? 
  • How can I see things in a broader perspective? 

We can also explore these questions when we speak with one another. In St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, one of the Pre-notes of the 30-day retreat recommends that we should always put a good interpretation on what we hear. If we hear things that are unsettling to us, how might we look at that differently? And how do we understand the other side? Can this be an invitation to ask the other person what they actually mean? This thought pattern can contribute to developing a greater sense of trust and appreciation for the people in your life…and can work toward greater collaboration too.