I'm a learner. Despite a great Jesuit education, I never explored the examen until I started walking in solidarity with the sisters.
It's a relief that most websites about the examen mention that everybody finds their own way to do it. There are a few things to definitely pay attention to, but I don't feel like I'm missing the point just because I can't quite get them in order, or use the words that the websites suggest.
As I get it so far, the examen is all about presence and daily life. My presence to myself, and my awareness of God's pervasive presence in me, in other people, and in my experiences.
Here's my way into it:
Can I breathe deep and feel my feet, forget my to-do list?
Can I breathe deep and feel God's presence this minute, in me?
Can I feel the freedom - the exhilaration or peace - the inner spaciousness - of simply resting in presence to myself and to God?
Can I recall the past day, looking back with gratitude and curiosity?
Can I savor where I especially notice God's presence in my yesterday?
Can I recognize specific things I'd like to do differently in the future? Specific times, places, actions, through which I can increase the space for God's presence, power, and love?
Can I place all of this, all of me, in God's love? Just feel myself leaning on God's shoulder, and say whatever I need to say?
I say "can I?" because sometimes -- surprise! -- I wander off track.
I hope that as I do this more, these questions will embed themselves deep into my day as it happens, not only as I look back on it. And then (like the famous mystic Brother Lawrence) I will be "practicing the presence of God."
Several resources on our Advent prayer page offer examen-style support as we prepare for Christmas. My favorite is still the one my friend Roberta told me about a few years ago: the Irish Jesuit's extremely simple, gentle, daily prayer (they don't even tell you it's the examen). That site has been on our Contemplative Resources page since we first began.
And why am I telling you about this now? To encourage myself to keep at it!