This handmade doll is inspired by a spiritual tradition called the Ignatian Prayer of Examen which asks two simple questions each day: when and where you felt connected to love and when and where you felt disconnected, sometimes referred to as consolation and desolation. The doll provides a visual and tangible prompt for asking and responding to the questions.
This beautiful practice of examen is simple, authentic and flexible. The process works alone, with a partner, or in a small group. The examen practice is useful for all ages and the doll can be a helpful companion to the practice for children and adults, at home or in a classroom.
Each doll comes with an artist’s statement, as well as a list of questions to be used with the doll and a brief explanation of how to use the doll.
Place the heart on the doll, and ask, “When I did feel happy today?” Remove the heart and ask, “When did I feel sad?” After each question, you can write, draw, think or talk about the answers. You might even use it with the yearly or weekly practice of the examen prompted inside the Sacred Ordinary Days planner.
When we pause to ask after our feelings, we begin to identify moments and circumstances of joy and to recognize situations of sadness or overwhelm. Over time, a pattern may emerge that can serve as an inner guide. Our answers shine a light where we might need to make a change or tend to something more closely. In this way, we learn to listen to the divine and trust our own physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences to give us direction. For more on the practice of the examen, see our gathered resources here.
The doll features light brown, subtly patterned flannel with navy free-motion machine embroidery. It comes in two versions: short curly hair and chin-length straight hair.
The examen doll is the creation of Jen Willhoite of Cobbleworks, a heart-centered maker who says that working with her hands feeds her soul. Jen is a dedicated scrap artist, studied theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley for 2 years, and is currently in training to become a spiritual director. She also leads workshops on meditation, contemplative prayer, and how creating with our hands can connect us to God’s love. Jen hopes this gentle doll helps to open compassionate dialogue within your whole self. It was made with tenderness and a lifetime dream that as we practice peace within, we can practice peace with others.