Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.
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« Free Writing Resources | Main | Self-Care for Writers (Free Call, Dec. 4) »

Moved to Stillness

My attention span is shot. I find it hard to read a book -- or even a whole article or essay some days. Writing is no better. I write a few paragraphs and I'm bored, restless, distracted (or willing to be distracted). I need to reclaim my mind. My focus. My sustained attention. 

I've been daydreaming about churches, chapels, cathedrals. I have a complicated history with organized religion, but lately I feel the pull to hushed, holy spaces, the kind with wooden pews, stone floors, vaulted ceilings, and preferably candlelight. I don't want to attend a service. I want the silence. 

The author Pico Iyer wrote, "A chapel is where you can hear something beating beneath your heart." 

What beats beneath one's heart? Blood? Breath? Gravity?

Whatever beats beneath my heart -- this is what I crave. I'm seeking silence, solace. The solitude that is not loneliness. Some sort of solution for the way the world seems to be caving in on itself everywhere I look. I'm seeking a personal solstice. Solstice, from the Latin solstitium, meaning "standing." 

To stand. To be still. There is a stillness that beats below your heart. And beneath it all, some story, some song.

I crave a chapel because I'm heartworn and weary. Because I see no separation between the mundane and the holy. Because the world is so beautiful and so terrible. Aren't we all just seeking divine comfort? If I could sink deep enough into the solstice chapel of my own heart, perhaps I could sustain my attention, find sustenance there, be moved to stillness.

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