• Susan Stoderl

Morning Stillness


I try to begin my day in stillness each morning. I admit to a fetish for candlelight and prefer votive candles in stained glass holders because they burn higher—no doubt a vestige of my prior tenth-century vocation as an abbess of an English convent. During winter, I sometimes leave them burning most of the day.


This morning it was light but cloudy, so I lit my candles to begin my day in stillness and centering. After a certain point, the liquified wax threatens the flame’s survival, especially if the wick is leaning to the side as it frequently does. I identify with that struggling wick, in over its head in the deepening wax. It is like me trying to swim through my thoughts, ideas, and distractions. I try to help it stand upright, confident, and strong as it burns, just as I try to still my mind to reach my destination for today.


Today I finally put my thoughts and extensive to-do list in order and can now write in peace. I don’t know why I resist doing it, why I repeatedly seem to think it’s a waste of time. My modus operandi seems to be that I work myself into a frenzy, then two or three nights later, I get my 3:10 a.m. “aha” flash with the solution. Then I deliver a stern admonition: “You better remember this tomorrow morning!” When it’s time to arise, I make my large mug of tea, and light my candles, like I did today. Since the 3:10 a.m. flash is a norm, it’s probably a holdover from my abbess duty also!😮 #writerslife, #inspiration, #poetry