Stop.

Motivation is typically universal.
Smart advice isn’t hard to give – it’s just hard to follow. Here I am about to say what we’ve all been told, but also what we resist so fiercely.
stop
/stäp/
noun
a cessation of movement or operation.
to cease
to standstill
to halt
I’m 19.
This advice might not be popular.
However, this is what I’ve learned.

Stop.
Feel the ground underneath your feet.
Stop.
Feel the air, it’s warmth, or it’s chill.
Stop.
Feel the wind flying through your hair.
Stop.
Listen to the chirping of birds and rustling of trees.
Stop.
Feel the moment.
Don’t rush.
Be grateful.
These days will pass fast.
We know this.
We try to be present for these blissful moments.

What about when we can’t feel anything?
What about when what we feel is excruciating?

As I said, I’m young, but this is also what I’ve learned.

Stop.
Feel the place you’re sinking – the way your feet are struggling to balance you.
Stop.
Breathe in the air. The dirt. The fumes. Maybe it’s blistering hot, maybe it’s deathly cold.
Still stop.
Feel it.
Let it sink in – addressing every feeling as you absorb it.
Stop.
Feel the wind – or the absence of it.
Maybe it’s deathly still – but still, stop.
Perhaps the wind is rapid, violent, and terrifying.
Still stop.
Feel it.
Just like a child sitting in front of a high powered fan, screaming noises until the wind knocks their breath away.
Stop.
Listen to the sound of your surroundings.
It might be lonely and quiet.
Maybe you hear the screaming and crying of a loved one.
Your own lungs may be billowing pain, fear, regret, loss, anxiety, and more.
You might be clinching your arms to your chest wishing and trying to hold what’s no longer tangible.
Still stop.

Feel it.
These times will flee. Flee after a force that leaves you with battered scar tissue.
The wind will be a breeze no longer knocking you off your feet.
The screams will turn to laughter.
The sinking sand will be replaced with solid ground.

Stop and let it sink in even if it’s painful – because I can promise you this. If you don’t stop to feel the pain, to process it, and to respect it, one day you’ll stop to take in the peace of your present circumstances and instead be met with a nightmare.

The sturdy ground you are pausing to take in will suddenly feel like it’s letting lose- like when you are falling asleep and jerk awake from the feeling of a free fall.
The warmth of your day will be overshadowed by the hangover of heat you once felt.
The breeze will still remind you of gusts that took your breath away.
The laughter will be unnoticeable and past days painful screams will drown everything out.

So stop.
Feel today.
Because one day you’ll stop and you’ll either hear and feel the present or the past.

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