Poem: First, You Stop

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First, You Stop

First, you stop.
That is the most important step.
You must stop.

And then you breathe.
In. Out. Slowly. Purposefully.
Again and again until.

Until you are empty.
Until the poisons have left you.
Until you cannot feel your scars
Until you cease to anticipate.
Until nothing matters except the breath itself.
And then once more
to be sure.

And finally, you are ready
to pray.
To be filled again,
to begin your daily resurrection
from the mire of demons,
to rise
with a strength not your own.

All because you stopped.

About this poem

Once, when I was in the worst of places, someone told me that when my own head went too crazy with voices, to simply yell “Stop!”, either out loud, or if that would be embarrassing, to yourself.  It works, oddly enough. At least for a moment, enough to gather yourself and move from reacting to responding.

My day begins with a stop. A pause. Then meditation and prayer, and then a bit of writing. I’ve never been able to fully and accurately describe what happens when I do, so I keep writing about it, hoping that I will someday, like the room full of monkeys, finally get it right.

Tom

PS: If you are not familiar with the room full of monkeys, there is a theory that if you put a room full of monkeys in a room full of typewriters, sooner or later, strickly by the law of averages, one of them will write Shakespeare.

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