Stop. And focus.

These words will mean nothing to you.

They’re just words, right?

But if you dig around a bit, you’ll find that they appear regularly in the writings of Michael E. Gerber, most especially in his E-Myth series.

Now, at this stage, it would be insulting of your intelligence to do a deep dive into their etymology but (I think) it’s worth a little exploration.

If you look at the root of the verb ‘stop’, this is what it says:

“Sense of “bring or come to a halt, discontinue” (mid-15c.) is from notion of preventing a flow by blocking a hole, and the word’s development in this sense is unique to English, though it since has been widely adopted in other languages; perhaps influenced by Latin stupere “be stunned, be stupefied.” Intransitive meaning “check oneself” is from 1680s. Meaning “make a halt or stay, tarry” is from 1711. Stop-light is from 1922; stop-sign is from 1918. Stop-motion is from 1851, originally of looms. Related: Stopped; stopping.”

Yeh, and!

Well, in your case, when was the last time you stopped…running from one project to another in pursuit of your (putative) life’s purpose?

Or, when was the last time you stopped ruminating on all those vexatious (internal) conversations that have caused you hurt?

Or, when did you last stop and investigate that vague sense that your life is out of whack with what you know lives deepest in your heart?

Yes, even one word can be that important.

And what about focus?

Well, we don’t…focus.

We might do so for a nanosecond or when the mood takes us but we don’t focus day after day until we’ve come to a settled place.

If I appear to be making too much of this ‘life’ (and death) business, then we’re on a different page:

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.”
― Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

I mean I get the whole existential crises thing, but what I don’t understand is why so few people are willing to stop what they’re doing and look within?

It’s too painful?

Sure, but it’s even worse when you run around like a headless chicken not knowing what the hell you’re doing let alone the underlying purpose.

Again, for the record, we don’t will our wants but that’s not to say we shouldn’t stop running once in while and bring our attention to this moment.

If that sounds vaguely familiar to my previous writings — and a bit like ye old mindfulness message — then you’re right, but then again if only more people would focus on the present moment and not play to the gallery of thoughts inside their head, the world would be a changed place.

I appreciate too that this message may not chime with your another-day-at-the-coalface life but trust me, the longer you leave alone the need to consider what’s really going on the more it is your abdicating your responsibility to nurture and care for the essence of who and what you are.

And trust me, that bloody well hurts.




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