The last six months have been incredibly busy, as my book nears completion. With a month as an aggressive goal to complete editing, I considered going completely offline for a few weeks.

Instead, I’m going to share with you short excerpts of my book. I hope you enjoy them. Take care – Leigh.

Five minutes is powerful. It changes the course of your day, brings a sense of peace among chaos, or even creates a new future. Five minutes is an opportunity.

Yet, the gift of five minutes is often forgotten.

Thanks to overwhelming responsibilities of being a mother, a wife, and an income earner, in the evening you’d give anything for five minutes of peace – and a burst of energy from your exhausted body. Your spouse, if you have one, would love to see you energized too, but you can only imagine lying comatose in front of the television.

You are spent because each day, life feels like a runaway roller coaster. You can’t take five minutes to test the brakes, although you know they are wearing thin.

If you take a moment for reflection, or a warm cup of tea, you realize life’s mundane activities are only a small part of each day’s priorities, yet it is difficult to get past them. Do you really exist for overbooked meetings and household messes? Then why does your life revolve around them?

One of my students, Janie, complained that her life was so busy that she didn’t have time to look for a job. “Being a mom,” she said, “is a full time job, yet our family needs the second income. Half my day I spend searching for ways to save money. I search through grocery flyers. I mend clothes. The kids have to wear their clothes twice, or I scrub individual spots out so I don’t have to waste water and detergent. The kids’ new clothes are from the discount rack or from a second hand store. Planning dinner is the biggest headache.”

“Meat is so expensive!” she burst out, hiding her face and her tears behind her hands.

What Janie didn’t realize was she was so busy counting her pennies, she didn’t have time to bring in dollars.

When I explained this she realized her priorities were in the wrong place. Stress and anxiety had so overwhelmed her she couldn’t see beyond the day’s money-saving tasks.

In this emotional trap she could not present strength and confidence to her next employer.

In between résumé work, we reorganized her days for grocery shopping, laundry and household chores. We also created a realistic budget and she committed three days a week to job search.

It was definitely a start.

The muck and mire of daily stress pulls us back from the journey towards serenity and self-actualization, yet stress is inevitable in life. The key is to work with stress and move forward. Life wouldn’t be fulfilling if there weren’t challenges to overcome. So choose this time to take five minutes for yourself.

When given a choice between sweeping the dog hair off the floor, or engaging in silent meditation, which do you choose? If guilt drives you to sweep the dog hair, then reexamine your motivations. The stress of guilt will only slow you down. Let the guilt go, and choose to meditate while you sweep. The Karate Kid learned more than he realized when his Master told him to “wax on, wax off.” While only cleaning a car, he prepared his mind and body for greater understanding in the martial arts. The activities in life don’t exist just to go through the motions. There is often purpose behind them. You sweep because you take pride in your beautiful floor, or you are conscious of maintaining a clean surface for your toddler. And that dog hair? It only exists because of an affectionate black lab that wags his tail every time he looks at you.

If you are prepared for the lesson, every activity offers an opportunity for growth, knowledge and peace.


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  • Carol And Stacy Posted April 5, 2011 12:30 pm

    We have to pick and choose how we spend each day. There is time to squeeze in the important things if we want to. One of my daily affirmations is "There is plenty of time" that helps me relax in knowing I'll get done what I can what I can't, will be waiting for me tomorrow.

  • Leigh Harris Posted April 5, 2011 1:48 pm

    I feel relaxed just hearing you say that… unless there is a deadline! But that is another topic. Or do you see it working into "plenty of time?"

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