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Take 5

Take 5: (Audio)

I’m not sure it’s origin, or who uses this concept, but I believe in taking breaks in between the heavy action, or calm working moments. It’s stepping away from the puzzle of life to let your mind, eyes and attention focus elsewhere, ignoring the work you’ve been doing, and letting the subconscious take a break.

That’s when things come into focus and it’s much easier to see a clearer path.

In the crazy days of working IT where the computers kept churning along 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, working on a huge project, or working under fire for emergency repairs, Taking 5 often meant heading for the restrooms or coffee bar. Anything to get away for a few moments. Unplug from the work. Calm down. Recover your focus. Restore your mind!

This happened on a different front recently. We like to work puzzles and have recently had one on the dining table, enjoying stepping over for a few minutes and working our magic to finish it up. My bride and I both work puzzles differently, so when she’s not around the table then “…it’s all mine!” I can re-arrange the loose pieces by color, design or final potential location. It all depends on the puzzle. Working on it for an hour can cause your eyes to get buggy, but stepping away and letting all the images, colors and confusion rest in the corner of your mind, well, that brings focus when you step back to the table.

Inevitably a piece that I was looking for will be found immediately! There’s excitement when you can put the puzzle together and it just seems to flow!

Here’s the advantage of Taking 5. It’s like the mind needs time to sort out all the pieces of the puzzle before you before arriving at a solution. Just think. Your eyes have seen all the pieces in their disordered state on the table, your mind can remember everything, and Taking 5 gives your mind time to sort the pieces out to help you finish the job.

  • Have you ever gotten lost in a town and kept driving around hoping something will look familiar? Take 5 and ask for directions, or use that fancy gizmo called a “phone” and find your solution!
  • Have you ever hunted up and down a grocery aisle looking for something you know is right in front of your face? Take 5 and look for something else and that missing item magically appears!
  • Have you ever gotten into an intense conversation with someone and it feels like there are no winners or losers? Take 5 and cool down, then go back to the conversation with a deeper understanding of the other side of the argument!
  • Has your “To Do” list looked dauntingly long and it seems there’s no spare time to get everything done? Take 5 and then look at rearranging it, or your day, for productive use of your time.
  • Do you walk 90 mph when shopping and your mate is constantly slowing you down? Take 5! Re-pace the day so you can both saunter together and enjoy each others presence.

Come on, everyone! Take 5!

Even Jesus understood the load of the day and called his disciples to a break in their schedule.

The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat. So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. (Mark 6:30-32 MSG)

What happens when you Take 5? What happens when you take that much-needed break?

I’m not sure of all the biological processes, but I do know that my mind has a moment to enjoy the calm of a protected place. I cannot tell you how many times simply stepping away from a tense situation will create a treasure trove of rewards. Coming back to the situation will be like stepping on a vessel of peace inside of raging storm.

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”  ~Bryant McGill

Some like to do yoga or some other meditation routine. I like to think of nothing. Literally. The routine of making a fresh pot of coffee and grabbing that first few drops of liquid calm goes a long way to making my mind settle down.

Maybe this is something new for you. Why don’t you try it today. Simply find an appropriate moment. Take 5. And see if this makes your day much better!