how to find peace

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The Five-Moment Memoir
Journal entry from February 2, 2012

• Bonded with woman on the train over our mutual aversion to Fifty Shades of Grey

• Got lost in Manhattan, man dressed as Statue of Liberty gave me directions

• Cute guy across the hall helped me carry groceries up three flights of stairs

• Applied for six jobs

• Rained in our kitchen, handyman patched roof with garbage bag

I was in my fourth month of unemployment when I wrote that list. I had next to no money, and not much of a roof. Needing something therapeutic, and without the funds for a deep-tissue massage, I reached for my journal. That was the beginning of what I call my five-moment memoir. Every day I force myself to write down five things that have happened—the highlights and low-lights. Limiting myself to five lets me recount enough to ruminate and decompress. As the stress leaks out of me and onto the page, my problems begin to seem more manageable. Hope replaces fear, and productivity replaces despair, because as bottomed-out as I feel on any given day, the pages show determination—and a story in progress.
—Sarah Beauchamp is a freelance writer in New York City.

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