“ESCAPE.” The commercial comes on and shows pictures of crystal blue waters, beautiful sandy beaches, lush green trees and their exotic tropical hide-a-way huts. While trying to convince viewers of the benefits of booking a vacation to “escape and get away from it all”. It gets my attention and gets me thinking. The word ESCAPE entices so effectively because it promises something, we all want – relief, comfort & safety. Escape. It’s something our culture tempts and teases us with in many ways. We’ve all tried it in some way, shape or fashion to escape reality. There’s nothing wrong with a getaway to someplace beautiful, but there IS a difference between escape and peace.
Peace is an ease or inner calm within oneself, an internal state of tranquility or self-compassion. Escape is to flee, elude, evade, cheat, dodge, trick, sidestep or break free from. . . Huh? These all have negative connotations, and sound more like war!
Escaping ignites a fight or flight reaction versus the ability we’ve been given to make the choice of peace.
You see, the act of an escape is always temporary and if not managed, some escapes prove to be detrimental and destructive. We settle for moments of escape when we can’t find true safe spaces of peace. We must make the active decision daily to have AND practice peace. We can do this in several ways:
Let things go
Focus on being present/in the moment
Accept what you can't change
Read at least twenty minutes a day
Relax your expectations
Speak to a therapist (we have excellent therapist listed with the BBFG!)
Exercise regularly (dancing qualifies too!)
Practice gratitude DAILY
I personally make a gratitude list daily by listing the alphabet from A-Z and then listing something for each letter that I’m thankful for, be it a person, place or thing. It doesn’t take a lot of time just a few minutes of thought to get my mind right instead of focusing on a negative, (which usually always within arm’s reach).
We’re not promised a pain-free life – disappointment will come, jobs will be lost, people you love will die, illness will come, relationships will end, trust will be tested, injustices will remain everywhere. But when we do our part, and practice peace daily to strengthen our center, we can experience a peace is more satisfying than any “escape” could ever offer.
Stephanie Lyons is a Mental Health Advocate at the BBFG Community. She is also the original Co-Host of "Voices Of the BBFG" for the Black Business Focus Group.