“But there’s nothing wrong with escapism!”, one may say as ‘time off’ or ‘down time’ is a highly coveted state of being or moment that is sought and protected.
“I just want to go home and watch TV/Play computer/go to bed!”
Said with slight exasperation, it could be interpreted that what is really being expressed is “I just want to run away from it all and I can’t cope with work/family/relationships/life at the moment!”
But what exactly is the quality of our ‘down time?’ And technically time doesn’t go down or up, fast or slow, it stays the same.
It’s our activities and the way we live that give us our perception of time as changing.
And it’s our activities that determine how we feel about life.
If I stay up late, drag myself out of bed dog tired the next morning, and then rush to get to work, I am not going to enjoy what I do and the day is going to be a total drag. It is not my works fault either, it’s how I choose to live the previous day that then further develops or contributes to a series of events where I now arrive to work miserable and tired.
Another example - there is a tension between me and another. I don’t want to speak to them because I am scared that they will misinterpret what I say, or that I will react and get angry and we’ll have an argument on our hands. The mind loves to run the 1000 worse scenarios in these moments. While it does take two to tango, by me not being honest in how I feel will only ever add to the tension. This tension builds up and lives within me but those worse case scenarios all start with me allowing another to be aware of how I feel by communicating it to them. In order to not feel this tension I can escape further into my mind or a video game. But this degrades, exhausts and poisons the body as the tension isn’t being dealt with. It’s like the fire alarm in the house going off while you are asleep, getting up, turning it off and going back to bed, never addressing why it’s going off in the first place.
But back to the “I just want to run away” situation. Often responsibility is the last thing on our agenda, we just want to escape and video games (among many other things) provide that door to another world for us to frolic in.
But from many years of experience I can say:
Escaping from life never solved or healed my issues
Escaping from life actually INCREASED life’s tensions and gaming would drain my energy leaving me with even less energy to commit to life.
Escaping from life twisted my perception of the reality of life and took me further away from being able to feel the truth of situations
As with the burning house example, escaping from life avoids me being aware of my responsibility and possibly that I had an input into the meltdown that is building or happening. To avoid facing the fact that I may have been the one to leave the cooker on!
I used to covet escapism like a precious treasure but more and more these days I am finding it to be fools gold. Going off into these fantasy worlds was like opium that gave life a soft, fluffy, comfortable edge rather than the harshness that I perceived it to be.
That sharp edge is only there when I am disconnected and not committing to life in the first place, because when I am committed and connected to myself and my inner-most, life is not sharp but really awesome. An internal navigation for how to be in life based on a constant communication between my being and my body. It’s not perfect but in that imperfection it can be absolutely amazing and this comes in when I commit to caring for myself and sharing how I feel.
Changing certain lifestyle choices have included:
Going to the bathroom when I feel to
Going to sleep when I feel tired
Initially I started a diary to write down how I felt and gained practice in sharing this with others. The internal dialog in my mind, the sensations in my body with the understanding that they are all here for a reason and that there is an energy behind all of them.
Changing my food choices based on how they made me feel after eating certain foods
Making my bed everyday
Washing my face everyday
Committing to being prepared for work with clean uniform and lunch etc.
And many other things such as addressing my hurts and behaviours to avoid further perceived hurt-causing situations or people.
This way of living is making running away more and more uncomfortable and not worth all that I previously invested in it. I feel more energised and willing to be in life in the knowing that life can hurt yes, but if I am poisoning and crippling my body with unloving lifestyle choices, then I can easily be knocked over by anything that comes my way. If I have my own back then life’s challenges can be seen as lessons rather than constant attacks.
This way of living also brings with it a fostering of self-worth in that I feel that I no longer deserve to poison myself with escapism and going off into far away video game lands. That committing to life is far greater than running away from it.