Here is a quote that came from a participant last year when we were discussing positive media. “These to me are the type of media that actually help me or stimulate my intellect. There is a fine line, though, between what is helpful and then what is then truly avoiding and escaping my time away. Quite a bit of our culture is about escape rather than being in the moment and dealing with reality. This is a huge exercise for me everyday to stay present.”
She went on to comment that when she is, "over the top with my schedule and my limits I have more of a need for escapist tendencies."
Escapism is a topic that came up frequently on the calls; people using the media as a form of escaping from challenges in their lives. (Laura: What was especially interesting for me with challenges is they could be huge, a relationship that needed ending, or tiny, trying to decide what to have for dinner. We often need to escape at many different levels.) The three main forms of avoidance media were tv, internet, and novels.
What we discovered is that escapism is one thing if it is truly for entertainment. It felt like quite another when it was to avoid something that needed to be handled, an emotional issue, stress, some sort of procrastination. We decided when we use media that way, we just feel worse when we are done. We also discovered that the escape was unconscious, we weren't aware we were in active avoidance. With it in our awareness now, we decided that there were much better ways of using our time when we are struggling with something that will leave us feeling more compassionate with ourselves and others.