Many times I catch myself letting my mind wander, wishing I could simply escape what is going on around me. You know that feeling when the chaos, confusion or tensions of the day offer much turmoil and little escape. Those moments are akin to the old Calgon TV ads where the exasperated mom cries out, “Calgon take me away!”
If it were only that easy. In many respects it actually is.
I call it “re-framing your environment.” Every now and then we have this overpowering desire to escape, run away, find peace, or hide. It happens. There is something invigorating about finding time to breakaway, do something we enjoy, and simply recharge. Unfortunately the demands of family, work, and other commitments make the ideal escape — like running away from home for a week or two — difficult, even unrealistic. There are times where it seems that finding even a moment to escape and do that little something that helps us recharge is nearly impossible. In the face of these perceived limitations, despite the insanity that surrounds and drains us, many surrender and not do anything at all.
This is not good. We all need to make time to connect with our passion and recharge. If we don’t, the sacrifice eventually has an adverse impact to the point where what is being given to others in this moment of sacrifice and obligation to others ends up falling short of what they really need from you and less than what you are able to offer anymore. Eventually, the tank will run dry and then we are of no value to ourselves or anyone else.
Re-framing your environment is finding a way to break free from the chaos and creatively redefining the environment in a manner that gives you a sense of escape to make time for yourself. Re-framing your environment is about blocking time to provide some semblance of the escape needed to physically, emotionally, and spiritually recharge. The key to this exercise is embracing the notion of escape — creating a sense that you have broken away or are separated from the normal or exceptional chaos in your life, even for a little while. Obviously, activities like biking, hiking, running, walking, and meditating are easy activities in this area. For those who cannot simply go outside everyday, the exercise requires a little more thought and creativity.
When I engaged in my one hundred pedals rides — one hundred consecutive days with a bike ride of at least one hour — I had a commitment on my calendar where I was going to be in Michigan the first week of February. In the middle of winter, there was no opportunity to ride my bike outdoors like I was in Arizona. I knew I could ride a stationary bike at the local gym in Detroit. I did it all the time. This time was different. I was celebrating incredible meditative experiences in association with these rides and simply riding a stationary bike was not the key to maintaining this state. Instead of simply riding a bike in the gym, I made arrangements with the manager to move a spin bike into the yoga room. I turned of the lights, turned up the music and rode in the dark. Through this set-up I rode alone, in isolation with only my thoughts, and had effectively created an environment similar to that which I was experiencing riding outdoors in Arizona. I successfully re-framed my environment.
It isn’t always easy to facilitate those moments that enable us to escape and recharge. At the same time, finding the time or creating the environment that works for us, is less about what is possible and more about deciding what is necessary. Sacrifice, commitment to others, and fulfilling the obligations associated with the expectations in our roles cannot be minimized — they are also not an excuse. Everyone needs time to recharge, reload, and re-energize themselves. Want an escape? Create one, re-frame your environment and make it happen!!