Q&A with Dr. Dravon James, Founder of Everyday Peace

1. Tell us a little bit about your background…How did you go from growing up in the South Side of Chicago to where you are today?

My journey began in a poor community on the southside of Chicago.  Money was scarce but we were rich in belief and imagination.  There was a since of hope that permeated my childhood especially in those dark times of hunger and homelessness.  I credit this permeating since of hope to my mom, who instilled in her three children the mantra, that every great experience is first born in the hearts and minds of people.  That mantra made all the difference in my life.

What we lacked in money we made up for in our belief in an internal higher source, you can call that higher source God, (if you like).  My belief in this higher source, the same source that holds the sun in the sky, fueled and filled me with the power I needed to follow my path.  My journey has allowed me to serve the healthcare community for over thirty years as a Clinical Pharmacist, work in my creative passions as an actress and in service to humankind as an inspirational speaker and writer and raise two wonderful children.

2. What is Everyday Peace and why did you found it?

Every Day Peace with Dr. Dravon James is a platform I began to assist people in navigating and accepting their entire journey – the good, the bad, and the in-between.  The mission is for everyone to understand how to utilize everything that shows up in their lives as a stepping stone on the pathway to their next level of greatness.

When I work with organizations and with my one on one clients, I talk a lot about the three pillars, health, wealth, and relationships.  Three large categories that we use to organize goals and desires. In 2015 my life really looked like it was crashing down around me.  My three pillars appeared to be crumbling, I was diagnosed, after years of declining health, with an autoimmune disease, I lost my job, and my marriage of twenty years displayed serious signs of ending.  My world appeared to be falling apart, but some how I was filled with hope.  I was strengthened and encouraged, I knew that everything I was experiencing was drawing me to a more enriching and soul satisfying journey.  I leaned into the uncomfortable changes and embraced the journey.  Everyone, at some point in life experiences things that have the potential to negatively impact their journey.  Every Day Peace with Dr. Dravon James was founded to help people learn how to use everything that shows up in their life as stepping stone to greatness.

3.  How can we know when to fight the storm and when to surrender in peace?

When to fight the storm and when to surrender to the storm is a question that I am frequently asked.

First. I want to say that when we hear the word “fight” we feel resistance.  Whatever we resist grows.  The result of fighting/resisting the storm is the appearance of more undesirable things. So, in the traditional sense of the word fight, no, we never fight the storm.

We often view surrendering as lying down like a wet rag and accepting anything that happens.

Thus, the traditional view of surrendering does not produce the results we want either. Sometimes the traditional meaning of words really gets us confused. The way to fight a storm is to surrender, lean in.  Embrace stillness and stand in truth.  This means increase your awareness and focus. Become intensely aware that you are present in the middle of the storm.  The storm maybe scary, but it has not eliminated you.  You are STILL present.  Stand knowing that as strong and as scary as the storm appears in this moment it has not overtaken you.  Your power “to be” has greatly exceeded the storms power to eliminate you.  Then hyper focus on the things that you are currently grateful for, change your focus.  As the storm rages you surrender your mind and emotions to stillness, peace, and gratitude.  The energy generated from stillness, peace and gratitude will guide you to your next right action. 

4. How can we tap into the enduring peace that resides with each of us.

Oftentimes we think of peace as a State of being where we are undisturbed.  We think if we become disturbed or frustrated or angry, we’re not at peace. That’s so far from the truth.  I use the following to define and describe peace – peace is wholeness, completeness, nothing missing, nothing broken, totality.  To tap into peace become aware of the present moment.  Too often in our busy lives we are on autopilot, unconsciously performing tasks and responding to the world around us. One of the most effective ways to tap into our internal peace is to be present. Being present opens the door to peace.

5. How can we turn stress into peaceful moments?

Learning to transmute stressful energy into life affirming peaceful energy will greatly improve the quality of your life.   Not all stress is generated from undesirable incidents.  Planning a wedding, a family vacation, or for the birth a child are pleasant events that have the potential to cause a great deal of stress.  Stress, no matter the source, can have negative effects.  A few perception adjustments are all that’s required to begin the process of transmuting stress energy into a peaceful, life affirming, creative energy.  Ordinarily when faced with challenging situations we rush to find a way to defend ourselves, our families, and our communities.  We quickly get on the defensive and become resistant.  This approach produces more stress.  Instead take a few deep breaths and become curious.  Intense curiosity reduces the feeling of stress.  Develop a strong desire to explore various view points and perspectives.  Decide that the stressful event has occurred to strengthen and grow you.  It will help you develop skills that will catapult you to your next level of greatness.   Switch the doom and gloom perception of stress to an Ah ha moment of recognizing that its time to swift your focus and become more aware of your selfcare.  Use this time to develop a quiet mediation practice and spend more time in nature.

6. What advice would you have for people who are struggling with the world today. For example, they have lost loved ones to COVID-19, or they are worried about civil unrest, or they have are just simply feeling overwhelmed and anxious?

There is a lot going on in the world today and COVD19 has added to the mountain of concerns.  Accepting the emotions that show up, allowing ourselves time to process, and grieve are parts of the healing process.  Finding someone to talk with, a professional, a family member or friend, or a member of the clergy, can be quite helpful when we are struggling with painful events.  Grounding ourselves in the present moment helps to minimize the effects of fear.  Some helpful tools to assist in grounding in the present moment are deep breathing and connecting with nature.   An example of a simple deep breathing technique, take a deep breath to the count of four, hold the breath to the count of four and slowly and completely exhale to the count of four.  This breathing technique can be amazingly effective while spending time in nature.  Consider adding daily outdoor activities such as short walks or simply sitting in the sun.  Avoid dwelling on the past and / or projecting thoughts into the future.  Be patient and kind with yourself.

7. Anything else?

In this moment you have everything you need to reach your next level of greatness.  You don’t need to buy anything; you don’t need to go anywhere.  In this moment you can reach your next level of greatness without changing anything in your external world, because your next level of greatness begins with an internal shift.  When you choose to become totally focused in the present moment you open up to boundless creative energy and the power to enhance the three pillars, health, wealth, and relationships.  

8.  How can resisting the storm takes up valuable time and can create more tension and an even bigger storm?

We are powerful creators and the more intensely we feel something the more creative energy we exert.  Resistance requires focus and whatever we focus on with intense feeling grows.  If we focus on resisting the storm we create and even bigger storm because we draw more things into our lives that we find undesirable, more things to resist.  Focusing on resisting the storm will draw more people and situations into our lives that make us feel small, angry, and powerless.  A more productive use of our valuable time is to focus on what we want to create.  Become excited about feeling whole and complete.  This energy will draw more things that create a feeling of wholeness and completeness.

9.   How do we tap into the enduring peace that resides within each of us?

Tapping into the enduring peace that resides within each of us requires that we live in the present moment…the now.  The present moment is where our power, strength and peace reside.  A quick way to become present in the moment is to become aware of the five senses.   Begin asking a few simple questions; what do I smell now, what do I see now, what am I touching now, what am I hearing now, what am I tasting now?  These questions draw you into the present moment, the ego slows down and allows you to rest in your wholeness and completeness…peace.

10.  How do we utilize the power of words and begin a process of positive self-talk?

Words are powerful.  Words start and end wars.  Your words have the power to change the course of your life right now.  Positive self-talk calms you down and decreases your stress level.  Pay attention to your self-talk, be honest and kind, choose words that affirm and avoid self-criticism.  Positive self-talk not only improves your ability to manage stressful situations it also improves your communication skills with others.

11.  What are the 3 easy steps to turn stress into peaceful moments?

 Three easy steps to transmute stress into peaceful moments:

  1. Conduct complete body scans.  Start at the soles of your feet slowly moving upward to the crown of your head asking the question, how are my feet feeling, how are my ankles feeling and so on until you reach the crown of your head.  You’re asking the question, but you’re not looking for an intellectual answer.  You’re drawing your attention from the thinking mind into the feeling body.  Eventually the mind will slow down and allow the body to respond.  When the mind/ego lets go you feel peace…whole, complete.
  2. Hyper focus on gratitude – focus on three things that you are currently grateful for, if possible, write these three things down.
  3. Breath – inhaling deeply expanding the belly to the count of four, hold the breath to the count of four then slowly and completely exhale to the count of four.