|Monica Marie Jones with Eric Jerome Dickey|
Last week I made a spur of the moment decision to attend a literary conference in Kansas City, Missouri. I immediately paid for the conference and my hotel room in advance to make sure that I didn’t change my mind. After researching the price of flights I’d decided that I’d rent a car and drive the thirteen plus hours all on my own. On the day of the trip, I realized that based on how busy my week leading up to the trip was and how demanding my week after the trip would be, that I’d gotten myself into a pretty ambitious undertaking.
I must admit that as the trip neared, worry and anxiety began to set in as I faced the reality of finances, time and the fact that I was tired and trying to beat a cold. As much as I am a cheerleader for faith, I began to waver and I wasn’t quite sure how I would pull this trip off if I could make it happen at all. All the while I prayed and in response I simply heard, “Trust Me.”
A concerned friend began to go back and forth with me about how it wasn’t safe for me to drive that long distance alone. So after arguing that I was a trooper because I had driven that distance and longer on my own several times, I decided to at least check to see if there were any good deals on last minute flights. As I looked over all of the outrageous prices, it occurred to me to check on the status of my frequent flyer miles to see if I was eligible for a reward flight.
A reward flight to Kansas City would cost me 25, 000 frequent flyer miles. I had 25, 009. On the day that I was schedule to hit the road, I was able to book a FREE, non-stop, round trip flight that was only two hours in duration as opposed to the thirteen plus hours that I would have had to drive one way. It was clear to me that this leap of faith was one that I was meant to take.
This particular conference was filled with some of my favorite authors. These were famous authors that I’d grown up reading, authors that have made the New York Times and Essence Bestsellers list on multiple occasions. I whisked in and greeted them all personally as if they had been family that I hadn’t seen in a while and they embraced me equally so. Well into the long Saturday full of workshops, panels and intense conversations, I realized that I was so engaged, that not a single worry had crossed my mind.
I was so into what I was doing that the things that usually occupy my thoughts such as finances, relationships, responsibilities, and concern for family had not even attempted to enter my mind. It was at that very moment that I came to understand a simple truth that can help and heal us all of the toxic feelings of worry, fear and anxiety.
Being immersed in what you love makes you forget about the things that aren’t right in your life. It erases your worries and allows you, if only for a moment...to be free. It’s like the serum to personal freedom. It is a feeling like no other...one that we should be intentional about making happen in our lives on a regular basis.
The remedy is simple.
Identify the thing or things that you truly love and are passionate about.
Create regular experiences or opportunities for yourself where you are immersed in that thing that you love.
Savor the experience while you are in it, and capture it so that you can revisit it if you need to. This can be done through taking notes, journaling, taking pictures or reflecting on the experience afterward.
This week I challenge you to set aside some time to immerse yourself in that hobby, that project, that class....Take that trip...Spend time with that person...Whatever it is for you, make it happen, if only for a moment, and watch how you will be almost instantly alleviated of the day to day woes that often plague your heart and your mind.
Worry, fear and anxiety are the illness. The antidote is immersing yourself in what you love. Get health. Get happy. Get whole.