In the age of social media, everyone is in a rush to project happiness. In this paradigm, we get sandwiched between the need to present perfection to others and the resentment felt when we witness others lead the lives we covet. It’s easy to conflate snapshots with full narratives and become prisoners of our momentary blues. In the process, it is easy to let the fear of missing out be our warden. Through it all, we wear masks to hide anxieties; admitting failures or setbacks are taboos in the age of flaunting flawlessness.
I write this because lately I’ve hit a wall when it comes to writing. Perhaps what I’ve warned others is something I should have heeded myself. Looking too long into the navel of this world’s iniquities has a way of breeding a sense of hopelessness and ennui. There was a time where I cranked out two articles a day without a second thought. These past couple of weeks, putting thought to keyboard has been a labor of ambivalence. In the past, I forced myself to push through until I eventually found myself into a rut. Wisdom is earned through hard knocks; I’ve learned the value of prudence and being moderate when pursuing my passions and purpose.
I write this missive for the writer as much as the reader. It’s easy to discuss overcoming challenges and to present confidence after emerging through woes. Life is full of ironies, it is easier to claw through the muck than it is to enjoy success. I’ve written copiously about the trials I’ve endured over the past couple of years as I struggled and found a way from privation to redemption. The harder challenge is to acknowledge when one is going through the billows. Yet, through it all, it is essential to seek gratefulness. The easiest way to derail self is to resent yesterday’s injustices or be anxious about tomorrow’s uncertainties. The same way that pride leads to desolation, doubt can negate redemption. We must be vigilant to be thankful in the present moment.
When doubt creeps in, it is best to look back not with a lens of bitterness but through the understanding of gratitude. When I was volunteering at Wolverine Bookstore in Fort Collins, Colorado two years ago, I read an article about writers’ block that resonated deeply in my heart. The author was explaining that writing is a creative process that has many seasons. Writers’ blocks in this way serves as winter of barrenness that eventually gives birth to a spring of inspiration. Life is a duality, there are times to sow and there are times to reap—harvest comes by way of tribulations and boons. This is an allegory for life, discomfort is part of the growing process. Click To Tweet
During the same time I was living in Colorado, I interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Rick Belt, a Vietnam War veteran, as he told me about the hardships and setbacks he has endured over his life. He made a comment that struck me as much as the article I read about writers’ blocks. When I made a passing comment about how sometimes we just have to push through moments of sorrow, he paused and then said “actually you have to relish the times of sadness”. He noted that the beauty of life is to enjoy all of it. There is a purpose to everything. After all, if not for the rain, we would curse the sun.
So if you see less of my writing over the next coming months, it’s because I made the decision to reflect more and pontificate less. Moreover, this is the natural evolution of the Ghion Journal. As more writers come on board, the less this publication will be driven by one voice and the more it will be powered by a community of fellow writers. The hope for this space is for conversations to be shared by a community of post-political and post-tribal thinkers. Our aim is to carve a niche where conversations are sought instead of setting fires for the sake of clicks and attention.
More importantly, if we want the world to change, we must always seek the change we want within ourselves first. It is easy to rage against the injustices of the world, of which there are many, but the hardest step is to heal within ourselves. Perhaps that is what all of us must do more of, a thousand protests and a million hashtags are made irrelevant if we are not taking steps to address our own brokenness. The world is a reflection of what we harbor in our souls, peace cannot be manifested outward if our spirits are distressed. #StatusFlawless
“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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This is a Ghion Cast I recorded when I was living on a farm mission in Wellington Colorado called Harvest Farm. Life is poetic, a harvest comes by way of distress.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.