My life has had a bunch of different chapters, each one beginning with the fresh-faced idealism of a new approach to living, and each one ending with a period of stuckness and a moment of crisis. — Johnathan Harris
I can’t remember a time I’ve felt so stuck, or less inspired.
There’s one topic on my mind. It’s the same topic that’s on everyone’s mind. And I don’t really want to write about it. But it’s Monday — I have to write something. For my own sanity. To prove to myself, and to everyone else, that the world keeps spinning. That everything may not be as bad as it seems.
Another 1000 words on this particular subject won’t help anyone — it’ll just add noise to an already raucous echo chamber. But spending my digital ink on something else feels intentionally tone deaf — like all of the Medium headlines that are exactly the same as last week’s Medium headlines. As if another article about upping your follower count is what our divided world needs now.
I am disappointed and disheartened. I am uncertain, but not without hope. I want to move forward, but I feel stuck.
I thought about stuckness, and about where I lost the flow. I remembered other times in my life I’d been stuck, and how the stuckness always eventually passed. I thought how life is a lot like that fountain, with its columns of water moving up and down, and how the low points are actually thrilling because the high points are about to come back, and how the high points are actually terrifying, because the low points always come next. — Johnathan Harris
Whenever I feel stuck, I reread Jonathan Harris’ manifesto Navigating Stuckness. I reread it Friday, hoping to find some way to express my dueling emotional extremes — profound sadness (especially about the way we treat one another) and a feeling of hope in the face of adversity.
Then something happened.
I realized I didn’t need to write that article. Because that article already exists. And I was already reading it.
This week, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the piece. I’ve read it three times since it was published three years ago, and every time, I walk away with a new insight. This year’s reading was no different.
Jonathan Harris’ Manifesto, “Navigating Stuckness,” is an autobiographical journey following his path as a diarist…transom.org
I know not everyone will read the manifesto — although I sincerely hope you will. But if you just want the quick takeaways, then reread the two quotes I’ve already excerpted in this article, and remember this:
We have these brief lives, and our only real choice is how we will fill them. Your attention is precious. Don’t squander it. Don’t throw it away. Don’t let companies and products steal it from you. Don’t let advertisers trick you into lusting after things you don’t need. Don’t let the media convince you to covet the lives of celebrities. Own your attention — it’s all you really have. — Johnathan Harris
Hopefully next week we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming. Hopefully next week, we’ll all feel a little less stuck. And where we go from here is up to us.
But as you get unstuck, as you figure out the path you’ll take, please know — you’re not alone.
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