If noiseless impact is a person, Jo Nketiah is the name. In what we like to call the totality of beautiful sincerity and the bliss of didactic humor Jo is one of those highly inspirational writers and all round creative that speak to our souls, feed our spirits and warm our hearts. How she does this is what we are unsure of, but we are certain it must be divine. To have a word for almost all heart rendering situations of life and to do this in such a conscious and consistent manner to bring healing, health and wholeness is divine.
Join us on this special annual issue- The Revival!
As Jo Nketiah shares a truckload of inspiration about her truth, beautiful vulnerability, unconventional relationship with God and glimpses of her journey as a creative.
Enjoy and Stay Inspired:
We agree with one of your soulful quotes about how God is not just taught, but discovered. Are there any special tips that could help individuals better discover and connect with God?
I figured I am not the best person to answer this question, lol.
I think I have a very unconventional revelation about God that sometimes
I am not sure if the evolution of my current faith is even appropriate. This is how I see God, through the lens of nature. If I am being honest with you, I am still struggling to really get the whole concept of the trinity aligned with my thoughts. There is always this constant struggle because the things I was taught about God isn’t everything I am believing about him and I perceive that my own spiritual evolution has been quite a journey especially being a daughter of a pastor from a very grounded church.
So trust me, my tips for discovering God are so unconventional I don’t want to publicly encourage others, lol. I figure we all have a different path of discovery and don’t want to say this is how it is done, I want to rather say, we all have the foundations of GOD in us, perhaps that’s the gift of religion to mankind. So use that as a tool no matter who you perceive God to be and find him
I always find the presence of God in the natural environment more than I find him in any church. I know that music and the instruments and the message from the pulpit often fills an auditorium with the presence of God but there’s something about when I am standing beside an ocean or on top of mountain ( I love hiking) or gazing in the sky, it is an inexplicable feeling that scares me and at the same time engulf me with awe. I am always terrified when I feel there is the presence of God around me, It could be in a very familiar place like my bedroom or on top of Mount Gemi, I always feel significantly small because I alwaysupies every space that I almost seize to exist.
Like I said it is very unconventional and I am not telling anyone to do it but I haven’t been in church for a while, I still am struggling to find a place of belonging but mostly on Sundays I just go to our roof top at my apartment. I lie there and look into the sky and I am with God. I write down my prayers more than I speak them. I think I am still discovering God, I guess, who knows maybe there isn’t any wrong or right way to discover God, and I just hope at the end of my life’s journey I was more right than wrong about finding God outside the box of my religion as a christian. Because I wouldn’t want to lead others astray with my own discovery. But I can tell you for a fact that I know without a doubt that God sees me and answers me, if the things I call the hand of God isn’t God, I guess then some powerful hand in the universe is doing the work of God in my life. Thanks for asking me this question. Hearing myself write my answers is truly liberating for me.
We are grateful to have you onboard this most timely ISSUE themed: The Revival.
At Hello ICON Magazine, we believe and agree nothing can substitute the place of God in the life of every human. Beyond religion. Beyond depression and even the happy times. Beyond failure and even success. There will always be that void until one finally connects, maintains and sustains a personal relationship with God. Can you please share some highlights of how you connected with God on a personal level for the first time? And how you have maintained that relationship overtime.
I connect with God through my deep questions, through my worries, through my anxieties, my emptiness and my fears. I think I am more vulnerable and melancholy with God than excited when I am around him and I like that relationship and feeling. It gives me the safe place to tell it all as it is and on days I am not sure of what to say, I let my heart do the talking.
I cannot really give a specific moment of connecting to God but I think all I can remember is how as a kid the movie letters to God made a difference to me. I started talking to him as a friend, I hope God will say the same about me. lol
I think my relationship with God to the best of my knowledge has been kept floating because of my deep questions about life. A lot of time I just desire somebody to talk to about those deep awakenings about life and the constant emptiness but I have not met anyone on earth that meets that need so I am always talking to GOD when I am driving, taking a shower or at work when I am scanning a patient. I am constantly in communication with him and some days I am not saying anything at all. It is like how you know your dad is around the house sitting comfortably in his chair waiting for you to come to him but you just go about your business and smile through the silence each time until one of you makes the move. Sometimes I do, and other times God does.
something always happen to break the silence between us and we get back to talking.
You describe yourself as a woman on a spiritual journey. What would you consider most fulfilling about this journey?
Yeah that’s what I see myself, a woman on a spiritual journey. I think what I find fulfilling about this journey is the peace and serenity I get. It’s quite a great paradox because I am on this journey to find peace for myself and yet without the chaos in my soul I cannot feel the peace. I hope I am making sense.
Can you remember the first poem you wrote and what inspired it?
Unfortunately I cannot remember the first poem but I think probably something about life might have inspired it even though I was a child and didn’t know much about the world. I think my creative intuition has always sprung out from everyday life happenings.
What does Art mean to you?
Art is life and the river by which redemption flows to all things.
Creatives have been described as ones with the ability to feel things deeply. Living in a world full of so much chaos and uncertainties can no doubt be ‘a lot.’ In between all, we are grateful for creatives like you whose words shine a light in dark places(in the lives of people)
Do you have quick tips for other creatives out there afraid to use their Art for just purposes. Perhaps unsure of what people may think. Or probably struggling with self doubt?
I reckon that I will tell them to risk trying, that’s the only way to begin this in the first place.
We all have that unique story of finding a light at the end of various tunnels of our lives. Those moments when it feels like our backs are against the wall. But we believe one thing remains constant in the end- the undying and never failing love of God. What we like to describe as the one true source of strength, joy and fulfillment. Can you please share some glimpses of any moment like this for you? The challenge and how God came through for you.
There was a time when I came home from work and couldn’t find my apartment key. So averagely it takes me about two hours everyday to drive to work and drive back home so you can imagine the frustration when you get home and you can’t find your key, especially when you are looking forward to a hot bath and this wasn’t the first time this was happening, There has been instances I got home early so I get someone to send it over or I remember half way through my journey home but that particular day I just looked up and said, you have got to get me the keys God, I had searched my car through and through and came back and prayed again, and finally when I went back to search, it was under my car seat. It’s easy for someone to doubt that this is the hand of God but I know without a doubt it was Him.
There was one night I broke down in my car after work late at night, very mad at God for demanding so much from me. I think I was overwhelmed and burdened with so many financial obligations to different people from different places and yet I felt God was asking me to show up for almost all of them and I was just thriving on the little I had. I was so heartbroken by the unfairness of what I felt He was asking of me and so sad how often I don’t get help when I need it the most. It was a very emotional moment for me and I felt it because I really said a lot to God, I remember asking him to replace my heart with something stronger because I feel my tender heart of compassion also brings me so much pain.
A week or two after that incident, on a very regular day, I was just away from work when an acquaintance showed up at work and said he brought me lunch. That was like two or three years we were meeting again and I felt that was a kind gesture. He reached for my lab coat and placed in some money and said that was my lunch. Finally when I took up my supposed lunch money, It was an 1amount of 1400 ghana cedis, equivalent to about like 200 dollars and that’s quite a lot of money anyone has ever gifted me on a very casual day and this person is someone I speak to once a year or two.
So I went to the kitchen at work and stood by the window and smiled and maybe I told myself those words but it felt God was saying ‘ something little to put a smile on your face girl”
I think for me it’s just in the simple and ordinary human ways God shows up for me. Like a voice instructing me to rescan a patient because I lost sight of a pathology. I will specifically go to where I felt I heard the direction and bingo! it’s there and I tell you what, often they are pathologies anybody is likely to miss but I don’t.
Balancing work time and rest time is a struggle for many Creatives. Still, we see how you beautifully combine being a medical sonographer and being a writer. Please can you share a few tips on how you try to balance work time with rest time?
So I heard something from Shonda Rhimes, she said that anytime she is doing well at something, she is failing at the other next important thing and that honesty helped me to realise my limitations and forgive my shortcomings at areas in my life I am still working at. So apart from the fact that I am a medical sonographer, I have extra duty as a department head and sometimes it can be demanding. I work five days a week, I leave home at dawn and often get home late. So how do I do it? I am glad I am more of an instinctive writer. I don’t have to make time to write. I just write. I sometimes park at the side of the road to write. If some inspiration comes to me, I escape to the bathroom to write shortly when I am waiting for the next patient. I think I am always on the run!
So my restful activities are often the things I do which I call self kit therapy. I hardly go out. I am not the outing type. I like home so I am often at home when I don’t have any important engagements outside and when I am on annual leave vacation, I usually take a trip to the countryside to be with the natural environment. I also find rest when I plant or tender my garden and recently I have also started painting. And because this is how my life basically is, I try to get the best of human connection when I get to work, I laugh and crack jokes quite a lot with some of my colleagues and that means much to me.
If you could do a collab as a spoken word poet with any other artist, what art would that be?
Well, I don’t think I am sure for now. I do spoken word tho but I am not really enthused about spoken word performances as much as people perceive that I do. I enjoy writing more than talking. lol I don’t think anyone comes to mind at this moment. lol
Who are your ‘ICONS’ in the Creative Industry?
My icons I think keep evolving based on what season I find myself. In the spirit of poetry, Nina Simone, Ntozake Shange, Rupi, Rumi and many others have defined my path a lot. Currently I think I am taking a lot of inspiration from Onsite Workshops, a mental health institution in Nashville, USA and also there’s Thistle farms, all a community in the USA.
These people are mental and emotional grounded facilities that are serving the community in which they find themselves and that’s the new thing i am doing now, not so new but that’s the project taking space in my life right now as well as the publishing of my first book which I hope to get it out by October or end of the year. I also draw inspiration from a phenomenal writer called Alexandra Elle.
What does success mean to you?
I think Success for me is the concept of arrival and belonging. Anytime we finally arrive and feel belonging to those things we yearn for, whether it is love, dreams, happiness, luxury, pleasure, money, forgiveness, self love, peace, sobriety and all the things we all deeply want to acknowledge. When we have found these things, then we are the most successful.
Let’s go a little poetic: If poetry is a rainbow and you have a choice of one color in that pallette, what would that be and why?
ha! I don’t think I know all the colours of the rainbow but I think perhaps there is a point where all those colors merge together at the ends of the rainbow. I would like to be that color if there is one like that. I will like to be a bit of everyone.
Please briefly tell us something we do not know about Jo Nketiah.
Something the world I suppose to not know about me is that I struggle with a constant melancholy feeling, it isn’t depression or sadness without. it is just a sadness within me and it isn’t a negative sadness. It is what it is. It feels holy and sacred and drenching at the same time. That is why I am constantly choosing happy moments and doing happy things.
It’s like a companion that has followed me here in life and that’s the one thing you will think should stop me from living but that’s the thing that keeps me going everyday and helps me appreciate life, even though I know it is fleeting.
It is that one thing that I describe in my poem
they said you came
looking for me
i didn’t drown
i was the water.
Massive Love Jo!
The ICONIC Team