Out of this lockdown have emerged some strange and dysfunctional things — some positive, some negative.
Regarding the latter, one can drink too much, eat too much, overdose on a steady drip of toxic sensationalized news. One can become anxious by not working, worried and concerned by a lack of power, autonomy, purpose and control. This frustration can often direct its poison towards one’s nearest and dearest. One can experience utter despair and an impotence in the lack of creative thrust. One can feel lonely, depressed and far from comfortable having to confront one’s shadow.
In all honesty, I’m guilty and have been prone to all these things. It has not been an easy time — although I’m conscious that any challenges I may have experienced have been minor in comparison to many.
I’ve spent way, way too much time on social media which can lead to something that feels like mental atrophy, the synapses and neurons just resigning to a f*** it, let’s nap (or eat!) attitude. Too many hours have passed worrying about the future. I’m constantly trying to be a good father, friend and husband, but at times I know I’ve simply failed.
I’m sorry for that, sincerely sorry, but I also have to remember the importance of self forgiveness, of attempting to be gentler with myself, a practice that doesn’t always come easily. I have been trying to begin each new day afresh, committed to making progress, to learning something new, to somehow, through goals and action, incrementally become a little better, and remind myself that no matter how dismal I feel, I must fight to remain hopeful — oftentimes easier said than done!
So….after that cracking litany of misery, lets get to the POSITIVE!!
The truth is that this universe we all dance in can give us a break here and there, especially if we’re willing to keep our eyes, ears and minds open.
In my case, an old acquaintance reached out to me, just prior to the Covid lockdown. We met, and in that meeting I was taken by his story, his honesty and his focus. He shared a website idea he’d been working on and gingerly asked if I’d like to be involved. A devoted father of young kids, he was committed to making significant changes to his lifestyle, and hoped to create a platform to help others who wanted to do the same. I loved what he’d done so far and naturally was flattered by his offer to collaborate.
Having supported my family predominantly as a male model for over three decades, I had long been eager to find an additional avenue for expression. It has indeed been a wonderful adventure, to travel the world constantly, work consistently with the greatest visual teams, and be named the best in the world at what I did. In any downtime during my years on set, I had always written, so I recognized that this could be an outlet for my creativity. This virus, and the fact that I am now 55 summers young, has been a catalyst to carefully examine my life, identify positive opportunities and have a crack at producing something that has more of an intellectual, helpful and meaningful angle to it, not just based on the way I look. At last, a voice to compliment my otherwise silent career!
Two of the hundreds of campaigns John has appeared in during a 36-year modeling career.
So for a few months now this old acquaintance, Pete Samson, and I have been passing ideas back and forth and sculpting what it is we want Mr Feelgood to be. I’ve always been keen, in whatever situation, to trim the excess, whether it be noise, spin or bravado — to get to the nuts and bolts of a story and discern what palpable benefit can be gleaned.
Mr Feelgood is here to provide an informative platform of communication, conscientious commerce and kindred communion.
It’s a home hub to inform on what and who we believe are the narratives, people and brands that are at the forefront of planet consciousness — those that seek to inspire and have the potential to empower all elements of society.
It’s a forum that doesn’t give a toss about what we have accumulated but more so celebrates who we are, how we can grow and what we have to contribute to the benefit of the whole.
Much of our content is compiled with men in mind, as we feel pragmatic advice and inspiration for men in this area is much-needed, but of course we welcome everyone to find something of value within these pages and join us on this road.
Our intention is to expose the lean, taste the essential, underline the truth and thereby, if we’re effective, reveal a new perspective which can be so deliciously energizing. We are all a work in progress in this ever changing world. If we can somehow anchor in our ability to adapt to what is both self and systematically beneficial, then we may just stand a chance. If we can converse honestly without need for an outdated mask of masculinity, we can challenge preconceptions and forge something better. Doesn’t it just feels like the time is nigh?
Pete is now not just an acquaintance, but also a dear friend and a much valued partner. It’s worth noting the irony that, whilst I was wrangling with self doubt and worry, Pete had apparently been looking up to me from afar as an example of how to lead a more conscientious life!
I stopped drinking on June 14 and have been working out almost daily. I’m dropping the excess weight I gained and also taming the self-sabotaging patterns that have haunted me repeatedly in the past. For me, everyday requires discipline, effort, hope and ingenuity. We CAN surprise ourselves creatively within the limitations of circumstance, and what has been vital for me is action.
Write that letter, make that call, get out from behind the veil of apathy that can be so restrictive.
Push oneself to improve by degree each day.
Be your own best mate and mentor, learn and reach out to those around you who may need support. Be willing to recognize the signs, no matter how well they disguise their challenges.
Be brave, don’t suffer and stall on your own self-defeating thoughts.
Breathe in life, possibility and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
That last one I’ve always shied away from — too much of a proud Yorkshireman — but what’s the point ? In spite of a popular assumption that we live in a dog eat dog world, I do believe that good people enjoy helping one another!
Life goes on, pandemic or not. It’s SO easy to feel overwhelmed. My feeling is that we must keep moving, take the very best of what’s out there in our world and with gusto attempt to remain optimistic, hopeful and positive. And boy, if we can laugh, that itself is such a wonderful medicine to momentarily let go of the seriousness of it all, then we will be winners in life. We must be open to our world and ideology being rocked and at times turned upside down and inside out. BUT we must also celebrate the many daily blessings of life, the simple pleasures that don’t cost a cent.
Right, I sincerely hope you enjoy what we put forth here. Forgive this lengthy tome, but I guess this is the result of being muzzled for 30 years! I will attempt to be less verbose in future and write my column fortnightly. I hope you join us, get stuck in, send feedback, and mostly enjoy an authentic and fascinating ride as we embark on this journey together.
Always with love.
Co-Founder, Mr Feelgood