Hope this finds you well and dealing with the continued challenges that is our world. I feel as if we’re going through some sort of agonizing labor, the pain preceding the slow start towards change, growth and new beginnings.
But that’s easy for me to say from the comfort of my home — and isn’t that a conundrum that many of us are feeling? How do we go about our so-called ‘normal’ lives when there are such atrocities occurring in Ukraine day and night? (And of course elsewhere, but we’re focused on Ukraine for now.) How do we manage getting on with our own work, in pursuit of our personal goals, when there are genocides and inexplicable violence being committed not so far from home. I feel guilty, self-conscious and unsure when I’m out there posting pictures, going about my business, when people like you and I, secure and civilized in their democratic existence not two months ago, are now dead or refugees running for their lives, their entire way of life turned upside down.
I’ve just started traveling again and recently took my first plane ride in over two years. Before Covid, I’d spent the last 35 years flying all the time for my work as a model. Unlike many, I loved being back on the road — it fueled my wanderlust and inherent desire for adventure. I was in Majorca on a shoot and it was wonderful to be in that energy again, in Europe, riding through the islands’ country roads, being architecturally transported to a different age. But in Palma, from the deck of my hotel room, and also whilst driving around in the location van, my mind kept seeing the similarities of this city with Kiev or others all over Ukraine — vibrant, independent, buzzing and aspirational; a younger generation feeling the pull towards freedom, autonomy and a more modern way of life. What scared me was how quickly things can change.
In the last Mr Feelgood issue, we made a list of five bona fide charities that if you wished and were able, you could donate to. Researching them all, I was struck deeply by the selflessness of those volunteers, thousands of them that made the choice to serve and have been doing such for decades. I mean, it’s heartening and humbling to realize that such people exist — they truly commit their lives to serve. No matter the risks, the personal dangers, they give of themselves. I’m in awe of them, truly in awe and admiration. I want to go meet them and work alongside them. I wish to honor them, they’re made of the right stuff. I aspire to that kind of bravery and selflessness.
That brought me back to the challenge I face, and I think perhaps many of our readers do too. How do we contribute, find the balance, if that’s possible, to carry on building our company, engage in the pursuits which enable us to put food on our table, whilst simultaneously following this ongoing news? I’m asking for myself, so that I can help as a father and a friend. For me, and I’m not saying this is right for you, but for me, I’m coping by fine-tuning my goals for Mr Feelgood and taking action steps toward building this platform, because it was born out of a clear and honest intention to uplift, inspire, share strategies and innovations that communicate the positive. So for me to function at full throttle, I have to be clear in my intentions and then follow through as best I can. And when I feel I’m making progress, even if only seemingly small, I must embrace that energy to feed the next step and the one following that. And thus, I have to carry on doing my very best to exercise kindness in my own life, in my own way. The mantra circling around my head is to LEAD WITH LOVE — and if that sounds soppy, I don’t care.
Let’s celebrate for a moment the generosity of strangers in the border countries, housing humans and animals in their very worst moment, literally shell-shocked and damaged. The courage and character of those volunteers at the frontlines, taking the risks, feeding the destitute, the victims of this war. And we must all find a balance of continuing to build our lives positively whilst doing whatever we can to help and contribute to those heroes in action who will always do the right thing. We can’t afford to become apathetic, nulled to the indignities and cruelty of war — all those people are mothers, fathers, have sons and daughters — they are the same as us… we are simply further away, safer, for the moment.
So to feel good is to spend time and make conscious efforts to assist and contribute in any way possible, to be present to what’s going on, and take whatever action you can to help.
Recently, one of our son’s best friends, a young man who is like a member of our family, decided to change his easy month’s vacation in Australia, and head over to the frontlines of Poland to volunteer. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply proud of this boy I am. I am also concerned for his safety, but he’s found purpose and that feels good for him and for my love for him.
So, like may of us, I’m just trying to figure this out. If any out there can help me and our community with this situation, engage in the conversation and suggest practical steps to do our bit amid this ongoing reality, we’d truly love to hear and share.
And love, respect, courage, awe, and gratitude to those who are out there sharing their homes, their food and their humanity.