“Be like a rocky promontory against which the restless surf continually pounds; it stands fast while the churning sea is lulled to sleep at its feet. I hear you say, ‘How unlucky that this should happen to me!’ Not at all! Say instead, ‘How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation or complaint.’”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
As tends to happen, the right book can find us at the right time. The one carrying the above words made its way into my hands late one night – just as the world as I knew it was falling apart – and that it was perhaps crafted as a stoic’s manual to valour by the author while living through one of the worst plagues in European history only dawned on me as one of those ‘can’t believe the coincidence’ things much later into in our companionship. It didn’t exactly fall from my bookshelf and hit me on the head, but nevertheless made its way to me in such a manner that certainly restored my belief in providence.
There is no time like now to pay respect to courage.
In an era trading uncertainty and change, fortitude may be just be the single greatest currency of all. I’ve learnt recently, when faced with losing someone so unbelievably close to me, that it’s not until we are presented with our deepest fears, do we really find the gratitude for all we have been blessed with to withstand them. The unimportant becomes so obviously, well, unimportant, and we are overcome with an appreciation for the things that actually matter. That very thing that would have left us wondering if we could have kept on breathing instead teaches us, as Aurelius would say, that we meet our future if we “have to, with the same weapons of reason which arm you today against the present.”
This ‘Courage’ issue salutes too many of the brave even to single one out here.
They may not be the obvious heroes but real souls with the depth and strength to rise to challenges that might seem incomprehensible to others, intrepid enough to believe in the power of their minds and own life force.
I hope it finds its way to you at a time when you need it the most. A moment you are open to a whisper that will see goosebumps rise slowly on your neck when you hear it. It might be telling you to speak up and be the change, to push on, or even to walk away from that very thing that you just can’t seem to give every part of your heart to.
May it help you to live each day with uncertainty, knowing we can never be sure, but we can be ‘all in’ anyway.
A life given for now, not forever.
Bestowed with courage, or even just the courage to love.
PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Ashton
FASHION Hannah Cooper
HAIR Alan White @ MAP using Davines
MAKEUP Isabella Schimid @ Assembly Agency using Chanel