Ever since I was a teenager I believed that I had a magical destiny. I have always lived life from the heart and I have never chased money. Not that pursing cash is a bad thing, it is just not me. I have had a lot of luck in life and I thank God for that. I have also had a lot of pain and this current nightmare war in particular is very hard to come to terms with. And it is easy to start having doubts and to lose your way when there is so much uncertainty.

Over 20 years ago, on our first indie film project called “Purpose” I was out of my depth and pretty naive. I probably still am. I got into a difficult situation in America and was traumatized and wobbly. I lost about 16 kilos over that period and was quite afraid of the world for a time. But somehow I found my confidence again, and my strength, and about a year later I was fired up again.

I remember a very wise and kind Rabbi in Los Angeles who could feel the pain I was in, and he could see my innocence that had been affected. He gave me a lot of strength when he said to me, “God challenges those with great destinies.” Yes, we learn nothing when things are easy. I have thought about these words often – every time there is struggle. Our documentary film project “57” which was delivered this week was a very hard journey. The film turned out excellent, and we are all happy about that, but it was a seriously intense effort and we are all exhausted. I never understand why some experiences have to be so painful but I believe it is preparing us for something important, something purposeful.

I have always been driven by a sense of purpose. I sometimes think it is a blessing as well as a curse. It is much easier, for example, to simply focus on making money. Making a difference can come later, when you have money. This is what a lot of cynics will tell you. Perhaps they are right. Purpose, to me, is like magic. When you feel a calling drive you it can be a magical experience.

I love the word magic but this year I almost stopped believing in, well, anything. This war turned our lives upside down and for a time there I was even wondering if there really is a God.

I have a big collection of pranks and magic tricks in the Nest in Kyiv. When we left on the second day of the war we were in such a state of shock that I didn’t think to grab some of my favourite stuff. That was 6 months ago and now I am back in Kyiv for a couple of weeks. And there I was, just the other day, wondering when I will be able to see the magic collection again. Some days I think it is all so unnecessary, all this stuff. A friend of mine Greg offered me some solace recently when he said to me “The magic is inside you.” Thank you Greg. I sometimes forget this, and I am often very hard on myself. I know I have made many mistakes again in these past 6 months. The war trauma is always my excuse but I know that I need to work on myself. There is much I need to change.

A wise mentor friend once said that tough times doesn’t build character, it reveals character. In this department I feel secure. I may by misfiring a bit and talking too much, from all the nervous energy, but I have always acted with integrity and compassion.

The one thing that I am happy with is my role as a dad. The Bunster is loved and nurtured. I don’t how we do it each day – he has no clue that we are struggling. I want to believe too that this little dude has a special destiny. One day all of this pain will make sense.