I don’t have time for things which are not real. I don’t have enough time left. So, I want my life to feel authentic. ~Theo du Plessis
Green Renaissance produces gorgeous short films that uplift the personal stories of ordinary people, with the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change. We feel hugely blessed to feature video-stories that filmmakers Michael and Justine capture with exquisite expertise, and which so beautifully illustrate Grateful Living principles and practices. In this short film we hear from Theo du Plessis.
Learn more about Green Renaissance through our Grateful Changemaker feature.*
Questions for Reflection
- What feelings/thoughts/questions surface for you in viewing Theo’s story?
- How does Theo’s story move you?
We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.
Dr Seuss, this great philosopher…I knew him since my toddlehood years. Dr Seuss said, “Always say what you mean and mean what you say because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter they won’t mind.’
This film is dedicated to Marilyn Baty. For her unconditional love and support.
I don’t have time for things which are not real. I don’t have enough time left. So I want my life to feel authentic. And this is the most important question I ask myself over and over every day…
I test everything, every happening by it…Is it real? Is it real? Is it real?
Because I prefer to have a real life. It’s my only attempt that I know of. It’s my little space in time upon this planet.
If you want to sweep arrogance out, try poverty. Poverty is the best broom. When my studio was burgled, losing everything I had…the loss of my wealthy lifestyle was the best thing that ever happened to me. I suffered for one day. I postulated. I said all these things which I thought I should say. But I didn’t really feel them. And the next day I had this light feeling, which I still have. I thought, OK well I don’t have to look after all these things then.
It led me to make one of the greatest discoveries about myself. I used to believe, like most people believe, that I am defined by my possessions. But that does not define us at all. And that was my actual Damascus moment.
We get so used to defining what’s our possessions…what’s yours, what’s fenced in, what is mine…that we forget that none of it is actually ours. You don’t have to call a possession yours to have it.
My interaction with animals is a good example. I don’t possess animals yet I am surrounded by their love, their giving. The donkeys come to me and they bring me their softness, their gentleness, their understanding. Have you seen the size of a donkeys ears? You don’t even have to whisper loud…they hear everything, they even hear your thoughts. You can see it in their eyes. You can feel it in their nuzzling, their lips.
They are great teachers to me. All this stuff, they have nothing of it. Yet look at them, they are capable of soothing me. I’ve got all this stuff that is supposedly helping me…but it’s not helping. It’s the moments of reality. And animals call us to that place. They call us to the here and now, the present…which is what it is… it is a gift. The present is a gift.
I made a choice of minimalism… which is definitely not a word designed by minimalists because ‘minimalism’ is just a long word for nothing. I only have things that I really need in order to survive comfortably around people, and that’s mostly clothes. I don’t deal with money much. I build and I clean and I make food gardens. I get paid in kindness and board and keep. And never ever have I struggled for this.
I don’t know if my next host will be in this country, or whether they will be young or old. But what I do know is that it always pans out well because we shape our own worlds. We shape our worlds. We literally shape tomorrow today. We’re not dependent on our circumstances for how we’re feeling. We’re dependent on our choices for how we’re feeling.
My possessions are not going to qualify me as a happy person or not. It absolutely does not define how you feel day by day. It’s only your choices which define you. We can choose who we want to be… we choose it. And so to regress…it’s not progression, it’s regression… to regress into a state of mind where we’re not holding ourselves by what we have but by who we are.
I believe in a force called goodness. I believe in an energy called love. We don’t realize how many good people there are in the world. Most people keep their help silent. It doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you go into a lit room with a box of matches and you open that darkness into the lit room, it makes no difference to the light. However, if I go into a dark room with a box of matches and I strike one match from there, I can see into the corners. Luckily the force of good, of light, is much stronger than the force of darkness.
I think it was Mother Theresa’s business card that said, “The fruit of love is hope. The fruit of hope is service. The fruit of service is love.” It’s a cycle… the one leads to the other. So my advice to everyone around me is to just jump in anywhere.
In South Africa we’ve got this amazing thing called Ubuntu. Ubuntu means something like, “I am me because of others.” It’s an acknowledgement that people cannot exist autonomously. At this point in time there is a huge movement towards community. People are actually paying attention to each other. People are opening their hearts and getting more real. I like that very much, I like that. The chafing and shaping that we allow ourselves to go through and we help others through…that’s the only stuff that means anything. These are things that people consider at their death bed…only real things.
We only exist with a little help from our friends, like the Beatles said.
To support Michael and Justine in their film-making journey visit Green Renaissance.
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Quote: I don’t have time for things which are not real. I don’t have enough time left. So, I want my life to feel authentic. ~ Theo du Plessis, unquote
Definitely! Being simply beautiful. That is enough or more than enough. Let it be, let it come, let it go.
Thank you for the beautiful story. Love.
Very beautiful quote that you have pulled out from this story, and one that resonates deeply with us too!
May your years continue to be filled with LOVE.
Justine and Michael x
His peace and sense of ease in life is so tangible through this video. I think of how attached I am (used to be even more than I am now) to my physical stuff and the concept of wealth. I know instinctively that I’d be happier without that but it is really hard to let go. Seeing him speak about his experience is very inspiring.
Absolutely Dominica – to be a minimalist to the same degree as Theo is, is certainly not an easy path to walk. It comes with many challenges and tough times. But what I take from this video is that it’s about each of us finding our own balance, about recognising that our possessions are not what define us – that we are how we behave towards ourselves and those around us. We have the choice to be so much MORE than what we have… by who we ARE :). Big hugs to you on your journey. Justine and Michael x
Wow, this is so beautiful and inspiring and touches the heart and soul. The quote that stood out for me is, “I am me because of others”. THANK YOU from my heart Theo, Green Renaissance and Gratefulness Team!!! 💞🌈
Thanks for these beautiful words of appreciation Sheila! It is such a pleasure to be able to share Theo’s story with you guys. Love Justine and Michael x
What a great movie and great person. The movie deeply moved me, and inspired me to be more courageous for others, and myself. Thank you!
How wonderful it is to be reminded that we actually all do have such great big hearts. How wonderful it is too to give ourselves permission once again to be all that we were made to be. 🙂
WOW Brian! That is powerful. Thanks for allowing this story to resonate with you on such a deep love. Big hugs for all that lies ahead. Justine and Michael x
“We don’t realize how many good people there are in the world.” even on the darkest of days there are so many, many Lights ashine in this world, so many kind hearts, so much compassion at work and as I’ve heard Br David say so often, “We need only open our eyes and see”.
In some peoples world there is darkness too often, so I will shine my Light today.
Thank you Theo, Justine, Michael for your Light.
Oh Patrick! You and your magical way with words, that always leaves us with big happy hearts! THANK YOU for shining your light so brightly out into the world. We are truly grateful to have you as part of our little online family! x
Dear Gratefulness Team! We are truly humbled by your sharing of our films and this exciting new sharing adventure together with you. The work that you do shines a bright light into the dark corners and is so deeply needed at this time. Thank you for all your hard work and constant inspiration. Big love. Justine and Michael (Green Renaissance).
How lovely to find you guys here once again 🙂