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 James Motlhamme.

YouTube video player

Learn more about Green Renaissance through our Grateful Changemaker feature.*

Questions for Reflection

  • What moved you most about James’ story?
  • How might you awaken to each new day with a sense of possibility?

We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.

Video Transcript

When I start my day, when I see the sun, there’s a song that plays in my mind… let the sun shine, let the sun rise.

Whenever I hear that song play in the back of my mind, I think ok, here’s another opportunity to start and try and be happy and be content with our lives.

I grew up in a space where people’s opinions are very important. I was fed the idea of success according to the people around me. Success was linked to materials, money, the places where you end up living. Things on the surface. Had I became successful according to people’s expectations and had been sad at the same time without them knowing, and I died, I would have died successful to them.

The darkest moments are when I cannot find myself. When I can’t hear myself thinking, and my expressions and my thoughts are affected by people. It’s so easy to get lost in all of that and forget about myself.

Rejections has been a problem for me. Rejection from family or the people that you love or the people that you look up to. And the most painful I’ve experienced is when my father was like… yeah, telling me that I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough. And he would compare me with all the people that he doesn’t like.

I don’t understand. Or maybe it’s because I’m the stepchild. But, yeah, because I never understood why. Rejection most of the time doesn’t come with detailed explanation. Most of the time they’re shutting you out. I love listening to people, right? And their opinions and stuff. But they are that exactly, they are opinions, and they come with their understanding.

I do not really give people power to change how I see the world, especially to the things that matter to me. I think it goes back to loving people and appreciating people’s roles, people’s role, in my life, but at the same time prioritizing and listening to the person in me. And no one is going to listen to myself and try to understand myself like I do. So if I’m going to do that, I also have to honor myself by treating myself with respect.

When you go to nature, it seems like time extends. The idea of the two hours in the city and the idea of two hours in nature is different. Being in nature does wonders for me. Like when I’m looking at the sunset, sunrise, I’m thinking about my wellbeing. I look around, am I really ok? And sometimes the answer is no. In those moments I make peace that days won’t be the same and it’s fine. But just like the sun rises or sets, I can go sleep and try tomorrow.

Despite all the challenges, despite all the scars, despite all the misfortunes, the rejections, I’m in a good space mentally and spiritually. The most beautiful moments that I’ve had, the most beautiful views that I’ve seen, the most beautiful places that I’ve been, are not necessarily easy to get to. But it doesn’t take away the good and the beauty of it.

As long as you’re still optimistic and you’re still trying, I think that’s living.

To support Michael and Justine in their film-making journey visit Green Renaissance.

Nature Trust