In this joyful and meditative short film, 95-year-old Oom Johannes beautifully illustrates how to feel a sense of belonging in nature. He speaks to how nature can heal us, help us thrive, and become more resilient, and offers inspiration for how we might extend appreciation for the abundant gifts offered to us by nature.
Reflections of Life 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 Oom Johannes.
What feelings/thoughts/questions surface for you in viewing Oom Johannes’s story?
How does Oom Johannes’s story move you?
We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.
I’ve walked this road for many years. I am now 95 years old. I still keep walking on. It’s not very quickly, but I carry on…as long as I can. Tomorrow morning, about 3 or 4 am, I get up. I light the fire and put my pot on the coals and I start to work with my herbs. Then you drink the herbs. It’s so wonderful when you drink it fresh. Your mouth waters because you’re drinking directly from nature.
I work with the herbs, that’s what I do. Herbs are the secret. They are a breath of fresh air for your body. They can almost cleanse your heart, that’s how well they work. And you take a small piece and chew it. You can feel nature working through your entire body. I can feel it. It rejuvenates my body. It takes away any pains. Thrive like the plant that you are drinking. When you drink it you must say, I want to blossom like you do, in that arid soil. Before you know it, you feel like you can jump higher than a windmill. It makes you feel like a young man of 15 years.
I have such a love for nature because I know that’s where my life is. When I walk in nature, I feel like I am in church. I work with the earth. I say thank you to each plant that I pick. And I work gently with the plants just as I treat my own body. We cannot live without nature. If we don’t have nature, we cease to live. We have to work in a way that sustains nature so that you may grow in that space.
Mankind, we are stubborn. We are strange. It saddens me. I want people to understand what I have to say. We say such mean things to each other. We have no patience with each other. We hate each other. We argue with each other. We ruin relationships. And that’s not how we should behave.
When you walk out in nature, nature doesn’t say, “Stay away from me.” It says, “Come my child, I am here.” That’s how we should live our lives. You never hear the birds shouting at each other. They are always cheerful. When you wake up in the morning, you hear the birds singing, “We have another day, another day, another day.”
You need to keep the peace because if you don’t have peace, what kind of life do you have? That is not living. I always want to have peace. Contentment, that is peace. Then every day is like Christmas.
Justine and Michael are a creative couple living in South Africa. Their project, Reflections of Life (formerly Green Renaissance), works to spread positive stories that reflect the wonder of the world. With the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change, they produce gorgeous short films that are posted online and available for anyone, anywhere, to watch and share freely.
Through their films, they explore what it means to be human. They touch on topics that can often be difficult for people to discuss – from loss of a loved one to aging and retirement to friendship to love and courage – universal themes that we all deal with at some stage in our lives.
By sharing these stories, Justine and Michael hope to remind us of one simple truth – that we are all human – that inside our hearts and minds, we are all facing similar challenges. We have so much to learn from each other, and our connections run so much deeper and stronger than we think. Learn more and support their work at reflectionsof.life.