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 Nick Nyalungu.

Learn more about Reflections of Life (formerly Green Renaissance) through our Grateful Changemaker feature.

Questions for Reflection

  • Which part or parts of Nick’s story resonated with you the most?
  • How might letting go of external expectations help you experience a deeper level of trust?

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

Video Transcript

There is no way you can make it on this ocean called planet Earth without that boat called self. It’s a sail ship, spirit sails it. Where it goes, you cannot know. The only compass you have on this boat is your heart.

My mom told me a lot to always think about tomorrow. And it was something that she lived. Living in a state of fear where you believe that it’s the last tomato so I must cut it in half so that I can have again tomorrow. I grew up in a very poor area where people didn’t have much. The fridge would be full one week in a month. And then the rest of the three weeks there’s a bottle of water and mayonnaise that’s been leftover for the past three months. But I ate everyday. She would give even though she didn’t have, she would make it happen. I can’t be thankful enough.

When I was growing up, it was explained to me what my name means, Mthunzi Gamama. It means “moms place of rest.” So my purpose for my name is one who must grow up and then look after my mom. At around age eleven was the time when I started feeling the pressures of society’s expectations, my mom’s expectations. How you feel, that’s not a question that we ask where we from. You must find the vocation that brings in the most income boy or else you are a waste of opportunity.

I had always known that the expectations that people have on me, they were going to get disappointed. Because I was not going to be a doctor. I was not going to be an accountant. I knew those were not the options for me.

Right now my mom and I aren’t talking. And the reason for that…sorry man…the reason for that is because of the person I have chosen to be. She has known me her whole life. She had thought she knew me. Me too. I thought I knew me too. And then I got to a point where I realized that I was going deeper and deeper into learning me. I had misled myself a lot and made decisions that were not loving to me. It hurts because she’s holding onto what she thinks she knows about me, and that is no longer here.

I read somewhere a simple line that said, “On the other side of your fear is the life that you want.” And I think that this is just that. It’s time to put the fear down and to pick up the heart and light it up and follow where it goes.

I have come to a place where I have removed all those layers of these opinions to come to this bareness, this absolute bare reality of who I am. For the first time in my life I don’t have this voice of authority that I need to answer to before I make a decision. And this sort of freedom is so great for my kids and for myself. For my kids, what I hope for is for them to have the confidence to make the decisions that make them happy. The freedom to follow your heart…unapologetically. To know that whatever it is that you’re going to do will work for as long as you put your energy and your heart into it. You’re just here to follow your heart and to do that, whatever that is.

I hope one day that my mom gets to see the light that she brought into this world. I have forgiven my mom for not understanding who I am, what I am. You have to forgive because people are going to hurt you. People are going to come and do something that’s going to make you not believe in love, make you not believe in security. Things like that are going to happen on Earth and you’re going to have to forgive some very hard things. You can’t be happy unless you have forgiven. Forgiveness and happiness are the same thing.

If I could have one gift for every human being on this earth it would be a piece of happiness. Where happiness happens is what a human being is. It’s a quality of beingness that is above the murmur of worry or of uncertainty. I’d wish a person to wake up and with all the unknowns that this mystery is, still be blown away by the amount of absolute lovingness that comes from being on this planet. That they find for themselves the courage to jump, to run into the unknown.

(Interviewer asks: Why are you not scared? Why do you trust?)

Because I am love. Love’s got nothing to be scared of. And I trust because I have given a reason to trust…by love. And if you follow your heart, everything is fine.

To support Michael and Justine in their film-making journey, visit Reflections of Life.

Reflections of Life

Reflections of Life

About the author

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