In this short Green Renaissance film, six people share their unique stories of how community, vulnerability, deep listening, and expressing appreciation can strengthen our connection to one another and make us feel more fully alive.
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 Timea Kulscar, Siya Ndovela, Charlie Galli, Tanja Bjørn Zabell, Aralyn Dorion, and Chaeli Mycroft.
Timea Kulscar: No man is an island. We cannot thrive alone. We can survive…but we cannot thrive.
Siya Ndovela: In Pondo, we have a saying: “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu nagemvelo.” “A person is a person because of other people.” Without other people you are not a person. Here, in this village, its not about me. It’s not about me, myself. We are all connected.
Timea Kulscar: We, as human beings, are wired for connection. We need other people not to complete us, because that’s the wrong word, and they say those in the movies, but we need other people to love, and to be loved by.
Charlie Galli: I think there’s a lot to be said for the human connection. We’re all supposed to connect in some way or other. I don’t know about everybody else, but I get something from that…where you actually speak to people and interact with them. You get back to your human side. It doesn’t sound like much…but it’s given you peace in here (pointing at heart), and peace in there (pointing at head)…that’s quite a biggie.
Timea Kulscar: Community, which is created through connection, has been lost a lot in this world. We are isolating ourselves, we are breaking up into little family pockets.
Charlie Galli: Sometimes I think there’s too much technology involved in life. Instead of actually holding a conversation with somebody you send them a wee message, an electronic message. But it’s not real, you’re not meeting people, you’re not grabbing somebody’s hand and shaking it.
Timea Kulscar: We think that we know what’s going on in people’s lives because we see their Instagram posts or their social media posts. But that’s the surface. We just see their highlights. We don’t know what they’re actually experiencing in their lives. But I think the more we nurture community the more we’ll create connections, and the happier we become.
Tanja Bjørn Zabell: I always think that…that it matters to be seen. I make sure every time when I’m with people that I’m really giving my full attention, hearing which stories they have. Because the world is a tough place and we need to be nicer, one to each other.
Aralyn Dorion: I’ve built my life around my relationships. I know who I am through my relationships. I really believe we should be more honest with each other and really tell the people that we love, that we love them. And also tell them what we see in them. Even if it’s something scary or something hard or something angry. I think it’s really important that we tell people how we feel, now. And it’s really important that we get vulnerable with one another. I think that there’s a rampant addiction to comfort and that actually, if we’re going to come alive, we need to get a little uncomfortable now and then.
Chaeli Mycroft: There’s so much that happens that we don’t talk about that actually makes life really difficult. I think it’s really important to also see the darkness and to actually bring those experiences into the light. Just because your experiences are different to mind doesn’t mean we can’t have a conversation and that we can’t disagree. When we disagree with each other that’s when we learn about each other. And that’s when we learn how to work together.
Timea Kulscar: The reason most people don’t share how they feel, is fear. We hold back. We’re more reserved. We’re worried what people will think. People are so afraid of not being accepted and not being loved. But what they don’t realize is that actually the only way you’re going to be loved, is if you give love. It’s a two way street, and one of you has to be brave enough to take that first step. I started telling people how I feel about them and sharing my feelings when I realized that there was no point hiding. That actually by not sharing how we feel about people, we’re actually hiding. We’re hiding who we are, we’re hiding parts of ourselves. I realized that I was skirting the surface of living life fully and that actually there was another level that I could get to…another level of appreciating every single moment in my life whether they are good or bad. And I think that’s what living life fully is.
Tanja Bjørn Zabell: Everybody deserves to be seen. Everybody’s story counts. It just depends if you know how to listen.
Chaeli Mycroft: We just need to allow space for people to do that…to shine.
Siya Ndovela: You must connect with your nature, with your people surrounding you. That makes you a human.
Aralyn Dorion: Someone told me the other day that I give really great hugs and I was like ‘aahhh’, I felt that, that was really nice. I would prefer to hear that now than find out that it was said at my funeral. Because that’s enriched my life and that’s made me feel closer to that person.
Timea Kulscar: One of my favorite quotes by a woman called Danielle LaPorte is “Find your tribe and love them hard.” You don’t know how long the people that are in your life are going to be in your life. So show them the appreciation when you have the time…in the moment… don’t wait. And there is so much power in the present moment. When we start living from that place, that’s when magic happens.
To support Michael and Justine in their film-making journey, visit Green Renaissance.
Justine and Michael are a creative couple living in South Africa. Their project, 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 greenrenaissance.co.za.