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 Annie Norgarb.

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

Questions for Reflection

Which part or parts of Annie’s story resonated with you the most?

What ordinary moments or things might you nourish with your deep appreciation?

How might life be inviting you to leave your chrysalis and fly?

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

Video Transcript

Just remember that everything you do, everything you do, you do for yourself…and there isn’t one. (Laughs). There is no self.

Summer and winter are so different, because in summer I fling my legs out and the curtains are drawn, the windows are open. And then I say, “What can I see? What can I smell? What can I hear?” So this takes me into my day. In winter I will get up and light my candles instead of turning lights on. And it’s lovely in that semi darkness. I immediately start appreciating what the day has to offer. And the cats are sitting out there very often when they’ve heard that I’m up and they come in to say good morning and I think, company, how lovely. I know they’re just asking for food, but I like to think there’s a little bit of love somewhere along the line.

Everything has its time, and now it’s time to reconnect back into nature, which is the nature of things, the nature of life, the nature of being. I see that in the garden and how beautiful those dried flowers are. How beautiful when the rose petals fall away and you’ve got the rose hips. The buds can still be the buds, but they’re brown and very contained, and the other ones are flopping open. It accepts what it is. You have to go back to that indigenous feeling of observing how beautiful the world is, as it is. The dying of flowers, the wrinkly old faces, arms, legs, whatever. (Laughs). And saying, “beautiful, oh my god, is that beautiful.” A lot of people find it scary. You know, they don’t like to think they’ve lost that peak of life. And yet, if you can see that there’s a beauty in itself, you’ve lived well. Maybe you’ve got wrinkles, maybe you’ve got those lovely laughing wrinkles. And the beauty of withering is actually moving towards a simplicity of living and an acceptance of living.

I recently just asked myself the question, “How do you let go?” It’s by facing it. It’s by being with it. By not fighting against it. One has to let go of the feeling that you have to be a somebody. Because I’m not a somebody. I am, I suppose, just a being exploring life, and the exploring is more important than the I. It’s not good enough to say you have to just be yourself. I think you have to know yourself. You’ve got to believe in yourself sufficiently to know that what you do is fine. If you make a mistake, it’s also fine. That’s what you learn from. And unless people can accept that, they’re not softened into accepting themselves. They’re searching outside instead of inside.

I am playing with my life. Not detrimentally, just in the beauty of living. And so there’s that sense of expanding into a time of my life that actually I am aware of time. If you start thinking, well maybe it’s ten years, maybe it can’t be much more than that. Maybe I’ll get to my grandmother’s age and she was 97.

I do sometimes say, my goodness, I must enjoy, because you just don’t know. Not out of fear…out of fear it’s going to happen too soon. (Laughs). And there’s so much I want to feel, explore. Whatever it is, it’s to fully appreciate what is left. It doesn’t matter how long it is. And I am suddenly a bit like a butterfly. I’m beginning to eat my way out of the chrysalis. And is that not beautiful? And fly. I hope I’ve got a lovely pattern on me.

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

Green Renaissance

Green Renaissance

About the author

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.