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 Grant Hine.

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

Questions for Reflection

What arises when you look with fresh eyes?

Where do you go to feel a deep sense of connectedness?

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

Video Transcript

We went out to discover the moon but when we went there, we actually discovered the earth. I always like to show people a picture of the earth from outer space. There are no boundaries. There’s no politics. Just contemplate that for a while. It’s just a beautiful planet. Just the mere fact of life is an incredible marvel. People say that to walk on water is a miracle. No, just to walk on the earth is a miracle.

Growing up, I was pretty lonely. I was always by myself. I was a real introvert and I hated getting up to give a speech because I felt everybody was laughing at me before I even said anything. I didn’t feel that I was worth expressing what I wanted to say.

There’s some sort of a craving to be accepted by others. And I think more so today with technology, there’s a lot of pressure on young people to conform, to strive for similar things. Why didn’t they like the picture I posted on Facebook? What do other people think of me? Whereas being out in nature, there’s no demand. Nature just accepts you for who you are. No tree says to another tree, “Well, Hmm. You’re a bit large.” You know, “you’re a bit thin” or “you’ve grown a bit skew.” Every tree is perfect. And if we can see people in that way as being, that’s how they’ve grown, that’s how they are. So there’s no pressure. It’s honest. Nature is honest.

I spent a lot of time out in nature because I felt very comfortable there. In a way, I felt nurtured. I felt wanted, it made me feel so good. I never asked why, I just loved being there. It’s something that we’ve forgotten. Our natural way of being for most of our existence has been with nature. We have this connection with nature that we can’t just get rid of. We need to reconnect to something we’ve lost.

No matter how much we advance technologically, the more we disconnect with nature, the unhealthier we will become. If I spend too many hours on the computer, then I need to get out. So as soon as I feel there’s a little bit of frustration coming into what I’m doing in my work, then I know it’s time to go and ground. And even if it’s just into the garden or if it’s onto the beach… the moment my shoes come off, I can feel a difference. You’re getting in tune with the earth resonance, or the earth song we call it. There’s energy flowing between me and the environment and it’s vitalizing.

The more time one spends in nature, the more people see of nature, they start to wake up. It’s just getting people to use their senses. You focus your attention on one thing, be it a tree, a flower… and that automatically has a calming effect because your monkey mind that’s jumping all over the place is then calmed down. You will start to come to certain realizations about what’s actually happening out in nature. Just letting the sounds play like music to your ears.

How many people have ever listened to a tree with a stethoscope? Hardly anybody, but it gives you a very different impression of a tree when you hear what’s going on inside the tree through your sense of hearing. And you can understand trees a lot better. You can see that they’re actually very busy around us.

Just feel how your body is touching the earth. Then just to use your eyes… if you look at a small piece of ground, just big enough to hold and you start to look, you will spend 10 minutes and then you think you’ve seen it. You just keep looking, keep looking and you will suddenly start to see things that are glaring that you never saw the first time you looked at it. You were looking without seeing. You will suddenly realize how much life is just in that small area. And then if you start to expand out from that small area, the whole forest, eventually the whole continent, the whole planet, you realize how much life there actually is. And we are such a small part of it.

I personally don’t believe that you need a scientific explanation for everything. You go out into nature, you feel good, you don’t know why, but is it important? You just feel good. And that’s the feeling I had when I was growing up. I am connected. I don’t need any science to tell me how connected I am or how I connect. So if tomorrow was my last day I would spend it in nature, definitely. And just enjoy the sunset. Just by seeing the sunset is just seeing the marvel of nature. Because without that glowing ball, we don’t exist. It’s something that we cannot control and it has a calming effect just to observe it. If we really observe it. The world does make sense when you watch the sunset. It puts life into perspective where you realize that you are really just part of nature. And we need to accept that and understand that.

It’s all about attitude. We can’t change the world, but we can change the way we live in it.

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


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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.