In this video, Antoinette Pienaar shares a powerful call to action to live with our hearts fully open to life no matter the circumstances. She illustrates how the resilience of Mother Nature serves as inspiration to “rise up again” after times of hardship, reminds us of the strength that it takes to fall apart, and encourages us to make space for expressing our emotions freely.

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

Questions for Reflection

If you had to make your own wish for humanity, what would it be?

How might living with an open heart allow you to experience the great fullness of life?

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

Video Transcript

Wise people say, “Emotion is energy in motion.” And if this energy is blocked then you become sick. That’s when “dis-ease” sets in.

When I arrived at Theefontein twenty years ago, I was very sick, I was drained. And my inner being felt like a desolate landscape…it was ashen and grey.

There was a deathly silence where my heart should be.

I couldn’t connect with my heart. I couldn’t speak to my heart. My heart was ensnared in rolls of barbed wire because it had been hurt so much. I just wanted to shut everyone out. But I ended up locking myself in. And I didn’t realize that my heart had taken on a ghost like energy. If I listened to my heart, I heard nothing. I wondered how was I still alive?

In the last five years, we have suffered an unrelenting drought. And we thought most of the plants were dead.

Three weeks ago we received our first rains. And now we start to notice, here in a small notch, green leaves start to appear. The resilience of these plants teach us that your inner landscape can never truly die. Just like the plant, after five years of drought, you can always stand back up again. There is nothing from which you cannot rise up again.

And you don’t rise up alone. Mother Nature is by your side. She whispers to you on the wind. The mountain murmurs, “Don’t worry my child.” Come, come, slowly. Come, come.

Come let us help you so that your fountain flows and your forest flourishes. Let us help to nurture growth. Let’s bring your inner landscape back to life.

The resilience of Mother Nature serves as inspiration for us to rise up again. So that she can nourish me. So that she can nurture me back to life again.

And love flourished in my heart once more.

One of the joys about Theefontein is that I no longer own a mirror or a scale. When I still used to perform on stage I always worried whether I could still fit into my dresses. So I would weigh myself before going on a tour. And every time that I weighed myself I would be reminded of all my faults.

And slowly but surely I became aware of my weight…my weight that has nothing to do with a scale.

I was carrying such a heavy load…old heartache and so many unresolved issues. And once I’d unpacked these boulders and let things be, I felt I was slowly returning to my unique weight.
When I arrived at Theefontein, I was shattered into a million tiny pieces. And I didn’t realize that it takes a strong person to break down. I thought I’d lost everything. I fell apart.

When you fall apart that’s when you are at your strongest, because now there are cracks. The legend, Leonard Cohen, says that’s where the light enters. Isn’t that a beautiful song? It takes a strong person to fall to pieces.

And the strongest people that I know allow themselves to cry like little children.

You nurture the tree within your heart, with your tears. So you should cry everyday. You can cry tears of joy too, not only heartache. Every day there is something that touches you. Make time to keep the emotions in motion. Allow the emotions to wash over you…to pass through you and wash away. Then you are healthy. You don’t hold anything inside that causes a blockage.

Sit beside a mountain, a tree, a rock, an animal and allow the tears to flow freely. The emotions need to be released. We’re all standing on edge, trying to hold back the tears because we need to pretend that we have everything under control.

And if you have reality TV such as this… an innocent kitten, or a beautiful flower or anything that touches your heart, then it is so much easier to open your heart.

I love making wishes. I still believe in fairytales…that a fairy will come along and make these wishes come true. And I often wish beautiful things for myself and my loved ones. And if I now had to make a wish for mankind it would be that we all open our hearts…open, like a flower. It doesn’t matter what other people say. It doesn’t matter for how much longer we must endure this pandemic. It doesn’t matter what else we need to go through or how much longer we still need to wear masks. It doesn’t matter that other people rob and steal. Once your heart is open, it’s open.

Your heart is open for yourself. Your heart is open for Mother Nature, for the sun and the moon, for the blessing to have a heart…a heart that sometimes had to be pried open. And once it’s open, it’s open.

And when you look back you realize how the heart opens spontaneously, as it is meant to, like a flower.

And my heart is that rose…so beautiful and gentle, so available and present. So that I can hear my heart once more. It has brought me to a place where I know I can trust my heart.

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


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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.