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 Kyoko.

Learn more about Green Renaissance through our Grateful Changemaker feature.

Questions for Reflection

What part of Kyoko’s story resonated with you most deeply?

What “lines” in the “paper” of your life have transformed you?

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

Video Transcript

Just a piece of paper in front of me. My fingers, each my eyes dance slowly, point to point, line to line. Folding, unfolding, opening, closing, sliding, turning, and creasing. Each decision made with tips of my fingers, pleasing to my eyes, encouraging to my heart. Two dimension to three dimension. This to life vision realized.

We have a tradition in Japan. When somebody is sick, we make 1000 cranes to wish him or her well. So, as a human being, most of us want to be valuable, useful. We want to contribute to a better society.

I’m using origami to interact with the children. They come from very difficult backgrounds. I had also, um, painful memory as a child. My father was quite strict with money. So I was always wearing, um, like hand me down. I felt like everybody knew what I was wearing and I was very embarrassed. I felt like I was the only poor child. And I used to get called ‘beggar,’ so those memories are very hurtful.

I can’t change the past, but because of that painful memory, I can relate to children who are sad. I’m able to use that painful memory for something better.

Teaching origami, what I want to create is that awareness that our situation can transform just like paper. When you have a sad memory, it’s a scar that remains in your heart, and it’s the same as paper… once you crease it, it remains, it never goes away. But you can use that line to make another shape. So in a way, it’s necessary to have that line.

The paper is a metaphor for life. You only have one piece of paper, like you only have one life. So you make use of what lines and points there are. And we can create something out of what you’ve got.

We all have infinite potential. Hopefully children will also be inspired that, okay, this old person, (laughs) not very good housewife, but she can still do something. I want them to have the sense of hope. They are part of something good, something better, something valuable.

When I do origami like 1000 cranes, what I’ve learned is that we do a bit by bit. If everybody does little bit, we can make a difference. Not one person doing 1000 cranes, but if 100 people is only 10 each, so then we can make the world better. If 1000 people, one crane and 1000 cranes. So that’s a collective effort. And I think, I believe in that. Every day, little by little.

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.