In this video, we’re invited to consider what love is, where we experience it in our lives, and how we express it. Brett Bard shares his love for his animals, his garden, his “corner of the earth” — and explores how loving something or someone else allows us, in turn, to extend love and compassion toward ourselves.

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

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

Questions for Reflection

How does your love for something in the world — “plants, animals, art, music” — enhance your life?

In what ways does loving something or someone else allow you to extend love and compassion toward yourself?

How do you show your love for your “corner of the world”?

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

*We are transitioning the format of our Grateful Changemakers series in an effort to deepen the ways in which we “celebrate programs and projects that serve as beacons of gratefulness.” Our film series partnership with Green Renaissance represents one such possibility. Stay tuned for more!

Video Transcript

You can’t explain what love is. You can sing about it, you can dance about it, you paint about it, write about it…you can try to express love in so many ways, but dogs spend their lives showing us what love is.

Dogs will keep being kind and keep loving us until we understand what love means. If people could love each other the way dogs love us, the world would be a different place.

My friends were my animals. They became my family. They didn’t let me down. I could trust them. I could communicate with them. As a vet, I came to understand that my journey in life is about compassion. Showing compassion to the earth, to the plants, to the animals, but most of all actually showing compassion to myself. And that’s the hardest part. Because we’re so busy looking outside of ourselves. One often hears the advice, that one has to learn to love oneself before one can love somebody else. And I actually think it works the other way around. If somebody doesn’t love themselves, they need to start loving something else. If plants, animals, art, music, if they can fall in love, really fall in love, they can learn to love themselves because they understand what love is.

Find the thing that gives you a spark. Find what lights up your heart. Something that appeals to you, that makes you smile and moves you. That’s what’s speaking to you.

I’m in love with the earth. I’m in love with my farm because my farm is a small piece of the earth that I’m able to really nurture and look after. We’re all fed by different things. Growing vegetables. It was always my happy place. My romance is with the earth. Nurturing my farm in this little corner of the world is the only thing within my power to do. I want to change the world, but I don’t have the power to change the world in that sense. But if I change my world, then that holds power. When I walk into my garden and I see what’s growing, it feeds my soul. I’m beaming with pride and pleasure among the cabbages.

It’s not romantic because it’s hard work. It’s not all sunshine and roses. I’ve got a lot of roses. They only flower once a year in November. The rest of the time they’re just leafy and thorny, but they’re still there, and they’re rooted, and I look forward to their time to blossom and make the world beautiful. So it is with life. I’ve been through a very dormant phase for quite a long time. You change and you grow and that change is painful. It’s growing pains, still, at every stage in life.

You sow your seeds and you watch the little seedlings emerging and growing, reaching maturity and going to flower and fruit and dying. It makes one realize one’s own mortality. But also potential. The potential to be what you are destined to be. And you can grow and develop into whatever you want to be. You create your own life. Keep doing what it is that you feel you need to do in this world. One day at a time. We come to earth, we live, and we die. What we make of that is up to each of us.

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.