Lixesha Series #8: Jennifer Lovemore-Reed, Adventurer and Artist

Jennifer Lovemore-Reed

Jennifer Lovemore-Reed is an adventurer, writer, artist, photographer and entrepreneur. She has a business in Cape Town called Mayhem Management and was a finalist in the category 'Emerging Entrepreneur' in the Regional Business Achievers Awards 2010. For many years Jennifer worked as a contemporary artist, in a variety of media including photography, mixed media, performance art, installation and video installation. She exhibited internationally and in South Africa. In 2003 she won the Vuleka Art Prize which led to an art residency in Paris in 2004. Jennifer is also one the founders of G.R.I.P. (The Greater Nelspruit Rape Intervention Project), a non-profit, community-based organisation supporting and working with rape survivors.

1. What does the concept of time mean to you?

Lovemore-Reed: In many ways, time is an illusion, a concept created by man, and yet at the same time it is actually one of the building blocks of our reality. Everything finally comes down to time, space and energy. The problem is when we allow time to become a hindrance to how we perceive and live our lives. We are 'time-obsessed' especially when it comes to ageing and the age of things. We often see time as the enemy, and we always seem to be racing against it. It is important to realise that it is only limited in our current phase of reality. Beyond that... it is unlimited. We should calm down and appreciate everything we have right now in this current time frame, while also realising that in the bigger scheme of things this is just a 'blip' (a moment) and therefore not take everything too seriously.

2. What is the greatest thing you have learnt from a younger or older generation than yourself?

Lovemore-Reed: There are, of course, so many things to be learned from others. The wonders of older generations are plentiful, particularly things like a code of honour, doing the right thing even when it costs you, keeping your word, the moral codes, doing something when you say you are going to do it, endurance, humility, bravery and the appreciation of small things. But something that has stood out to me, is the understanding that suffering is not necessarily the enemy. Comfort is not the way to truly live. Hardship can be used as a tool to build character depending on how you deal with it. Of course, we must try and alleviate suffering wherever we can, but the 'instant gratification and materialism culture' found in many homes today is breeding despondency, lack of motivation, entitlement and depression.

3. Tell us about something in your expertise that took you years to learn.

Lovemore-Reed: To Let Go!!! It took me years to realise that without 'letting go', you will never see the miracles that life has waiting for you. The longer and stronger you hold onto something, the harder it is to let go, the greater the power it has over you, and the more it blocks your vision. I was a control freak, so it took a lot (eventually only trauma could do it) to force me to let go, and then I let go of everything: my material things, my career, my achievements, my definition of myself, my control and eventually my misery. And then I started to live!

It also took me years to learn to live in the present (I am not referring to 'living in the moment' which is something completely different, and gives many people an excuse to ignore their responsibilities). I am talking about appreciating NOW and not living constantly in the past or the future. I used to live 90 % of my life in the future, and therefore missed out on so much of life. After all, all we really have is this thin slither of the present. The rest does not actually exist, but as a concept in our minds.

4. Our TEDxCapeTownWomen theme this year is 'Lixesha | It is time'. what do you believe is the most pressing issue we as a community/city/country/world need to address at this moment in time?

Lovemore-Reed: Yes, It is time! It is time that we see what we are doing to the new generation. It is time that we understand that throwing money at a 'problem' (Particularly a child) is not the solution, and is, in fact, making the problem worse. It is time that we open our eyes to see what the children of this digital age are facing and that we no longer pretend that the current drug, porn and sex situation amongst the youth is not a crisis. It is time for people to see what materialism and the new egotistical pop culture is doing, not only to themselves, but to their children, and generations to come. It is time to put things of true value above material things and above good looks. It is time to again respect concepts such as decency, honesty, kindness, selflessness, self-control, positivity, motivation, real adventure, endurance, humility, empathy, patience and forgiveness.

Watch Jennifer's TEDxTableMountain via this link

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Inspired by Huffington Post’s Sophia project, we've asked some previous women TEDx speakers to share their thoughts on time, lessons learnt from inter-generational sharing, and what important skills have taken them years to acquire.

Join us as we share wisdom from lawyers, scientists, civic activists, poets, and more, all of whom are driving catalytic change through their ideas and actions.