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A Dance with Life by Marlene Neumann

We often meet our life teachers in unexpected ways. So it was for me when I met Marlene Neumann, Master Fine Art Photographer, spiritual teacher and the author of A Dance with Life at her Centre for Photography & Light, which happens to be next door to where my brother lives in the suburb of Vincent, East London.

As a photographer since the age of fourteen, Marlene dedicated her life to this art. She developed her skills to become one of the best fine art photographers in South Africa and gained international recognition for inventing her unique black-and-white alternative darkroom process. Through her photography, she found her connection with nature and the stillness within. Today, her photographs, inspirational talks, and creativity workshops have the power to shake and move an audience emotionally.

In her book A Dance with Life, she invites the reader to join her in a dance to nature’s rhythm. As Marlene writes in her introduction, the book tells of how she dances with life – sometimes waltzing, other times fox trotting or doing hip-hop, or just sitting out and watching others dance on some days. She uses beautiful images in the book to reflect the various insights nature has revealed to her as she dances through her life, allowing her readers to explore their own lives in order to heal and transform.

Reading her book was like a much-needed refresher course, confirming all the principles of my own belief system but packaged visually in a new way that is enticing, easy to read, and easy to understand.

This autobiographical compilation of her personal journey (or dance) through life is supported and illustrated by her photographic images (38 breathtakingly beautiful works) and filled with philosophical insights and valuable life lessons. I gobbled it up, savouring some passages like a treasured sweet in my cheek and returning to some to satisfy a craving, repeatedly rereading and reviewing her wise insights.

As Marlene rightfully says, we spend our lives searching for things outside ourselves to complete or make us happy, while all we need is to connect to what is inside us. In A Dance with Life, she not only shares the lessons she has learnt on her own journey through hardships and sorrow but also offers sage advice on how, by changing one’s focus, you can find freedom and, with that, the rhythm to dance with life.

I loved this book so much, and while I would like to share it with many others, I would also like to keep it close so I can revisit it often.


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