“Shining Through”

F ilm is a magical technology, an alchemical play of light and shadow that shapes pure light into story, and I can’t think of a better metaphor for how our creative spirit ‘Shines Through’ our actions. So in the interest of illuminating your creative flow, and distracting me from the TV pilot I’m writing, we’re jumping from ‘Wild Work,‘ to the art of ‘Shining Through.’

W hy ‘Shine Through’ and not just Shine? Well, to Shine, is our natural state of Being, the old ‘I am what I am. ‘Shining Through’ is a Process, a way to free your Genius from the cloudy restrictions that psychological conditioning uses to obscure your brilliance.


It’s Always a Beautiful Day in this Neighborhood

I started writing this post while listening to Terry Gross’s ‘Fresh Air’ interview with TV Critic David Bianculli on his book ‘The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific.’ Bianculli discussed the importance of ‘Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood’, and Terry played an audio clip that left me feeling like someone had plugged me into a wall socket, until I realized why. It’s a perfect example of calmly speaking ‘truth to power,’ and energizing the brilliant light of your deepest convictions to ‘Shine Through.’

It’s amazing to watch this thoughtful man gently transform the hearts & minds of all present into one beautiful connected consciousness, and he does it by just showing up and being himself. Fred Rogers deeply valued education, and was a great friend to generations of children and their grateful parents, and I truly believe his work helped inspire the higher level of emotional & psychological intelligence that we benefit from today. But his most important gift, was showing us that we are all vessels of love, imagination, and creativity.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..”

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

“What do Mr. Rogers and Henry David Thoreau have in common? Mr Rogers talks about giving children a sense of self, the ability to accept & appreciate our unique presence in the world. Thoreau is showing us what happens when Mr. Rogers gentle wisdom is ignored, and we fall into the lazy ennui of despair.”

The Genuine Fakery of True Belief

As a teen I was attracted to acting because it gave me an opportunity to be someone else, and being someone else allowed me to express more of myself. I know, it sounds wildly counter intuitive, but if you’re young, donning someone else’s skin let’s you play at expressing your deep humanity & creativity, without judgement. But storytelling isn’t restricted to stage & screen, it’s all around us, which means we’re all actors on the daily stage and many of us play the multiple Roles that our bosses, families, friends & community assign to us. So how can we stay true to ourselves and fill these roles with genuine authenticity?

E very successful actor starts work by breaking down the script and analyzing the psychological & emotional landscape of the character and their surroundings. It requires intense focus, creativity, intelligence, intuition and skill to find the way in; and a touch of ‘Imaginative Schizophrenia’ to hold the realities of the story, and their own lives, in perfect balance. This works for us ‘Life Actors’ too, and balance is the key – swing too far into any role and you lose yourself. Swing too far into yourself, and you fail in the role.

In the 1980’s I was roaming the MGM lot trying to deliver a script when I bumped into Cary Grant who was there for a board meeting, and his shine was pure Supernova! I managed to blurt out a ‘Hi.’ and he turned on that breezy smile and replied, ‘Hello there’ as if he’d just spotted a long lost pal. His warmth was so genuine that I melted on the spot, but I did manage to ask one question, ‘Do you have any advice for an aspiring filmmaker?’ He looked me in the eye and said: ‘Take the time to get to know who you are. Relax, be yourself, and let the work speak for you.’

Create a Dashboard • A mental ‘Shine Through’ app, and fill it with colorful ‘buttons’ labelled with all of your brightest assets: Intelligence, charm, strength, skill, humor – whatever appeals to you strongest. Now ‘press’ each button while thinking of the perfect memory that represents the trait. Make notes, and keep going until each button has a vivid memory that ‘Power Links’ you to the positive emotion that you felt at the time. Pull out the dashboard whenever you need a emotional boost, and keep pressing those buttons until you lift off.

“That which is possible is inevitable.”
― William Carlos Williams


When you Wish upon Your Star

Now for the ‘Brilliant Life’ part. If you love who you are, and what you’re doing – congratulations! You’re leading a Brilliant Life, and I salute you. But, if you’re experiencing blocks, you’re due for a ‘Shine’ makeover. Start by polishing the mirror, because you have to see yourself clearly before you start beautifying your life-scape. Next, pull up every memory that inspires a positive feeling about yourself, and discard any memory that dulls your shine.

“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
Rabindranath Tagore

Your essential ground of being is magnificence, but if that reality feels too distant, start building steps to it, positive memory by positive memory, until you’re there. Now, start asking for what you really want, and make each ‘ask’ a pure expression of your gratitude & commitment. When you ask for help by confidently reaching out with an open heart, people tend to respond in kind, because it feels good to be needed. And Finally, go wherever your intuition leads you and keep asking. Achievement is a numbers game, the more you ask, the higher the odds that your ‘ask’ will become a reality.

“There is nothing that says more about its creator than the work itself.”
Akira Kurosawa, Something Like an Autobiography

The Authenticity of Imagination

Pablo Picasso was a Authentic giant of the Imagination. He produced over fifty thousand works of art, and was arguably the most famous artist of the 20th Century. Whatever Role he played: artist, showman, celebrity, businessman; he made sure his star was shining bright, because he understood that every act of Imagination was an Expression of his Authentic self. Now this is not a dismissal of his more troubling personal aspects, just a take on his profound creativity…

When your intuition is guiding your thoughts, and your creativity is spinning out ideas, you’re producing the psychic kindling that fuels your ‘Shine,’ but it’s the authenticity of your imagination’ that provides the divine spark that ignites the fire that Shines Through. Your authentic self expresses itself in almost everything you do, and if you’re like me you can count the times you were inauthentic and blew it, ignoring the inner voice that was screaming ‘Stop!’ You don’t want to be left standing in shock when your world blows up, asking ‘Where is my Mind,’ unless that’s what you intended.

Y our life is your master work, and making it shine requires a lifetime commitment to authenticity. It’s a gutsy move to step up and out, and you have to trust your intuition even when you’re swimming against a tide of naysayers who just don’t get you. Just remember, the world trends in cycles, and if you hold firm to your authenticity, the brass ring will eventually come around, and those naysayers will cheer when you snatch it up – timing is everything.

“…you find your genius by looking in the mirror of your life. Your visible image shows your inner truth, so when you’re estimating others, what you see is what you get. It therefore becomes critically important to see generously, or you will get only what you see; to see sharply, so that you discern the mix of traits rather than a generalized lump; and to see deeply into dark shadows, or else you will be deceived.”
James Hillman, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling

Look to the Acorn

The expression of the Oak is found in each Acorn. So as you spread your great leafy branches, remember that expression is how you seed the world with your unique genius. In the 20th Century, expressing creativity was a quiet struggle with very specific rules and a limited reach; unless you were willing to conform to well established industrial norms and ‘sell out.’ But in the 21st Century all bets are off, as technology presents us with new ways to shine. So the only question for you is ‘where do I shine next?’ My advice, choose the medium that most strongly resonates with your creative spirit, and start putting yourself out there. Do the work, stay present and keep showing up, it’s all there in your Acorn, waiting for you to feed it with your attention, and water it with your sweat.

‘Wandless’ Movie Magic

Your ‘Shine’ projects the fierce light that illuminates each frame of the ever expanding movie of your life, which means you own the whole alchemical process, from script to screen & birth to earth. So here are a few tips to help you get more magic into your movie:

The Never Ending Story • Your movie began with the ‘Big Bang‘ and it’s been expanding ever since; that’s a heck of a backstory, so be mindful of it’s power. You are not alone, and the force of your passionate belief will always bend the arc of history in your favor, so don’t be afraid to tap any resource, however distant, to help you tell your story.

Shooting the Moon • Your Actions drive your story, so stay awake to your influences and make sure they’re good ones – ‘garbage in, garbage out’ right? And take that old parental hominy to heart, ‘You will be known by the company you keep.’ Populate your life with positive influences and you’ll get positive outcomes.

Let’s get ‘Stoned’ • Your conscious creativity is a ‘Philosopher’s Stone,’ and it will gleefully transmute the ‘base events’ of everyday activity into a ‘golden life’ if you get out of your own way and let it. Think of it as your film crew, a fierce team of eager perceptions that are ready to transform ideas into action, and imagination into reality.

Cut. Print. It’s In the Can • After the scene is shot, move on. Don’t waste time replaying everything and focusing on your flaws, you can fix those in post when the time is right. A brilliant Life requires momentum; it’s how your Creative Gravity pulls you into the next successful sequence.

Don’t miss the Premier! • Get that tux, or designer gown out and head for the red carpet, because celebration is the lifeblood of every great movie making experience. And remember to be a grateful star, and a generous fan to others, because our lives are both Ouroborean circle, and Super Collider, and they’re designed to release the maximum amount of joyous energy.

“Today” means boundless and inexhaustible eternity. Periods of months and years and of time in general are ideas of men, who calculate by number; but the true name of eternity is Today. 
Philo of Alexandria

Instant Karma

John Lennon nailed it, “Why on earth are you there, when you’re everywhere, come and get your share.” Instant Karma is the spontaneous combustion of awareness, the blast of energy that accompanies being ‘Woke.’ Think of your energetic flow and it’s inputs and outputs; between mind and body; you and the world; even me and you. That flow is your ‘Shine:’ the passion of your presence.

When your ideas radiate outward, you are feeding a sliver of your spirit to every heart & mind you connect to, and inviting us to do the same, and you never know when that tricky old connected consciousness is gonna drop a similar gem in your lap to light up your day. When you believe in the power of your imagination, the pull of your Creative Gravity, and the passion of your beliefs, you are truly ‘Shining Through!’

A few Shining influences on my Creative Spirit:

Photo Credits – Main: Viktor Forages ; Thoreau: by Benjamin D. Maxham, National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons; Cary Grant: By RKO Radio Pictures (corporate author), The Kobal Collection via Wikimedia Commons, Photographer: Ernest Bachrach. – Chicago-Sun Times, Public Domain; Picasso: by Llecco – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0; Acorn: Aaron Burden ; Alchemist: By Joseph Wright of Derby via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

About Scott J Mulvaney

Scott is a Filmmaker, Writer, Web Entrepreneur and Passionate Mystagog of the divine joys of Creativity, Visual Storytelling & Cinematic Language.

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