Well, it’s finally done! Filming in front of the big green screen. I did wonder if it would deposit me in some other reality – which I might have rather enjoyed. But no, I’m still here to tell the tale. I was creating a ‘Crystal Basics’ course for Hay House, it’ll be out soon along with some free ‘crystal lessons’ that I hope you’ll find useful. For those of you who don’t know, the green screen makes you look as though there’s just you, no background, no context, no nothing. Except in my case the crystals I was working with. It’s all part of a big illusion. Backgrounds are projected behind you to make you look like you are somewhere you are not. Without that, you’re just floating in space. The possibilities are endless. But it’s not as easy as it will look on screen. We also had to contend with tree cutting, car jet-washing, lorries getting stuck on the bend, planes overhead, the bin lorry… you name it, it happened. All in such a quiet backwater of Dorset too. Who’d have believed it!
That’s the cameraman Po’s legs to one side and the mike boom’s on the other, with me in the middle about to get up and adjust one of the crystals. But don’t worry, this is a reference shot so we’d know which crystals were on the table. It isn’t part of the course itself. That was taken from a different angle and will look fabulous. Tony Ford, the director, made certain of that.
The crystal themselves are, of course, the stars of the show. We used them in so many different ways: for healing, scrying, protection. I’m sure you’ll love it. Although it was against the green screen it was filmed in ‘real time’. I’m actually working on Lucy, my ‘demo body’ and teaching Tracy how to communicate with the crystal skulls. Nothing fake there. I couldn’t do it any other way. It had to be authentic. You’ll see the crystal energy at work and feel them radiating their energy to you from your (not-green) screen.
I loved the symbolism of it all. Are we really just holograms projected onto the background of what appears to be our world? Is the green screen a metaphor for how we edit our own lives? It’s a deeply philosophical question that has always intrigued me. Am I a butterfly, or just dreaming that I’m a butterfly? That’s something I often ponder. As the Zen teacher Chuang Chou put it:
“Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself, the veritable Chuang Chou. Now I do not know whether it was then I dreamt I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”
Something Carl Jung took up with great glee:
What is the reality on the green screen of life? We could be really philosophical and ask if anyone actually exists outside of it. But with the help of crystals you can penetrate past the apparent illusion and get to what is:
I also loved the fact that even big green screens require housekeeping. Any bit or blob marring its perfection has to be edited out. So much better to remove it first than have it in shot and erased later. There was quite a lot of sweeping going on behind the scenes. The impression of perfection takes a great deal of upkeep. A bit like life really. The production assistants were adept at multi-tasking. Keeping my wayward hair under control, ‘clapping’ (marking the scenes), finding crystals that had gone into hiding… It was a busy couple of days.
Memory… or rather the lack of it.
One of the great challenges for me was trying to remember everything that had to be included in the intro pieces. I’m fine when I can speak spontaneously. It just spills out. My father always said I’d been vaccinated with a gramophone-needle (yes, I really am that old!). But ask me to remember a list of things and I’m hopeless. I was bottom of the class every time we had to learn those endless chunks of Shakespeare in school. The quality of mercy was definitely strained when it came to my relationship with my English teacher. I think I’ve stuffed my memory with so much info the search function has defaulted to a permanent ‘off.’ One of the perils of reaching three score years and ten I guess. Thankfully vinpocetine and a handful of crystals keep me on track sufficiently to remember where I leave the car. But what is memory anyway? The question puts me in mind of another of my favourite Lewis Carroll moments:
“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day.”
“It MUST come sometimes to ‘jam to-day,'” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”
“That’s the effect of living backwards,” the Queen said kindly: “it always makes one a little giddy at first—”
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.”
“I’m sure MINE only works one way,” Alice remarked. “I can’t remember things before they happen.”
“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.
The White Queen to Alice, Alice through the Looking Glass
Quite. Mine is adept at going into the future to bring back new info. It’s just retrieving old stuff that baffles it. A good way to practise mindfulness and staying in the moment – I’ve just started writing on that too. Crystals really help you to be in the now.
I was delighted to discover the other day that Salvador Dali has done his own Alice illustrations. Here she is with the White Queen. Not as surreally spontaneous and I’m not convinced it’s Dali, but it captures the moment and memory perfectly:
Here’s a genuine Dali. I just bought myself the book. Or rather I bought it for my great granddaughter Charlie Skye but she’s a little young for it at the moment so I’m delighted that I’ll get to enjoy it for a year or two before I pass it on:
For more Dali Alice images see http://www.lockportstreetgallery.com/AinW.htm
I was very thankful that, in the end, I could appear as myself in the video. There had been questions raised about that. So here I am. As I am, and knobbly hands ‘n all. So thank you Michelle for letting authentic trump the received view of perfection. Which is what I would expect given what Louise Hay, aged 89, the founder of Hay House said about getting older:
I can’t agree with that ‘you shall only live it once’ statement. All my experience says we that we’ve lived before and we’ll live again. But I have the greatest of respect for her viewpoint and I fully endorse being comfortable with growing older. Becoming your authentic self is a pleasure. Showing it to the world a privilege. So thank you Hay House for supporting me to do this.
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