Six Steps: From Dirt to Dazzling

Volunteers showed up in droves yesterday to help House of Shine produce more Shine Tokens. Most recently we’ve used the tokens to deliver messages of hope to high school students, many of whom suffer from anxiety, depression, or even worse, who may have suffered the unspeakable loss of a friend taking his or her own life.

It’s easy to be skeptical that something so small could so much as make a dent in a problem so big. But baked into each token is a big message. It’s the message of shine and it asserts that, inside each and every one of us is a combination of talents and gifts different than anyone else’s. It’s anticipatory, because the message calls upon us to search out those talents and gifts so we may discover the treasure sitting somewhere at their crossroads. The treasure comes in the form of our contribution – the thing we do better than anyone else that, when shared, makes our corner of the world a better, brighter place to live.

Opt out, sit out, or drop out and the world around you is just a less nice place.

The process of making these tokens, by the way, isn’t simple. In fact, it’s a six-step process and what I realized today is the steps are reminiscent of the steps we must all go through to realize our own shine.

It starts by rolling out the clay. Clay, by the way, is really just dirt. Seemingly nothing special to start with.

Then begins the process of being shaped and having our edges smoothed out, presumably by our parents, but maybe also teachers, coaches, and bosses.

Then comes the heat; the part of the process required to transform the tokens so they are less fragile and still porous enough to accept the application of glazes. In my life, the heat has been most turned up around the failures, disappointments, and criticisms I’ve endured.

Glazing is the equivalent of adding color. It’s the part of the process where each token stands out as being completely different than any other. It isn’t just the colors, it’s the combination of colors, the intensity or muteness with which they are applied, the precision or carefreeness of the artist’s hand, and the infinite number of patterns dreamt up by the creators of each.

Strengths, hobbies, interests and irritants, needs, experiences. These are our glazes; the colors applied to each of our lives that allows for our infinite number of combinations and contributions.

Once glazed, though, the tokens need yet more heat to mature and take on the glassy, shiny look. That means more failure, more disappointments, and possibly more criticism.

It isn’t until the token has endured those first five steps that it earns the honor of bearing the word “shine” across the front of it. That’s step six.

Followed by, you guessed it, more heat.

Ironically, it isn’t even enduring the Dirt to Dazzling Six-Step Process that is most gratifying. Just like in life, the real fun begins when, in service to someone else, we can take what we’ve got and give it away.

Shine tokens are a small symbol packed with a big message. A message of discovery, refinement, resilience, and ultimately of the satisfaction that comes from sharing what we’ve got.

If you live in the area, we’d love your help making more.


Claudia Beeny

Founder and Executive Director

Posted on 6/6/18 4:34 am by Claudia Beeny in: Art,Personal Development

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