Skip to main content

The Shower in the Glenn

Millions of people were transfixed by the television series "24." The show was based on a ground-breaking concept of airing episodes as though in real time. I've just had an amazing 24 hours myself, thanks to one of the show's stars, Glenn Morshower, who played Agent Aaron Pierce. 

I attended a presentation by Mr. Morshower yesterday. To call it a presentation isn't quite accurate. It was, rather, a shower of sharing that honored the rules of a good presentation at the same time it did not obey those very rules. 


Photos of Mr. Morshower from GlennMorshower.com
Glenn Morshower is often described as a "character actor." Character actors are the core of the acting arts. The performers we call "stars" could not have "stellar" careers without them. They are often the best, most thoughtful practitioners of the craft. Glenn Morshower is a character actor who deserves every ounce of his fame, though we did not see any evidence that fame is one of his favorite accessories. Nor did he "perform" for us, as he well could have. His voice travels into any country or dialect at a moment's notice and he can modulate its tonality as deftly as a virtuoso pianist commands the keys. Yet he came not to display his talent; he came to share his soul, a brave thing for a famous person to do.

Humor and Wisdom


It was immediately evident that Mr. Morshower is as good at creating lines as he is at delivering them. 

"Remember the Chevy Vega?" he asked the audience. A giggle wiggled its way through the audience. "It was the paper towel of automobiles!" he proclaimed. "You drove it 25,000 miles, then you wadded it up and threw it away." Giggles became guffaws. "That's how I knew my wife Carolyn loved me," he continued. "She fell in love with me while I was driving a red Vega and heading out to fulfill my dreams in California." Dreams, he added, that many others advised him against fulfilling. 

Mr. Morshower did indeed fulfill those dreams, thanks in large part to his ability to listen to the best advice: the whisper within. "We all have this," he said. "We all have that inner voice that leads us. It may not make sense. It is often not convenient, but it is true. It's not enough to hear it," the successful actor and happily married man and father advised. "You must act on it. When you say yes to the whisper, you honor your instincts, you open the door to deep-seated life changes, you inhabit the moment differently, better, more fully. You go to the deeper truth." 

Mr. Morshower shared with us how his ability to "obey the whisper within" had saved his life and enhanced his future and his career. It led to his re-encountering the childhood playmate who has been his wife and life partner for some 35 years. It saved his life and his son's in a dramatic accident. They were driving on an iced-over mountain road, going just 8 miles an hour, but gravity took over on a steep downgrade. Mr. Morshower lost control of the car. It plowed into/under an 18-wheeler that had just met the same fate. Seconds after assuring each other they were still alive and functional, though injured, Mr. Morshower told his son, "We have to get out of this car now." They crawled out and made it to the side of the road, just as a second 18-wheeler jack-knifed on the ice and smashed into their car. At 18º in a mid-winter's night, the whisper knew they would be safer outside the car than in. 

No More Vetoes


"Obey the whisper." What a liberating phrase! We know to obey commands--and social morés, parents, bosses, religious doctrine. Much of the time, this obedience can be good. Yet, to be told to obey our inner whisper is the key to our fulfillment. I felt a garden grow inside as Mr. Morshower described the beauty that can come into our lives from obeying the suggestions of our inner voice. "It's time," he told us, "to stop vetoing your inner voice. 

"Once you respect that inner whisper, be prepared to ignore a lot of people," he added. "Also be prepared to set priorities." The whisper does not lead us into doing everything and anything we have ever wanted to do. It takes us toward what we want to do most. A subtle point, but deeply important in a Western society that continually tells us that we can have--and do--it all.

Mr. Morshower shared the agony of auditions with us. He helped us see that we all go on auditions, whatever our path in life. We do a great deal of "trying out" for our next job, relationship, assignment, or competition. We answer many calls and often do not receive the "call-back," that important confirmation that we are good, competent, or well-liked. A character actor does not escape auditions, even after having great success. Once, Mr. Morshower's inner whisper told him to fill his shoes with syrup prior to an audition. The result: he entered the magic kingdom of childhood and joy. He walked into the audition, scented with his secret and so centered on his experience of the moment that any extra nerves or doubts dropped away. He got that part, and the next nine parts he auditioned for, each time concealing a fun and slightly crazy secret that kept the magic of the moment alive for him and his "judges."


As much as I enjoyed and learned from what Mr. Morshower said and did, I gained more from who he is and his sharing of his inner spirit. "I trust what comes through me," he told me after the meeting. "And I want so much to share what comes through with others." I must also note that Mr. Morshower makes no secret of or apology for his belief in a divine source of life. After all, a Texan who was Bar Mitzvahed and baptized in the same year of his adolescence must have a few extra keys to the kingdom! It is also why I personally felt a sense of trust in what he had to say.

What is Stardom?


It was Mr. Morshower's sharing that changed my inner awareness the most. His honesty of spirit, his ability to share the earth-world of his career and the heaven-world of his mind and heart moved everyone in the banquet hall. He shared with us his expectation that we could and would do the same for others. If you ever have the opportunity to hear this good man speak in person, do it! If you don't, watch him on the small or large screen. You will see and feel integrity and wisdom come through his finely tuned performances. 


Ngc6397 hst blue straggler" by Francesco Ferraro (Bologna Observatory), ESA, NASAhttp://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020220.html and http://www.esa.int/esa-mmg/mmg.pl?b=b&keyword=6397&single=y&start=2&size=b. Via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ngc6397_hst_blue_straggler.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Ngc6397_hst_blue_straggler.jpg
Blue Straggler Stars, Francesco Ferraro
Glenn Morshower sets our usual celebrity-culture terminology on its head. He is not only a character actor of great skill, he is also an actor of great character. He brings a bit of the heaven he has found to others, encouraging them to find their own.  It is this, above all, that makes him a star, the kind that can guide us through a dark night.

_________________________________________



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:


The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your mother...you don't need to open it... you know tha…