How are we doing with our New Years Resolutions?! Did you make any resolutions regarding your physical health? “I WILL get to the gym at least 3 times per week,” or “January is going to be DRY” or, how about, “eat fresh, less junk?”
We tend to resolve to take better care of our bodies, but what about our minds? We often negate extending the same courtesy to that inner powerhouse. What we feed our mind has even greater consequences on affecting how we feel. This is an Yvette-ism, kk?! It sounds a bit juvenile but “a happy mind=a happy life.”
Most of us, on a regular basis, watch movies. Films are one such food we feed our minds. We tend to switch off during movies- escape- yet does our mind switch off? What we are exposing it to gets absorbed like water in a sponge. This theory is the whole bedrock of hypnosis. So the question becomes, what are we watching?
Right, let me give you a wee window into my movie-watching past: Eleven years old, watching ‘Freddie Kruger’. (Wasn’t mum’s fault, honest)! Thereafter that I watched anything, no discernment, including ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’, ‘Exorcist’ and basically more horror and violence piled on top of more horror and violence. I didn’t think about whether it affected my mind back then. (Oh alright, I would have admitted that that “One, two, three Freddie’s coming for you” did kinda get me, still does, so much so that I can still remember the whole dastardly song)!
As perhaps a frequent watcher of violent R –rated movies, you may feel its all water off a ducks back. For sure I used to have a much higher appetite and tolerance for violence. I believe we become desensitized to a large degree. Our conscious minds may seem blasé towards it but it what about the poor subconscious? My subconscious manifested the violence diet through plagued dreams, jumpy, sinister thoughts and affected sleep. I still can’t sleep in the dark or with the wardrobe ajar.
You know what its like? When I was younger I’d unconsciously eat a diet high in junk food. I didn’t think it affected me. But now because my body is attuned to clean, high- in- the- healthy- good- stuff it actually has seemingly disabled it’s gravitation towards processed sugar items such as cake. My sweet tooth is not a governing factor anymore! My taste buds have altered over the course of time. If I don’t eat fresh for more than a day or two I can seemingly feel my skin pores close up and want to burst with spots, and my energy and happiness levels sag. It’s like my body is crying out, “Yvette! What are you doing?!” But in the past, when junk was its mainstay fodder, my body had no choice but to tolerate and run as best it could on it. Amazing machines, bodies, aren’t they?
To clarify my waffling; do you remember inhaling a cigarette for the first time? The sharp intake of poison tends to make your body cough and splutter in revulsion as a categorical warning, “NO!” But, if we continue (as I did for 10 years), the body is forced to put up, shut up, and switch on its coping mechanisms. The damage may well become manifest later in life but for now it is internalized and can be disregarded by the conscious mind.
So this is the point I want to make; movie watching; same thing. Just because you have attuned your mind to be able to put up with a certain feast of violence doesn’t that mean it won’t affect you, in the short term as well as long.
Next time you watch something loaded with nasties, check in with yourself afterwards and take a feelings inventory. Do I feel jaded, shocked, depressed, flat, haunted even? If so, is this really the residual energy I want to take away with me? Because like attracts like and this feeling will seek to multiply with more feelings like it. Whether you are generating these negative feelings through actual real life experiences of your own or through emotions the movies conjure up makes no odds to the law of attraction; if you feel bad, you will attract more bad feelings to you and more circumstances to make you feel bad about. This is one unconscious way we allow ourselves to fizz and fester on negative emotions, in the name of movie ‘entertainment.’
Coming to realize I’m a very sensitive soul I’m pretty mindful of what I watch. I have a very low tolerance for violence because I’m just not used to it these days so when I see it-when I reintroduce it into my psyche again- it takes it shockingly to heart.
Let me give you an example; went to the cinema to see that final ‘Hobbit’ installment. I’m a literature graduate so a bit of a fan of the old classics, and I’ve watched all the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and the first two Hobbits so wanted I to see it through. My husband said “Babe, really?! It’s going to be violent.” He knew, if so, I’d spend the whole cinema-going-fee slouched in my chair with my palm shielding my eyes. Right he was. A PG13 is about as violent as I can stand.
But you know what got me the most? The movie adverts before it started. Violence, violence, violence. Most of it, horrific. What IS that about our world? Why do we voyeuristically (is that a word)?! get off on that? It seems an absurdity when you stop watching adult violence and then see it again after a time which had allowed you to become naturally sensitive once more. I left the cinema feeling very sad for us as a collective. On the one hand we tut-tut and sink at violence in the news and indeed in our real lives, yet then we go pay good money to sit and indulge in it for hours. Does this strike you as strange? It’s not to say that some great lessons cannot be garnered from a thoughtful yet violent movie but how about we take care of our minds? Is that huge helping of horror heaped into our minds worth it? Might there be another way to learn about that subject?
Even kids movies seemingly stuff as much violence into the scenes as their certification will let them get away with. Our poor kids. What are we exposing them to? What are we telling them about life, about us?
“I thought your bloody blog was supposed to be cheery, Yvie?!” This article has a feel-good ending; promise. Just bear with me a wee bit longer.
If you’ve not already argued with some of the points in this article, I will. Because there is a small part of me that thinks violence really can serve us. Take the one and only drama series I watch, my guilty pleasure, ‘Downtown Abbey’ (Any Downtown fans in the house)?! I’m new to it, so only on Season 3. The World War I scenes and stories affected me profoundly. After watching them (and, really, they were not harrowing at all, even for me) I went to bed, wept and prayed. My prayer was one of gratitude from the deepest part of my Being. It was a prayer of utter raw thanks to every single soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.
I always feel I should be watching movies and shows that add something to me-educational, lifestyle or factual- not dramas that take away my sense of peace. But watching Downtown has taught me that you can take away positives from violence, as long as you remain conscious to it.
Also I think it important that we put ourselves in the boots of these men and of course the women and children too, our ancestors. And shows like Downtown do that in spades. I was so affected that I joined Ancestry.co.uk and did some digging. I found war documents from a great Uncle who had served in WW1. It felt personal then.
The ‘Passion of Christ’ is another such stirring movie, for Christian and non-Christians alike. It may be beneficial to sit through to just remember what that incredible Being, Jesus Christ, did for us.
So I’m not blinkered. I see violence in movies and dramas has its advantages. If they can propel us into positive action, more power to them. But I think our obsession with violence has got out of hand. It’s all too often mindless, not mindful. And most of all, violent movies are far too pervasive.
Now that cheery part I promised you. Get high from movies! Fill yourself up with films that leave you inspired, dewy- eyed, full hearted, motivated, tickled and uplifted. Notice the difference in your residual emotions after. Know that the momentum of feelings that these movies have inspired you to feel will go and multiply with the like kind. That’s the ticket! That’s the passport to our Happy Place!
And, for you my patient friend (‘tis kinda long this article, I know:-) I’d like to introduce you to Spiritual Cinema Circle* which I was a member of for some time. Every month SCC sends you a mixture of a feature and three short independent films on a single DVD for keeps. These movies stir the heart, yet in a positive, thought-provoking way. And they have cozy chats about each film after. It really puts the warmth back into movie watching.
I have noticed such a difference in my happiness levels since becoming more conscious of the movies I feed my mind. Here’s a list of some more that make my heart sing. What resonates with your heart will obviously differ somewhat but there may be one of two that attract your attention. Set aside a date with yourself, snuggle up, and indulge your spirit in perhaps…
‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’
‘The Bucket List’
‘The Sound of Music’
Oh gosh any Disney movie, but particularly ‘Mary Poppins’ for me
‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
‘Under the Tuscan Sun’
‘Eat, Pray, Love’
‘Marley and Me’
‘Last Chance Harvey’
‘The Love Punch’
‘Saving Mr Banks’
Happy Watching, till the next time. Ooh and please do share below your favorite feel-good movies.