Friday, February 25, 2005

Reality Bites

I was watching my favourite movie - Before Sunrise, the other day and in one scene Ethan Hawke's character, Jesse talks about his idea to produce these 24 hour documentaries about ordinary people, living their ordinary lives. The show would be aired every day of the year and it would feature people from all over the globe showcasing their poetry of day to day life. Before Sunrise was produced in 1994. This was long before Survivor and The Amazing Race and Big Brother...which actually means that the movie's writer, Richard Linklater had conceived this idea of reality tv long before it started to hit our television sets in the late 1990s.

Were Mark Burnett and Jerry Bruckheimer the lucky ones who actually saw Before Sunrise and felt the idea could possibly work? Perhaps.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ridiculus! Posted by Hello


One of my favourite parts from the book and movie, Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban is when Professor Lupin teaches the class the Ridiculus spell. The spell is used to ward off a creature called a Boggart. The Boggart is a creature that senses one's fears and takes it on in order to frighten people off. In facing the Boggart, Professor Lupin tells the class to imagine something funny when they are face to face with the Boggart and their own fears. And then to yell..RIDICULUS!! What really finishes off the Boggart then, is laughter.

Facing our fears, this is something that all of us possibly face in our daily lives. We try to hide and run from our fears but there might be a time and place where we have to meet with it, head on. And the only thing that can save us then, is our own mind. In saying 'Ridiculus!', we are looking our fears in the face and knowing that is it all mind over matter.

To make sense of the world, we rely on our five senses - we see or visualize, we hear, we feel, we smell and taste. We make pictures in our minds based on input we receive from the outer world. We make pictures and play the movie in our minds. These pictures or movies are based on what we perceive of our reality.

What makes us fearful or what makes a phobia a phobia is having a picture or movie in our mind that is played over and over again, with full cinematic features of bright colours, a loud soundtrack and being associated with full kinesthetic feel.

The first step in overcoming your fear does not require such drastic and dramatic action as signing up for Fear Factor. Rather it requires the ability to change these pictures that you play in your mind. To take control over them. To tone down all those features that serve to heighten your fears.

One of my fears is snakes. Now I have never had any bad experiences with snakes but simply imagining them slithering quietly is enough to send shivers down my spine. What makes the snake so frightful is that, in the screen of my mind, I am imagining it in full size and full colour, I hear the loud hissing, I am fully associated - I see the snake through my own eyes and can feel the sensation of fear crawling up my body.

What I can do now is to tone down this picture. Reduce the size of the picture so that the full size snake has shrunk into just a small one. I change the colour so that it is now in black and white. I switch off the volume so that the hissing sound is no more. I can even pause the movie so that the snake is not moving. I dissociate - instead of seeing through my eyes, I now see myself in the picture. And I see myself looking at the small, black and white, soundless, still snake. And it does not seem as scary anymore.

And I guess, to really finish it off then, I could pull out my imaginary wand and say RIDICULUS! And just laugh the fear off.

A note on the terms 'associated' and 'dissociated':

Associated - when playing a picture or movie in your mind, you see through your own eyes. You see the surroundings but you do not see yourself in the picture/movie. Your senses are more fully engaged when you are associated. You see, hear and feel.

Dissociated - the opposite. You can see yourself in the picture/movie. As you can see yourself, then you can not directly see, hear, feel what you see, hear, feel at that moment. Make sense? Hmmm...

To Blog or Not to Blog..

What is there to write? What to say? How to say it? Who will read? Does anyone care, does it matter at all?

Here's what I think:

1. There's plenty to write about. Doesn't have to be mind blowing, Pulitzer prize sort of material. Just a collection of trivial thoughts, daily meanderings, out of the blue experiences, something small that touches your heart and mind.

2. Say anything!

3. Say it with my own voice. What I see, what I hear, what I feel.

4. People might read, they might not. But the important thing is that I got it out there. Got it out of my mind and floating in the matrix of this blog!

5. I choose to believe that it does matter and people do care.