After spending half my life struggling with my stress response (and the subsequent anger, fatigue, and bad feelings), I realized two things: first, that the overwhelming majority of that stress was unwarranted, unnecessary, and entirely disposable; second, that I was joined in my stress by countless others who had learned to approach the world the same way I had – an approach that’s responsible for so much of the pain and conflict in the world.
I realized a third thing as well: it can feel really stressful to let go of stress.
The way we view our world is also how we view our place in that world – it’s part of our identity. Shifting that identity, even for something better, can feel difficult and fundamentally threatening.
But we can shift that identity. We can change our view of the world and our interaction with it. We can take charge of our responses to our lives, and we can transform ourselves in any direction we choose. If we’re willing to take that first step, we can create a world that sustains and comforts us all.
– film can light the way –
My search for answers brought me again and again to the movies, and to all of the lessons tucked inside them.
In a modern, increasingly connected world, human beings have lost touch with a lot of the rituals and processes that provided a framework for growing up, for being a “good” member of society, and for defining who we are and where we’re expected to go.
Especially in the U.S., where diverse groups of people have had trouble finding common ground, film – if it’s a good one, and sometimes even if it’s a bad one – creates a shared experience that accesses universal truths and expectations. Just like the campfires around which small groups of people could gather and be both entertained, enlightened, and guided, the messages in modern film can shape our perception of the world, encourage desirable attitudes and behaviours, and help us navigate through the obstacles and hardships in our lives and in ourselves.
How does that help with stress?
When we can access human tribal wisdom – when we can find the answers to life’s questions – we stop feeling so helpless, so abandoned, and so frantic in our efforts to flee the dangers and unpleasantness we start to feel all around us. We develop new eyes, new skills, and a new direction – one that leads out of the gridlock chaos of modern life and into a simpler and more rewarding human experience.