What to do when you’re caught up in a scary movie

What to do when you’re caught up in a scary movie

great_movie_ride_500-2014According to UNESCO, in 2012, 6,385,982,746 around the world went to the movies. That’s over six billion willing participants in agony, ecstasy, and everything in between.

Because we know that our wellbeing is not at stake, when we go to the movies we willingly, even eagerly, give ourselves over to a whole gamut of emotions, including emotions we might actively recoil from in our daily lives.

Life is like a movie

In a very real sense, we live in movies of our own making. Our thoughts are like reels of film brought to life by the projector of consciousness. That’s why two people can share the same circumstances, yet experience entirely different realities.

One person cringes in the rain, another dances.

It’s why our own experience of a situation can change dramatically with a flickering change of thought. One moment we can be ecstatic about a new project, the next we are paralyzed by the same opportunity.

It’s magical, really. Marvelous. Through thought and consciousness we participate in an ongoing dance of creation, one that is continually producing movies that surprise and delight us.

And that can sometimes scare the crap out of us.

The dance of creation produces some upsetting movies

Sometimes the dance of creation gives rise to upsetting movies, movies which produce experiences we would rather not have. I mean experiences we really and truly do not want.

Intense anxiety, jealousy, and frustration, for example.

But consciousness is the most effective projector imaginable. Because it recruits all of our perceptions, as human beings, we have full bodied, wholehearted experiences of our thinking, not puny impressions of it.

So it is that knowing an experience is produced by a movie of our own making doesn’t make the experience go away. In reality, being human means getting lost in a movie from time to time.

The point is not to avoid getting lost in a movie. The point is to realize that we don’t need to be afraid of what happens when we do get lost.

Even when you’re lost, it’s still a movie

Even when you get so caught up in a thought-generated movie that you can’t seem to get out from under your feelings, it’s still a movie.

Even though you can’t change the reel or stop feeling what you feel, it’s still a movie.

And when you remember that it’s a movie, no matter how crappy or scary your experience may be, you realize you don’t have to get rid of it, change it, or fear it.

You can let it be.

Wait! Shouldn’t you change the film?

When you’re lost in the movie, the best thing you can do is let it be.

The idea that you should change the film reinforces the belief that what you experience in the movie can actually harm you.

And odds are that if you try to change your thinking, running a new film over the top of the old, the projector will jam, leaving you feeling even more stuck, trapped, and victimized by your experience.

But when you understand that all that is happening is that you’re caught up in a very real seeming movie, you can relax a bit. Your experience may not go away, and you still won’t like it, but you won’t be terrorized because you are having it.

As you relax, your sense of innate wellbeing will return, and your wisdom will gradually reassert itself. Your thinking will settle, and in time the movie will change of its own accord.

You don’t have to feel okay to be okay

Understanding the nature of the human experience doesn’t protect you from having one.

Realizing that you’re caught up in a movie doesn’t mean that the movie won’t affect you, but it does mean that no matter what is happening on the screen, you are always safe in your seat.

And remembering these things will remind you that you don’t have to feel okay to be okay.

You might as well enjoy the show.

Want more?

As a coach I point my clients in the direction of their innate wellbeing. As their understanding of the spiritual principles behind the human experience deepens, their joy increases. They act with greater ease, creativity, grace, and wisdom.

If this resonates and you’d like to have a conversation to see if  we are fit, click here to visit my coaching page and schedule an interview.

Photo by Sam Howzit via Flickr


  1. amy cheney

    Thanks for the great reminder, Molly.

  2. karen crossett

    I love this post and I love that we dont have to feel ok to be ok.
    We get too caught up in the illusion (movies) we create and make them so important.
    Everything is projection.
    Its wild and wonderful, thank you Molly

    • Molly

      You are so welcome, Karen. Wasn’t it FDR who said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself?”

  3. Victoria

    Thank you Molly! I love this article, esp. the part about ‘when you understand that all that is happening is that you are caught in a very real seeming movie, you can relax a bit…..as you relax your innate sense of well being will return and your wisdom will gradually reassert itself’….wow. Thank you for that wisdom and reminder. I was also touched by ‘you don’t have to feel ok to be ok’. Great article. I will pass it on and post this one up on my inspiration wall.

    • Molly

      I love that you love it, Victoria. I used to think that the way to deal with fear was to work through it. When we see that it is a movie, there is nothing to work through. It’s still scary, until it’s not, but so much less effort is involved when we know we can let the movie run until it’s over.

      • Victoria

        Thank you Molly! I am wondering about something. You wrote “Our thoughts are like reels of film brought to life by the projector of consciousness.” Will you speak a bit more to this? Is consciousness the same as Spirit? Thanks…!

        • Molly

          Hi Victoria,

          Consciousness is the gift of awareness, the ability to be aware of reality and of how reality is created for each of us. Consciousness brings thoughts to life through our perceptions. Spirit might be universal consciousness, awareness beyond the limits of individual thought, or it could be the same as what Sydney Banks called Mind, the formless energy and intelligence behind all things.

          Thanks for asking!


          • Victoria

            Thank you for your thoughtful response.

  4. Lisa Plemmons Harrison Caddel

    Excellent, thank you. Beautiful analogy and ever so helpful since recently I have had scary movies playing over and over again, and I don’t like scary movies. Yet I am okay every moment. I finally chose to be honest and admitted to myself that I was scared. It was as if I had been trying to trick myself into believing I wasn’t! Then I wrote down what some of my fears really are. I also prayed, hydrated, and went for a walk! Your advice to let it just play on and watch is fascinating. Yeah, what happens at the end?

    • Molly

      I love how our thinking gets quieter when we accept that movie and how out of the quietness we are guided by wisdom. ♥



  1. Coaching ConfidenceCoaching Confidence-2014 Blog review – February - […] “What to do when you’re caught up in a scary movie” by Molly Gordon […]

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