Posts tagged ‘fear’

October 28, 2013

Freaky Films and the Nature of Fear

something wicked

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Darkness falls as daylight shrinks, a strange chill hangs in the air, and the witching hour swirls ever closer . . . are you ready? It’s coming, ready or not. This season of wandering spirits invites you to step into another realm, an unprotected place where the familiar safety of your everyday life cannot save you. That’s right. I’m talking about the world of horror films. This is a world I seldom visit, but when I do, I only creep around the edges, getting a little dusting of fear and unease on my shoes but not enough to bury me there, as it were. Just a taste. I prefer my dark musings to linger over haunted places, ghostly visits, and unexplained phenomena but in small, easily controlled doses—not full-on terror.

Why do people love scary movies? What is it that compels these brave souls to step into those stories, to want to experience that fear? As you might imagine, there are several theories behind this powerful lure.

"The Shining" featuring the unforgettable Jack Nicholson

“The Shining” featuring the unforgettable Jack Nicholson

Feel the Rush

Some say moviegoers love the “experience transference,” and the rush of adrenaline that goes with it. They crave the intensity of the experience only extreme events can deliver (not too far removed from roller coasters and extreme sports). Three common emotions unearthed in horror films are risk, fear, and even disgust. These emotions are visceral and deep, part of our wiring as humans. They cause us to both look at and turn away from gory accidents and frightening things.

You Know What They Say About Curiosity

No matter how messed up a story is or how unbearable the “monster,” we cannot deny our inherent curiosity. We have to know—just like our poor, dumb, ill-fated hero—what that noise was upstairs, outside in the boathouse, coming from behind us (eeek!). Throughout the millennia, curiosity has not only illuminated our lives but has kept us safe and alive from predators of all kinds. We enjoy watching characters in our scary movies try to survive by using, or in spite of using, their own curiosity.

No Limits

Horror movies give us a set of circumstances that may not be plausible in our everyday lives, but with the magic of film, we can let go of our expectations and indulge our fantasies, our most inappropriate imaginings, or watch the characters make the kind of bad choices we’d never make in life and see how they play out. Things always end very badly for at least one person and usually some innocent animals (this is cheap, unimaginative pathos, you lazy screenwriters and directors!), and at the end of the journey, you can walk away unscathed physically. Psychologically, that’s another story.

My favorite!

My favorite!

My Favorites: Ok, here’s my personal list of beloved stories of the mysterious and macabre. As you can see, I like my scares with quite of a lot of beauty, atmosphere, freakiness, and (when I can get it) some serious romance:

1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

2. The Skeleton Key

3. The Blair Witch Project

4. The Shining

5. The Others


Possibly one of the scariest scenes in my memory (from "Paranormal Activity")

Possibly one of the scariest scenes in my memory (from “Paranormal Activity”)

Traumatized By but Seen Anyway

1. Paranormal Activity (all of them—freaky!!)

2. The Grudge (Japanese version)

3. The Ring

4. Witchboard

5. Nightmare on Elm Street

6. The Omen


What Scares You?

I love knowing what makes people tick, so what scares you and why? Let me know what your favorite horror film is and why it gets under your skin. You never know . . . this time next year, we could have a Healthy Housewives Fright Fest going on. Fun!!


Wishing you bright days and spooky dreams,




March 9, 2013

Feed Your Mind

green apple and books

Hi, there! It’s Brooke. As you know, wellness comes in many forms. When we think of health, we usually jump straight to the physical (regular exercise, good nutrition, and abundant sleep). But total wellness involves a balance of all aspects of our lives—physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and vocational. By balance, I mean the correct combination of each of these things that results in an authentic life. You know how good it feels when you’re firing on all these cylinders? I recall these groovy times, and I try to return to them again and again, like a homing pigeon. One of my very favorite ways to find my center is to retreat to a quiet place and break out a book. My love of reading fulfills almost every form of wellness, and I’m betting that it does for many of you. For me, reading fills me up when I am low. It fires my creative spirit and feeds my hungry brain. Reading helps me find myself, to discover clues to who I really am. I usually have about 4 books going at a time, which could signal an active, curious mind or ongoing mental illness. But it’s just how I roll! I’d love to share several of my current favorites with you, and if you have any fabulous books to recommend, please share! FYI: Links to each of these books are at the bottom.

Power Eating Cover

1. Power Eating (3rd edition) by Susan Kleiner: I discovered this book several years ago when I was just beginning to learn about clean eating and strength training. It absolutely blew my mind! It taught me that food is much more than just something you eat or share with loved ones—it’s fuel for the strong, powerful machine that is your body. And for a skinny gal like me aspiring to pack on beautiful muscles and curves, finding this treasure was indeed a giddy experience. Even better, Dr. Kleiner includes a whole section on sports nutrition for vegetarian athletes. I actually felt like my lifestyle was understood and respected rather than just shoved behind the typical information on how to be a healthy carnivore. Like a baby duckling that imprints on the first creature she sees, I base my love of sports nutrition and the science of bodybuilding on this book, and I will be forever grateful to Susan Kleiner for inspiring me and changing my world.

Crazy Sexy diet

2. Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr: This book came out almost 2 years ago, and I’d been flirting with it on and off for a while now. I admit, the title intrigued me—who doesn’t want to be crazy sexy?!? I’d pick it up in the bookstore, page through it, think about it, and then set it down again. Recently, I picked it up again and this time it really spoke to me. It had always been the same packet of awesomeness, but now I was ready to hear its message. Ten years ago, Kris Carr was a 31-year-old actress who discovered after months of feeling bad that no, she did not a have a typical hangover, but a rare, incurable liver cancer! So, she took this devastating news and became her own health advocate, learning everything she could about healing her life, body, and soul. She directed and starred in Crazy Sexy Cancer, a documentary of how she searched for a cure but instead found a resplendent life. Ten years later, she has created a global wellness revolution that advocates health and healing through a vegetarian, low-glycemic lifestyle; compassionate, mindful eating (involving lots of green juices and smoothies); and care of the soul through journaling, meditation, and prayer. But what I love the most is Kris Carr’s spirit and passion to inspire people by positivity, joy, humor, and power. This book virtually pulses with it. Just look at the title! I’m thrilled to be a new member of her tribe.

Expecting adam

3. Expecting Adam by Martha Beck: Now, this book is very special. How many of you have ever finished a book, and then immediately started it over again? That’s exactly what happened to me here, and I’m not even kidding. I’m actually on Read #3 now! Martha Beck is a celebrated therapist, life coach, best-selling author, and one of my very favorite “she-roes.” I absolutely adore her humor and eloquence and honesty. This magical, mystical book launched Martha’s career as a passionate advocate of healing the world, one person at a time. More than 20 years ago, Martha and her husband were extremely intelligent, high-achieving, hard-driving perfectionists pursuing their PhD’s after surviving both their undergraduate and master’s programs—all at Harvard. Human frailty and lives guided by passion and spirit were not well received by the logic-driven intellegencia, and that was just fine by the Becks. Then they found out that their second baby was going to have Down syndrome, and their expectations for the “perfect” family were turned upside down. And what blessing that became. This book is a beautifully written, intimate walk through Martha’s life during this time as she discovers that we are surrounded by angels seen and unseen every day; that a powerful, loving force connects us all and has a sharp sense of humor; and that you don’t have to be perfect to be loved. I highly recommend all of her books, especially if you are a seeker and a healer.

My year with eleanor

4. My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock: This one is a charmer, and dare I admit it again, another book I finished and immediately began again. I couldn’t help myself. After an unexpected downsizing, Noelle Hancock (a Texas girl like myself who I’m convinced I’d be friends with if we ever met!) takes the opportunity of a jobless year to live her Year of Fear. Inspired by her personal heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her famous quote “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Noelle faces down the many things that give her pause, cause concern, or scare her witless. Her account is hysterical, genuine, poignant, and delightful as she weaves Eleanor’s own story throughout her own adventures. Could you do one thing every day that frightens you? Yikes! I still don’t have a good answer for this, but I truly loved going along for the ride.

Power Eating:

Crazy Sexy Diet:

Expecting Adam:

My Year With Eleanor:

I hope these lovely books inspire you as they did me, and I’d love to hear about your favorites. Have a great weekend!

~ Brooke