Terrified by The Exorcist

I was never much into horror movies.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy a good plot or being moved by compelling actors. Rather, I avoided horror flicks because I was too scared that I’d be too scared.

So I never watched them – except for one.

The Exorcist.

The movie is based off a book by the same name, which itself is based very closely on an actual exorcism of a 14-year-old boy purportedly a victim of demonic possession.

The combination of a gripping plot, superb acting, and a chilling soundtrack make for one of the scariest films ever made.

Any hopes I may have had about watching additional horror movies ended with my first – and only – viewing of The Exorcist.

The interesting thing about horror movies – particularly those where the main character is possessed by some sort of evil entity – is that by the end of the film, the demon is destroyed. Or at least sufficiently banished such that potential sequels aren’t ruled out.

We leave the theater feeling some sense of relief that the movie is over and perhaps thankful that we don’t have an alien entity about to exit through our abdomen or a head-spinning projectile vomit.

But the truth is, we are all possessed. By the mind.

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Loyalty to Guilt

Growing up we had a dog – a Basset Hound – that we named Arnold. Arnold had long droopy ears and the saddest brown eyes. But Arnold was anything but sad.

Like most dogs, Arnold lit up whenever any of his “owners” (family) entered the house. His unconditional affection and undivided attention were unbounded.

Arnold was the epitome of loyalty.

While each of us may not demonstrate the same level of outward affection as dogs, we all have our loyalties: Friends. Spouse / Partner. Family members. Social causes. Job.

And guilt.

And all of guilt’s evil stepsisters: anxiety, stress, drama, and fear.

We subconsciously choose guilt as a way to punish ourselves for our sense of unworthiness. The deep-down belief that I’m not good enough.

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Burn the Boats

Not a lot is known about Hernán Cortés due to the unreliability of the information, but one thing is understood for certain – his initiatives brought about the end of the Aztec Empire in the early 1500s and captured immense riches for himself.

He accomplished what so many others before him had tried – but failed.

What set Cortés apart?

His techniques for motivating himself and his troops – and a brilliant philosophy for overcoming adversity.

Prior to embarking on the final leg of his historic voyage, Cortés recruited many sailors and troops to help with the impending siege. He personally interviewed each person to ensure not only that they were aligned with the mission, but to implant within each of them the sense of what success would feel like.

Every person on board Cortés’ eleven ships was single-handedly committed to achieving the goal.

Until they became disillusioned, and failure was imminent.

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Why I No Longer Hate Toll Booths

During one of my college years, I lived off campus and drove to the city every day to attend classes. The only way into the city required crossing one of two bridges, both of which had steep tolls – at least from the perspective of a financially struggling college student.

The toll booths would inevitably cause anxiety-inducing traffic backups, particularly on exam days. I wasn’t smart enough to envision a future like E-ZPass, but I certainly had the sense that there’s got to be a better way to manage toll collection.

For me, the traffic jams and toll payments were major blockages to my youthful sense of peace. If both could be done away with, life would be much better.

But would it really?

Most of us would say that we’d prefer not to have any adversity in our life. Or, at least a substantial lessening of our existing troubles.

But there’s another way of looking at adversity – one that completely changes our worldview.

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