You might have seen them on screen, shuffling along, rotten bodies, mindless minds, driven only by the need to consume: they are zombies, the walking dead. Yet, does the rise in zombie movies and TV shows have anything to do with us feeling like zombies in our own way of life?
Can you relate to shuffling along, dragging your feet, your body, through the day, looking at everything with dead, dark eyes? Do you ever feel heavy and bloated, a little bit rotten, ‘blah’, off, seedy or putrid? Have you found yourself forgetting where you put the keys or suddenly streets away from where you last registered being on a drive or a walk? Has your home, your fridge, your wardrobe, your TV, become jammed with contents and yet you find yourself looking for more, mindlessly cramming more into spaces already full, or behaving in ways you know are just not you? Where are we when we live this dull, dead and mindless zombie way of life?
Equally, can you relate to having a bounce and a flow in your step, a twinkle in your eye, a lightness in your body? Have you found yourself in tune and easily moving through the demands of the day with everything you need, right where you need it? Do you know what it is like to just consume only what is needed – no more, no less – be it food, clothing, TV, texting, social media, news and information, things for the home, work, the garden, your car, travel, hair products or recreational activities? On these days there is no feeling of being one of the walking dead, just the livingness of being awake, alive and joyfully aware, present in body and mind and getting on with life.
I can certainly relate to both ways of being and have learnt from experience that unlike the TV zombies, a zombie way of life isn’t a permanent, irreversible condition. It is always a source of absolute amazement that our bodies transform, become revitalised and de-bloated, lithe instead of creaky, alive instead of dead, once we start to lessen the load we put on them from the way we eat, sleep, move and treat ourselves throughout the day. It is like we stop burying ourselves in food, work, consumables, worries, distractions from screens through to over-complicating our lives with busyness and chemicals in the form of alcohol, drugs, painkillers or pharmaceuticals, and let ourselves be.
We can shift out of the zombie-ness of our habits and patterns like eating too much, overdoing it, dragging ourselves out of bed and through the day, binging on TV, buying the un-needed things, isolating ourselves, staying at work too long, delaying going to bed or being too busy to exercise or socialise, too exhausted to bother with anything other than collapsing in a heap at the end of the day or, at the other extreme, smashing ourselves with a ‘work hard, party harder’ mantra, or simply living for wine-o-clock or the chance to munch our cares away.
From zombie to an alive and vital being sometimes takes a wake-up call, something to jolt us out of the stupor, the deadness we can live in for years when we give up and check out of life –– a health scare, relationship break-up, a loss or circumstance that clears a break in the fog and fuzziness of zombie existence. It doesn’t have to be dramatic though, it can be a simple inkling that there is more to life than feeling dead, hanging out for the next episode or season in a series, the next drink, meal or gadget, or just getting through the day so we can go back to bed. Following an inkling is what begins every evolution in life, shedding old habits and ways of being for ones that unfold the life we feel is at hand in those inklings.
There is more to us, underneath the less-ness we can live in with a zombie way of life.
The more we know how deeply we matter,
The easier it is to understand our purpose for being here.
For all our advances, we appear to have lost touch with a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in life to the point where we measure success by our possessions, achievements, bank balances and fame, not our aliveness, the sparkle in the eyes and the spring in the step that has nothing to do with having the latest iPhone, a ticked off to do list or all our ducks being in a row. It comes from the joy inside us – an essence we resist or surrender to, that runs through every particle of our Universe, connecting all of us in a flow that comes from an intelligence beyond what we consider ‘intelligence’.
Connecting to this essence that runs through everything all the time, we get to feel the inkling that there is more to life, that there is a livingness beyond the things that dull, deaden, diminish and deplete us – a way of life that is in tune, in sync, in flow and in rhythm with the ‘All’ of life and the Universe we are part of, down to our last particle.
We are part of something fathomless and purposeful and anytime we wake up from our zombie way of life it is there waiting for us to pick up where we left off, to re-join and live in the awareness of the absolute inter-connectedness and flow of life, knowing without doubt what so many ancient ones before us have said: that we are forever an integral, precious and divine part of something much bigger than ourselves.
By Adrienne Hutchins, B.Ed., Funeral Director, Brisbane, Australia