Life Lessons from a Zombie, Part 3: The sweet, sweet scent of Chanel No. Life
Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.
Welcome back to the Zombie Diaries! We are discussing the traits that people share when they have faced near death experiences and in the spirit of embracing pop culture I just couldn't resist pairing the discussion with a good zombie metaphor (even though there are a few inherent flaws, it's a fun framework.
Now I know the zombies you encounter always seem unhappy (...or, more accurately, completely unaware) turns out when you see the other side of death and come back from that shadowy place you gain new perspective and it may look a little weird to those around you.
Seeing that other side of the "life" curtain isn't always a result of physical difficulty. Whether your near death experience is physical, mental, spiritual or a combination of the 3, there comes a moment in life when we must confront who we thought we were and the vacuum of the realization that it is all wrong, and insignificant besides.
It feels like you have died … and maybe you have.
Maybe the life you knew, the one you worked for, believed in and cultivated with all you thought you were is just a glimpse. Maybe there is so much more and in order to break through the looking glass of your limited awareness you have to ... die ... and come back to life. It's a Harry Potter paradox...
*If you haven't read the series to completion yet; A: what is wrong with you?!? and B: I will stop there so you can catch up to the rest of us while we all go on to trait #3 of our Zombie Series examining the 10 common traits of those who have faced near death experiences:
Week 3: Decreased interest in material possessions
I believe that the more accurate way to phrase this is to say there is an increased interest in pursuit of true value. We are still aware of all of the material possessions and the fun that they can provide, but we have now metaphorically turned our heads. We have redirected focus to something less tangible and more genuine. When we come face-to-face with the impermanence of life and our selves and all we thought was so important (the house, the car, the lovely heels that cost more than my rent) seem less and less important. If my entire life is short and could end in the blink of an eye, how much shorter lived is the pleasure I gain from that new gadget or the extra thousand square feet?
I like to think of this trait as "Chanel No. Life". Rather than being enamored by the labels and the owning and the image that we feel these things will create for us, we are better aware that buying into stocks of life, spending on friendships and doubling down on experiences is the best investment strategy there is (short AND long term). We become increasingly aware of the fact that the pleasure gained from that gorgeous new blouse is not as deep and lasting as the conversation and connection shared over an evening with a friend that comes free with the purchase of a bottle of wine and a little vulnerability.
The Chanel No. Life metaphor is more dimensional - there is an element of distillation. Just as with perfume, we are boiling off the parts that don't matter and getting down to the essence, the core, the true; to a pure, condensed elixir vitae that contains within it an inexplicable energy source and reminds us what we love about our short soirée on the planet.
Now by no means am I implying that I have renounced beautiful shoes or impromptu bff shopping sprees (you know who you are and it was wonderful). But one thing I have gained is a newly increased appreciation for the immaterial. Laughter with friends on a summer patio, concerts in the park on a blanket, watching a sunset with yourself; these are the notes of our No. Life fragrance that make it all worthwhile. There is something so much bigger (and at times even more tangible) in truly savoring moments rather than things. I challenge us all to again walk (or stumble with an awkward lack of dexterity as all good Zombies do) away from this lesson with undead perspective. Though the essence of life doesn’t always smell good, its purity alone is a beautiful thing. And in embracing the essence of each ephemeral piece as it comes we can delight less in the stuff and more in the raw experiences as they rush at us like our own individual, intoxicating, complex blend of “Chanel no. Life” – though wearing gorgeous shoes while experiencing never hurts…
Embrace the delusion; enjoy the results. Have a wonderful day my lovelies.
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Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.