Like all trends, our culture’s macabre fascination with zombies comes and goes. In my lifetime alone, there have been several waves of zombie movies that have captured the imagination of many and offended the morals of many others. While there are some pre-George Romero zombie films, Mr. Romero deserves the credit for jumpstarting this genre with his low-budget, brain-feasting gore fests filmed in rural Pennsylvania (my home state!) back in 1968 (a year before I was born) and the world has never been the same.
Before we go any further, there may be a few of you that are asking:
why is a yoga therapy blogger writing about zombies anyway?
Well, it seems that our pop culture is getting even more into this genre, and I realized much like I did when I saw the opening scene of the 2004 zombie spoof Shaun of the Dead that life is being imitated by art and that we actually are experiencing a real life zombie invasion right now.
According to Wikipedia’s definition, a ZOMBIE is “a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli”. As in the films, so in real life: the reason how and why the pandemic started is not always clear. But fortunately for us our real life zombie pandemic does have a cure and we have it right within us right NOW.
I look around the world and am a bit dismayed by our society’s ability to lull us into zombie sleepwalkers through its incessant bombardment with sales pitches for things we don’t need. To put it point-blank, we must realize by now that our current way of life is not sustainable in the long run. Check out this LINK to read more about how consumerism is destroying not just our brains but our planet as well. And we also need to use our brains and think of what comes next for our culture. While it is clear there is another ONE right way to live, it does seem to becoming clearer to many of us that our current way of life is not serving us nor the planet. We do indeed need to wake up our the next generation or the one after that will be left with a mess even worse than what we are facing right now. I am doing my best, and I really inspired to see a growing number of us Un-Undeads that are ready and willing to rise up and WAKE UP!
This current real life pandemic is both insidious and ominous. If each of us is not careful, we can slip into a hoarding zombie state of mind that leads us to want to consume , not brains, but more THINGS. And the unfortunate side effect is our brains do become mush.
Yuck, who wants mushy brains?!
One specific example is that researchers are exploring a new phenomenon called
TIADD: Technology-Induced Attention Deficit Disorder.
Yes, hooray we are able to do more things at once, but how does that impact other crucial mental abilities such as mindful decision-making about what we buy and how much we buy? Another symptom is being called “technostress” which includes anxiety, mental fatigue, depression, and feelings of helplessness. Watch any zombie movie or TV show and see if you don’t see the undead not exhibiting some of the same symptoms.
Hordes of Zombies are becoming hoarding Zombies.
This real life Zombie invasion is a sneaky one I tell you.
By now, I hope you are with me in wondering: what are some effective tools I can use to make sure I don’t become a zombie? And if you are quite confident that you are not one already, the next important task in a Zombie apocalypse is to be sure that my family, friends and neighbors are not?
Here are SEVEN powerful tools that can help. And, no, a pitchfork is not one of them!
Please heed these words of caution: while most real life zombies do not bite, please know that some may become quite agitated if you shove these tools in their face, not unlike when the humans in the movies use fire to ward off the zombies. Once you have prescreened yourself, please be sure to offer these tools to others with consideration and compassion. Most real life Zombies are deep in denial about their zombie state, and speaking from my own rude awakening from zombiehood, the tools are best used gently and gradually because the transition back to being human can be slow and painful.
1) Take the NEEDS vs. WANTS quiz: www.mcwdn.org/ECONOMICS/NeedsWants.html
2) Develop or deepen a meditation practice to enhance Mindful consumption. Before making a purchase or acquiring something you think you need, meditate and clear your mind to help clarify your decision-making process.
3) Take a technology fast (an hour, a day, a week?). See www.harbins.org/2011_TurnOffTechnologyWk.pdf for other examples.
4) Cook more, entertain at home more, connect with others more. Yes, our ailing economy begs us to spend more of the money we often do not have, but try slowing down and eating out less, pulling out that old Scrabble or Taboo game, and if you do have extra money to spend, calculate how much money you saved by doing so and donate it to your chosen charity. Best part about this real life zombie invasion is you don’t have to ask your guests to help you board up your windows or move heavy furniture against the doors. Whew!
5) Look through the sunglasses of Nada in They Live. Ok, I threw this one in there to see if the Zombie fans were paying attention. I admit, the aliens in They Live were not technically zombies but they sure did look like them didn’t they? The point here is to really explore the messages we receive from the media about what and how to consume and how and what to think. Take a gander at the next wave of commercials that you watch and write down what product is a want and what is a true need. And, yes those sunglasses are actually back in style again!
6) Lest we forget those in the world that are less fortunate than us , we can all do ourselves a big favor and remind each other that all the best things in life are still free - air, water, quiet times with loved ones, sharing your good fortune with others through volunteering and just slowing down long enough to make eye contact with another and say hi. We aren’t dealing with pod people, folks!! Before Roger Ebert died he shared that his only religion was KINDNESS and I think he left us with a very key tool here. STOP, DROP (your things), and BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. Movie zombies don’t respond to this peaceful power, but in real everyday life, we all do!
Can you help us come up with more? In order to make sure we don’t have a real life World War Z (add link) in our life time, our movement could use all the help you can offer. Please write to me your ideas on how you have successfully saved yourself and others from becoming part of the hordes of hoarding Zombies that roam the planet.
Coping in the midst of a Zombie apocalypse is serious business, but it is right there in your own hands and own hearts. So for what it’s worth, this exercise in battling zombies in the here and now can help your mind too. And isn’t that what every Hollywood Walker really wants: a world full of juicy ripe BRAINS!!
Alive and kickin'