The Deathwalker March
First of all I would like to define what a deathwalker is not. A deathwalker in this post is not the character from the TV series The Babylon Project, it neither is a terminally ill person who is moving towards his/her final days with dignity and courage. And it must certainly is not a shaman who, in South and Central American cultures, is one of the elderly leaders of a community who helps the already departed on their journey out this world.
The deathwalkers I would like to talk to you about are of a different kind. We can all be deathwalkers or behave in deathwalking ways at different times in our lives.
A deathwalker is a person who temporarily has lost his/her sense of purpose and who is guided by a force outside themselves that is not a true reflection of their values.
In summary, a deathwalker is that person whose glass is half empty and "can't" fill it up, and who gets distracted “doing” rather than “feeling”.
When I came back from Central America, after three months of being in the sun, enjoying the company of amazing people (who I keep close to my heart) and being my vulnerable myself, I went for a cycle through the city. It was a cold day in February. I was people watching: fellas coming in and out of the tube, most coats were black or grey, there was a complete deprivation of colour on the environment and it certainly there was a lack of joy in the way people walked.
We all know that February has been proven to be the saddest month of the year, so even when I was surprised to see the colourless of London, there was a part of me that was used to it, so I continued riding my bike minding my own business.
Yet, I guess because I am Venezuelan and we don't have the winter season, I have always found socially challenging wearing black or grey on a winter's day. I must admit that some of my leggings are a bit too bright for my own good and that sometimes it looks I am wearing all the colours by Pantone. But if it is cold and grey outside why would I join in and look cold and grey too?
I guess when you're a deathwalker and the sense of purpose is temporarily silenced and everything around is grey and cold, in order to survive, you just blend in.
So, how does a deathwalker come about and more importantly how do they change their numbing march and join a more joyful life?
A deathwalker is born when the thought that there is no option takes over. When one continues to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Whilst at it, one either moans constantly about it or feels sort of miserable. Or worse, when there is numbness and everything is just "fine".
It could also happen when the purpose of why we work or have chosen the job we do drives us away from what we really want in life. Of course it's important to have a warm and safe home, have friends and family around us to share it with and financial stability to go on those holidays and enjoy ourselves. All of these elements give us certainty, and that is a need that shall not be taken lightly.
But we have reached a point that we are willing to kill our spirit and sense of purpose and to join the deathwalkers march just to get the small sense of certainty that we will be able to pay the bills at the end of the month.
This leaves behind a general sense of entrapment, which we use and abuse as an excuse when we are afraid to change.
The deathwalker condition is highly contagious, like in the many zombie films, if you get close to them they will go for your jugular and you will become a zombie eventually. This is no Thriller, which is the cool type of zombies. This is an option, which we choose and actively take part on. Sometimes even we deathwalk into our romantic relationships, and we march with another person on a road that does not fulfil us. Because it is just “fine”.
Challenging ourselves to get curious about our options is a bit scary; it brings uncertainty, another human emotional need that, again, shall not be taken lightly. But getting curious doesn't mean that we have to change jobs, or that we're going to get fired if the boss finds out we are active on LinkedIn, or that we cannot start your own business or that we will come home and tell our partner we don't love them anymore.
What it means is that we are giving ourselves the opportunity to think what our values are and our purpose in life is.
It is very easy to say "if you don't like something, change it", but if you are a deathwalker and your glass is half empty, it is very hard to see what you can do to make things a little better. I find this recommendation slightly patronising, to be honest. Nobody wants to be a deathwalker, or be the unhappy git that rains on everyone's parade. God no!
We want to be the “happy” person with the cool dance moves (check my previous entry on the Pursuit of Happiness, you will understand why “happy” is in inverted commas), being this is the case, then get ready because the solution is here.
I have found that the answer to the following question is what brings most of us back into a more creative mindset, which at the end of the day is what we need to get closer to who we are.
Why am I doing this?
That's it, it looks simple, it sounds simple but the answer is complex. Write it on a post-it note maybe you can stick it on your mirror and think about it. You can be your own life coach on this one. There is no harm in writing all the answers you can think of. The longer the list the better actually.
In the meantime, do yourself a favour, if you think that you are a deathwalker or that you are death walking somehow, just wear brighter leggings for a week or so, especially if you are a man. Some colour and silliness will make you feel a little like Michael Jackson!