Article, Living Words

From Living like a Zombie to Living with ZEST

This post is a continuation to the post ‘Zombie-Mode| How we Choose to be Incapacitated’ wherein I opened up my ‘Zombie-Mode’ experience that I would find myself stuck in from time to time. It’s an experience of feeling tired, lethargic, wanting to ‘save your batteries’, feeling listless, bored, uninterested, wanting to do nothing. Interestingly, it’s my daughter and seeing how this state of mind stood square against my intentions of what kind of mother I want to be, that led me to question this state of mind and state of being that I slip into and ‘feels so comfortable’ – yet, in reality was causing me to be unable to really participate with my daughter, take part in her learning adventures and spark creative moments for her and I to learn about the world, ourselves and each other. It’s a numbing and incapacitating state of being – even if it’s just for a moment – for that moment, I wasn’t really here.

So, I opened up this experience with the help of Self-Forgiveness, unearthing some really interesting dimensions in terms of understanding what this experience really consisted of and why I had created it. After letting go of this pattern with Self-Forgiveness, I decided to learn and practice to live the word Zest instead, a 4 step-process you can read about below!


1. Defining the word Zest

My first step is to find out what my current definition and understanding of the word Zest is. My current definition can be a nice sentence or an incoherent set of associations (depending on how I learnt or assigned a meaning to this word while growing up). To find out, I look at what comes up within me when speaking, reading & writing the word.

When speaking the word:

The words Best & Test come up, together with excitement and fear. Best with excitement – test with fear. To me, this relates to putting myself out there or taking on something new, the start of something of which I don’t yet know how it’s going to pan out, but there’s that excitement and desire for something great/awesome/best to come through, yet at the same time fear, doubt and uncertainty at the thought/possibility of failing, letting someone down, making mistakes, bumping into my own weaknesses, etc…

Here I can see how I polarized the word ‘Zest’, giving it both a positive and a (hidden) negative charge. Depending on whether my excitement or my fear was predominant – I would either experience zest and start something new/put myself out there/be expressive/explorative, etc – or I would hold back, hide, try to become invisible, stay within my comfort zones and routines.

When writing the word:

Nothing specific came up when I wrote the word, there was just this slight experience of ‘strangeness’, like I don’t really know this word, or have much of a relationship with this word or what it would mean to express this word as myself.

When reading the word:

When reading the word, interestingly the letters E-S-T popped out at me, and from here reminding me of a friend, and, interestingly enough, if I had to pick anyone in my life that I thought embodies the word Zest – it would be her, lol.


2. Purifying the Word ‘Zest’

Before I proceed to redefining the word, I’m going to quickly release the old definition/associations with some Self-Forgiveness:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have polarized the word ‘zest’ within a desire and excitement due to seeing a potential and wanting/hoping for something awesome/new/best to come through on the positive end, and within a fear, doubt, uncertainty at the thought/possibility of failing, making mistakes, not reaching goals, letting myself/others down, bumping into my own weaknesses, etc. on the negative end of the polarity.

I forgive myself that I have never really accepted and allowed myself to consider what it would mean to live the word ‘zest’ as an expression of myself but have only ever experienced it through/as the result of positive energy driving me/pushing me/motivating me to start something new, to put myself out there, to savour life, to be expressive and explorative, etc. and so, I forgive myself for not considering what it would mean to with awareness decide to live the word ‘zest’ instead of being at the mercy of positive feelings or negative emotions.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to define ‘zest’ as something that exists in other people, but not in me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think and believe that for me to live the word ‘zest’ I need to act like/copy the expression of people like E, who, in my eyes naturally embody and live this word – instead of opening up, investigating and redefining this word for and as myself, to find out what it would mean for ME to integrate this word in my day-to-day living and life.


3. Redefining the Word ‘Zest’

All righty, in this step I will consult resources and play with the sound of the word to come to a clear definition of the word ‘zest’ in terms of this word’s living expression.

Dictionary Definition

  1. keen relish; hearty enjoyment; gusto.
  2. an agreeable or piquant flavour imparted to something
  3. anything added to impart flavour, enhance one’s appreciation, etc.
  4. piquancy; interest; charm.
  5. liveliness or energy; animating spirit.
  6. the peel, especially the thin outer peel, of a citrus fruit used for flavoring: lemon zest.

Etymology (origin of the word)

zest (n.)

1670s, from French zeste “piece of orange or lemon peel used as a flavoring,” of unknown origin. Sense of “thing that adds flavor” is 1709; that of “keen enjoyment” first attested 1791.

Sounding the word

Zest – Best

Zest – buzzing Zzzz sound, like buzzing potential

My New Definition:

To approach a moment as an active participant, a co-creator, to both add flavour/spicing to the moment as well as savor the moment fully.


4. Living the Word ‘Zest’

It’s interesting how quickly that definition came about – I used to take FOREEEEVVVVEEER to come up with a new definition – being so pre-occupied with ‘getting it right’ and ‘wanting it to be perfect’ instead of trusting myself and allowing the definition of a word to reflect me and where I’m at currently. Anyway J – just a self-note there to acknowledge my own process and progress with redefining and living words, how initially it was really tough and felt like the most awkward/alien thing to do, and now is like second-nature – woohoow!

With having a new definition, I’ll specify a bit how I will start introducing this word in my day-to-day life:

In moments with Syntia where we are doing the same thing for the so-many-th-time where I am getting bored with the activity and not wanting to really engage – to take a breath and actively look at how I can bring myself into it, how I can add new flavour to it/ ‘spice up’ this moment – change the inputs/ingredients – to cook up a wholly or slightly different experience and outcome, both for me and Syntia. Here I want to challenge myself to go further than being stable and ‘being there’ for her – by bringing in my playfulness, expression, exploration and creatvitiy – which doesn’t have to be this huge effort or thing, it can also just be a pinch – but to move myself to take part and together with Syntia create the moment as well as enjoy the moment fully.

Looking forward to it :D. In time I’ll post an update to let you know how this is going!

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