What The Show ‘Life’ Taught Me About Being ‘Zen-ish’


I was watching the show Life one day and had an epiphany. If you are not familiar with Life, it was an NBC show about Detective Charlie Crews played by Damian Lewis. Detective Crews returns to the LAPD after serving twelve years in prison for a horrific crime he didn’t commit. Needless to say, this character needs some Zen in his life.

Crews listens to these “zen” tapes and spouts off “zen” sayings, often to the dismay of his partner Dani Reese:

“Anger ruins joy, steals the goodness of my mind, forces my mouth to say terrible things. Overcoming anger brings a peace of mind, leads to a mind without regrets. If I overcome anger, I will become delightful and loved by everyone.”

In one frustrating turn of events, Reese asks Crews “Are you really Zen?” To which Crews responds, “I’m Zen-ish.”

This was my epiphany.

In our hectic lives, “zen” is sort of completely unattainable. Zen is colloquially described as a state of peace, of a freedom from material goods, and a tendency to meditate and contemplate. So, basically the opposite of the chaos of American (and Western) life.

Things happen, life takes its turns, and we’re only human. If we lived in a perpetual state of zen, life would be boring. It’s the roller coaster of emotions that we experience that makes us appreciate the moments of our lives. And sometimes, being “zen-ish” is enough. After twelve years behind bars, Crews appreciates and feels the experiences of his life on the outside. Here are some ways we can do the same.

Sit Down and Enjoy Food

In the show, Crews has an obsession with fresh fruit, something he didn’t get to eat in prison. How often do we sit down and truly savor our food? Calm and present eating is better for our health and gives us a chance to appreciate the smaller things in life. Load that food up with flavor and then actually taste it. Parisian diet, anyone?

Go Screen Free

When was the last time you sat outside? Or, harder yet, did so without your laptop, Kindle, or smartphone? The health benefits of unplugging from time to time are numerous. The company Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood even holds a national Screen-Free Week. Give your eyes a break and soak up the sun!

Have Some Fun

The wrongfully-accused Charlie Crews received quite the settlement for his time on the inside, given that he was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He bought himself a sports car with his funds, which I think is a great idea. Even if you don’t have his funds to buy sports cars, you can still take the time to enjoy life. Give yourself permission to do something fun today and if you get a little attached to your belongings, forgive yourself. Remember we’re striving for “zen-ish.”

Lori Hil
Lori Hil is an Enthused Freelance Writer & 9-5 Avoider. A Southern Gal living abroad, sharing brand love, & curating fabulous content. She adores passionate people, rich cappuccinos, and breathtaking landscapes.

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