In The 1999 hit movie, The Matrix, Neo is given a choice between the red pill and the blue pill. If he takes the blue pill, he will be allowed to remain in the “blissful ignorance of illusion” inside the matrix, the false world created by the computers. If he takes the red pill, he will wake up to the “the sometimes painful truth of reality” outside of the matrix in the real world.
Neo makes his choice and accepts reality.
In our world, we sometimes don’t realize we have a choice between the blue pill and the red pill. Between passively letting life live us versus actively living our lives.
But we do.
Too many of us take the blue pill unconsciously. We can’t escape zombie-mode.
We go through life uninspired. Time goes by uneventfully before we become aware and ask, “Where did the days go?”
We live according to the stresses of the day and worry over things that don’t matter in the big picture.
I’m reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote: “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”
The red pill is a symbol of inspiration, of being present, remembering that with your health and spending time with loved ones (or whatever your priorities are), nothing else really matters.
It is living with purpose and passion.
With awareness, we can learn to make the conscious decision by taking the red pill.
The Lifelessness of The Blue Pill
Inspiration can be the switch in your mind that gets you out of zombie-mode, breaking the habit of taking the blue pill, so you can live with purpose and intent.
I define “inspire” as “to breathe, to blow into, or to infuse (as life) by breathing.
Choosing the red pill is about waking up to reality, to your breath which gives you life.
You put yourself in situations that make you feel alive.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been coasting in zombie-mode, taking the blue pill every morning.
I’d wake up without being grateful for waking up. I didn’t say thank you for my food. I worried over numbers in my bank account and getting minor tasks done. I didn’t focus on being present when I was with patients or friends. The days went by quickly and I became exhausted.
One day, I was treating a patient and she made me do a mirroring exercise that she learned in Tai Chi.
As I focused on my posture exactly mirroring hers and the back of my palm against her palm, in an instant, I woke up and felt alive. It’s as if I had the red pill in my pocket and I took it that second.
I thought to myself, “This is what life is about. Feeling alive in the moment that is now.” My focus during the exercise and human touch(just as a good hug can do) instantly brought me back to life.
This woman reminded me that I always had the red pill in my pocket and should use it.
Sometimes it is difficult to find where we hide the red pill from ourselves.
5 Ways To Remember The Red Pill
1. Pause: I normally take my vitamins in the morning. You can take the red pill as soon as you wake up in the morning by getting a good sleep (at least nine hours) and pausing to express gratitude. I read how a paralyzed man had regained the use of his legs and feet. Every morning, he’d wake up and wiggle his toes. That was his way of saying “thanks” to the world.
Additionally, waking up an extra half an hour earlier than normal can allow you to slow down, prepare your breakfast, eat it consciously, and allow you to focus your energy on the priorities of the day.
2. Music: Listening to songs with a purpose and a clear message can remind you of what really matters.
Here’s what is moving me this week. (Don’t forget the lyrics, can’t really appreciate a song without them.)
3. Movies: Personally, I don’t use a star system to rate a movie. I use a “pause” system. I rate a movie as to how many times I hit the “pause” button on the remote to give me time to write a memorable quote in my journal. If I’m going to use two hours of my life to watch a movie, it’s not going to be an empty one. I recently watched Eat, Pray, Love, (the book was better, just as they always are). Still, it served a purpose.
If you want to get to the castle, you have to swim the moat ~ Phillip in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
4. Deep conversation: This isn’t asking somebody about his day, discussing a television show that was on the previous night or the weather. This is connecting with somebody, discussing the depth of life.
Some questions I commonly use for this purpose:
- Who are you? (Describe yourself without using your profession.)
- What music do you listen to? Why?
- What do you like to read?
- If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with your time?
- What’s your favorite animal?
- What’s your favorite color?
- What’s your favorite food?
- What religion are you?
- If you could have any super power, what would it be?
5. Breathe: Take a deep breath pulling in through your nostrils into your belly for at minimum a five second count. Slowly exhale the breath out for at minimum a five second out. Pause for a moment at the end of the exhale. Breathe again. If you tell me that this doesn’t immediately…bring you back to the present, I WON’T BELIEVE YOU!.
An Unconventional Life
Part of taking the red pill is being comfortable in your own skin. When you are yourself, you can rest assured that you’re living your passion. This act makes you present and conscious.
I’ve written briefly about Chris Guillebeau and smashing the cage. I have a man crush on the guy because I take a red pill every time I read his writing. He inspires me to be myself and live unconventionally.
His Brief Guide to World Domination (it’s free) was one of the first pieces I read that inspired me to create this blog and seek to make the world a healthier place. Treating patients one at a time is cool, but I can leverage my time and help a whole lot more people through writing and speaking.
My purpose for affiliating with the Unconventional Guides is to help you achieve a better life. Especially if getting away from the typical 9-5 job, entrepreneurship, art, or travel is a priority for you. It also allows me to creates an income stream on this website.
People always ask me how come I don’t have any ads on my website. My answer is that I don’t want to support products that I don’t use myself and that I don’t believe in. I believe in Chris Guillebeau and his products.
Whether you use Chris Guillebeau, mindfulness, music, movies, or your relationships to remind you what life is about, remember where you found them.
Inspiration doesn’t last forever.
You are given a choice everyday whether you’d like the red pill or blue pill. What reminds you to take the red one?
Let me help you … what’s your favorite color? (Mine is forest green. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by lush, green leaves with the sun beating on your body.)
Thank you Billy Gregson! You’re the best!
Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ. He practices out of Crossfit Morristown.