The Matrix is one of my favorite movies—not just because I love Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne or because of the amazing special effects or unique story line, but also because of the metaphorical quality of the movie.
Several times in my life I have made the kind of choice that Neo in the Matrix made between the blue pill or the red pill—one path (the blue pill) representing a return to a familiar life somewhat anesthetized to reality, and yet comfortable; the other path (the red pill) representing a scary uncertainty trip down the rabbit hole to a more real life.
Somewhere around 1990 I chose the blue pill and fell into a life that was false (for me) and became so stagnant that some ten years later I started becoming desperate for change. In my late teens and early twenties life change came easy. By my late thirties I couldn’t fathom it, and yet secretly yearned for it, however, after so many years of stagnation I had lost my way and couldn’t figure out how to change.
Then in 2007 something big happened for me. It was a catalyst for change that came in the form of a major defeat, which felt like betrayal and deep disappointment. At the time I was angry, now I’m grateful for it, because ever since then I’ve been choosing the red pill and venturing ever more deeply down the rabbit hole.
And yet, just as in the Matrix, the life that came from choosing the red pill is not easy. Just as in the movie, by choosing the red pill I’ve experienced passion, purpose, and meaning, along with continual challenge—the kind of challenge that provides the opportunity for me to rise to knew levels of self, new levels of understanding, of inner serenity, of professional achievement, of opening heart and softening of ego.
Choosing the red pill has lead me down a rabbit hole far more difficult then I would have imagined, and yet far more beautiful and meaningful then I could have imagined.
It’s the choice of truth over comfort; owning self over squelching dreams, trust over fear, of meaning over status … of remembering what’s been forgotten versus accepting the prevailing narrative of conformity.
It’s hard and it’s scary.
It is also necessary.