Red Pill/Blue Pill: Crossing the Threshold

Another iconic Hero’s Journey tale we’ve yet to talk about is The Matrix. The 1999 film starring Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, and Carrie-Anne Moss took the Hero’s Journey into the 22nd century and pitted man against machine. Keanu Reeves’ character, Neo, is a classic innocent hero looking to fit in but can’t seen to relate to those in his Ordinary World. When Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) find Neo and explain that they can bring him into the world in which he truly belongs, Neo is hesitant to join their ranks. After meeting Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), a government agent who threatens Neo to stay in line and keep his place in society, Neo meets with Morpheus and Trinity one more time.

The fifth step in The Hero’s Journey is Crossing the Threshold. At this point, the hero has been emboldened by the Mentor’s assistance. Now, the hero must make the decision to fully commit to the path which lies ahead. The “threshold” refers to stepping from the Ordinary World, the familiar, and into the “Special World,” the unknown. Act One, where we understand the characters, most of the setting, and the external and internal conflicts the hero will have to face, ends. Act Two, the journey, begins.

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For Neo, this commitment is manifest by a red pill and a blue pill. Morpheus tells Neo that although he could tell Neo all about the Matrix and the hidden truth, Neo would not believe him. The only way Neo could believe is by seeing and experiencing the truth for himself. Morpheus presents two gel-capsules. One pill is red. The other pill is blue. If taken, the red pill will give Neo the clarity and the knowledge to see the truth. This is the pill of commitment. Otherwise, the blue pill, if swallowed, will allow Neo to return to the ignorant illusion of comfort and security none the wiser. Neo takes the red pill, and thus we have a movie.

Today, Sept. 24th, marks the 10th day in my juice fast. When I stared this blog, my first goal was to complete a 10-day juice fast. Woot! That’s it! I’m done. Back to McDonald’s! I hear the Monopoly game is coming back soon!

Now that’s one path I could head down. Like Neo, I have merely been introduced to a different world from what was familiar to me. And also like Neo, I face a choice. I am at my threshold. How do I move forward? I most certainly do not want to go backwards. So I must commit to this journey.

In summary of the past ten days, I feel good. My head hurt, and I was a little crabby the first few days. My wife can attest to that, especially when I would see all the food in the fridge that I couldn’t touch. But by day four, I could control my cravings and my appetite. Some days I wasn’t even hungry for supper with only one juice at lunch. My meals were about 25-30 oz of juice and foam on top. (A side note: foam on the top of your juice is a sign of healthy fruits and veggies.) My energy levels have boosted considering less calories a day. I have more energy to do some exercises in the morning before getting ready. I also feel less tired around mid-afternoon, that 2:00-4:00 range. I have also seen a weight loss of around 10-13 pounds, although I unfortunately didn’t weigh myself the exact day before I started. I just went off the last which was a few days before, though the time of day is unknown. (Another side note: weighing yourself consistently at the same time of day, usually the morning, will give you the most accurate results.) Ideally, I would like to continue to lose, although I don’t think I want to set a weight goal per say. Weight and healthy are not always synonymous.

The best way to continue my journey, I believe, is to keep setting objective goals, nothing vague like “my goal is to be healthy.” What the heck does that mean? When is mastery in “healthy” achieved? So my next goal going forward in this journey isn’t a food goal. Although I’ve added a healthy diet into my daily routine, that’s only one part of the equation. If I am going to immerse myself into the Special World, then both healthy food and exercise.┬áMy new goal then is an exercise goal: a ten-minute mile.

Because I am adding exercise into my routine, I will also need to re-enter protein into my diet. I am going to continue juicing for my lunch. But for supper, I will start eating solid foods again (in moderation, of course). I will increase the amount of exercise I do in the morning, just body-weight activities like push-ups and crunches. Then, in the evenings, I will get on the treadmill to walk, jog, and eventually run past my goal.

So, here I am, swallowing the red pill, committing to “unfamiliar rules and values,” and stepping into a special world of wellness. I hope you will continue to join me, dear reader.

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