Okay…so I am one of those tree-hugging, hippie, vegan types who dreams constantly of living in a tiny house or cave off the grid. I know to some of you that may seem a little weird…well, maybe a lot weird, but I have always loved the idea of being away from the rat-race, the daily grind, the responsibilities, the noise that we are forced to be in every day because of societal norms..in other words…..THE MATRIX!
I am constantly trying to figure out ways to live more sustainably, use less, create a minimal environment that is relaxing and Zen and quiet. I don’t watch TV. I recycle. I get rid of “stuff” all the time or repurpose things to make them useful again. I am learning about going plastic free. I vegan-ized my closet/home as much as possible. The other day I read an article about an 88-year-old woman who has always lived off the grid, doesn’t have running water, cooks outside, makes her own soap, grows her own food, and lives in the house that her grandfather built! It has no electricity, and she is very happy. This is how I imagine living. She even made her own robes! A woman after my own heart!!!! Righteous!!!
Now, I know this is not practical (probably). I have a young son who has grown up on video games. I have a grown child with a grandbaby who would probably never visit me if I lived off the grid. (Incidentally, when he was little I seriously contemplated living in a commune in a hay bale house…no joke!) However, being a single mom with bills means I have to have a job which I am so grateful for. I don’t have a garden anymore, and I wouldn’t be typing on my blog if I lived off the grid because I wouldn’t have a computer. I get it. I can’t live in a cave or in a mountain hideaway, but I can come as close as I can, right?
Well, you would think so, but last night while talking to my Great Teacher, (Only Love Zen Sangha) while meeting him for my weekly Zen teaching he asked me what my dream way to live would be. I recited something like the above aforementioned information. I said it in a very exasperated voice like “I know. I will never be able to live like this.” I will constantly be forced to deal with the fact that I have to work to pay bills and put food on the table. It’s like a vicious cycle that I will never be able to get out of.” He laughed (which he does sometimes when I go on my tirades) and said — are you ready for this? — He said, “You already live off the grid, and you can live off the grid any time you want to!” I looked perplexed I am sure. He said, you can live off the grid in your mind any time you want to. Every time you don’t do the norm or live by the rules of the “Matrix”, you are living off the grid. You can choose to take the “red pill” any time you want and wake up. But taking the red pill (like in the movie The Matrix) doesn’t guarantee that you will have it easier because you are awake. It just means you will be awake. Here is what Wikipedia says about the red pill and the blue pill in the movie, The Matrix…
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” The term red pill refers to a human that is aware of the true nature of the Matrix.” Said by Morpheus to Neo… (I love this movie…seriously..love!)
So this is one of those a-ha moments. It was one of the greatest things I had ever heard. I have spent a lot of time pining away for what I thought I could never attain. However, I failed to look at what I am doing and what I can choose to do any time I want to. I can create or manifest what I want any time I want to. Every time I choose not to listen to what society thinks I should do, anytime I don’t buy the latest fad, every time I make a choice that is better for the environment or the animals or mankind, I am living off the grid. Every night when Ezra and I turn off all electronics, shut off the lights and sit by candlelight before bed and just breathe I am living off the grid. The Matrix wants me to be a robot, wants me to be dumbed down by their politics, negativity and anger. Well, every time that I don’t oblige the media or whoever decides that today this is what I must have or buy or learn about, then I am living off the grid.
Living “off the grid” is a choice, but it doesn’t have to be in a physical sense. It can be in the mind, in the heart, in my wild woman spirit. I can manifest all the off-the-grid stuff in my life that I want to. I can invite like-minded people to be a part of my life and my circle. I can make choices that my family would be proud of. I can choose not to join the masses of people who fuel the fires of dualism. I can choose to make healthy choices for me and my family that don’t have anything to do with the Matrix. I can continue to aspire to learn to love even when things or people are unlovable. I can keep trying. I can keep going, and I can never give up. This is the red pill.
And when all else fails, I can go outside without my phone, light up the fire pit, make vegan s’mores, sleep in my tiny camper, and live off my grid just for a little bit. Today I choose the red pill! (okay…now picture Neo doing that Matrix thing where he avoids the cyber bullets and bends backwards…that’s me, and if you don’t know what I am talking about, you really need to watch The Matrix.) Peace and love, Everyone!