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Everything you see, hear and do in ‘the matrix’ is an opportunity for you to ‘wake up’ or for you to increase your awareness.

And everything you see, hear and do in the matrix also has the potential to suck you right back into it emotionally, mentally, psychologically and even physically.  The most obvious example is 9/11, but it applies to everything: signs you see, people you meet, interactions you have.

My personal one is animal cruelty.** I use it as a mindfulness bell to remind me that none of this is real.  Because how could such horror be real?  That said, even if it is an illusion, I still don’t want any part of the hurting of the animals.  I don’t play video games but if I did, I wouldn’t be raping and killing in GTA.  Remembering this isn’t real helps me cope emotionally on a personal level, as well as stopping me getting involved on a matrix level e.g. giving it any more attention than it already has.  (This morning on the way to work I passed a truck carrying chickens two or three to a crate, and another truck full of pigs.  We all know where they were going and exactly what was going to happen to them when they got there.)

On a more personal level, hiding from one’s own blood or dreading one’s period which comes without fail every month does seem like a bit of a matrix trap/waste of energy.  I recently got converted to the idea of the moon cup (like a small silicone eggcup that collects the blood) and cloth sanitary pads, which are often handmade and sold by individual women on Etsy.  As well as the benefits of giving up putting bleached fibres inside oneself; the environmental considerations; the live-simply ethos of it, it was also the physical experience of getting up close and personal with what is only my own blood after all.  And realising, hey, maybe it’s not surprising I feel tired after my period, that’s a lot of blood , a whole cup in three hours, maybe I should take on some extra iron…

I reduced my pension contributions to the minimum allowed.  At the same time I called and cancelled two life insurance policies, putting into practice the hard-to-believe-belief that it is only ever now.  Things like life insurance policies come from a place of fear and worry and projection about the future; they add another layer of complexity to finances and life and letting go of them is another step towards freedom.  As soon as I had made all these calls, I looked at the clock:  10:10.

Compared to committing suicide, which is an option that everyone is always aware of, what I am doing isn’t really all that frightening or radical.  Or to lighten things a little, compare it to Regi Perrin faking his death to get away from his stiflingly boring existence or Robert De Niro’s character in Heat: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”

Just as I had finished my last blog and was feeling rather smug about all the de-cluttering and letting go I’d been doing, I lost my dearly beloved yoga mat.  Bought for me this birthday by my lovely team at work:  purple, sumptuously thick so I don’t need a blanket under my knees, not stained so I could take it to classes without being ashamed, and with its own smart black carry case.  Anyway, I’d been thinking about what to do with all the yoga mats (I’m also really fond of my old ones).  I was packing up the car early one morning, ready to go and stay at my mum’s, and must have put it down near the car.  I realised later that it wasn’t at my mum’s or at home, and then I remembered that it was bin day…  My first thought was, well at least that takes care of that, I don’t have to sort out what I’m going to do with it.  Even if later I did have a few wistful feelings…

The lesson is, appreciate things, use things while you have them.  I didn’t always use my mat even at home, saving it for classes and using my old thin one.  I chucked out my warm-but-ugly-on-me charity shop fleeces and now I recklessly wear my three nice Oliver Bonas jumpers at weekends, not keeping them only for work as I had bought them for.  Let them be used, let them wear out. (I do wear old things to sit and watch Netflix and cuddle the cats though, that’s only practical.)

*The living room, once delicious red, lit with vintage lamps, is now a ‘neutralised’ off white, ready for renting.

** I don’t just mean sad donkey pictures on facebook, I mean the piteous cows and calves of the dairy industry and the fact that people actually think it’s normal to eat animals and birds.