Monday, July 6, 2015

There's No Place Like Home. (Wizard of Oz)

We Are More Like Dorothy Than We Realize.

This morning while I was getting ready for work a scene from the movie, The Wizard of Oz popped into my head. You know the one where the wizard dives head first digging deep into his big black bag only to pull out attributes for three of the lost wanderers. The qualities none of the eclectic gang thought they had. The same scene where Dorothy pipes up and quips, “There’s probably nothing in that big black bag for me.” I thought to myself, “holy sh*t, that’s it! We’re ALL Dorothy in our journey of life.”

As a matter of fact, the whole Wizard of Oz story/movie exists in a parallel motion to our lives. We all have dreams, ideals, beliefs and when we’re young they are big, huge, dynamic, and sometimes even scary. When we’re little children we believe we can be anything we want. We may daydream about how it feels to save someone's life, accept an Oscar, a Grammy, a trophy, the championship title. We see ourselves as doctors, star athletes, actors, singers, musicians, speakers, even the president of the United States. But as we get older we begin to lose the dream, we begin to loosen our grip on what we thought we could accomplish, we begin to listen to the people telling us to get down, stop balancing on the thin edge of that rickety ol’ fence and get back to work. We’re told that life is hard, so get your head out of the clouds, because ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ doesn’t exist. We start to believe that we aren’t worthy of our dreams and that we need to shove them back down into the place where childhood memories collect dust and dreams are better left forgotten.

When Dorothy (who’s in a dress mind you), falls head first off the fence and into the mud that's where our lives become parallel to hers. Tragic as it is, we’re raised to fear life. We’re clothed and draped in the experiences of those who have lived before us. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, mentors, people who have their life experiences tattooed across every let down and failure they’ve ever had. These loving people never planted fear within us out of malice or for the sole purpose of squashing our dreams; it was done with the honest intention to protect us from pain, to thicken our skins to the big bad world outside. It was done so that we wouldn’t be devastated when our dreams appeared to be out of our reach. They instilled fear in us so we’d be stronger when we stumbled on our way to catching a glimpse.

Now, listen up, I’m not writing this post to debate on how to “ready” your child(ren) for this world. I’m not in a position to pass judgment on anyone. And as much as my parents supported my dreams, there were plenty of naysayers outside of my protective cocoon that didn’t waste a moment’s time to tell my how ridiculous my dreams were. I’m paralleling our lives to the Wizard of Oz (movie version), so we have something to reference outside of ourselves. A visual prop, so to speak, to identify with and relate so we can recognize the fear that paralyzes us, call out the unworthiness that we dress ourselves in everyday as we follow our dreams, and overcome the guilt we shower in when things don’t work out as we thought they should.  

There are moments when Dorothy faces the harsh realities of life in a microcosm, where times are tough and people are even tougher. When the innocence of their simple but hard life on the farm becomes disrupted by the oppressive hand of the unforgiving people who scare her and spit demands at her family. As if in the same manner we may have been battered, bruised and squeezed for property we didn’t possess or situations we couldn’t rectify. But isn’t that the way of tragedy? As if things couldn’t get any more deplorable, a twister comes and rips Dorothy’s house from the dust riddled parched earth of Kansas in a turbulently violent moment that seems to last forever.

Eventually, the modest farm house lands hard, smack dab in the middle of a luscious forest in the Land of Oz. There's a metaphorical brilliance in that scene that’s undeniable. We’re faced with twisters in our own lives, moments even when we hold on, they seem to rip us from our foundation. Could the house that flew through the air, tossing and spinning so recklessly represent our lives? Could the scared girl named Dorothy, who watched the world pass her by through a single pane glass window be a significant moment we hate to identify? Amongst the chaos and turmoil, we’ll always see the good and bad come out in people. When we live in expectations of lack or desperation, we’re living a monochromatic experience. We become comfortably complacent in our lives until something devastatingly dramatic comes along and shakes us up. And what better metaphor to represent the upset than a tornado in the dust bowl of Kansas?

Life seems melodramatic, filled with the pain of what we despise and yet we can’t seem to get enough of it running through our veins. Just as the world Dorothy was fearing in her monochromatic life, eventually it takes on a different shape translating into technicolor dreams planted in her head. We are constantly pulling and pushing ideas from what we thought was supposed to be into what we feel needs to happen. Fear’s been seared into our souls so completely, that while life’s being painted across a fresh new canvas of possibilities we shudder and cling to the idea that the first stroke of the brush could be the last. Yet, just as Dorothy pulls open the door of her wind-bent farm house, she's met with a vibrant world filled with brilliant colors and vivid imagery all her own. A world created by her thoughts, her ideas, her fears and her strengths and you want to know the twister? She’s completely oblivious that she has created it.

Cautiously, yet curiously Dorothy leaves the confines of her transplanted farm house and braves this dynamic world she’d never seen before. Faced with actions beyond her control, when her house lands on and kills the Wicked Witch of the East Dorothy is thrust into a position that requires her to put on her big girl panties, and find the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. Fanfare ensues because let’s face it, if a house landed on the one person or experience that keeps tormenting you, you’d be partying too! Sometimes breaking away from that which brings you so much pain sends you off onto a journey you never expected. People around you could be celebrating the accomplishments or growth you’ve experienced, while deep inside your gut you are scared to death of what just happened. It’s understandable that there will be fear of backlash or repercussions when you’ve knowingly or unknowingly accomplished something so empowering. Even if the success you’re experiencing wasn’t planned!

Here’s Dorothy, in the middle of Munchkinland, celebrating the new adventure she’s about to embark on, when Glenda the Good Witch, in her delicate and loving manner, tells Dorothy how good can overcome evil, and how sometimes in overcoming that evil you can have more problems arise, when VOILA! … The Wicked Witch of the West, appears in a green puff of smoke! (I never understood why green represented evil. It’s my favorite color) Anyway, instantly Dorothy’s life becomes riddled with problems, ideologies, and fear. The Wicked Witch of The West is pissed because Dorothy’s house has killed her sister, the Wicked Witch of The East. That’s right, innocent, pretty Dorothy was blamed for something out of her control. How many times have we’ve been blamed for circumstances beyond our control? How many times will we have to drown in our self-inflicted guilt because we succeeded or failed at something?  

Poor Dorothy, riddled with guilt and confused on what to do is completely unaware of her inner power and where it resides. She stands scared because the Wicked Witch of the West has targeted her as her next victim. Especially, since Glenda the GW←(Good Witch), magically put the ruby slippers upon Dorothy’s feet. ← Take note, the ruby slippers represent a HUGE AH-HA moment later in the story. Dorothy didn’t ask for these ruby slippers, she didn’t come in all gangsta like and demand the beautiful shoes, Glenda decided to give them to Dorothy to protect their magic and the person wearing them.

Listen, we don’t have control over the actions of others. Sometimes we are thrust into moments that affect who we are or what our purpose might become. Glenda magically took those ruby slippers from the WWE (Wicked Witch of the East), and unbeknownst  to Dorothy, placed them upon her feet. Once the ruby slippers were on Dorothy’s feet, nobody but Dorothy could take them off. Could those ruby slippers represent our self confidence? Could something as basic as the shoes thrust upon Dorothy’s feet metaphorically represent our faith in ourselves as we walk, dance or run through our journey? How many times have we heard the quote, “don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a thousand miles in their shoes”? Maybe those ruby slippers stand for something more than pretty shoes for a pretty girl? Maybe they represent the faith we must have in ourselves and the journey we are embarking on.

Then GTGW, with some help from the Munchkins tell Dorothy in order to find her way home (via the Wizard’s wisdom), she must ‘follow the yellow brick road’; a road paved with bricks, curving and bending through all the different aspects of Oz, leading to the Emerald City (Yay, finally Green represents good!). But, let’s not forget, any road paved with intentions is always going to take us through uncomfortable situations, maybe even lead us through moments that we’ve never thought we’d ever experience. 

Could it be, the yellow brick road represents the foundation of our lives? Maybe those beautiful bright yellow bricks represent our intuition, the path we must build our future upon as our ruby slippers click and clack along the way? It takes a lot of guts to follow our dreams, it takes the realization of our inner power to stay focused on the pathway to our success. And, hey, if we have a little extra help from our very own GTGW along the way, who are we to stand in the way?  Let the light and love of someone willing to help fill your cup, top off your tank, and give you a moment of true deep appreciation. We never do it alone, there’s always someone who will be your advocate. Just as Glenda was Dorothy’s advocate, there's always someone waiting to be yours.


***Keep an eye peeled for my next blog post when Dorothy meets the scarecrow in the 2nd installment of, There’s No Place Like Home.

Thanks for hanging out and reading my ramblings!