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The Wizard of Oz – It’s a timeless story with countless lessons waiting to be discovered. We all know it well; it’s the story of life. We wake up, day after day, amble along in the ritual that is our life, rarely stopping to notice what’s around us – let’s face it; it’s really nothing new. We’ve lived this scene numerous times, so much so that we can experience it with our eyes closed. In fact, many of us do.

And, so it goes… day in and day out until – without warning – circumstance picks up your house and drops it into some strange, foreign place. It’s as if you’re knocked unconscious and you awaken to find yourself in, of all things, a twister! The event can be anything: the loss of a baby, a job layoff, a bad health report, an unplanned career change, an unexpected expense, a sudden move, retirement, etc. Whatever the circumstance, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we’re pulled away from the familiar, away from anything we’ve ever seen, experienced, or even dreamed of. In the midst of these significant life experiences, we’re often confronted with suffering, uncertainty, confusion and, perhaps, for the first time in a long time, we begin examining our lives, scrutinizing very closely all the intricate ins and outs of our daily routines. And though we’ve been bored and complacent for some time, suddenly, what we had is appealing and inviting, and we want it back – the stability, the certainty, the predictability that was ours to exploit and take for granted.

You know the kind of circumstance I’m talking about – the ones that make you look inward and question all you’ve done, plan to do, wish you could do; those that make you wonder if your life is everything you want it to be and, if not, ponder about what needs to be changed. And, usually, these circumstances result in an unplanned transformation; an awakening!

A while back, in between yawns at the sameness of my day, I faced one such circumstance. I discovered a lump in my breast; actually, I discovered three. This happened on a Friday, so I couldn’t get in to see the doctor until after the weekend, which of course thrust me into a place I didn’t need to go. Between Friday and Monday, I had myself dead and buried at least 15 times. I imagined the worst. By Monday, I was in a state of desperation and really quite irrational, experiencing thoughts and emotions uncharacteristic of me in general. I suppose the issue that caused me the most difficulty was the fact that I had not been responsible with my own health – I hadn’t had a mammogram in 4 years. So, I thought, “I deserve this. That’s what I get.” Over the course of the week, I went through a series of events, a mammogram, two ultrasounds, three cyst aspirations, a biopsy, and I didn’t get the final results for about 10 days from my initial consultation. Within the span of almost two weeks, all I could think was, “I just want my life back.” But, I also experienced a lot of other thoughts… the life changing kind.

It occurred to me that this experience afforded me the opportunity to forge ahead, imagine possibilities, dream of the seemingly impossible, to overcome obstacles, conquer fears and, simply put, transform the self.

As life tosses us about, we can give ourselves the gift of becoming something we’ve never been. In the spirit of The Wizard of Oz, let’s follow the Yellow Brick Road to “Becoming Dorothy!”

DDecide to Act – Don’t sit idly by like “Scarecrow.”` There is no magic cure to relieve us of responsibility.

  • Set your goal
  • Start down the path
  • Do the first thing

OOvercome negativity – Avoid emotions that devastate the heart, such as self-pity, regret, feelings of worthlessness, etc. Embrace the “Tin Man” within.

  • Fill your mind with positive thoughts and positive emotions will follow
  • Surround yourself with positive people

RRecognize obstacles/challenges – We can’t confront them until we see our “Cowardly Lion” for what it is.

  • Identify roadblocks – those things that intimidate and hold you back
  • Name your challenges, weaknesses, time constraints, conflicts, etc.

The “Cowardly Lion” is all talk, a bully who boasts, intimidates; one who strives to destroy your belief in yourself so she/he can look and feel powerful. At first, we’re tempted to believe the words, to believe we’re the awful things he claims. In The Wizard of Oz, when “Cowardly Lion” is asked to join the group, he responds, “Wouldn’t you be embarrassed to be in the company of a cowardly lion (The Wizard of Oz)?” He was trying to live up to someone else’s notion of what he should be rather than accepting himself for who he was. As actor, Harvey Fierstein, says, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

O – Open your heart and mind to life – receive all that life has to offer. Dorothy was the optimist encouraging others to pursue their dreams. They “hoped” she was right. They all traveled the Yellow Brick Road on Dorothy’s belief, not their own.

  • Be ready when opportunities arise – seize the moment
  • Find your own light in the midst of darkness

TTake control

  • Face your demons
  • Vanquish them from your life

Like Dorothy, sometimes we come up against a force so powerful that we can’t fathom an escape.

H Have faith in yourself

  • Believe in your abilities
  • Believe you can move forward
  • Believe in the support others provide

How many times have you doubted your ability to conquer the seemingly unconquerable? And only after all has been said and done do you realize the “cure” was simple, intuitive, and right in front of you. Simply by believing in ourselves and accepting others’ support, we may realize that what we needed to move forward was right there all the time, shrouded only by our disbelief. Remember… Dorothy defeated the witch with water!

Y Yield to the power within

  • Don’t wrestle with yourself – channel your energy outward
  • Find that place of inner peace and comfort
  • Retreat, refresh, renew

Everything we want; everything we need resides within. In the midst of life’s difficulties, we have choices. Those choices can make the difference between simply surviving or living fully. Life is ours to command if only we can

Decide to act

Overcome negativity

Recognize obstacles

Open our hearts to receive

Take control

Have faith in ourselves

Yield to the power within

In the words of Dorothy, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard, because, if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” Today, why not give yourself the gift of becoming something you’ve never been – find the Dorothy within.