I love The Wizard of Oz. Some people hate it. But for me the story is a spiritual journey. One that speaks of our innate yearning to find home. Our true home.
When I was a toddler I used to clop around the house wearing my mother’s 1950s bright red open-toed high heel shoes. I’d fall and stand back up, wander into the bedroom and catch a glimpse of myself in the oval mirror.
I had the feeling I could do anything in those shoes. They were my power.
And I lost my way home. To my true self.
This journey to find out way home is one I believe that we all share. It’s a yearning and a profound longing in each of us whether we recognize it or not.
And like Dorothy, we begin in a black-and-white world. We find ourselves lost with few soul maps to guide us. We are easily distracted — duties, responsibilities, professional success, status, addictions — all lead us away from finding our way home to our true selves.
Then “something” happens. It may be “something” internal — a restlessness, a feeling that we need to move on, or that we are missing life. Or, more often than not, it is “something” external — a divorce, an illness, a death, a job loss, a child in trouble.
When that tornado flings us into the air, it turns our world upside down.
For me, my whirlwind was and still is my father’s stroke. As a primary caregiver, my life was forever changed on many levels.
Dorothy had the courage to take the journey toward metamorphosis and along the way to meet those discarded parts of herself: the scarecrow who needed to learn to think for himself; the tin man, who needed to get in touch with his heart and his feelings; and the lion, who needed to find courage.
Dorothy had forgotten that she always had these qualities. By taking the journey along the yellow brick road, however, she rediscovered those powerful parts of herself she had disowned, despite her “false self” — the wicked witch — that kept harassing her into believing she had no power at all.
So what are we to do when the tornadoes of life hit us full force? I believe that hope rests in braving the tumult and waiting with trust in the Divine who loves us — however you perceive that being or energy. The book by L. Frank Baum describes Dorothy’s reaction this way:
“It was very dark, and the wind howled terribly around her … hour after hour passed away and slowly Dorothy got over her fright. At first she had wondered if she would be dashed to pieces when the house fell again; but as the hours passed … she stopped worrying and resolved to wait calmly and see what the future would bring.”
When we can wait and trust calmly, we are often delivered to a brilliant new world that has been changed into vibrant colors, a more authentic, expanded version of ourselves.
But it takes courage to take the journey over the rainbow. It is easy to become frightened by flying monkeys and to place our beliefs in false wizards outside of ourselves.
We forget — as I did when I was a toddler — that those red shoes are our passion, our delight. Even if we falter and fall, we must get up again and again, and stay tight inside those ruby slippers as we traverse the yellow brick road home to ourselves, to our true being, no matter the tumult around us.
And when we trust in the Divine power within us and wait with hope, we eventually find that the spiral of the journey has led to the center of our true selves. We find ourselves home, arriving where we started — as Dorothy did — but transformed.
As to my own journey, I am still somewhere in process. I am still walking in those red shoes, learning with each new tornado in my life to wait and see what the future might bring.
It’s taking trust. And patience.
But the rewards will be worth it. Because I truly believe, as Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.