Sunday, May 24, 2009

Time for discovery

Most of us grew up with the Wizard of Oz, I suspect; certainly I did. And there are certain images and lines from that movie that over the years have achieved a sort of iconic status: the house with the witch's striped stockings sticking out from underneath, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," "And your little dog, too," "There's no place like home, there's no place like home," "not nobody, not nohow," the voices of all the munchkins, the greens of the Emerald City, the flying monkeys, the Cowardly Lion, "I'm Melting, I'm MELTINGGGGGGGG..."

And there's this one, of the Good Witch, who looks after Dorothy so tenderly, and is always there to protect her, who speaks with that oh-so-melodic motherly voice and makes everything better.

One of the things I learned from the women's movement is that images and movies and jokes and stories can have a profound impact on the psyche -- (and, yes, I held off giving my daughters Barbie Dolls as long as I could, but eventually I caved -- and found I loved their pretty shiny ballgowns as much as the girls did. (Hmm -- Cinderella and my Connie doll yesterday, the Good Witch today -- what's this about?)) And I think Cinderella's godmother and the Good Witch left all of us with this longing for someone who would wave her magic wand and make it all better -- which, in our culture, seems to have something to do with being beautiful, wearing beautiful clothes, winning the handsome prince and living happily ever after.

But of course, that's NOT the message of the Wizard of Oz. If you think about it, L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Wizard of Oz series, had some very wise things to tell us. And one of the most important bits of wisdom in that movie is that you can't expect someone else to save you. There is no real Wizard: that which you seek is already with you -- you just need to discover it. The Tin Man, who so wanted a heart, already obviously had one. The Scarecrow who wanted a brain was already wise; the Cowardly Lion was brave when it counted; and the way home for Dorothy was already on her feet.

So what do you long for most? Is it possible it's already in place for you, waiting for you to discover it? Don't close your eyes and just wish: close your eyes and, instead of wishing for a genie or a fairy, a magic wand or lottery winnings, ignore the man behind the curtain and take time to discover the gifts within, just waiting to emerge.

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