Like many musicals, “The Wizard of Oz” begins with an “I wish” song. Bored of living in Kansas and tired of being harassed by her neighbor, Dorothy Gale wishes for a trouble-free, colorful future where she can soar with the bluebirds in a better place, over the rainbow. Shortly thereafter, Dorothy’s life takes a turn for the worse — her neighbor kidnaps her dog, Toto, and threatens to kill him. When Toto escapes and returns home, Dorothy decides that she and Toto must run away from their problems in Kansas. They leave home, but Dorothy soon realizes that she is not ready to leave. She returns home, but the universe has other plans for her.
The winds of change have brought a cyclone that destroys her house, knocks her unconscious and carries her away. When she regains consciousness, Dorothy realizes that she got what she wished for — she is on the other side of the rainbow. But because she had not made the decision to leave and was unprepared for the journey, she is scared and wants to go home again. But this is not an option, so she goes on a journey to find someone who can help her — a wizard who presides over the emerald city of Oz.
Dorothy finds the wizard, but ultimately learns that he cannot help her. Just when she feels that all is lost, a wise and kind woman tells Dorothy that she has the power to help herself. As it turns out, she and her traveling companions each possessed the power to create the futures that they desired, and as a team, they were able to make it through the treacherous woods.
The only thing they had lacked was the confidence that comes from experience. Their journey to Oz gave them that experience, and they learned some new skills along the way — how to lead, enlist help, solve problems, recover from setbacks, and stand up to bullies. Perhaps coincidentally, Dorothy’s journey also prepared her to confront her problems in Kansas. Once Dorothy realized she had the power to change her future and decided what she wanted her future to look like, she was able to leverage her new skills and confidence and use her own two feet to make that happen.
We have all encountered a cyclone of unplanned and unwanted changes this year, and many of us feel like our lives have been turned upside down. A silver lining, though, is that we have all acquired some new skills along the way including, but not limited to, resilience, problem solving, creativity, and getting comfortable with new technology.
Have your priorities changed this year? Do you need to do something different to have the things that are now important to you? If so, what did you learn this year that will serve you on your journey?
To bluebirds, brighter skies and sunnier days ahead…