’There’s no place like home.’
‘If I only had a heart, a brain, some courage’.
Do these phrases bear any significance for us and if so, is it feasible that a journey ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of life and leading us home?
Cinema-going was an uncommon treat when I was young. My first experience, when friends and I went to see The Wizard of Oz. Enthralled by the abundance of shimmering imagery on-screen, I went along for the ride and somehow ended up in Oz through the magic of movie-making. Young hearts yearned to go there real-time and live under the guidance of Glinda the Good Witch, the equivalent of all fairy fantasies wrapped up in one delicate pink tulle gown. Bottoms glued to seats under cover of darkness, we savoured every moment as the drama played out.
Upon closer scrutiny, the hazy mist of childhood dreams subsides and the idea dawns on me that I’ve been looking for that same elusive place ever since. With directions like ‘……somewhere over the rainbow….’ and an ‘F’ in Geography, let’s just say, getting there won’t be easy.
Thirty years on and I’ve deliberated over this with new insight, finding it possible to correlate Dorothy’s quest with the journey of my own life. It turns out that to find home, perhaps one needs to combine heart, courage * and *_wisdom_ as the co-ordinates to find our way there and back. Here’s where the childhood myth of Oz morphs into an adult tale of mystical proportions.
Co-ordinate of Heart – an inseparable element of the journey. What are the heart qualities one should hope to see manifest? Gentleness, openness and honesty would be a good start, mix in some x-ray vision to help see through rough exteriors into the inner man. The ideal heart won’t be swayed by petty jealousy and rivalry, it’s development bittersweet, the beat growing stronger with every adversity through the school of hard knocks
The Witch cruelly suggests Tin Man’s heart has been spirited away, but in truth, his poor heart was substantially battered and bruised, transporting him far further along the road home than he at first realises.
Co-ordinate of Courage – played out in the determination to strive for what you believe in, giving the ‘heave-ho’ to discouragement and self-doubt, overcoming fear and concern about what others think. Exhibiting strength of character and becoming a voice for those without scope for expression. Having courage to change, making brave and unpopular decisions, taking the road less travelled – these things should not be overlooked. In retrospect, life affords us plenty of opportunities for the development of courage. Heroic intentions not only benefit one’s self, but inspire and motivate others. Courage is cultivated through each conscious decision to step outside our comfort zone. We don’t get far without it.
Lion came a long way on his journey from being scared of his own shadow to having great confidence in himself as King of the Jungle. Lion was not lacking courage, but insight into the human condition…unaware that feeling scared and apprehensive is at times, part and parcel of life. Courage is only a step away from fear at any time.
Co-ordinate of Wisdom – the most difficult and elusive of them all! Some have easy access to it, while others must strive for it. Wisdom is the ability to separate fact from fiction, to make sound decisions after weighing up all possible outcomes
Destination Home – a different entity for everyone. Some suggest it’s purely habitat or memories from childhood…others feel at home wherever they stop for juice. For me, home is actually a concept, not tangible. It’s the fulfillment of wholeness, a solid understanding of one’s self, the capacity for resilience, and consistency in humility, ie knowing one’s true and rightful place in the scheme of all things and having the good sense to stay there.
1. Dorothy’s dissatisfaction with farmlife shifted significantly when she listened to a stranger who changed her perception and gave her new insights. It is worthwhile visiting problems from all angles to provide the best possible overview and help us make wise decisions.
2. Scarecrow was intelligent but the farmer took it for granted that he didn’t have a brain. What Scarecrow lacked was wisdom, closely followed by self esteem. If he’d realised he already had the wisdom to match his intellect, he may have saved himself a lot of turmoil by discerning that the farmer had simply made a hasty assumption. It is wise to be cautious in making or listening to assumption made about ourselves and others. Dorothy herself praised the Scarecrow saying that she felt he seemed just as wise, before the Wizard of Oz had gifted him with wisdom (wikepedia)
3. The Wizard was a grave disappointment, not really possessing great magical powers, he nonetheless became a sage by performing the incredible feat of helping these odd-bods find themselves. Through his considerable wisdom, he was able to shed light on the plight of the four pilgrims.
Conclusion – perhaps heart, courage and wisdom need to be combined, interwoven for maximum effect. They might be seen as our co-ordinates for pinpointing our ultimate destination, home. The journey may fall short of the desired location if we pursue one without the other. I assume Dorothy somehow sensed this and in order to reach her goal she engaged the attributes and virtues she’d need along the way in the unlikely forms of Tin Man for _heart, Lion for courage , Scarecrow for wisdom and The Wizard for insight perhaps into all three. Dorothy’s dream powerfully dramatised her subconscious thought and brought her full circle back home.
Dreams are more than just simple imaginings,they have great potential. Not unlike envelopes marked ‘return to sender’, they contain messages for us that can be guideposts to buried concerns, listen to them and travel *home* with certainty.
Finally, miracles are rarely instantaneous, those of us who seek them do well to prepare for the bumpy ride over the rainbow and back home.
‘The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering the attitude of mind’ (William James 1842-1910)
I wrote this a while ago with the intention of starting a new series of paintings on the Wizard of Oz….the idea is still there… I hope to begin a new painting/series soon on the subject.
What I have written here, is the unfolding of the research work on my subject…it is important that I gain a deep understanding or insight into my subject, as well as preparing the visual side of things, i like to get a feel for it spiritually, or at least have an empathy with/for my subject/s.
I read different editions of the story itself, and look at as many different illustrations as possible, rewatch the movie a few times, and listen to any music associated with it…for example the tracks from the movie, as well as things like Elton John’s and Katie Noonan’s versions of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and eminem’s Yellow Brick Road and Raine Maida – Yellow Brick Road and anything else i can find associated with the imagery of the story…