The following is from my upcoming book (January 2014)
Beyond Survival…Living a Life of Thrival
In “The Wizard of Oz,” it takes a storm and a good knock on the head to make Dorothy realize that life’s real treasures are not found at the end of a yellow brick road. In fact, as Dorothy discovers, you never even have to leave home! No need for long journeys, strange companions, favors from Munchkins, fights with flying monkeys, witches of any kind, great sacrifices, and all-knowing wizards. All you have to do is open your eyes and look all around you!
Here’s a nice irony: our favorite part of the movie is really Dorothy’s big mistake. How she longs to travel “over the rainbow”! Hey, folks, put away the hankies! Remember the guy behind the curtain? The treasure is the rainbow! And the answers lie in the journey, not at the end of the yellow brick road. For those who pay attention, the answers are on the road and in the scenery alongside the road. Open your eyes, enjoy it, and quit spending your time running from the witch’s cackle and chasing imaginary pots of gold. Life is in front of you today, this moment. And that includes your little dog, too!
Many people spend so much time seeking the great and powerful Oz that they miss the wonders and magic of life’s journey. When they eventually discover that it’s only the charlatan, Professor Marvel, behind the curtain, it’s often too late. Their health is ruined, they’re sleeping with strangers and their children have grown up and moved away … emotionally as well as physically. In their quest to become, they forgot to be.
There is a distinct difference between those who mark time in years and those who mark time in moments: those who check off years miss the journey. Freeze-framed moments have independent value. They are complete in and of themselves, requiring little more than our presence and focus. Look at your little girl’s smile and then name your selling price. What would tempt you to trade away even one hug from a grandchild? Is there a stock with market value equal to a photo album filled with family memories?
In contrast, a life of constant guilt, blame and pursuit consumes enormous amounts of physical resources and emotional energy. The reward? The rewards are bitterness and perishable hard goods. And this life of years has a perpetually moving end point. Eventually it does end—at its own pleasure, not yours.
Here are a few questions to ponder: Are you running down some path so fast that you’ve forgotten why you’re running? Do you push aside gold as you reach for tin? Do you realize you have a choice? Oh yes, you do have a choice. Some of you are just too busy blaming others, chasing pots of gold or trying to figure out how to get over the next rainbow, to notice. As Dorothy once asked the Scarecrow, “What would you do with a brain, if you had one?” Sorry for that last snide question. It’s just that I’ve seen too many nice Scarecrows get torched.