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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

yellow brick road

The future feels uncertain. If the events of the last 15 months have taught us anything it is not to take our freedoms, families and friends for granted. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we have found ourselves in a very strange place indeed. A land with completely alien rules and it feels like we arrived here overnight. So let’s link arms (regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not) and skip along together in the hope of finding some answers. You’ll need courage, wisdom and definitely heart but whatever you do (and this is good advice), pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

“You ought to go to the wizard and ask him for some courage.”

“What questions did you ask?” was how I was greeted weekly at the school gates by my Grandma as a child. Not what did I learn, but what did I question. It was the difference from being passive to becoming proactive as a learner and likely the reason my R.E. teacher got a good grilling as I found my way through Comprehensive School. Yet despite that brilliant weekly injection courtesy of Gran, I was still very much a product of the system. One that taught me to hold all authority figures in high regard and do what they say regardless. It really felt at odds with my own internal knowing but you have to play along don’t you?

“You are capable of more than you know.”

Maybe it’s the reason I was so enthralled by story of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy’s desire to just want to know ‘why’ with a willingness to move beyond the ordinary parameters of her awareness to find answers is inspirational. Her curiosity, open heart and playful spirit is the true source of her power. An unwavering innocence with zero fear or attachment to events as they unfold. These are the qualities I want us to embody whilst we get curious about current world events; specifically those age old systems we are enmeshed in from birth.

“Toto I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”

Something is going at the moment that just doesn’t add up. Right now, more than ever a collective conversation is needed where we learn through exploring things together.  Why do I have to be wrong for you to be right? Can’t we meet in the middle somewhere over the NHS rainbow with an attempt to understand one another? Could we listen to what’s being said and more importantly what’s not being said? Lay down our biases, the egos way to “stay safe” by feeling in control through being right. There are those who believe the media/government narrative and those who are beginning question it. What happens to a society of extreme polarisation? What happens to humanity when we “other” those who choose different from us? What happens when our questions and their subsequent answers are censored? Needing to be right is so deeply divisive, we all have our own unique lens and never has there been a more crucial time for humility in our opinions.

“I know I have a heart for it is breaking.”

Ultimately we all have the same goal; to live peacefully, freely and safely alongside our loved ones. Yet much like the Tin Woodsman and co. we’ve outsourced our power to an external source perhaps not even realising we might have subcontracted our lives out to a complete charlatan. There can be some cruel ironies in life and none more so than following the yellow brick road, only to be met with the epiphany that everything we needed was already inside of us – or worse still, wake up and learn it was all just a dream anyways, an illusion.

 “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Just like Oz, the road out of lockdown is paved with good intentions and the yellow brick road is very much an archetypal journey; one that comes with a stark warning. Walk the middle way. Don’t veer too far left or too far right (otherwise the winged monkeys will descend) and never forget the wellbeing of your fellow travelers is just as important as your own. Take heed of the virtues needed for the journey; to be of loving nature (heart), the ability to think critically with wise mind (brain) and the tenacity/strength of character (courage) to go were those two previous traits lead you.

“Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge.”

Yet perhaps even more pivotal to the story is the storm, the turbulence, the chaos that catapults Dorothy from her somewhat simple black and white life in Kansas to a land that is full of possibility, danger, hope and adventure. The storm symbolises transformation and is the birthplace of her “new normal”. A place where she is able to see things as they truly are, giving her the opportunity to face her fears only to pull back the curtain to find it might not have been such a big deal after all.

“Which is the way back to Kansas? I can’t go the way I came.”

The thing is, once we have indulged our playful hearts, curious minds, courageously laying down our bias to really listen to one another there really is no going back. How then once armed with this new understanding can we even begin to try and get back to our lives before the storm? Honestly, collective conversation will only take us so far. What we’ll need next is conscious collaborative action. This is how humanity finds her way back home. Lest we forget; we are all in this together.

“It’s always best to start at the beginning and follow the yellow brick road.”

Quotations from The Wizard of Oz By L. Frank Baum

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