In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion is eager to go on the journey with Dorothy so the magical Wizard can install courage in him. The story is a classic and most of us have watched it repeatedly throughout our childhood. However, it appears to me that the fairytale message is not understood by all of us.
Courage is something beautiful within the human condition. We each have it– it is a component of our inner strength, a strength we often choose to disbelieve in. We worry, have angst, experience depression and fear, and then become convinced that everything in life is bigger than we are and certainly stronger.
Nothing in this life–money, material possessions, illness, our work, social status–defines us or determines our inner strength and our courage. What defines us is the way in which we live in our heart and allow our mind to loom large and become a tool we discipline and direct for what we want to experience in this life. The troubles we have are hiccups, bumps on the road–they can become powerful distractions and can even cause us to feel as if we ought to stop and abandon the journey because of the trouble they create. But we are mistaken when we allow that thinking to take hold of our initial intentions.
Life takes diligence, planning, faith, vision, love, collective wisdom, and all of that is within us. Together, all of that is courageous.
I find myself lost at some point nearly every day. I question whether or not I am doing the right things, if I’m on a productive track, if my choices are wise, and if I am productive in what I attempt to do. I don’t mind this mental activity because I grab hold of myself and change the script to remind myself about the vision I have for my life. Then, I re-ignite my passion for it throughout the day, every day, just like when I once stoked my wood burning stove in the freezing cold winter repeatedly in order to keep warm. It takes strength and courage. Sometimes life feels cold, heartless, dark, lonesome, and intimidating. I’ve found myself in tears when I feel the pressure of everything I need to do and have to deal with–and that is when I wrap my arms around who I am, dive deep into my mind and my soul, and pull forward the memory of what happened when the Cowardly Lion met the Wizard.
Do you recall?
The Wizard was a fraud, he was also a bully. He frightened Dorothy and her friends–he was awful. It was in the moments of fear and intimidation that the Lion rose up and roared! He felt passion, love, and the warrior inside his soul. He courageously allowed his best to shine forth. The Wizard comes to realize that there are benefits to doing the right thing and he gives the foursome the accolades and wishes they requested. A happy ending. However, we get lost in this life and forget the story, forget that it is a story about encouragement, inner strength, belief in oneself and having faith in love.