Lessons From The Land Of OZ

Ruby Slippers

I love great writing.  It is something I enjoy and respect.  So many times writing whether it’s novels, short stories, articles, or non-fiction, has many lessons included in the story.  Yet many times we don’t really think about the lesson part, we just enjoy the story and go about our business and never really take time to glean the information given.

For instance one of the greatest stories takes place with a girl named Dorothy who gets transported to the wonderful land of OZ.  Back home in Kansas Dorothy has problems with a neighbor that is hateful, mean, and wants to take her dog.  She tries to talk to her Auntie Em and Uncle about her, but they are too busy going about their lives to stop and listen.  Dorothy tells Toto that there has to be a place, way up in the skies where everyone is nice and the world is a better place.  Then the storm comes and Dorothy and Toto find themselves whisked off to experience the land of OZ.  However, the same problems that plagued her in Kansas, follow her to OZ, except that it’s not a nosey neighbor trying to get to her and kidnap Toto, but the wicked witch. 

So many times in life when things seem out of control, overwhelming, and just depressing, we think that a change of scenery will change everything.  We want to take some wonderful vacation away from it all and escape the reality of the problems we face every day.  Unfortunately, like Dorothy and Toto we find that the vacation or change of scenery doesn’t really solve anything.  Those same problems that plagued us before tend to follow us to the new location, what’s more is many times the situation adds additional worries along the way as well.

Sadly I have seen this play out in relationships, including my own, where it was thought that some down time away from the everyday schedule and togetherness would help solve some of the relationship issues.  It didn’t.  The added togetherness magnified issues that we had not worked through and what should have been an enjoyable vacation just became a trip away, struggling with the same issues and knowing that soon we would have to return home and deal with the rest of it all as well. 

So what’s the real lesson from the land of OZ?  I believe it’s a number of things, the first being that sometimes we need to step back and get a different perspective sometimes and realize that we are too close to the situation to see it clearly.  At times we need a friend to talk too, or an unbiased third party to offer a new look at the situation and put things better in balance. 

The second is that running away from problems does not solve them, they will still be waiting to be dealt with later one way or another.  Even if you were to completely escape and never return, you still have to deal with the emotional aspect of decisions made, so better to take the time, face your fears and mistakes, make amends where you can, and get things back in sync.  We do not live in a perfect world, but our world can be much less stressful and pleasant just by dealing with things as they come up and being proactive when possible. 

The third lesson from the land of OZ is that in stopping to deal with issues, often we find that that the answers lie within ourselves.  It’s well worth the journey to discover our own strengths, weaknesses and make some life long friends along the way.

Cherry Coley (c)

Just Quirky Me

I have discovered that I am a very quirky person.  Not that I didn’t already realize that, but it seems to become more obvious even to me at times.  For instance, in the regular world people come up to me all the time and say, “hello, how are you?”  Now common courtesy says the response should be, “Fine, or good, and how are you?”  Then they reply the same and you both go on your way.  Except that’s not me.

I’m the sort of odd person that tries to use words for a specific purpose.  In fact, one of my new intentions this year is to work on this more in myself.  I just think we would all be so much better, the world would be a better place, if people would use their words for encouragement, blessing, and more constructively.  Now is that possible all the time? No, I don’t think so, I mean, we all get frustrated and frankly no one wants to be around “little miss happy go lucky” all the time.  I don’t walk around shooting rainbows from my fingertips, or having birds land on me while I sing either.  Actually, birds kind of freak me out because they don’t like me, but that’s a whole other subject.

So what’s the proper way to respond to, “Good morning, or hello, how are you?”  Well, the proper way is probably what I stated before, but me being quirky, I usually just say, “Good morning” or “Hello,” and go on my way.  Is this considered rude?  I mean, I didn’t TELL them how I was, and more importantly I didn’t ask them. 

First off, at least from my perspective, I don’t consider this rude because we are all busy and while they are being friendly, kind and even polite, I don’t want to just give a perfunctory response.  It’s a waste of words and time.  When I want to know how someone is, I ask.  Then I stop what I am doing to listen to what they have to say.  I do this when I have the time to be respectful, attentive and listen to the response and when it seems that they might have the time to interact and not rush off to their next daily activity.  I make the time to listen and might even ask some questions before moving on, but when I do then I have a good idea of what that person has been doing and at least what might be going on with them that day.  If I sense they are down then I will take the time to try to make them smile either by doing something nice, sharing or suggesting something I might know that could help. 

I absolutely love to listen to people.  It’s one of my favorite past times to sit and listen to people talk about their lives, how they met friends, or their significant other, stories about their children, their pets, people they meet, jobs, or parents, it doesn’t really matter, I just love listening to what I believe to be the heartbeat of life.  That’s why I will not be the one to say, “Hi, how are you,” then walk away because I don’t have time or don’t care to listen.