Recently I read a book, "The Zen of Oz," by Joey Green, which ties aspects of zen philosophy to the story of Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. Small parts of the book were rubbish but most of it was pretty amazing. I took many notes and did my own comparison, tying the Oz story to Christianity and life itself. This has been an enlightening exercise. Many things have grown out of my research, including, of course, a new collection of designs for rubber stamps and wall art! It's still in the works but I thought I'd share one of my new designs here today. And here are some thought from Joey Green and I regarding life and our travels down the Yellow Brick Road:
We are all Dorothy. We are Prodigal sons and daughters venturing out into the world on our own, only to find out that there is no place like home, that the Wizard can't really give us anything we don't already have, that there is an inner spark of the Divine within each of us, that the Yellow Brick Road is an inner path that leads to the great beyond and that each of us must make the journey for ourselves. To realize that no matter where we are we are already over the rainbow, because we make our own rainbows. That life is a great mystery and that we are the greatest mystery of all, and that life is full of wonder and joy, as well as pain and sorrow.
Never Let Those Ruby Slippers Off Your Feet. We are all born with an inner spark, a divine potential with the ability to grow in intelligence and become like our creator. We are all endowed with infinite potential for goodness and greatness. We have the free will to discover and nurture our inner spark, and we also have the free will to extinguish it through our actions. The ruby slippers represent the inner spark within us all. When Glinda, the Good witch of the North, tells Dorothy, “Never let those slippers off your feet,” she is actually advising Dorothy to never give up her passion, her individuality, her uniqueness, her spirit, and her soul. “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” —Doctrine & Covenants 18:10
The ruby slippers are obviously of great power and worth. Look at the efforts of the Wicked Witch of the West in trying to obtain them from Dorothy! One thing is certain: The Wicked Witch of the West extinguished her inner spark long before Dorothy arrived in Oz, and desperately seeks the slippers for the power and security they provide. The Wicked Witch was bitterly jealous of Dorothy’s goodness, and she sought to make Dorothy miserable like she was. Sound familiar? “The devil seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” —2 Nephi 2:27
Embittered people who have extinguished their own inner spark justify their miserable existence by trying to extinguish the inner spark of others. Life is filled with people trying to get you down in the same hole that they’re in. Teachers, politicians, bosses, even family members and friends, may try to rob you of your integrity, your passion, your reputation, your spirit, and your divine purpose. They’re no better than the Wicked Witch of the West trying to steal Dorothy’s ruby slippers. But they can never get those ruby slippers off your feet — unless you let them. Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and never lose sight of your heart's desire. "Our progress on this journey is determined by recognizing the straight and narrow path, having an eternal perspective, and acting accordingly. Remember, our eternal progression is the very essence of our earthly existence. It is the Lord’s plan to get us all the way home to our Father in Heaven. This I know: Each of us can get there from here.” —Elaine L. Jack, April 1994 LDS General Conference
More from Oz later... the sun is shining here in NorCal and I have a date with my front lawn, my lawn mower, and a bag of fertilizer!
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ… Behold, … this is the way” —2 Nephi 31:19-21