A recent visit to a favorite spot also occasioned a re-visit to “The Wizard of Oz.” There in a romantic get-away, my wife and I snuggled in bed and watched the timeless story of Dorothy and her search for a place over the rainbow, a story we both treasure.
Perhaps this time I saw it with more life experience as a tale of leaving the familiar landscape to find that beautiful place that is more caring, just, cooperative, honest, respectful and rewarding than home. It’s a better place (I told myself at 18), where I knew I belonged and was worth every effort to get there.
Of course, the real world was quite different. It was anything but just, caring, respectful and rewarding (except for what little came my way from time to time, renewing my hope and commitment to the dream). In that place of turmoil (and in my weaker moments), I dreamed of going home like Dorothy did, including to those that had cared for me, however awkwardly, because they cared honestly, in their own way. “There’s no place like home.” I got a lump in my throat with every movie that depicted a heart-filled reunion. Home sure looked right; the reunion would be worth everything it took to get back there for good.
And yet, today I am more than just life-experienced from chasing rainbows. I am wiser, too. And I know that home is not other people. (Sorry, Dad and Mom.) Home is not beneficial circumstances that feed me, people who greet me, respect me or want me to be there with them.
Ironically, home is not a physical location that I can escape. Home has always been with me. All I need to do to experience home is to experience my true self, that place my caretakers were awakening within me. And as a wiser person, I now know that my true self, my true home, is none other than this: acting in love (for myself and others), focused on understanding and bathed in gratitude. The more I act out of my true self, the more I am at home.
Dorothy returned home from Oz by clicking her heels (bringing her focus to the present) and affirming that “There’s no place like home.” She was confused on waking up in her bed; she was so sure that she had been to another place called Oz. But by looking at the faces of Auntie Em and the hired hands, she recognized herself. She heartily committed to her discovery with new understanding and gratitude.
Yes, Dorothy, there’s no place like home. There is no greater satisfaction than loving, understanding and giving gratitude. This home, sweet home, is warm, healthy, nourishing and full of shared treasures. It protects us and honors our true nature. It is beautiful because it’s who we are and it never leaves us.
Yes, Dorothy, Good Witch Glinda, Auntie Em and Toto. There is no place like home. The Cowardly Lion realized that he had courage all along; the rusty Tin Man had always had a heart and the whimsical Scarecrow had always had a brain. It’s there within. Look no further.
See you at home!
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