The trouble with the future is, it hasn’t arrived yet. So we daydream that our house (our life!)-in which we sometimes feel so ill at ease–flies off in a hurricane, and lands SPLAT! on the Wicked Witch of the West, flattening her like a pancake. Hee-hee, she can’t scare us any more!
We glide on gossamer wings with Glinda the Good Witch, who sparkles like a cotton-candy cloud in her impossibly pouffy pink tulle dress. (That fluting voice, that high-calorie smile-oh! they make my teeth ache.)
We conjure up worlds where magic wands zap ruby slippers onto our size-ten feet. And a yellow brick road unwinds before us, showing us exactly where we are to go.
We take our first tentative steps in those shiny red shoes, accompanied by a gaggle of squealing munchkins. We’ve begun the new adventure of our lives; we’re headed for the Emerald City.
Along the way, we meet the strangest of strangers: A brainless scarecrow who regularly gets the stuffing knocked out of him. A hollow tin man who’s missing his heart and suffers from seized-up joints at the most inopportune moments. And a bully of a lion who trembles at the sight of his own shadow.
We link arms with these comrades because we see in each of them something of our own human frailty. Our sometimes-scattered minds and hollow hearts. Our fearful, roaring selves.
Arm in arm we skip along the yellow brick road. Singing, We’re Off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The all-wise Wizard who’ll make us whole. Who’ll show us the way home. Who’ll make all our dreams come true.
It’s seductive, this daydream. It comes to us from the land of infinite possibility, and it carries in its heart a secret truth, the way an acorn carries the truth of the oak tree.
But, when we get to the Emerald City, all is not sweetness and light. Flying monkeys descend from the sky, bent on destroying us. We are chased by dangerous storm troopers in clanking armor, who get their orders from the Wicked Witch of the East. Her feral green face and her angry voice are awfully familiar . . . like someone we once knew.
We are saved by the love and loyalty of our little dog, Toto.
Eventually, we meet the Wizard in his inner chamber. Only to discover he’s as lost as we are. He’s a myth of his own making; he has no power to save us.
That’s when the miracle happens. The story we’ve lived through in our imaginations shapes us. The qualities we so desperately longed for come out of their hiding places in our minds and hearts.
We find the courage to leave the safety of that which is known and familiar, but too small to contain us; the intelligence to meet challenges along the way; the heart to embrace all we encounter as part of ourselves.
And in finding these qualities through the magic of story, we find our way home.
Home to our innermost selves. Home to the soul that holds the infinite possibilities of our lives, like the acorn holds the story of the oak tree. That waits patiently for us to birth our stories with love, courage, intelligence and action.
I’d love to hear how you envision and create your future, and the future of your business. Ideas? Insights? Questions? Please share them in Comments.