By Peter Guzzardi
The film The Wizard of Oz just celebrated its 80th anniversary in August. It’s the most-watched film of all time – and not just because of the phenomenal writing, acting, singing, dancing, set design, and costuming. As we see Dorothy go on a hero’s journey, we learn a lot by watching her travel the Yellow Brick Road, even if we don’t realize it.
I dissected this film frame by frame over several years and discovered lots of rewarding insights, but my shovel hit pay dirt when I came across nine larger chunks of wisdom, which I call Emeralds. When you run through the nine Emeralds in your mind in the same order that Dorothy did, all of a sudden whatever issue you’re facing shrinks. And you expand. You feel more competent, capable, and at ease. It’s an incredible effect. The wisdom isn’t new, you’ve probably heard “listen to your longing” and “choose compassion” before, but this is a fresh way of presenting it, and each Emerald’s correlation to an iconic scene in the film makes this nine-step process easy to remember.
As I’ve traveled from my Chapel Hill home and crisscrossed the country promoting my book, Emeralds of Oz: Life Lessons from Over the Rainbow, which HarperCollins published in May, I’ve experienced the joy of sharing this wisdom with others and seeing their reactions. One man told me he reads a passage from the book every night to his wife, who is gravely ill with cancer. A 13-year-old girl revealed that she suffers from anxiety and the Emeralds have given her the courage to face her fears. A 71-year-old friend emailed me to say: “Lately my sense of limitations have been outweighing my sense of the possible. Your book inspired me to think that I might discover some wonders of my own.”
The book is timely in ways I never anticipated when I started work on it five years ago. When authoritarian leaders are springing up around the world, Emeralds of Oz invites us not to be distracted by their misleading sounds and optics, but to pull back the curtain on the truth. When consumerism pulls us into an endless pursuit of more, it’s life-changing to consider that we already possess what we long for most. When fear seems to be gaining the upper hand, it’s reassuring to watch it dissolve as we become aware of just how much power we possess.
I hope you will join me for an Emeralds of Oz workshop at Duke Integrative Medicine on Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. In our 90 minutes together, we’ll go over the nine Emeralds, utilize the Emeralds worksheet I have created to reflect on and bring clarity to a personal issue or challenge, and participate in a group discussion in order to share insights and breakthroughs. The workshop fee includes a signed copy my book.
I encourage you to activate the wisdom from this beloved film to improve your life and your outlook!
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