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    Lessons from the Land of Oz (part 1)

    by Christie Browning

    There's something magical about the movie The Wizard of Oz. Yes, it's a classic and there are some trivia facts about the movie that make it even more interesting, such as:

    1. The cowardly lion’s costume was made of a real lion skin.
    2. The snow in the poppy scene was made of asbestos.
    3. The Tin Man’s oil was actually chocolate syrup.
    4. The horses in the Emerald City were colored with Jell-O, which they kept trying to lick off.
    5. “Over the Rainbow” was almost cut from the film for length reasons.
    6. The white in Dorothy’s dress was actually pale pink because it showed up better as white in Technicolor.
    7. Producers ended up cutting many of the Wicked Witch’s scenes because they deemed them too scary for children.
    8. The fire that blazes out from Dorothy’s shoes when the Witch tries to touch them was actually apple juice spraying out of them, sped up on film.
    9. The yellow brick road originally showed up green in Technicolor, so it had to be repainted.
    10. A pair of real ruby slippers was made in 1989 to commemorate the film’s 50th anniversary. They’re reportedly worth around $3 million.

    What I love most about The Wizard of Oz are the life lessons we can take away from its main characters. Take the scarecrow for instance. When Dorothy finds Scarecrow he is hanging in a field. Blackbirds are buzzing about, not worried about him in the slightest. When Dorothy suspects that the scarecrow is alive, he convinces her to help him off the pole. As she does, Scarecrow leaps out at her scaring Dorothy as she falls to the ground. Scarecrow immediately asks her "Did I scare you?" When Dorothy says "no," Scarecrow is very disappointed. He says:

    "Birds come from all around to eat in my field and pick at my straw. Oh, I am nothing but failure because I don't have a brain." 

    Dorothy tells Scarecrow that he would be something of an amazement if he was a scarecrow in Kansas. None of the scarecrows Dorothy knew could sing, dance or talk! But Scarecrow is fixated on the fact that he can't scare a bird out of the field... he deems himself as a "failure." 

    Scarecrow lessons:

    • A scarecrow like all the rest -- Scarecrow, although he could sing, dance and talk, tried to be a scarecrow just like all the other scarecrows he knew. He tried to do his job by hanging on a pole, staring blankly ahead. He looked just like all the other scarecrows, but he wasn't ANYTHING like them! He could sing, dance and talk! But when Scarecrow tried to mimic all the other scarecrows, he didn't succeed. He had to work a lot harder to do the job like everyone else instead of just being himself. Because of this, he felt feelings of inadequacy, failure and had an identity crisis. 

    When you go against what is your true self, you can share the same feelings as Scarecrow. You can feel like a failure because you see others succeeding and you aren't able to get ahead in the same way. But the reality is... you weren't meant to do, be and act like those around you. You were created to be uniquely YOU! Can you imagine if Scarecrow showed up to the field singing and dancing? Sure he would have gone about scaring off the crows in a completely different way, but he would also have been happier, more fulfilled and more successful -- all because he would have tapped into the natural abilities and talents HE had. Forget all the other scarecrows hanging in the fields around you. Get out there and be the type of scarecrow you were meant to be! When we try to force ourselves into a mold that isn't fit for us, we can feel emotionally choked out, creatively depleted and mentally strained and struggling. One of my favorite sayings is "If two are alike, one is not necessary." That means if you are the same as someone else, what's the point? Uniqueness is greatness! The world needs the true you to shine!

    Christie recently appeared at Fort Wayne Women, an event for all women, where she shared an inspiring message of authenticity and worth based on The Wizard of Oz

    •  Brains gone missing -- All Scarecrow wanted was a brain. He blamed his failure to scare off crows to the brains he was missing. Remember the song, "If I only had a brain?" When you go back to the movie, you'll notice that it is Scarecrow that is the group's problem-solver. He comes up with the plan to sneak into the castle and he figures out that TinMan is in need of oil. He, in fact, DOES have a brain. When you stop and think about it, Scarecrow was highly intelligent, when compared to other scarecrows. Again, his ability to think, sing and dance prove that he does have brains. But Scarecrow had no faith in the brains he had.

    Because Scarecrow had bought into the lie that he was indeed missing out on brains, he missed the very evidence that pointed to what he DID have... a lot of smarts! What he was searching for all along was right under his hat, but he didn't see it because he focused on what he thought he lacked. You and I can fall into this same trap. It's easy to look at women around us and see all that we lack. We measure and compare our abilities to others and use Instagram and Facebook as the truth tellers for the lives others live. The fact is, those filtered images and edited posts are not real life. You DO have what it takes to live the life you want. You DO have all the strength, the smarts, the know-how to make different choices, to turn things around, to change the way you think about your self and your life. Don't buy into the lie that just because you don't have the same thing as someone else, that you lack what you need altogether. Scarecrow missed all the signs that pointed to the thinker he really was. It was fear wrapped in lies and insecurity that kept him in a diminished state. Turn those lies into truth by creating a list of attributes, skills, talents, and abilities that are yours! Make a list...for real, write it down. When you start to see someone running ahead on their path, only to leave you feeling like you're left in the dust, refer to this list and celebrate your strengths. 

    Do you validate? -- At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her gang meet the Wizard, although he is just an ordinary man. But as the movie concludes, the "Wizard" gives Scarecrow a diploma that validates the smarts Scarecrow already has. I love this scene! Scarecrow holds the diploma and immediately spouts off some smarty pants stuff. There's no physical change to the Scarecrow. He didn't undergo some experimental surgery that put brains into his head. No, the only thing different is that someone believed in him and validated his abilities. It's important to put yourself in the middle of people who can support you, cheer you on and give you the push you need. As women, we need to have the support of others. We need to have a group of gals we can lean on that will let us talk things out, who will give us honest feedback and tell us if we are about to go off the deep end. This is NOT done on your Facebook page where you have 600 online acquaintances. This is done with a small, selective, tight-knit group of gals who are trusted with your heart and well-being. Don't get greedy.... be choosy! These real women will carry you, validate you and cheer you on when you need it most... and you'll be able to return the favor. 

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