Create Courage, Just Like Dorothy


What would be possible if you could create courage? If you could be brave enough to tackle anything, to achieve anything, to be anything you wanted?

It’s not easy, and I’m not going to lie:  Some days, trying to create courage can seem downright impossible. Your world can seem all black and white…dismal. And it can feel like there’s no well from which to draw the strength you need to create that courage.

And yet, once in a while, a storm might come along to change all that.

The wind will start to whip up. You might think you’re going to be forced to be courageous, to save yourself from the storm’s destruction. When really, the storm is blowing in to rescue you. It’s coming to give you everything you’ll need to create courage.

Sound a little nuts?


That means something BIG is about to happen.

The Wizard of Oz:  More than a Movie

Okay, we’ve all seen The Wizard of Oz like twenty times, right? We’ve ceremoniously introduced our kids to it like some kind of rite of passage. And when it’s raining outside, or when we need some comfort and fond memories, we look it up.

The Wizard of Oz is a classic, no doubt. The story line is fantastic; never seems to get old.

But it’s so much more than an endearing story.

I don’t know if L. Frank Baum fully understood what he was onto when he wrote the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but he has illustrated something too precious to ignore. The symbolism is rich, and it gives us all a framework to refer to whenever we feel swept up in a storm that has us spinning out of control.

You see, when you spot a tornado on the horizon, you have three choices. You can:

  1. Run from it.
  2. Allow it to sweep you up, eat you, and make you part of its chaos.
  3. Let it transport you, teach you, transform you…show you what “home” really is.

Dorothy didn’t rage against the storm. She didn’t allow it to destroy her. She managed to keep her head about her when it dropped her in a strange land.

You probably know the rest of the story. But have you absorbed everything it has to teach you? Do you know who the scarecrow, tinman and lion really are? Or the symbolism of the tornado, the witch and the wizard?

I think it’s safe to say you may never look at Oz the same way again.

How Dorothy Created Courage in The Wizard of Oz

If you’ve never studied the Wizard of Oz from a philosophical point of view, you might think that Dorothy’s courage—the way she protected Toto and her friends, the way she stood up to the witch and the wizard—was a random byproduct of the journey she had to endure.

When, in fact, the journey was intended to create that courage.

Let’s think about it:  create-courage

  • Dorothy: That’s you. No surprise there.
  • Scarecrow: It would seem that the scarecrow is looking for a brain, right? Actually, he signifies Dorothy’s thirst for her own personal power and connection. She wants access to her unique thoughts. She wants to create and gain full awareness of who she is.
  • Tinman: Tinman needs a heart, but what he’s really trying to tell us is that Dorothy needs to give love and allow herself to receive it. She needs to embrace stillness and get to the center of why she’s here.
  • Lion: He’s the last of the three to be introduced, and there’s a reason for that. Dorothy will never find courage unless she discovers her mind and heart first.  And to make it through this journey, that’s what Dorothy really needs:  To Create Courage.
  • Witch: The witch represents fear. She must be destroyed if Dorothy is going to experience total fulfillment. Of course, courage is the path to destroying that fear.
  • Wizard: As you may already know, the Wizard of Oz does not exist. He is simply an illustration, a demonstration, to outline all the work Dorothy has to do for herself. The “Oz” that she found isn’t anything outside herself. Everything she ever needed was inside her. Funny how she thought, all along, that she was looking for the Wizard. Turns out it was all about the journey, not about that one fictitious character she was focusing on.

Can you see how the tornado put Dorothy through something that caused her to create courage? So she could go back home, where she belonged?

Can you imagine Dorothy making the journey to Oz, and then coming back to “There’s no place like home” without the help of that tornado?

I can’t imagine it happening any other way, and that’s true of the circumstances you’ll find yourself in. You see, we’ve got to break down in order to break through. And we’ve got to break through in order to break free. Change is never comfortable. It’s more like a tornado than a rainbow. But that tornado is exactly what we need in order to get “over the rainbow.”

So, when you see that storm coming, or when you find yourself swept up in drama or trauma with anxiety, angst, worry…what will you choose to do? Will you go limp and get swept up in that twister, getting clobbered with all the other junk it picked up along the way? Or are you going to keep your head about you and let it spit you out in the exact spot where The Universe needs you to be, so you can find your true home…the home inside you?

It’s your choice.

I would suggest you embrace the tornado. Know that it has arrived for a reason, and if you can use your thinking brain to ask, “What am I supposed to learn?” you will, in fact, find yourself in a more colorful home…the home that’s not a building, or a place, or a town…but inside you.

The storm metaphor is one that we can learn so much from, and I have just begun to scratch the surface of what’s available to us. Next time we meet here, I’m going to have a little quiz for you called Are You Calm in Chaos? I will have targeted questions for you to answer, with a tally-up at the end so you can learn where you are on the path to maintaining an objective viewpoint when the world around you seems like it’s out of control. We’ll talk about the value of standing tall in the eye of the hurricane, and how to find your personal power when you feel helpless.

Until then, work on seeing that tornado, and raising it one…or two. Accept the challenge. Go to the place you’re asked to go, and on your way through it all, create courage.