Farther down the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy and the Scarecrow come upon something shiny positioned between the trees that stops them in their tracks. Upon further investigation they find a man made entirely of tin who stand perfectly motionless. Dorothy hears him make some sounds.
“Did you groan?” she asks.
“Yes,” answers the Tin Man, “I did. I’ve been groaning for more than a year, and no one has ever heard me before or come to help me.”
“What can I do for you?” she inquires softly.
“Get an oil can and oil my joints!”
Scarecrow and Dorothy find the oil can and methodically begin to oil all the places the Tin Man bends and moves. Within a few minutes he is like new again. He asks them were they are going and when they tell him, he wants to know if the Wizard of Oz can give him a heart.
Tin Man says, “The greatest loss I have ever known was the loss of my heart. While I was in love I was the happiest man on earth; but no one can love who has not a heart, so I am resolved to ask Oz to give me one.”
Tin Man is right. To love another is one of the greatest experiences in life and to be loved in return is a miracle to be cherished. Love is essential to life. Love is life. Love shines as the subject of poets, the music of composers, and the lyrics of song writers. Love transforms ordinary life into an extraordinary experience.
Like the Tin Man says, love asks that we open our hearts again and again. It asks that we let others off the hook, forgive, and let go of everything that disturbs our inner peace. Love invites us to be more accepting and caring toward ourselves and others, to do more of the things and say more of the words that bring us closer together. Love thrives on feelings of gratitude and is enhanced when we do the uplifting things that make us feel more alive.
Love is the great healer. Love is transformative. Love is why we are here. To love and be loved is the greatest wisdom. No matter how you feel about love and sharing your life with another, the only thing that holds us back from taking the risk again is fear. Fear creates obstacle after obstacle, leads to judgments and criticism and prevents us from deeply and satisfyingly loving and being loved.
The Tin Man’s story is a wonderful tale of having been in love and wanting to be in love again. There is no blame. There is no guilt. There is no anger. Because Dorothy hears his cry for help and extends her hand, the Tin Man’s hope for loving and being loved is reawakened and his imagination is revitalized. The truth sets him free.
Like the Tin Man, open your heart again and again; for to love and be loved is life’s most gratifying gift and greatest joy.
Revisiting the past is a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens over and over again in the course of a single day. Simple conversations about what we did or where we went immediately take us back in time. Our life is filled with symbols from the past and these symbols stir up memories. A painting, a film, a photograph, a wine glass, a quilt, a special book, a street, a scent, or simply listening to the lyrics and melody of a song can immediately transport you back in time. Those of you who have recently seen the film Jersey Boys know what I mean.
When we look at photographs, the visual image automatically takes us back in time. A single photograph can have hundreds of words associated with it, marvelous stories, and stimulate dozens of memories. When we think about things we have done, places we have traveled to, relationships we have had, or jobs we have held, we are on a sojourn in time. The imagery and related feelings can seem so real, it is like we are there again in present time.
Traveling back in time to memories can be an exhilarating experience or miserable journey, depending upon what we are thinking about. We can recall and entertain images and memories that make us sad and depressed and we can entertain images and memories that make us laugh and feel good. Recalling memories over and over that serve no positive or constructive purpose can severely narrow future possibilities for fun and enjoyment. If the stories we tell are typically dark and make us feel sad and lonely, then it will behoove us to change the dialogue. What we typically think about is likely to manifest and so it is important to realize the transforming power of our thoughts and words.
If in our time travels we primarily think back to all the things that didn’t work out as we had hoped: separations, losses, disappointments, mistakes, hurts, injustices, resentments and the like, then we are using the amazing power of the mind and imagination in very limited and perhaps unhealthy ways. But if we instead think about all the people and situations that have brought us the gift and miracle of love, then these memories will dramatically alter our consciousness.
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Sometimes our light goes out but is propelled again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.”
Who are the people that have rekindled your inner light? Perhaps it is a new friend, a lover, life partner, or character in a novel or film that brought a smile to your face. Maybe it’s the friend who listened to you when you were in the doldrums and gave you the feedback that brought clarity. Think about Schweitzer’s quote and let those wonderful memories fill your mind and open your heart. And say, thanks!
The natural language of the unconscious is metaphorical and the imagery inherent in metaphor visits you in your dreams night after night. Dreaming of driving a car faster and faster might be a message from your wiser self, warning you about your high blood pressure, manic behavior, or simply telling you to slow down and to pay attention. Being a passenger in the car while someone else drives might indicate your need to take control over the direction of your own life or to stop letting others tell you what to do. What the dream ultimately means is really up to you. Look upon metaphor as simply an inner figurative and symbolic language that we all have inside of us that inspires us to better understand who we are, what we want, and where we want to go.
Years ago when I was a trainer in communication skills and stress management in the corporate world, one of the stressed-out managers in the workshop told us of a dream he had wherein he was playing with the Disney characters, one of them being Goofy. He assessed the dream at the workshop and told us that the dream was telling him that he needed to lighten up, have some fun, and to show his goofy side once in a while instead of always being focused on the business at hand.
In order to better understand the metaphorical language and possible meanings of a dream, it is a good idea and a fun exercise to play with the imagery. Write down the basics of the dream and all the images that you remember including how you felt during the dream. Discuss it with a friend or just analyze the words and imagery yourself and what they could mean within the context of your current life and future aspirations. The best way of doing this is to put the main dream imagery in the middle of a circle and then write down all the words and images that come to you. If ‘water’ is a key image, put the word ‘water’ in the middle of your circle and then jot down all the words that ‘water’ represents for you.
Albert Einstein said that a dream he had as a child sliding down a snowy mountain on a sled at such high speed that the stars were spinning in the opposite direction of their natural orbit, set the tone for his research and development of his theory of relativity. He said that his life work in physics was a meditation on that dream.
Kailin Gow wrote in Bitter Frost, “Dreams, my mother always told me, represent a part of our unconsciousness--the place where we store the true parts of our soul, away from the rest of the world."