Most of us know the scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy clicks her ruby slippers together three times and says with all of her heart, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Then she is magically transported back to the Kansas farmhouse she has so desperately missed.
Upon her arrival back home safe and sound, she immediately begins to share her adventures with the people who love her the most; they respond with smiles and head nods, humoring her.
But no one could really understand, because no one else had been there.
Try as she might, Dorothy would never be able to explain the color, beauty, strange creatures, friendship, mind-numbing fear, and the journey to her own power she experienced in Oz.
TRANSITIONS ARE HARD...
Even the transitions we have worked toward and longed for come with struggle. Even moving from a terrifying place in life to a safe place can bring with it a sense of loss, mourning, missing the way life was before. There can be many reasons for this struggle. They can be layered on top of each other, creating a quilt of thoughts and emotions that keeps us "stuck" in a state of missing Oz, even though we fought with every ounce of our being to be in Kansas.
1. We feel guilty about missing Oz.
Guilt, shame, "should"s and "ought"s are powerful weapons we use against ourselves. We keep ourselves stuck in a state of depression, fear, or unhealthy living NOT necessarily because we miss Oz, but because we feel guilty for missing Oz. Maybe the guilt comes from the pain other people endured during our trip to Oz. Maybe from responsibilities we neglected. Regardless of the reason, the guilt and shame constantly whispers messages in our ears about what terrible people we are to miss Oz.
2. We aren't honest about what our trip to Oz was really like.
This can go two ways. Sometimes we romanticize our experience - we remember the colors brighter than they actually were, the friendships closer than they actually were; play down the bone-crushing fear that often threatened our very lives; play up the "good."
We completely shut down our memories of Oz. We force ourselves not to see anything good in our experience. We remember everything as a terrible experience, because acknowledging that there was some good is too scary.
3. We pretend it was all a dream
This takes a lot of determination. If we are uncomfortable enough, we can completely lock our experiences and feelings in a box that we hide so far away we allow ourselves to forget it was ever real. Maybe we laugh it off around others. Maybe we "just don't think about it." But somewhere, deep down, in that hidden place where we don't allow anyone else to see, we know that Oz was real.
4. We didn't start out in Kansas, so we don't trust the safety and security Kansas can bring.
Dorothy started her journey in Kansas. She chose to leave, traveled to Oz, and used every ounce of her self-will to get back to Kansas. However ... some of us don't start in Kansas. We aren't quite ready to trust that Kansas is a "better place". We haven't ever experienced the slow, steady, safe and secure pace of Kansas. Part of us still wonders if the constant adrenaline rush of Oz is "normal" or "better than" the peace and tranquility of day-to-day life in Kansas.
SO, MAYBE I DO MISS OZ. WHAT NOW?
Acknowledge it. Embrace it! Oz is part of our journey; your unique story; your special gift to give the world. Does this mean that everything about Oz is great? That your visit to Oz didn't negatively impact your life or those around you? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
What it does mean is that you can acknowledge all of the parts of you - even the parts that come from your visit to Oz. Acknowledge the amazing experiences, and the terrible ones. Be honest about the ways Oz impacted you and people around you. Be honest about the ways Oz adds to your life, and takes away from it.
Maybe you write a thank-you note to someone you knew in Oz - just for yourself - and send it off in a balloon. Maybe you write or draw about your experiences in Oz, what you miss, what you long for, and burn it. Find some way to honor that time in your life and what it brings to you. Then let it go.
The key to moving forward is honesty with yourself, free from judgment, acknowledging both the good and the bad. Take what you can from the experience, add it into the constantly growing being you are, and move forward.
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