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Archive for December, 2012

Hope

 

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein

Glinda pulled out all the stops and gave you a slap upside your head in her Christmas message. I have no intention of being so blunt. Rather I will choose words that fill my heart in the “hope” of filling you with hope as we prepare to take the first step on the Yellow Brick Road in 2013.

My wish for the new year is for all of you to be filled with hope despite the fact that the air around us is heavy with despair. While the bleak of heart and dark of soul would like us to believe that hope is only for the foolish, I would say that hope is what the world needs, because without hope we will wander aimlessly on the yellow brick road following one dead-end road after another.

How often do we make a toast to the New Year with hearts filled with hope only to find that before the first week of the new year is over we are hope-less and we spend the rest of the year in a daze. Hope is the difference between mere existence and living a life that overflows with joy. Hope is another way of believing in the power we all have to make a difference. Hope is…is. It is the “is” of living. It is bringing tomorrow to life today.

But hope is not something that will empower us if we just give it lip service. Hope is not a shiny bubble. Hope is a dirty pebble that we have to scrub clean in order for it to shine. And if we don’t scrub the pebble, hope has no chance at all.

Think about how many pebbles you have been given at the start of a new year. How many of them did you just toss aside because having hope was just too much work?

Did you know that it was hope that helped me as I walked along the Yellow Brick Road? I had faith in my congenial companions. But it was the hope that I kept alive in my heart that made all the difference in my journey. I had reason a plenty to despair. There were times when a little voice inside me told me to give up. I didn’t listen to that little voice. Instead I kept hope alive knowing that every step I took with confidence was a literal step in the right direction.

Despair is a concrete life-preserver. If you cling to it you will drown in sorrow. Hope is a hot air balloon. It will lift you and carry you over a sea of trouble.

My wish for you in 2013 is a hot air balloon filled with hope.

Dorothy Gale
#hopespringseternal

hope stone

 

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ChristmasOz

Greetings from Oz,

Just when I thought you people were getting your act together, you only provide me with evidence to the contrary. Space doesn’t allow me to travel the globe and comment on some of the actions that took place this past year, so let me limit my discussion to the good people of the United States.

What the hell is wrong there? You’re about to drop off a fiscal cliff all because the elected munchkins who serve in Washington DC lack the brains of a cricket, have a heart smaller by far than that to be found in the Grinch, and make the cowardly lion look like Braveheart on steroids. I would fire the whole bunch of them and send them packing. None of these embarrassing excuses for human beings deserve a Merry Christmas. I wouldn’t even put coal in their stocking. I would visit each and every one of them and say “Listen ass hole, what’s up with you? Did you suffer serious brain damage when you were elected? And don’t point the finger and blame it on the other guy across the aisle. All I can wish for you for the New Year is either impeachment or the loss of your seat in the next election.”

And what’s up with this penchant for violence you have? Okay, you have an amendment to your Constitution that allows for the ownership of guns. It doesn’t matter that the men who included that note were living at a different time, and even though I don’t think it was necessary to include such an amendment, I don’t think gun ownership should have been put on the naughty list. But get your head out of your ass! There is no reason why anyone should own an assault weapon!  Even you far right wingers who believe that the government controls every move you make and are ready to take away your freedom need to get a life. The government already controls your life because you let them. If you expect to be coddled from cradle to grave and expect hand outs, you have to realize you have to give some of your freedom away.

What you need to do is take responsibility for your own life. Don’t expect anything from anybody. If you’re poor, don’t blame the rich. And if you’re rich it’s time some of you realize that with privilege comes some obligations…and how you figure out what those obligations are is up to you.

Parents. Raise your children to be responsible for their actions. Don’t tolerate misbehavior. And God, stop rewarding bad behavior.

Children. You have your whole life in front of you. The adults have pretty much screwed up the world you live in. Now it’s your turn to make a difference. Don’t make the same mistakes your parents have made. If you make mistakes, and I’m certain you will, make different mistakes…and learn from them quickly so you can right any wrongs you’ve committed.  And even though your life may not be perfect, remember this, life is a gift. It is a great blessing. It doesn’t matter what church you go to or even if you go to church. What matters is that you don’t squander a minute of the precious time you have on earth.

The 20 dear children and six brave adults from Sandy Hook Elementary looked down the yellow brick road and saw the great Emerald City in the distance. The children’s lives were cut short. And that has caused me great pain because children are the very stars in the sky, and when we lose even a single child, the heavens grow a little dimmer.

So, you good people of the United States, I do want to wish you a Merry Christmas, but I also want you to believe that each and every one of you has the power to make a positive difference in the world. You actions might not get your name in the news. In fact, your actions might seem to go unnoticed, but trust me, every good deed you do, no matter how small, does bring another star to glow brightly in the heavens.

Love one another.

Glinda
The Good Witch

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Image

 

“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

 “I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”  Anne Frank

Evil was no stranger to Oz. And obviously evil is no stranger to us on the other side of the rainbow. But to say it was evil…and evil alone that was the cause of the tragedy that visited us in Newtown, CT (Friday, Dec. 14, 2012) is too easy. It’s too easy because none of us are evil. None of us would ever be capable of committing such a heinous act against innocent children.

Rather than focus on evil, I would rather say something about how goodness and innocence are in a frozen state. Despite the fact that we “are all connected” by way of cell phones, email, tweets and facebook posts, we have become emotionally frozen people.

Messages are sent in milliseconds. Fame is earned in an instant when a youtube post goes viral. What’s precious and dear at 10 a.m. is about as relevant as an item on ebay at 11:30 a.m.

We are so desperate to fill our lives with fleeting experiences that we’ve lost sight of what is meant to last forever.

And then tragedy strikes and we are shocked to the core and left wondering why could this happen.

Imagine we start off 2013 with two glass jars and at the end of the day we reflect on our day and we deposit a penny for every good thing we remember happening to us, and two pennies for each good thing we are responsible for. And in the other jar we put a penny in for the not-so-good things that happened in the day.

It would be interesting to compare the two jars at the end of the year.

I suggest that we take the names of the innocent young children and the dedicated educators and tape it to the jar we could call joy. That way every penny we put in the jar would have a name.

The Children

Charlotte Bacon
Daniel Barden
Olivia Engel
Josephine Gay
Ana M. MarquezGreene
Dylan Hockley
Madeleine F. Hsu
Catherine V. Hubbard
Chase Kowalski
Jesse Lewis
James Mattioli
Grace McDonnell
Emilie Parker
Jack Pinto
Noah Pozner
Caroline Previdi
Jessica Rekos
Avielle Richman
Benjamin Wheeler
Allison N. Wyatt

The adults

Rachel Davino
Dawn Hochsprung
Anne Marie Murphy
Lauren Rousseau
Mary Sherlach
Victoria Soto

Remember: There is a rainbow.

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Tin Man head shot

 

While there is no scientific proof that love originates in the heart, there is significant evidence provided by poets, composers, and artists to the contrary. When it comes to my diet I tend to follow my doctor’s orders, but when it comes to meaningful matters of the heart, I decidedly side with the artists.

Love, however, has become a commodity that has been cheapened by people who throw the word around like butchers sling sides of beef in the meat-packing district.

My source for the meaning of love can be found in the words of the Little Prince who said: “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Because I played the part of the Tin Man in a college production of the Wizard of Oz I freely admit that I am prejudiced when I say that this character is the perfect example of what it means when we say love is the sole resident of the heart.

At the risk of offending people who get their Oz meaning from the movie, the great and powerful producers of the classic movie really screwed up when it came to bringing the Tin Man to life on the big screen.

The Tin Man was not created by a tin smith who forgot to put in a heart. In truth, and the truth comes from the Book of Baum, i.e. The Wizard of Oz who tells a totally different story as to why the Tin Man didn’t have a heart. And what’s interesting to note is that of the three travelers to Oz, the Tin Man was the only one who was actually “human.”

The Tin Man started out as a woodsman who happened to be in love with a beautiful Munchkin girl (not to be confused with a product made by Dunkin’ Donut). Unfortunately the Munchkin girl’s mother did not approve of the simple woodsman so she sought the help of the Wicked Witch of the East who ruled over Munchkin land.

The Wicked Witch put a curse on the woodsman’s ax and in a series of gruesome acts befitting traditional fairy tales, the ax slipped, first removing a leg to be replaced by a leg of tin, followed by another leg which was mended by some tin-kering, and so on until a final blow of the ax split the woodsman’s torso. This meant the tinsmith had to fashion a new tin torso. In doing so, the tinsmith forgot to put in a heart.

Although he was perfectly new, the fact that in his re-creation he was heart-less, rendered the Tin Man incapable of showing or receiving love.

So, what does this mean? Take a look at the people around you. While they might not be made of tin, they might as well be because most of them are not capable of loving or being loved. Somehow during the course of life the ax slips and does its damage. We are repaired, but over time when we are made a-new we are made without a heart.

Today people go around as if they did have a heart, but they don’t. They are an empty can, not only heartless but soul-less, too.

In Oz the Tin Man was willing to go on chopping down trees despite the fact that every swing he took did him bodily harm.

In life every time we attempt to love we run the risk of being hurt. But it is in the act of loving that we become fully human.

Just like the rabbit in the Velveteen Rabbit, we only become real when we have sacrificed for others. We have to be more like the tree in the Giving Tree.

In the end the Tin Man proved that while we use the heart as the symbolic place where love resides, love lives fully in those who daily are willing to love.

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