So there was our girl Dorothy, all prim and proper Kansas girl, who got tornadoed away from her aunt’s and uncle’s home and kerplunked right in the middle of the weird Land of Oz
Oz is a strange magical land filled with witches and wizards where Dorothy finds a few new companions along the way, all of whom are searching for something. The Lion needs courage, the Tinman needs a heart, and the Scarecrow a brain, while Dorothy needs to find her way back home. So the Good witch of the North sends her to look for the grand wizard of Oz and the possy takes a walk down the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City, hoping the Wizard of Oz can grant them their wishes.
We all at times believe there is someone out there who can grant us what we want, someone who knows better. When we are very young, and pretty much helpless to navigate the world alone, parents and caregivers serve as that omniscient and omnipotent gateway. They always know the answer and grant wishes we have no means of fulfilling by ourselves yet. And then we grow up and are able to do more and more for ourselves, but sometimes get stuck in seeking the wizard to grant out wish, expecting things to come from the outside before we’re ready to put in the work. We expect that love, respect, success, opportunity, answers… need to be given from some external entity. Even Jung spoke of the Good father archetype, the one who knows all the answers, provides, and watches over us. But it has the underscoring opposite meaning you’re a beneficiary of all this goodness only as you stay compliant and do as you’re told, so the other side of the all-knowing is tyrannical.
So failure to grow up is to constantly seek help and protection from a magical wizard that’s going to make it all better and grant you your wish. Growing up is finding out that there is no wizard, that there is only a man behind the curtain pulling levers and trying to figure things out, just as you are. The all-powerful facade is smoke and mirrors, a semblance of power dependant on the point of view it’s viewed from. It’s a hard thing to figure out and truly emotionally understand because even a man behind the curtain will tell you to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” and will direct your gaze at the illusion.
The world is full of curtains and people twiddling the buttons behind them to present an alternate reality. We all do it to an extent. But when the jig is up, it’s liberating. No one knows best and the things we value most are those we yearn for most aka we believe we don’t still have them and speak from a place of lack. Most of these things are immaterial and are not possible to be possessed and for them to be bestowed upon you. They are cultivated and grown. The lion, tinman, and scarecrow didn’t need to be given courage, a heart, and a brain; they just needed the quest to be challenged enough so these traits can come to the forefront.
Do pay attention to the illusionist, know he’s there, but take the quest, journey, experience anyway. You may just find a mousy little man, just as scared, confused, and clueless as you are at the end of the Yellow Brick Road and Emerald City may be an illusion, but at least you will have taken the journey, gotten some new friends and experiences along the way, and discover what you’re made of. You can try, seek, find, slay witches, and click away your kick-ass shoes to get you back home when needed.
Pay attention to that man behind the curtain and create your own magic.