Your Excellent Adventures Start Now!
I watch “The Wizard of Oz” now and again. Magical and wise, it always pulls me under its spell. I feel Dorothy’s yearning to fly over the rainbow, and when she opens the door from her black-and-white house to technicolor Oz, wonder ensues.
That’s the power of adventure. Its call is universal, beckoning us to test our abilities, experience joy and venture into worlds unknown.
So, perhaps, be bold like Dorothy this summer and take some excellent adventures of your own! Big rewards await you!
Technicolor Vision: Awaken to Our Colorful World
Stepping into Oz, Dorothy realizes she’s surrounded by a strange new world. The Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man can talk! The Lollipop Guild serenades her. Although she focuses at first on their “otherness,” she soon embraces these strangers as friends.
Dorothy adapts quickly because she has what Zen Buddhists refer to as “the beginner’s mind.” She lets go of opinions, judgments and expectations and simply looks with amazement at the world around her, accepting what it offers.
For many, the beginner’s mind is illusive, unless we intentionally cultivate it. Almost unconsciously, we search for patterns, apply our expertise and experience, and arrive at conclusions. Our minds work quickly and effectively, while we miss opportunities to be surprised by new possibilities and connections.
Dorothy truly sees the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow in Oz, and is surprised to find they’d been with her in Kansas all along. Her adventure in Oz opened her eyes.
Talk About Talented: Expand Your Talent Toolbox
Sometimes we choose our adventures—and sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of one wondering, “Gee! How did I get here?” Regardless of their origin, adventures sharpen our gifts and resourcefulness.
If we embrace the experiences as Dorothy did, we’ll find we already have what we need for the road ahead. Curiosity, for example, drives so much of SageRiver’s work as we journey with our clients. Connecting with people and ideas helps us toward our collective destination.
Interestingly enough, we often discover talents on our quest that we didn’t know we possessed. The Cowardly Lion didn’t realize he had courage until he helped rescue Dorothy from the Wicked Witch. Like him, we may unlock hidden abilities or strengthen skills we already have as we test ourselves in new situations.
Joy and Treasure: Enrich Your Mind, Heart and Life
Dorothy experiences some terrifying moments, but her trip also looks like a lot of fun. After all, they were singing and dancing their way down the yellow brick road!
The joy Dorothy and her fellow travelers experienced is no accident. The desire for novel experiences is innate. When we encounter new situations and adventures, our brains produce dopamine, which stimulates memory, focus and learning. When we adventure with others, we also feel the effects of two other brain chemicals—oxytocin and serotonin—which increase our sense of belonging and well-being.
Often, our exposure to new cultures, activities, people and landscapes awakens enduring interests. An acquaintance of mine planned a yoga retreat in the Bahamas decades ago. Although she can’t practice yoga anymore, she still enjoys the vegetarian cooking and meditation practices she learned on that trip. She calls the retreat a “port of entry” into a fresh world, where she found treasures she’s enjoyed all her life.
League of Heroes: Become Heroes Together
At the end of the film, the Wizard gives Dorothy and her traveling companions gifts. The Scarecrow gets a brain, the Cowardly Lion his courage and the Tin Man a heart. Of course, they’ve shown they possessed those gifts all along. The Wizard is only validating what is already true.
One of the most important gifts that adventures give us is vulnerability. When you’re in a completely new situation, it’s natural to feel anxious, excited, unprotected, wondrous and more. That vulnerability prompts us to turn to others, share our hopes and fears and learn and grow together. We draw strength from what is best in others, while offering what is best in us in return, allowing us to become heroes together.
Step by Step
Dorothy’s journey through Oz began with her first step down the yellow brick road. If she hadn’t set her feet along the path, she would have missed an adventure that forever changed how she saw herself, her home and her world.
Are you ready to plan a few excellent adventures? Let’s get started!