My Magic Ruby Slippers are Broken...



Do you like a good story about people stepping into their power? I do! Like many people, I can relate to the journey of Dorothy from the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. I can also see parallels between Dorothy’s story and my own at different stages of my life; the more recent stage being my divorce. Like her, I was living a “normal” life. Then I experienced a trauma that rocked my world. For a time, I found myself living in a space that felt foreign, bizarre and frightening, which overlapped an over abundance of “WTF” moments. I faced some fears. I learned some deep truths about myself. I extended myself beyond my comfortable edges (and had more WTF moments). I eventually felt myself begin to blossom, and then discovered I was uncovering my path to get back home. Like Dorothy being determined to return to her home, Kansas, I was resolved to return to my home…myself.


Enter: “Glenda the Good Witch”


Gratefully, I met my modern-day incarnation of “Glenda, the good witch”. She showed up in the form of my spiritual teacher, Dhyan Unmaniji. Beloved Uji (as we called her) was loving and enchanting. She also had a little sass, a lot of humor, and an abundance of compassionate, “mic-drop” wisdom. She’d share her wisdom and then patiently facilitate us as we stumbled around in the forest. I adored her…and still do!

I can still remember Uji telling my sangha and me back in 2011…“you are all you are ever going to be.” My heart sank; I soooo didn’t want to hear that! I had this sense that I was meant to do things that set my heart on fire. I also wanted to share what I had to offer with others. However, I couldn’t imagine pursuing or sharing my heart’s desires by simply being myself; who was I? I wanted to be someone else. Furthermore, I’d read self-help books, participated in groups, and done what I was told to (worn several kinds of ruby slippers, if you will) and I was left feeling angry and ashamed because my life fell apart anyway. (Stupid, broken ruby slippers!) I was tired and I didn’t trust myself. All I really wanted by that time was for someone smart to just give me a set of simple instructions for how to “fix” myself without my having to feel or do anything uncomfortable. Can you relate? It took me a while to digest the meaning and the truth of Unmaniji’s words. And, gratefully, they are words that give me strength now.


There’s No Place Like Home


What I came to understand from Unmaniji was that I needed to stop thinking that my answers were going to come from “out there”. I could only open the door to knowing myself and standing in my own power if I was willing to do the work of looking inside and uncovering the truth of who I am; both the beauty and the beast of me. And, when I was able to connect with my truth, I could then connect with what was possible. I had to sense, feel, and move through the layers of defenses, misguided beliefs, anger, wounds, and fears to get to my truth. I was resistant for a long time. However, as I began to soften, unwind, and open up to the process, the more comfortable I became with who I was. And as I became more comfortable, the more I was able to expand into a vision of who I could be and how I could show up in my life that truly inspired me. Imagine that! And who knows what all I’m still capable of doing? Life is in constant evolution!

We are often taught or encouraged to believe that something “out there” will show us our way home, like the “magic ruby slippers.” We may try really hard or go through the motions…applying the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ philosophy of living because we are trying to think our way into a solution. But there’s no connection or grounding in that. Then we may end up feeling badly because our best efforts have failed. Give yourself a break and a compassionate hug. Start opening up to you power from the inside. Be gentle with yourself and simply sense and observe. All of your guidance will be revealed if you give yourself space to get quiet, get aware, sense, observe and trust.

Natalie Gentry