A Lion’s Heart

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Even before birth, I was pre-destined as follower of the Wizard of Oz.  Oh how I loved Dorothy.  I’d wear my little ruby slippers and people would ask me, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

“I’m not a witch at all, I’m Shawnee Marie, from Kelso,” I replied.

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But, only second to my love for Dorothy, was my love for the Tin Man.  I am not sure what it was about him.  Perhaps I adored his kind smile, or his pure pursuit of love.  Whatever the reason, he left an imprint on my heart.  In fact, I still have my Tin Man mug and his action figure tucked away in my keepsakes box in the basement.

This past year, however, I find myself relating to the Cowardly Lion.  I’ve contemplated what life must have been like for Lion before Dorothy’s gang came skipping and jitterbugging, unannounced, through his forest.

Lion, alone in his cave, sits.  He’s slumped over in his chair, his head propped up with his arm, which is supported by the kitchen table.  His other hand, gripping a bottle of Emerald City’s finest brew, rests on his knee.  On the table is a half eaten steak, which he bought from the local butcher as he is too cowardly to hunt on his own and claim his right as King of the Forest.

He can’t take another bite of his dinner – can’t even look at it with his big droopy eyes.  Each swallow is a tug on his mane, reminding him of his failure, his cowardice, his loneliness.  That’s when he hears it, a faint, “woof woof.”  He runs into the forest, tries to steal the dog.

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Then Dorothy slaps him, hard.  She confronts him and tells the truth he’s been denying.

He is in fact, a coward.

But Dorothy, raised right by her Aunt Em and Uncle Henery, looks past Lion’s bloodshot eyes and spinelessness, and sees Lion does possess an ounce of courage.  He just needs to see the Wizard like the rest of them.

As this year comes close to an end, I realize like Lion, I too have some courage.  I just had to go to Oz and find it.

Studying to be a group exercise teacher and working towards admittance into a yoga school is one of the scariest things I have ever done.  My fears of not being accepted into the fitness world because of looks are real and scary – real scary.

But if Lion has taught me anything, it’s that courage doesn’t mean not being afraid, it means looking fear in his hideous face and not backing down.  I’m not backing down.

Questions:  Are you facing a situation in which you need to go to Oz to get some courage?  What character was your childhood favorite?  Which one do you identify with now?

–Shawnee, The Ex-Perfectionist

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10 Responses to A Lion’s Heart

  1. peacebeme says:

    I love the wizard of Oz too, and I agree that you can identify with a different character at so many times of your life.

    Like you, I need courage right now to believe in myself that I can get into pharmacy school. I am studying for the entrance exam and some days I am confident but lately I have just felt like giving up because I want it so badly but I’m afraid to fail. We just have to try or we WILL fail. I know deep down that I will regret it more if I never try, even though that may preserve my pride.

  2. I love that movie. When I was younger I wanted to be dorothy, but now I feel I am a different character depending on what is happening in my life!

  3. I lacked some major courage the past few weeks… I couldn’t make a decision either way about moving for a job. So instead of leaning either way (I’d be leaving something behind in both cases), I straight up didn’t do anything. That’s no way to live…. now I’ll always have regret! Anyways, I’m glad to hear you turned things around 🙂 I’m hoping that happens to me soon!

  4. Simply Life says:

    gosh I haven’t thought about that movie in so long -great post!

  5. Love this post! I can’t even put into words how much I admire you for facing this fear. So true that courage isn’t about not feeling scared; it’s about feeling scared and doing it anyway. I think you’re going to be an awesome exercise and yoga teacher, and I hope to take a class from you one day! 🙂

  6. Scarecrow was definitely my favourite, he just seemed like a nice guy. 😉 the Cowardly Lion was probably my least fave (because of the stuttering. ugh…) although i know i can relate to him more than i’d like to. thanks for sharing, you’re going to be an AWESOME fitness and yoga instructor, i just know it! 🙂

  7. Her says:

    Such a good movie; great thoughts!

  8. I need a double dose of courage. I’m working on taking my company in a new direction and it’s scary… and exciting!

  9. specialkphd says:

    This is such a great post…because I think courage is SITTING with fear, not running away from it, not doing anything about it…just recognizing it, honoring it, and not taking fear as a sign that you are week. Thank you for this post. You are stronger than you know.

  10. Jimbo says:

    Wow, that’s a really clever way of tnihking about it!

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