I'm afraid I'm not a good reporter, if the task is to simply report on the events with unbiased views and personal spins. I'm spinning. With that being said, let us begin.
Kiersten and I had the privilege of attending this past Saturday's "The Sedona World Wisdom Days (SWWD)." Sedona World Wisdom Days is a 3 day festival held in Sedona, AZ where like-minded people come together to discuss and expand their own awareness; creativity, culture, education and wellness. This was the first SWWD ever held and the creator of the event, Jerry Giland, was kind enough to offer Kiersten and I press passes. We were guests of the event.
We chose to use our passes for Saturday's roster of speakers-- specifically to hear, Pat Solomon, the director of the film "Finding Joe" speak on a panel, Dr. Rajov Parti (speak to his near death experience), AND JEAN HOUSTON. I only say her name in all CAPS as Oprah would announce her.
As many of you may know, Kiersten and I have recently been using our Sunday mornings to watch Oprah's network, OWN, and specifically a programing hour called "Super Soul Sundays." Its a fantastic hour of television and one that connects us to a growing mainstream community of spiritually enlightened visionaries, philosophers and, must importantly, doers. Every Sunday, Oprah sits down with one of these types of people in an intimate setting and they talk about their life's work and journey. Some of these people have included Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, and JEAN HOUSTON. Prior to "Super Soul Sunday" I can honestly say that I would have never known who Jean Houston was, but the teacher always comes when the student is ready....no matter what means or vehicle. Thank you Oprah.
If you were like me and just getting to know Jean Houston, let me ask that you take the time and research her a bit, her history, and the mark she is making with her legacy. If what you read resonates with you too, go buy her books, watch any media that features her and most important try to see her give a lecture live. This is an experience for the soul.
This evening's lecture was based on her latest book, The Wizard of Us, Transformational Lessons From Oz. Similar to the work and teachings of Joseph Campbell (which by the way she worked with too), she writes of the Hero's Journey, in this case the heroism's journey of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
To give you an idea of the theme of her most recent book and this lecture, allow me to grab from the book cover.
"More than magic can be found in Oz. Answer the call to transform your self and your world. The beloved story The Wizard of OZ has the power to reveal the Hero's Journey that awaits each of us. Through a mythic lens, discover how Dorothy 's adventure in a magical land inspires our lives today, offering valuable tools to guide us through our challenging times. Where you will learn to thrive rather than merely to survive.
Through interpreting the deeper messages within The Wizard of Oz, visionary leader and teacher Jean Houston leads you along the Hero's Journey that awaits each of us. On this profound adventure of self-discovery and awakened potential, Houston's lessons propel you into greater self-understanding and a connection to the larger world as you explore Oz like never before."
Kiersten and I three rows back from her towering presence on the stage. She has a presence indeed. At 77 years old, her body may be slowing but when she is on the stage and speaking, she commands the room. She certainly had my attention and for 2 hours we never unlocked eyes. Maybe that is why my takeaway from our conversation was so personally profound.
Just two nights earlier, my family sat around the dinner table celebrating the possibility of what was to come. As many of you may know we have been blessed with some recent news on many fronts including both Mod Mom Furniture and The Little Light Project. It was in the moment of this celebration that my son declared at the table that I was no longer the central character of our family's journey, the lead was now being played by Kiersten, their mom. This comment was accompanied by a "BOOYAH!" from our daughter, Grace. Honestly, this struck my ego for a moment, but not because I actually saw myself as the lead character, but because Noah and Grace both seemed to be saying that they saw me as needing to be the center of our family's focus-- the main character.
It wasn't until my time with Jean, that I've come to rationalize my new found family role. As a family, over these last several years, we have been moving from the traditional "black and white" Kansas way of seeing things to our own family's more conscious awakening, the colorful world of Oz.
We have all chosen to take the journey with Kiersten, our "Dorothy." But, Kiersten's journey might not have even been possible (or as much fun I'd like to think) had she not had a little dog accompanying her (Sammy), her Scarecrow(me), a Tin Man (Noah), and a Lion(Grace).
The fact that The Wizard of OZ is even the "mythic lens" through which Jean chooses to focus a book and subsequent lecture is not without personal synchronicity. At the age of 3, my parents and sister love to remind me that I always wanted to pretend to be "Dor-fey" in our pretend make-believe games. But it even goes further, at the age of 14, I auditioned for my first play, The Wizard of Oz, and won the role of the "Scarecrow." I can honestly say that I don't remember feeling bad or slighted having not been given the lead role of "Dorothy" at his stage of my life. I actually saw the Scarecrow's role being the best for me. He was with Dorothy from the very start of her journey into the unknown, though he didn't think he was smart enough to be. She saw him as a partner on her journey (dare I say her favorite?), they leaned a lot on one another. Their bond was so strong that when he was set on fire by the monkeys, Dorothy risked her own life and saved him by throwing a bucket of water at his burning arm. And, as many of you know, it is in Dorothy's actions (stemming from love) that the same water thrown also hit the Wicked Witch, forever melting her fear-based control on the kingdom. It could therefore be argued that had the Scarecrow not been there, a bucket of water would have never been thrown, but that's ego now talking.
Actually, at 14, I would not have seen that at all (it was felt), but I do now. With age, I am coming to understand the Hero's (Heroism's) Journey is not a single person's "top of the marque" path; rather, we are all connected and our true role is to just participate and bring out the best in ourselves and those around us. You may be surprised just where that will take you.
As the "Scarecrow," I'm very proud of the learning, work and journey we are taking as a family. As an LLP Board member, I am also proud of the dialogue we are starting and hopeful for the positive change it will bring to our mainstream society. Should you ever feel like giving up, or you see your contribution as being small to LLP or any other mission in your life, please don't. The role you play and the energy you put forth affects EVERYONE within and outside of this organization. Sometimes we play the "lead" and sometimes we play the "supporting role" and that's okay. The important thing is that we just "play."
Thank you Jean Houston for bringing it all full circle for me.
-- Scott Hathcock, LLP Board Member