The Real Wizard of Oz
April 25, 2014, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Human Potential | Tags: ,

“They were friends until they called one good and one wicked.” — The commercial for the hit musical, “Wicked”

I went to see “Wicked” yesterday, the story of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. The story was powerful. It fits wonderfully with the theme of The Wizard of Oz, which is personally meaningful to me. It sheds light on the challenge faced by someone who feels stigmatized (like people with mental illness, for example) and the challenge probably faced by visionaries and revolutionaries, like maybe Martin Luther King Jr. (that’s who I thought of during the play, but my historical knowledge is limited).

I emphasize “story line” because I did not appreciate the musical as a whole. I did not like the loud music and felt it was hard to understand what the characters said when they sang their words. In a way I was glad to see that money did not buy me something really valuable that some people (on the surface) cannot afford, or that I can only afford very rarely (I’m on disability, but I’ve never made a lot of money). I say, “on the surface” because I don’t think money can keep someone from experiences that will really benefit him. I think everyone gets everything he needs to be who he is meant to be, whether it’s a musical or being expelled from school.

Anyway, the story line definitely delivers based on the tagline of the television commercial that made me feel I HAD to see it the last time it was in Richmond. I didn’t give in and buy a ticket until this time. “They were friends until they called one good and one wicked,” the commercial says. That line stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. That was when “Wicked” came to Richmond two years ago. I heard a voice say, “wicked” maybe a month ago. A couple days later I saw the television commercial saying “Wicked” was back.

I feel the message of the musical is important to me and humanity. The story deals with separation not unlike the racial separations in American or world history. Separation is apparently an issue for mankind. I guess the issue gets buried somehow.

I feel like all the pomp and circumstance of going to the musical–people getting dressed up, the expensive tickets, people taking their kids to help them progress along the lines that society dictates–can mask the underdog’s tale underneath it all that seems to clash with the pomp. Why else would the musical be so popular, but the message seem so unpopular in everyday life? I assumed yesterday that the musical must be popular for the pomp–the big deal made over a musical–because people in general seem so unaffected by the revolutionary tone of it and other art, including children’s stories. As I write this I see another reason the message seems missed by the average person: The message speaks to something deep within, a thing that gets overlooked when people get wrapped up in  the ways of the world, such as being as rich or good looking or successful as the next person.

It’s hard for me to consistently see that society (or “the crowd”) IS “The Wizard of Oz” and has no power, no brain, heart or courage to offer because those things can only be discovered within. Despite children’s stories like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Engine That Could” and The Neverending Story, I always thought of myself as the ugly duckling with no happy ending compared to other kids. Still today I think of myself as a mentally ill person, or a weird person, or a friendless person and on and on. If I feel defined by those labels society offers, how can I believe in myself enough to not get wrapped up in the societal comparisons and expectations? I hope to realize one day, as Tin Man, Scarecrow, etc. did, that I already have everything I need. Society and popular opinion are only as reliable as I think they are.

“Wicked” is based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of The West by Gregory Macguire. I plan to read it one day. (Other books by Macguire may also contribute to the musical, I’m not sure.)


Maybe Why They Say ‘RIP’
April 13, 2014, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Human Potential

I need to be cleaning the bedroom to make room to do yoga in it right now, but this will maybe clear my head, and I haven’t done that in a while.

I wanted to write a bit about this guy I went to college with. I met him the first day I went (with my twin sister) to register for classes, get a student I.D. and whatnot. It seems so special now when I look back. Classy comes to mind when I think of the first time I met this person and his dad. For some reason, meeting this short (for a guy), handsome, reddish-brown-skinned college freshman was a highlight, the only thing I remember about that day.

Meeting this guy and his dad made the college experience I was about to have seem like a gift I didn’t feel I deserved. North Carolina Central University was the only school I’d applied to because it was close to home and I thought it’d be easier to get into than other schools, like UNC-Chappel Hill. Claude (and his dad) were a sign of an unexpected adventure to come, a college experience that would open me to people I didn’t think I’d never meet, talented, cool and smooth people from big cities. That’s how I thought of Claude that day. Even his name seemed artsy, classy. His dad seemed cool, too, comfortable in an education setting in a way I didn’t think of my working class parents as being.

I went on Facebook this morning and found out Claude died Friday.

I feel like I’m in a weird position to care since I have been like an outsider all my life, including in college. I have been here in this world all my life (34 years), but it seems like I’ve never really been here, which I imagine can be a common feeling, even for people who have a more noticeable presence, like Claude.

Even though in college, like in my whole life, I was passive and friendless, the people around me were still important to me. I looked up to and had a crush on Claude on and off, like probably a lot of girls did. He was blunt, one of those rare people who said stuff you aren’t “supposed” to say, and kind of cocky (something I’ve always liked in others), but he just seemed smooth (the way he dressed, seemingly difficult to affect).

If I died today, I’d want the people who might otherwise be sad to feel I was with them still. That’s how I feel about Claude right now. Even though it seems I’d be unimportant to Claude, I feel like the opposite is true. That doesn’t make me sad, but it makes me want to cry. It makes me feel like there is more to life than these bodies and personalities I see as “us all.”

I feel a sense of peace. I imagine that’s what this person I called “Claude” feels now, too. It’s like he is with me and that none of the things that would’ve seemed to distance us from each other exist. For all of this I feel blessed, like I felt that day I met him.

Why the unhappiness?
April 13, 2014, 11:07 am
Filed under: Human Potential


There’s ebb and a flow to life, but underneath it all, there’s mystery, and joy, and happiness. There’s something that wants you to be happy. Are you listening? Are you receiving the message? Or are you distracted by the monotonous ongoings and worries of life?

When nature tries to speak to you in the form of a cloud passing through the sky or a tree blowing in the wind, are you paying attention? Or are you lost in the world of your mind?

Are you happy? Do you take life too seriously? Or do you laugh easily?

Everything can come together if you allow it to. Or you can fight it until the day you die or until something powerful enough comes along to rip away the need to control and the inability to let go, whichever comes first.

We weren’t made to run a rat maze of jobs and…

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Campbell on ‘Neuroticism’
April 7, 2014, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Human Potential, Mental Illness | Tags:

I felt this following excerpt from “The Power of Myth” (which aired on PBS in the 80s) related to my view that the experience of this world is like a walk into the dark alone because it seems at times that no one else mirrors my concerns that something is seriously wrong with society/the way of life here, not wrong with the individual. I also liked this response by Campbell and how it relates to my experience with schizophrenia and how I hope to shed light on my experience to be added to the very biased views of schizophrenia as a flaw, instead of as a remedy to unconsciousness, which is what I feel it is for me. I relate as well to being angry, envious, i.e. “neurotic,” and I do see myself favorably (perhaps somewhat self-inflated?), as a “visionary” [Edited (4/18/14): I just looked it up. “Neurotic” means mentally ill):

Excerpts from “Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers”

MOYERS: But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders and heroes close to the edge of neuroticism?

CAMPBELL: Yes, they are.

Tête à Tête

MOYERS: How do you explain that?

CAMPBELL: They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience – that is the hero’s deed.

(from “The Power of Myth” as seen on this site)

Outward Focus Central Here
April 2, 2014, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Human Potential | Tags:

I was kind of angry at myself for focusing so much on who I am to others, what others think of me. Then I read this (following link). Focus on outside things is apparently central to us being here, the reason for this dream, central to the ego.

Ego – The False Center: http://deoxy.org/egofalse.htm