If I Only Had a Heart

Dorothy continues down the road toward the Emerald City, but now she’s not alone. She’s been joined by the Scarecrow, who is looking for a brain to think things through and solve problems.

The two of them come to a dark and ominous woods where the trees are threatening and things grow darker with each step. It is here that they encounter a man of tin who has been rusted solid by a sudden rain storm.

Dorothy and the Scarecrow compassionately apply oil to the Tin Man’s rust laden joints, and he slowly regains the freedom of movement.

The Tin Man is grateful to be able to move again, but he still feels immobilized, because he lacks a heart. This prevents him from feeling things like love, joy, and bliss. The only emotion the Tin Man readily feels is fear, which leaps to the surface when the Wicked Witch of the West appears.

After the Wicked Witch of the West departs, Dorothy tells the Tin Man that she and the Scarecrow are on their way to the Emerald City and she invites him to join them. Lured by the longing to feel, the Tin Man accepts and they head down the Yellow Brick Road together. They each carry a need: the need to find home, the need to think clearly, and the need to feel fully.

You will spend part of your time on the road out of Oz trying to find the brain power to solve your problems and make life right again. But at some point you will need to travel through the dark woods of your emotions.

Here, you will find a part of you frozen in time. Like the Tin Man who rusted in place when the rains came, you were emotionally rusted in place when the rains of abuse came. You find yourself stuck in the same old emotional positions of fear, terror, anger, guardedness, mistrust, and insecurity that were there when the abuse poured over you. Those emotions were too intense to live with continually, and they caused your heart to rust over in an attempt to prevent you from feeling anything.

Like the Tin Man, you may feel emotionally rusted and even hollow on the inside, as if you have no heart. But it’s there. The journey to find your heart is actually the journey to reawaken your emotions by softening the rust around your heart so that it can feel again.

But you need to know that once you awaken your heart…YOU WILL FEEL. And not just the things you want to feel, like happiness, joy, love, and intimacy. You will also feel things you don’t want to feel, like fear, dread, uncertainty, and hurt. You cannot be selective with your feelings. You cannot just turn on the emotions you like and turn off the ones you don’t. It is an all or nothing proposition. To turn on one feeling, you have to turn on all of them.

This may scare you and makes you want to back away from finding your heart, but consider this…you’re already feeling things you don’t want to feel. Your feelings drive you everyday. You just don’t recognize them. You need to get them out in the open and deal with them. It will free you from the rust that has seized you and kept you from fully participating in life. It will also create space for you to begin to experience the positive emotions that have always seemed just out of reach.

You have a Scarecrow who seeks to train his thinking. You have a Tin Man who seeks to free his feelings. But there’s still another traveling companion to pick up.

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