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My Road to Enlightenment

“Close your eyes, tap your heels together three times and think to yourself, “there’s no place like home”—Glinda the Good Witch


As a grade-schooler in the 1950s, I plopped in front of our TV set to view the annual network showing of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz”—never dreaming it would be a metaphor for my own road trip to enlightenment. As an adult, I’ve found the movie from the 1930s chock full of spiritual nuggets. The celluloid tale of leaving home to find that the power one needs is within, has proven to be a symbol of my own spiritual journey.

I started my early expedition with a mother and father who were New Thought proponents. I cut my teeth on their reminder that we can “know the truth about this” whenever I confronted a challenge. Unfortunately, “knowing the truth” about their unhappy marriage, and the effect it had on their children, was something my parents never confronted.

To me, the Christian Science church, that I attended as a child, paralleled the black and white bleakness of a Kansas farm. I longed to be with my friends across town at the Baptist Church where a 30 foot tall neon Jesus beckoned me from the street. So, not satisfied with my parents’ brand of spirituality, I set out to ease on down my own colorful road to discovery—assuming much like Dorothy that everything I was looking for was “out there.”

Since relationships have always been paramount to me, I’ve rarely traveled alone—I need the support of others. The scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion represent those who’ve accompanied me on my journey.(Coincidentally, a couple of those characters, in their early heartless, brainless incarnations, bear a striking resemblance to my former husband. Oops, that comment represents my shadow side—deliciously portrayed in the movie by the Wicked Witch of the West.)

For my trip, I carefully packed lots of fear and a handy sense of “not being enough.” Along the way there were marriages, children, careers and challenges. After the exhausting task of looking to others to tell me who I was, a detour into Biblical fundamentalism allowed me to rest for a time. Here the plan was all laid out for me—I didn’t have to think. (Now there’s something I’m proud of!)

Looking back, that experience was a bit like a drug-induced sleep in a field of poppies.

It took some time and a pit stop at the Center for Spiritual Living before the grogginess began to lift. Here I caught a glimpse of the divinity within. I learned that Spirit/God is a presence not a person. So I don’t have to seek validation and approval from any “Wizard”—pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! And I’m not talking about Reverend Mike Irwin or Dr. Chris Michaels!

Jeanne Looper Smith I’m still on the road to enlightenment. That’s a trip that never ends. But I feel as if here, I’ve come home.

And what I’ve discovered on this odyssey is that I’m the one I’ve been looking for. Fade to black…. Here’s where I click my sparkly heels together, know that there’s no place like my spiritual home—and that there’s nothing like a really great pair of shoes!

Jeanne Looper Smith is a wife, mother of three adult children, grandmother of seven grandsons, a freelance writer, columnist, editor and a “Wild Woman of Wellness.” The “wild” incarnation, and a business that resulted from it, came after a 2011 diagnosis of bilateral breast cancer. She chose to return to wellness through the application of an alternative mind, body, spirit approach rather than the conventional, allopathic cancer treatment protocol.

Jeanne is a passionate proponent of the body’s ability to heal, through “food as medicine,” exercise, meditation and removing toxic thoughts such as unforgiveness and resentment—all things that support the immune system in returning the body to homeostasis and health.


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