We ARE in Kansas (anymore) … June 5, 2012

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Terrain changes, but people don’t.

We are frighteningly alike–alike in the sense that our basic attitudes and needs are really quite run-of-the-mill–not nearly as individualized as we might portray. What am I looking in the state of Kansas? I am looking the same the same thing that I looked for in the states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California and the many other states I have traveled through just this year. I am searching for a people–a people who will be willing to ask themselves four questions:

  1. Am I ready to feel?
  2. Do I follow what I personally believe?
  3. Can I increase my thinking?
  4. Will I do something new if it’s an improvement?

Kansas doesn’t have to look any further to understand the application of these four things than the spirit of their own favorite daughter–Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz. Although just a little girl on a farm, when she was whisked away by the wind into a magnificent, hallucinatory dream, she arrived with a heart was ready to feel. She had empathy for those around her; she was concerned. Although overwhelmed by the new world of Oz, she didn’t stand at a distance and call it odd. She jumped in to experience it.

But even though she was a “stranger in a strange land,” she continued to follow what she believed. She preached her prairie pride to the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man, trying to instill new promise for their lives. (Often the problem is not that people are following what they believe, but rather, that people do not adhere to their own beliefs, having become cynical. Yet they still promote them because they are trapped.)

Even though Dorothy had her own beliefs, when she was challenged by those around her and given new information by the wizard, she listened. She considered. Doggone it, she even mulled over it. There was no gate with a lock on the door to her brain blocking the entrance of fresh ideas. Because of that, she was able to navigate her way through this new world and return home, safe and sound.

And then, upon arriving back from her dream state, she’s a new girl. She has greater appreciation for the people around her. Her little revelation caused her to incorporate something new, because she perceived it was better.

There are really only two attributes in human beings that render us unattractive and sexless: nastiness and stubbornness. As you can see, they feed off of each other. Often people are nasty because they are stubborn, and continuing to be stubborn makes them defensive and nasty. Now, I’m not quite sure what to do when I get in front of a group of people who have decided to be nasty and stubborn. I see that they are bleeding out emotionally–and often all I can do is hand them a couple of aspirin and a cup of water.

But if they are ready to feel, follow what they believe, will consider increasing their thinking and will actually do something new–if it is improved–they are the salt of the earth.

That’s interesting. “Salt.” For I am in Salina, Kansas, and the word “salina” comes from the Latin word for “salt.” So what do I hope? I hope these fine folks will be the salt of the earth–filled with taste and flavor.

It’s all about being like Dorothy. When you find yourself in Oz, sit down for a spell … and hear what the wizard has to offer.

   

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