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  • Tracy Flynn Bowe

Stepping Stones


The Emerald City - Compassion v. Protection

As our Oz travelers faced the closed gate at the entrance to the Emerald City, they remembered that Dorothy wore the ruby slippers, the symbol of the soul-directed journey and of the divine connection to her soul. When they informed the gatekeeper that Dorothy wore the ruby slippers they opened themselves to the mystery of the spiritual road they were traveling and were enthusiastically admitted to the Emerald City. Remember, Glinda could not wave her magic wand and magically transport Dorothy to the Emerald City. Dorothy had to walk through her old fears, her buried feelings and her conditioned thoughts and beliefs before gaining entry to her heart center.

As we evolve in our spiritual wisdom, we come to see that challenge and struggle are part of the process of uncovering our deeper self. The teaching of this stage of the journey is that we can enter and inhabit the light of our true spiritual nature only if we have done the work of the three lower centers and come into our hearts connected to our soul. The spiritual task of this stage is to remain open hearted, even in times of great trial, trusting that all is well even when we feel confused, abandoned or betrayed by the events of our life. When we grow into this stage of spiritual awareness, we will be received with compassion into our heart center as Dorothy and her friends were received into the Emerald City.

The myths and the wisdom traditions clearly teach us that if we are to progress on the spiritual path we must give up our judgment and resistance about the hardships and challenges of our lives. After all, there are no epic myths of conquering heros or compelling resurrection stories without many chapters of struggle and toil. But if we can move with love and acceptance to embrace and integrate all the parts of our life experience, we will find that we can move through all of the challenges and struggles, and that deep transformation and healing are possible when we view our experiences with the spiritual light and compassion of our heart center.

When we deeply accept our own divinity, the light of that knowing reveals the light in all beings and the radiance of the world in which we walk. We learn to be gentle with ourselves and gentle with others. We accept that life is a sacred journey of Self-discovery where we are always supported. We experience the breath and inspiration of the divine operating in our life, and we begin to celebrate the whole experience with gratitude and joy. The heart center then becomes a stillpoint, bathed in the light of the divine, where we can rest the parts of our weary human selves, connect with our spirit, restore ourselves for our walk in the world, and re-member who we are.

Weekly Stepping Stones

What are the dark-night experiences you have come through in your life? What are the seeds of truth that were revealed in those times of struggle? What are the inner strengths that were uncovered through the struggles? How are you in need of rest and renewal from these struggles? What are the wonder, joy and awe experiences you have had in life? What are the seeds of truth that were revealed in those moments of beauty?


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