HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR VISION (your own ruby slippers)      By John Watts

Shawshank Redemption quote “You need music so you don’t forget. Forget that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s a – there’s a – there’s something inside that’s yours, that they can’t touch.”

I am always amazed as to the staying power of my all-time favorite movie, “The Wizard of Oz.”  Old script lines continue to pop into my head with freshly revealed relevance all the time.  Here is yet another, from the movie, that in my opinion, greatly overshadows the book by the same name, and remains a perpetual testimony for the forever young at heart.

Most of us can conjure this powerful scene pretty quickly from our childhood.  It is towards the end of that dramatic first show down with the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy from Kansas.  Needless to say, Dorothy was suffering from serious jet lag and dislocation after the strange trip she had just endured.  And the fact that she had just fatally squashed the Wicked Witch of the West’s sister, underneath her house, certainly didn’t help matters either when it came to making a favorable first impression.  The tension gets even worse when The Wicked Witch from the West, discovers, that Glinda has planted the coveted ruby slippers on to poor Dorothy’s unsuspecting feet.  This leads to an epic power struggle between these women, refereed by Glinda, the blissed-out Good Witch; as the rightful ownership of the ruby slippers is debated.  This was more than just some trifling case to be dispensed in some small claims court.  This had life and death implications, including eternal slavery at the hands of the evil Witch, which was well beyond even the scope of the Jerry Springer Show.

Dorothy was more than ready to give in and hand the ruby slippers over to the Witch of the West, until Glinda intervenes.  Here now is the movie dialogue:

Wicked WITCH: “I’m the only one that knows how to use them.                          They’re of no use to you!  Give them back to                          me!” MCU — Dorothy and Glinda — Glinda advises Dorothy —                                                    Wicked WITCH:  “Give them back!”


GLINDA the Good Witch, “Keep tight inside of them — their magic

must be very powerful, or she wouldn’t want them so badly!”


That’s it.  Just some exaggerated kid’s story right?  With scary characters and lots of special effects, and a happy ending.

Well yes and no.

The older I get, the more I find myself going back to this dialogue and the urgent advice from Glinda—“keep tight inside of them (the ruby slippers).

And I find; while maneuvering through life’s minefields and the daily struggles relating to people and keeping ones job security—this to be a very widely applicable exchange that translates well into our daily lives.  And a very poignant one.

Mainly it means not to sell out one’s strongest held beliefs and principals.  The world is full of mirages and slippery slopes, full of assertive people that can lead you to believe that down is up and left is right.

Charisma and good looks can sell many a bottle of snake oil and lead one to believe that the Emperor has on clothes even when he is naked.

As a nice and accommodating person, the spiritual warfare involved in keeping ones vision alive, can be a day to day struggle, especially during low times.  It is very easy to acquiesce and cede many things to those that are used to getting their way.  It reminds me of the decade’s long struggles I had in not saying the word “YES” to some slick telemarketer calling on the phone for some cause I had no interest in.

We all know those vulnerable situations in which we see our decision to stand up or not, hovering in the balance of something very important.  This is when we need to trust our intuition and our spiritual instincts and protect what is most dear to us.

There are many forms of bullies and many crooked paths that come in many different packages.  We probably all know of the formidably placed co-workers or bosses that temporarily made our lives miserable by always one upping us or worse yet, stirring up trumped up charges against us in order to gain leverage.

The worst thing we can do in all those situations, is adopt the exact same tactics that the lost people around us are using on us.  Or as it says in Mark 8:36—“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”


That is when we need a friend like Glinda in the Wizard of Oz, to whisper in our ear not to hand over too much to those that seek trouble.

Of course, many times it is not any one person or persons that represents our problem.  Sometimes it is just a situation or circumstance that we are going through that makes it doubly important for us to wait it out and not over react.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and through our own insecurity mistreat others because of some need to feel validated.

Sometimes the standing up part is ALL about reassessing where we are at a particular point in our life.  Are we where we are supposed to be? Is the job a good match for what we care about most and what makes us happy?  Should we accept all the conditions just because it offers better financial security?

Just receiving some bad review and dealing with the disappointment of a snub from some highly influential person can tempt us into cashing in our chips and giving up the gamble for our dreams.

Maybe the mere act of turning down a promotion or job offer we don’t feel good about is the BEST way of honoring Glinda’s reminder for holding tight to our own ruby slippers.

In all of these situations, the ruby slippers symbolize our link to getting home.  And the movie makes it abundantly clear that we always have this power to get home, without some specially conferred diploma or expert advice.

Get home.  Just get home.

The ancient Greek translation for “REPENT” in the Bible meant “finding one’s way home—towards the light.”  This is in stark contrast to its modern day meaning of renouncing ones sins for the sake of avoiding eternal damnation.

So in the course of wanting to get along with others and avoiding conflict—and manifesting good will and charity towards others, lets never forget that one divine spark inside of us that is never for sale or up for auction.


About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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