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  • Writer's pictureLisa Lanzetta

The Yellow Brick Road to Reality: A Story for Those in Recovery

"This story is inspired by real experiences but is entirely fictional. The character 'Emily' is not based on any specific individual or client, and any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental."


Emily sat in her Shamans office, her foot tapping a restless rhythm against the floor. The session had been intense, and as she stood to leave, she muttered, "Okay, now back to the real world." 

The Shaman, sensing the weight behind those words, couldn't help but wonder. "The real world?" she asked herself. "Aren't we in it right now?" This question lingered as she watched Emily walk away, leaving behind a trail of uncertainty.


It reminded her of "The Wizard of Oz." Dorothy's story started in the "real" world—a black-and-white reality filled with chores and responsibilities. Everyone was too busy, and no one had time for a little girl with dreams. But then came the tornado, sweeping Dorothy into a vibrant new land, full of color and adventure. Here, she could find friends and pursue dreams. It was a world where the impossible became possible, but it wasn't without its dangers. Flying monkeys, wicked witches, and poisoned poppies made it clear that even in this magical world, challenges were inevitable.

Emily, like Dorothy, was navigating her own journey through recovery. The "real world" she talked about felt rigid and gray, filled with labels, diagnoses, and a sense of confinement. It was a place where she felt judged and limited by societal expectations. Yet she had come to her shaman seeking something beyond this grayness—something that hinted at the vivid colors of Oz, where dreams could be more than just dreams.


What if the "real world" Emily referred to was the illusion? What if the true reality was found in the journey of self-discovery and personal growth? This was the shamans guiding question as she worked with Emily, encouraging her to explore beyond the confines of labels and diagnoses.

"Who am I?" Emily asked herself as she walked home. It was a question that had plagued her for years. She felt trapped by a sense of unworthiness, by voices that whispered she wasn't good enough. But now, she was beginning to wonder if those voices were part of the illusion—just echoes from a world that didn't understand her unique soul.


The shaman had given Emily a challenge: to pay attention to her thoughts for just one day and ask, "Is this true?" It was a simple question, but it had the power to crack open the façade of the "real world." Emily began to notice how many of her thoughts were based on fear and self-doubt. "I'm not good enough." "I can't do it." "What's wrong with me?" These were the flying monkeys of her mind, keeping her from finding her way to the Emerald City.


One evening, Emily decided to take the shamans advice and hold a small fire ceremony. She wrote down every negative thought, every fear, every doubt, and fed them into the flames. As the fire consumed the paper, she felt a weight lift from her shoulders. The flames danced, casting a warm glow that reminded her of the light within herself—a light that had been dimmed by the grayness of the "real world."

From the ashes of destruction comes creation. Emily knew this was her chance to rewrite her story, to step into a reality that reflected her soul's desires. She grabbed a box of colored sand and started to create a sand painting. Each swirl and pattern represented a piece of her new journey. This wasn't a static vision board; it was a living expression of her soul, a reminder that she could shape her own reality.


Emily's journey was far from over, but she was no longer bound by the illusion of the "real world." She was walking her own yellow brick road, with all its twists and turns. Along the way, she'd meet friends, face challenges, and discover her own courage. And, like Dorothy, she knew that sometimes the greatest adventures happened when you stepped beyond the black-and-white and embraced the colors of your own unique story.

As Emily stood back and admired her sand painting, she felt a sense of peace. This was her journey, her reality, and she was ready to live it to the fullest. The "real world" could wait. She had a new story to create, one that came from the soul.

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