In December 2003, I celebrated my birthday in New York City doing one of my favorite things, seeing a Broadway show. Now, I've seen quite a few over the past ten or fifteen years, but few have come even close to the powerful impact Wicked has had on me.
The story looks at the concepts of good and evil as played out in the relationships we have with others, ourselves, and society. It forces us to question our perceptions of what we consider good or evil and how our individual perceptions mold reality.
One of the main characters, Elphaba (the green witch) had the biggest impact on me inspiring me by her uniqueness, authenticity, power, and courage. She stays true to her values and genuine self in spite of great odds. As you might imagine, being green and having rare magical powers doesn't exactly make one popular and voted in as prom queen at sorcery school.
The story is as much, if not more, about Elphaba's journey inside to discover who she truly is and what she stands for than it is about being a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. With the help of others she uncovers the uniqueness, beauty, and personal power that exist within her and her essence is brought to life impeccably by Idina Menzel, the actress who portrays her.
One of the most powerful moments of the show is the end of Act I when she sings a song entitled Defying Gravity. In this song she speaks of the changes within her that won't allow her to play the game of life by someone else's rules and how this inner awareness makes it impossible for her to second guess her intuition and feign ignorance of the truth within herself and in the world any longer. She has reached a pivotal point where it's time to trust her instincts and take a leap of faith for what she believes. Thus, she declares that it's time to try defying gravity. Of course, it is theater so she gets to fly literally as well.
Her journey within to claim her personal power was not easy. After all, she had an entire geography hunting her down and wishing she were dead. However, in spite of all this her impact and her contributions were felt in the hearts of those she touched and she left a legacy to those who saw beyond the green exterior to the beauty that lay within.
So you may be asking: What does this have to do with reality? How does this little parable apply to my life?
We all experience defining moments in our lives when we suddenly have an awareness that penetrates our bones and forever alters our path and how we show up in this world. A defining moment can be something we characterize as "positive" (example: finding our soul mate) or "negative" (example: being cut from a sports team). And, while we might not experience it as high drama or even consciously remember it, the impact is significant all the same.
So, in your life, consider: