In late March I wrote a Provision titled, “Music Matters”. Today, I want to celebrate a specific song that has, perhaps, been recorded more often by more artists over the past century than any other: “Over the Rainbow”. Indeed, it’s been said that no vocal musician’s repertoire is complete until they have recorded their version of that classic song. What is it about the song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, that grabs people so compellingly? Read on to find out my thoughts.
I have 23 different versions of the classic song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, on my computer and I listen to them all the time. The song is a classic, Academy Award-winning ballad that comes from the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. About five minutes into the film, the main character, Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, sings the song after unsuccessfully trying to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her relate an unpleasant incident involving her dog, Toto. After her aunt and uncle tell Dorothy to go away, with the words “find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble”, Dorothy walks off by herself and becomes reflective.
“Somewhere where there isn’t any trouble,” Dorothy muses to her dog. “Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Beyond the moon, beyond the rain….” and begins singing the song. The lyrics are quite simple, sung repeatedly, and I enjoy listening to them sung to all 23 versions. Here the words:
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
Away above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?
How could something so simple and short be so profound and compelling? It is the stuff from which not only coaching but all of life is made: dreams. My dream, and the dream of my wife, family, and friends, is for a full and complete healing from this horrible disease that has effected my brain and memory in so many strange, curious, and unfortunate ways. My dream is also that I might go on to write several more books that would grow out of this experience and bless others on the trek of life.
I have other dreams, of course, but all of them include some sense of the good life: a life where troubles melt away and good times come for one and all. Those are the only dreams worth having. Selfish dreams are not really dreams at all. They are greedy, comparative expressions of our lust for more. More stuff, more time, more freedom, or more of whatever. Such expressions may keep the economy moving but that’s not the land that lies over the rainbow. That’s not what Dorothy was singing about.
The land that lies over the rainbow is a land where troubles melt like lemon drops for the good of individuals and of all. “All for one and one for all,” in the famous words of d’Artagnan, one of The Three Musketeers. The dream that one day we might all be whole again in wonderful and magical ways. What a perfect and delightful dream! That’s what lies over the rainbow.
Such dreams start, of course, with the yearning. Until and unless we feel that dream in our bones, we won’t express that dream in our lives. Fortunately, the yearning comes with the territory. It is imbedded in the very fabric of life itself. Who wants to go through life with a mediocre spirit? We all want the best for ourselves and, hopefully, for others. The key is to give ourselves permission to feel and accept that yearning and to recognize it as something magnanimous. No one owns the rainbow as a selfish possession. Rainbows are common treasurers that inspire us all.
Once we have the yearning, however, it is important to find the courage to venture down the path – just like Dorothy. That, for many of us, is the hard part. It’s not enough to just yearn for that place over the rainbow; we also have to take those first, fateful steps and then to move forward to whereever they may lead. Dorothy was uncertain and afraid about the journey, but she was encouraged to start off and to keep going if she wanted to get away from her troubles. So start off she did, one step at a time, on an adventure that has born the test of time.
That’s the same journey I have been travelling, in fits and starts, through my recovery from this brain inflammation. I have been walking down “the yellow-brick road”. And the musical version of Over the Rainbow that helps me to walk down that road and speaks to me most often is the one performed by the Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, otherwise known as “IZ”. There is something haunting about a tune sung by a 757-pound man who wants to wake up in a land where troubles melt like lemon drops and dreams really do come true.
If you haven’t listened to or watched IZ’s version of the song, then I encourage you to do so by clicking through to the YouTube link. There are several renditions on YouTube, but the link I have included in this Provision is the most popular, having been watched over 81 million time. The video includes IZ singing the song as well as cutaways to various people dancing, marveling, clapping, enjoying, pondering, and grooving to the music. As rainbows come and go and, at the end, as IZ’s cremated ashes following his death at the age of 38 are cast into the ocean with a sign “IZ lives”, I found myself weeping uncontrollably. There really is something to that song and to IZ’s premature death that speaks to all of us who struggle with adversity and life-threatening health challenges.
So why not make that the theme for the week? Neither wicked witches nor even death itself can stop the music. Somewhere, over the rainbow, there’s a land where dreams really do come true.
Coaching Inquiries: What qualities would such a land have for you? What dreams do you have that go beyond your own, selfish ambitions? With whom have you shared those dreams and who are your partners on the trek of life? What lies over the rainbow for you?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.
I’m thrilled to hear that you are feeling better again! Keep it up!
Are you familiar with Cognitive Retraining? I imagine that’s a lot of what you do in recovery work. I’m coaching more and more college students with AD/HD. I’m finding that the key issues are not so much “attention deficit,” but associated cognitive issues – especially working memory, processing speed, and executive functioning. Emotional issues are also key. My work here makes me want to learn more about Cognitive Retraining so I can help these clients connect the brain wiring and speed things up.
WOW! Thanks for your last Provision, as always! As you described your daily/nightly memory development, I was reminded of the amazing plasticity of the brain. Onward.
Your last Provision, Take a Risk, offered fantastic wisdom. If you have yet to see the movie 42, it is inspirational. Thank you for continuing to share your Provisions with the world.
Our prayers are with you. Wow what a time of testing you are in. Your strong, clear, and honest sharing of your journey through Provisions is inspiring. We keep hoping and praying that your doctor daughter, Bryn, will be able to find some way to facilitate complete healing soon. The unknowability of it all reminds me much of what our God-daughter is probably going through in Somalia. We keep hoping her imprisonment will lead to even greater strength, commitment and joy, but the unknowability of it can be anguishing. There’s no way to know, but we have high hopes. Our prayers are with you.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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