Always Had the Power

You’ve Always Had it My Dear. You’ve Always Had the Power. Glinda the Good Witch
Always Had the Power

In 2000, I was lucky enough to sell the original painting from the above image to Oprah Winfrey. A series of small miracles brought the piece to her attention. After she purchased it, an even bigger miracle occurred. I was invited to be on her Favorite Things show. I was thrilled with the prospect of what her spotlight on my illustration could bring. Looking for approval of my artwork from the world had become a pattern with me.

It turned out the message in my painting was not only for Oprah. Although I was unable to grasp it at the time, it was also meant for me. Of course, I understood why Oprah took so much significance from Glinda the Good Witch’s words, “You’ve always had the power.” She had just won a defamation suit filed against her by Texas beef producers.  It took many years and reading Jean Houston’s The Wizard of Us before it dawned on me that I hadn’t been honoring my own power. I recognized myself in the Scarecrow’s search for brains. I was also waiting for the world to tell me what to do. The Tin Man asking the Wizard of Oz for a heart was no different than me not acknowledging and trusting my own. The lion’s quest for courage was his belief that he didn’t have what it took to be king of the forest. Didn’t that parallel my belief that my art couldn’t stand on its own? What I learned from Dorothy was the most meaningful. The power to realize one’s heart’s desire lies within.

Creating art is revealing one’s soul to the world. Unconsciously I believed if my gift wasn’t celebrated, I had no value. Seeking validation from the outside is like trying to fill a cup with a hole in it.

All my striving to make it as an artist has brought me to this realization. Yes, it’s scary to be exposed, but who I am is enough. My art is enough. The light that burns inside of me is enough.

The image of Oprah that I based my portrait on.

The image of Oprah that I based my portrait on.

Not many people know that Dorothy’s shoes were silver. In the movie they were transformed into the ruby slippers because they looked better In Technicolor.

Not many people know that in L. Frank Baum’s book the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s shoes were silver. In the movie they were transformed into ruby slippers because they looked better In Technicolor.

In my painting I tried to remain faithful to L.Frank Baum's description of Glinda the Good Witch.

In my painting I tried to remain faithful to L.Frank Baum’s description of Glinda the Good Witch.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.

12 thoughts on “Always Had the Power

  1. Sue: This brought a tear to my eye. Your Oprah blog really spoke to me. I have a wall of fear for public speaking. After reading this I see now I need to honor my own power and realize that the light that burns inside me is indeed “enough.” Thanks I always enjoy your writings.


    • Putting ourselves out here seems to universally be very difficult. I’m at the stage of life where I’m willing to take the risk because of the ticking clock. I’ll let you know how it goes.:O)


  2. I have always found Oprah to be inspiring because she is so authentic. She isn’t afraid to show the world how she looks without makeup. She boldly walked across a stage with a wagon full of chicken fat representing her weight loss. Later, sharing her humility when she gained it back. She is a seeker and shares with her followers what she learns on her spiritual journey.

    So, it is not surprising to me that your art work spoke to her at a deep level and she connected to you through that art. She then wanted to share this with others and invited you on “her favorite things” show. She trusted you to reveal her “inner child” quite literally and her trust was well founded. Although you have learned from the lion, tin man and the scarecrow, you and Oprah are more Dorothy than anyone. Fearlessly following the yellow brick road in silver slippers.


    • Thank you.What a nice thing to say. I so appreciate you using the word “savor” in regards to reading my post. It helps me to take ownership of the word author (I consider myself a newbie as a writer.)


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