There’s been some talk about “red shoes” lately on the website links of the Center for Living Balance. Well, this got me thinking about Dorothy’s iconic “ruby slippers” and about how I might use my own “red shoes” to keep me from getting knocked off balance! In L. Frank Baum’s first Wizard of Oz book (1900), Dorothy’s slippers were actually silver, but for the 1939 movie, the color was changed to ruby (“The Wizard of Oz” was actually filmed in Technicolor!!) So, then as now, for both ladies and gents, red can be our go-to color to evoke our positive physical energy and intellectual clarity, our emotional resilience and optimism, our joyful commitment to our family, friends, and life purpose; our hope and dedication to nurturing and preserving beauty in the world.

Dorothy’s slippers took her on her fabulous adventure to the Emerald City. Along the way she met her amazing friends — the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion — and through them came to learn that one’s brain, heart, and personal courage can never be taken for granted but must work together to stay strong, balanced, and on the path. Dorothy learned that the “magic” in her slippers was the power of her love, which, when fully activated, enabled her and Toto to return to her beloved family and friends, fully committed to them and forever changed by her adventure.

So, how can my own “red shoes” keep me from getting “knocked off balance?” For me, love and beauty in my life keep me balanced. When I find myself getting scared, depressed, discouraged, and distracted, then I know it’s important to take the time to re-connect to the love and beauty in people, in animals, and in nature so that I can walk, run, and dance in my own beautiful red shoes.

Gabrielle M. Burholt, LPC, NCC, CLC