A four-year old girl was sitting with her parents in church one Sunday, and as usual, she had questions. Did she care that the people around her, including her own parents, were more interested in the sermon than in her comments and musings on the world? Not particularly. After several sharply worded reprimands, her father finally decided that other measures needed to be taken, outside and away from the ears of the other churchgoers. She knew what was coming, and as her father scooped her up to take her out of the sanctuary, she screamed, „Help me, Bob!“ at the top of her lungs. That little girl was me.
Who was Bob, you might ask? A very good question, actually, and one that not even my parents were able to answer. I obviously knew SOMEONE in that church named Bob and must have thought that he could somehow alter my fate at that moment. Everyone got a good laugh, I got a spanking, and life went on.
Fast forward 10 years. As a stressed out 15-year old, I plopped down on the sofa every afternoon at 4 pm after a long, hard day at school where I was focusing on the social sciences, and turned on the TV to the most relaxing thing in the whole entire world, Bob Ross‘ „Joy of Painting“ on PBS. Don‘t misunderstand me, I was NOT looking for tips on how to create that perfect mountain vista or the happiest of little trees, I was searching for peace and quiet in an increasingly loud and hectic world. I came home to an empty house, my head sometimes filled with worries or unrequited love or excitement for something I‘d just learned in psychology class, and before starting on housework and dinner preparations, I treated myself to a healthy dose of peace and understanding with the King of Chill, Bob Ross. For those that have never heard of him, I suggest a quick YouTube search, but be careful, his show has the power to turn your guts to jelly and your eyelids into lead-lined curtains!
It wasn‘t just Bob‘s painting that so relaxed me, it was also the scrape, scrape, scrape of his palette knife or the swish of his 2 inch brush being washed in the bucket of odorless paint thinner. It was his steady encouragement that, yes, you CAN do this and YES, this is YOUR world to create! That each of us can shape the world that we want to live in, and each of us can decide our own attitude when we are faced with unexpected results. His most famous line was, „We don‘t make mistakes, we have happy little accidents.“
Fast forward 25 more years. I‘m now just over the 40 mark, with a husband, two children, and an aging mother-in-law in our home. I‘ve started a new career as a Courage Coach, and I‘m still profiting from the help and ultimately, the upbringing, that I received from Bob Ross. I tell myself and others that we don‘t have to be the victims of our own lives, but that we can shape our destinies by thinking outside of the box, especially when things don‘t go our way! We have the power to DECIDE to be happy, no matter what life throws at us, and it is that inner confidence that everything will work out in due time that fuels creativity and joy.
Bob is still helping me in more ways than one, and I hope that I can fully embrace his brand of optimism in every adventure that‘s yet to come.