By Margaret Wachholz
When my children have difficulty falling sleep they have often tuned into Bob Ross, an icon in American artistry. I tried this one time & was so transfixed on his voice, his words, his presence – I didn’t find this treasure, Bob Ross, a sleep aid for me. I’m cognizant of my children’s demeanor when they talk of Ross. The level of positivity Bob had is contagious.
Growing old gracefully beats the alternative: like Ross, you can foster upbeat thinking by shining the light on the positives at every turn. He experienced noise in the military, vowing to never shout at anyone. Even when he was sick, he still sported his fabulous iconic perm. He did not dwell on his injury (he lost part of his index finger as a young man) or his diagnoses of lymphoma…repeating our sadness gives us temporary relief, but the payoff is short-lived & we get stuck.
Bob Ross tried at every step to practice optimism using certain steps & he enjoyed the happy consequences. “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” That quiet verve he poised & pursued naturally is something the youngest of children to an aging adult can utilize finding power in softness & susceptibility.
We are all called to teach, I think, and we are strengthened by sharing what we know. The real work of our lives is to figure out our function, our part in the world, as soon as possible, and share it with our human community. If we are living in a bubble, we can thrive without anxiety, perhaps. When Bob Ross would work on a landscape, he would consider the least of us…”This is where the little mountain goat lives, right up in here. He needs a place to call home, too, just like the rest of us”.
Like Ross, many truly confident people seem to have this sense of calmness. They are already over themselves and needn’t expend energy on costly facades. They: don’t try to make people like them, they don’t pass judgment, they aren’t hypocrites, they aren’t driven by ego, & they are not stuck in despair.
We want to enjoy our lives & make progress, even amid difficult circumstances. We are all called & we all have a contribution to make. A fish cannot drown in water. A bird does not forget how to fly. No greater gift than to honor your calling. Releasing hurt & pain for good gives us the influence, the power to be the best version of ourselves.
Margaret Wachholz is the campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living.