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The Miracle of Mindfulness and Bob Ross

Well I love Bob Ross. I just watch his series over and over. If I ever have time and space on the same continuum in this life, I'm going to enjoy learning to recreate those paintings. For now I just watch and love.

Something he often says when mixing blues and red is to mix in much more of the red than the blue "because the blue is many many times stronger." And I'm just dreaming here, but it seems to be an apt metaphor for all of life, or at least enough to get me talking. We have to take care to remind ourselves, in every new scene, to have much more of the passion (the red) than the sadness (the blue). Life, by its nature, is defined by tragedy. We all share that. And it will drag you down if you let it. We've all been down there, too.

And that's why we should work so hard, to make the effort, to mix in more and more passion, more love, when we're dealing with more blue on the palette. It's not a fair mix. 50/50 red and blue means you got some purple-y blue, baby, not any shade you'd call red. We tend to dwell on the bad times and the happy times are seen as dubious at best. Blue is many many times stronger than the red.

Mindfulness. This is a skill that you can learn, like any other. And like most skills, it's something I struggle with very often despite my best efforts. At its core, I guess you would say "mindfulness" is "awareness and acceptance." To me personally, it's being mindful of the amount of blue in my world, and making the choice to add more red in response. I've painted enough blue things and nobody's buying. Who can blame them; I don't want them either.

The idea behind practicing mindfulness, in the simple and watered-down version I can understand, is awareness and positive focus. It's easy to get cynical, irritated, and depressed. It's easy to let the resistance, the friction, and the grind drag you to a halt. And it's hard to overstate how hard it is to overcome that sometimes. Happens to the best of us, believe me.

So the trick is mindfulness. Thoughts become words, which become actions, and all of which influences each other. The trick is catching the negativity at the thought level. Total honesty: I work on this, consciously, every day because it's not easy. And even then I still get it wrong plenty. After all, your thoughts and perceptions are how you see the world. Your attitude and reactions naturally and inevitably arise and tint the world as you experience it. What colors you've brought with you, and how hard you go after the canvas with your brush, are up to you. But I promise you can leave the blue behind; there's enough of it out there already.

Which comes to music. Well, which comes to art. My medium is music. And love rock is red red red! That's why it works so well, and that's why it transcends time and genres. Love rock is the red paint we need to make the blue paints pretty. The goal isn't to abolish the blue paint, after all. For one, impossible. Just impossible. For another, you need the blue paint. To paraphrase a more well-known Bob Ross saying, "you've got to have the darkness so the light has any meaning." The blue is proportionately much stronger than the red, but it is necessary to make sense of the world.

So what we strive to do, what we work so hard to bring you, is the brightest and purest color samples we can. I want to beam love right into your ear and I want to color your world with more of it. Too much blue is depressing. Not enough is chaos. The blue is many times stronger than the red. And that's why we practice love.

There is a book called 'The Miracle of Mindfulness,' by Thich Nhat Hanh, and it's certainly worth the read if any of this is interesting. But, to quote our dearest old friend, "this is my kind of love." Music sets thing right from the inside out.

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