Think Bob Ross (not Ansel Adams)

Your mind is a paintbrush, not a camera

I used to (unknowingly) see my mind as a camera. As things flashed across the screen of my mind, they got captured, stored, and shown to others as reality.

I’d flip through them when I was bored. Some, I’d carry around in my wallet for good measure

Then there were the ones that were painful to look at (I’d shuffle those back in the stack, but it’s funny how often they’d resurface when I was showing off my collection to friends or looking through it alone at 3am when I couldn’t sleep.)

A photo is a permanent thing. You get what you get. Sure, you can change the filter, photoshop it, etc. But that could take hours, days, months — years, sometimes — of editing.

It’s is a stressful situation. I mean, really — how many good shots do great photographers really take? From what I’ve heard, professional photographers take hundreds — thousands — of bad pictures before they get a good one. Talk about pressure.

I say leave that to Ansel Adams. With no disrespect, I’m digging the Bob Ross vibe.

The mind is a paintbrush, not a camera. 
-Michael Neill

A simple concept, indeed. But one that could change everything — like, EVERYTHING, if taken to heart.

Our consciousness — our awareness — can change the setting from ‘capture’ to ‘create’.

Seeing it this way allows you to not live in such fear of that off-handed bad image (which happens far more than the good ones). It feels much better to carry yourself through your world with the eager joy of a painter with a groovy ‘fro ready to pounce on a blank canvas than a photographer awaiting that one, perfect, fleeting moment.

You make the sunset perfect. You make the unrecognizable blob of blue and reddish goop worth millions of dollars.

You might not be able to materialize the whole of your world with your mind (although that would be awesome), but you do create your experience of that world.

Our mind is not like a camera. If it was, we’d all love the same colors and enjoy the same foods.

But that’s not the point. Never was.

Right now, as a society, we’re awaiting that perfect shot. One that makes all of us ooh and aah all over ourselves. And it isn’t happening.

Our fingers are poised on the shutter release. But we’ve seemed to have lost the perfect lighting. The sun is going down behind the mountain.

Hold on a second… Stop. Change modes.

It’s a blank canvas — see?

Your moment-to-moment is colored by your thought. No need to force, finagle, or wait for anyone else to hit that perfect pose because there is no perfect pose.

Now, grab that paintbrush and go to town, Bob. Give me some of those ‘happy trees’. Like only you can paint them.


I’m Jonas Ellison — a transformative coach who writes daily here on Medium. To get my short vignettes in your inbox daily, click here.

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