Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

You can’t put Christmas away: Goals for 2013 March 26, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:42 pm

Big goals to live up to…

Wiley's Wisdom

I overheard an interesting conversation between mom and dad today. Dad was putting some Christmas things away, and mom scolded him. “Are you putting Christmas away!?” she questioned. His response surprised me. “Don’t be silly,” he said. “You can’t put Christmas away.”

Best known for writing the country classic “Happy Trails,” singer-songwriter Dale Evans had a similar commentary on the holiday season. “Christmas, my child, is love in action,” she said. “Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”

Loving enough is certainly not the problem. I love my people (and all of their people) wholeheartedly and unconditionally. It’s how I show it, how I “give” that I think I can improve.  Quality over quantity as they say. Christmas is not meant to be about the number of gifts under the tree, so why would one measure its spirit quantitatively?

1920s singer and comedian Margaret Young had a theory…

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Making Sense of the Chaos

You’ve heard it from me. And – if you’re anywhere in the central United States – you’ve been hearing it for months. It’s been a tough winter around here. I’ve done my best to make light of a negative situation, which has been made a lot easier thanks to my mom being home from that place called work for so long. I know it was to take care of baby Carter (not little ole me), but it doesn’t matter.

I’ve loved it. Especially since the weather has kept us all cozy together inside. I know it goes against every canine bone in my body to say this, but it hasn’t been so bad for me. Sure, I miss the warm weather and all things that come with it. I miss walks in the neighborhood, adventures at the dog park and the (rare, but oh so exciting) endeavors beyond city limits. I miss the days when I came first, before this dear little person who I do love so much.Snuggle Bug

But I’ve had my snuggles. I’ve had irreplaceable time with my forever mom. I’ve snuck my way into time with her and baby Carter. And I’ve come to look forward to what happens after mom leaves the door slightly ajar in the morning. That means guests are coming. Guests like Auntie Morgan or mom’s mom, or one (or more!) of mom or dads friends.

It’s a far cry from my former life as sole daytime guardian of the Schmidt abode. There is very little time for myself these days. Less time to drift into the daydream kind of sleep I used to when it was me, myself and I all day long every weekday. Less time to do as I please from my spot in the window. I guess you could say it’s less time to be myself.

But that would be silly. Because I am probably more myself now than ever before. Now I am a companion, not just to my people, but to whomever comes to watch over dear baby Carter. I am a protector of dear baby Carter. And I am myself. Nothing could ever change that.

Not even how awful a winter we’ve had around here. Silly me thinking last winter was rough. This winter has reminded me to slow it down. To remember what really maters. To make sense of the chaos. It’s the only way to live.

Here is the video you’ve heard so much about, featuring my forever family. Note my forever mom picking up dear baby Carter about halfway through, and then her bringing Carter into our kitchen and the end. To me, it brings things full circle. Which is a wonderful place to live.

 

Fifty Shades of Grey March 25, 2014

Please excuse my French. The whole cliché about us canines being colorblind? It’s bullshit. It’s simply not true. It is true that we are limited in terms of the color spectrum. We only see a fraction of the colors humans see. But we do see color. We see differences in color. And today I saw the value of life in a world that isn’t black and white.Sunshine

It occurred to me as I sat patiently by mom’s feet as she rocked baby Carter to sleep. It was dark in the room, but I wouldn’t call it black. I would call it grey. Grey, like one of those in between colors open for interpretation. Grey, like a color that means something instead of nothing. Grey. From the ground up, it looks pretty nice to me.

Yet it seems to be one of those colors that is frequently misunderstood. It’s one of those dreary colors that brings people down instead of lifting them up. It’s a symbol of uncertainty. Of confusion. Of feeling lost.

Fortunately it’s also one of the colors I see. Because (like most things) that whole cliché about canines being colorblind is only as true as we let it be. It was another grey and frigid winter day in Wisconsin today. And it hit some people pretty hard. Because I speak for a lot of the two-legged philosophers in my life when I say they have had had enough grey. They just want it to be colorful again.

Not only can we canines see more color than we are given credit for, but we interpret color in everything around us. And, at least according to me, the colors of life are open for interpretation by anyone on any given day. A few days ago it rained. But today I found it. My rainbow. Today, as I sat in my own version of grey, I was reminded life is not black and white. It’s not about waiting for something good or bad to happen. Instead we should make it happen. Instead we should make our own rainbow. Even if it is a little grey every now and then.

 

My answer? I sleep smiling

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:10 pm

This is a favorite of mine that demonstrates where we come from doesn’t have to define where we are going.

Wiley's Wisdom

I saw one of those humane society commercials on the moving picture window today. You know the one…melancholy melodies, forlorn faces, and tear-jerking thoughts illustrating the unfortunate struggles of beaten, abused and neglected animals. If dogs could cry, I would have been bawling like a baby (my mom sure did).

Instead, I did what I always do when animals make an appearance on what my mom calls the television…I whined my most heartfelt of whines and even barked a little bit. (I don’t ever bark, except when animals show up on the television). “I will be the answer at the end of the line. I will be there for you while you take the time,” Sarah McLachlan swoons in the background of the commercial, “…Cast me gently into morning for the night has been unkind. Take me to a place so holy that I can wash this from my mind…”

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Change The World March 24, 2014

It seemed doable. Help me get my first book in order. Keep the house clean. Send the book to a few publishers. Do the laundry. Get a book deal all lined up. Make dinner. Totally doable. Except it wasn’t.

This is what I had in mind when I first heard my forever mom would be home with my new little person and I for almost a whole 12 weeks after he was born. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s one of those things she apparently read about in all the baby books and blogs and online forums and neglected to tell anyone. Maybe because she hoped it wouldn’t be true. But it was.Boppy buddies

Tomorrow is the 12-week anniversary of dear Carter’s birth. And while mom has done a pretty stellar job (at least in my opinion) of keeping the house in order during that time, anything beyond that has all but fallen by the wayside. That thing all her friends told her about never having time to so much as shower on a daily basis? Truth.

So you can imagine how far my plans for our book deal didn’t get. I may as well have added changing the world to the to-do list. Ultimately that’s what I want to do with my book after all. But now that mom is back to work and we are in transition, I realized today the biggest thing standing in the way of changing the world is ourselves.

I watch as mom holds herself to impossible standards. She is always trying to do everything (and then some). Trying to be everything to everyone. And when it’s all said and done, she ends up losing herself in a disarray of high expectations and disappointment. It’s a nightmare to watch. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live.

To me it seemed doable. But maybe that was my mistake. What do I know? I have two main jobs in life – love my people with all of my heart and soul and share my joy with the world. Everything else is taken care of for me. The same cannot be said of my people. They work hard. They have long lists of things to do that don’t always get done. It must be pretty normal for people to have this problem.

Except I can’t say it’s actually a problem when you know the solution. It’s tough for just one person to do it all. To change the world. But we, together, can change the world. We just have to work together. We just have to live. We just have to do it one paw print at a time. All forward motion counts.

Today’s post is dedicated to my dear friend HuntMode, who helped me see the light on this topic today.

Thank you, Huntie, for your friendship and love.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:20 pm

Year in reviews are always such fun.

Wiley's Wisdom

Existentialism fascinates me. The philosophical theory that experiences define one’s existence was strongly influenced by German novelist Frank Kafka who said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” Well, that is the story of my year.

Good, bad or indifferent, 2012 was a year of firsts for me. I travelled to exciting new places, I earned the right to sleep in my parent’s room (instead of that blasted crate), and I had brushes with death that made me place a higher value on life. Its tough to pick just one “high” or “low” point, so I have chosen to review my most memorable moments as a means to recognize these existential moments that define my existence.

Memory lane 2012 began with me longing for the snow we saw at the start of 2011.

The great February blizzard of 2011 was very great indeed. I was disappointed…

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Punch In The Stomach March 23, 2014

At first I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It was a stroke. My feline neighbor friend Penny finally reported the news to me this afternoon. The other day when I saw the flashing lights and heard the sirens, it was for her person Rose. Her person Rose had a stroke.

I don’t know much about these things. Except that when I don’t know much about things I am more likely to fear them. Not this time. I decided this time would be different. Just because I don’t understand what this stroke business is about will not keep me from finding the silver lining. Which, in this case, is pretty obvious.

All SmilesRelief. From the ground up, it swiftly overcame my fear. Rose is sick. She is in the hospital, and will be for some time. But she is there to get better. She is there to recover. And while she does, I find myself contemplating life’s most basic questions.

Because we never know. We never know when our last day might be. It certainly puts things into perspective when you think that way. If you knew it was your last day, what would you do differently? How would you spend the time? Who would you be with? To some it might seem morbid to contemplate these things. To me it seems sensible. Motivational even.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today,” suggested American actor James Dean. I don’t think its a coincidence this insight came from an actor fans agree died too young.

Unlike him, Rose has lived a long and full life. She has children and grandchildren and joy from all kinds of sources. Today she shared her joy with me.

Sure, at first I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It was devastating news that dear Rose had suffered from something serious enough to keep her away from Penny for so long. But she lived. And she will go on living. Sometimes we need a good punch in the stomach to remember just how precious a gift life really is.

 

Meet Mrs. Prickles

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:07 pm

I’ve spoken of her often – here is her introduction to the world.

Wiley's Wisdom

Some thought of Kahil Gibran as a prophet, a poet ahead of his time. While I would not completely disagree, it is my opinion that some of Gibran’s theories are simply elementary. He once wrote of joy and sorrow as a tango of emotional experience, symmetrical and reliant on each other for survival in one’s emotional journey. “Joy and sorrow are inseparable,” he wrote, “together they come and when one sits alone with you…remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”

2012-12-21 09.45.28Meet Mrs. Prickles. Sorrow and joy in one fabulously plush little package. She is my go-to stress reliever…a source of playful fun with my people and a source of relaxation after a long day.

My adoptive parents have seen to it that she’s not the first of her kind…there has also been a Mr. Prickles, and most recently Flea, but I think Mrs. Prickles might be my favorite so far. She is not the only…

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Reflections on Christmas: All dogs go to heaven, right? March 22, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:52 pm

The answer is always yes. 🙂

Wiley's Wisdom

2012-12-24 23.04.57 I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. All that tossing and turning mom did in her sleep last night kept me awake. I woke up feeling tired, crabby, and unmotivated. I could tell mom felt the same way because she was snippy with dad over what they should have for lunch of all things.

Then they left for a while to go to a place called church and they came back completely different people. Happy and jovial even. They turned on songs like “Joy to the World” and “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” and started dancing and singing along. I wanted nothing to do with it.

I overheard their conversation about this place called church and the message they heard about peace on Earth….and this got me to thinking…what peace? Where is it? I’ve heard a good deal of stories on…

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A Flash Mob

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:50 pm

I’m generally not that big a fan of water. When it comes to baths, I prefer to stay dirty. When it comes to time in the snow, I would much rather smell like outside. But when it comes to being accepting of these things, I am all for it. Because I know accepting anything human before the people in my life makes me that much closer. Makes me that much more human.

Meanwhile, there’s this thing about being human that always confuses me. It never makes sense how people let things bother them when they (at the same time) don’t understand what is happening around them. Sadly this is true more often than not. More often than not, the ball falls short or gets batted down or intercepted or worse.Snarky Sparky

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk,” suggested psychologist Carl Jung.

I know this was the right choice…As I kept baby Carter company during bath time tonight, I was reminded of something. None of it matters if I keep the faith. None of that matters if I simply make sure the game goes according to plan. Which is all right because we never know when our present could become someone else’s past.

A valuable part. Like a person in a flash mob. Alone, that person is alone. In a flash mob they are part of something. Someone can be surrounded with people and still feel lonely. Love lost, love challenged or otherwise, love isn’t going anywhere. Not without the present.