Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Best Kind of Medicine March 14, 2015

I find it happens in the most curious of ways. Or sometimes for no good reason at all. Laughter. From the ground up, it’s true what the imperviously mysterious “they” say about it being a contagion. At least that’s what I have witnessed around my forever home.

Lately, a formerly thoughtful giggler known as dear baby Carter has evolved into a much more boisterous and free-spirited fountain of laughs. I know just what I can do to get him going. For the most part, so do mom and dad. Even he seems to know that if he runs a certain path through our home or has a conversation with a sock he carefully fixed onto his hand, it will bring joy to his heart.Good News, All!

Yet it seems each new day something new brings out the gleeful sound. Today it was mom’s foot. She got him in his tummy with her toes by mistake, and that set of a long and fulfilling session of laughs that even I got involved with.

It made me realize how important it is to be open minded about joy. As he giggled with delight in a game of chase, I found myself wondering what the world would be like if everyone could find something new to giggle about each day. I personally laugh (and smile) with my tail, so I’m not sure what good that does for me.

But later this afternoon, I overheard mom talking with dad about the physical and mental health benefits to laughter, like how a minute or two of laughter can relieve tension and stress in the body for up to 45 minutes. It boosts the immune system, releases what mom called a “happy hormone,” and protects the heart. Sounds like a win-win to me.

So today I find myself feeling so grateful for my silly little person and all the laughter he brings into my forever home. Even if it does happen in the most curious of ways, or sometimes for no good reason at all. Laughter. From the ground up, it’s the best kind of medicine around.

 

 

The Purest Joy May 22, 2014

It’s kind of a fluke when it happens. Yet every now and then again it does. I smile like a human. So I intend to burst no one’s proverbial bubble by sharing what I am about to say. However, I think someone famous once said something about the truth setting you free.

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Therefore, it is with a heavy heart and light spirit that I share with you my version of today’s truth. Dogs don’t smile like people do. There, I said it. I don’t think it is necessarily a secret, as there are a variety of ways us canines choose to show others the joy in our hearts. And (perhaps most infrequently) it is with what most people would equate with a smile.

Usually it’s a passionate wag of the tail. Or a heavy head working its way into someone’s hand. Or, sometimes, it happens and no person can detect it. That’s part of our doggie charm.

So lately I’ve been taken with something I’ve noticed in baby Carter. When he smiles, the world around him literally lights up. I don’t just say this through the eyes of love either. I say it because it is truth. His smiles are more contagious than any joy I could share. Seriously.

It obviously happens with my people all the time. They walk into a room, he smiles. They talk to him, he smiles. They laugh at him, he smiles. He smiles all the time these days.

But then there are other people. Strangers who don’t know him from any other baby. And here’s the thing. He smiles at them, they smile. They talk to him, he smiles. They laugh at him, he smiles.

That’s not even the best part. The best part is (by far) the fact that all of this smiling is happening in the first place. Again, as the resident ambassador of joy in the Schmidt house I at first found myself at a crossroads. I was happy the little tyke was sharing joy with people, yet I felt a teeny tiny bit jealous. That’s my job, after all.

But today, as I listened to mom and dad relive the happiness they encountered when they took dear baby Carter with them running errands, I was reminded. It’s not about me. Sure, I bring joy to the world in my own unique ways – which do not always involve smiling in a traditional sense – but that’s just how I roll.

Until not that long ago, it was kind of a fluke when it happened. As little as a couple of months ago, when baby Carter smiled, it was few and far between. But now when it happens, it’s magic. Not just for him, but for everyone around him. This brings me the purest joy I think I’ve ever known.

 

To Save The Day October 8, 2013

It was 3 a.m. And it was kind of like that moment when you wake up from a really bad dream you’re convinced is real only to breathe a sigh of relief when you look around and realize it wasn’t. Except I didn’t wake up. I was already awake. And it was really happening.

Joy to the RescueMom was crying. Sobbing, really. For no reason in particular other than the unique combination of pregnancy hormones and the exhaustion that follows four sleepless nights in a row. If I didn’t know better, I’d thought my new little person had somehow been born and was having a full out temper tantrum in the middle of the night. That’s kind of what it sounded like. And nothing rips at my heart more than when my people cry.

It’s a foreign concept to me, this whole not being able to sleep thing. Let’s be honest – I probably spend about 75% of my time dreaming. (I call it dreaming since I dream as much when I’m awake as when I’m asleep). I never have a problem falling asleep. Heck, I’ve even been known to fall asleep standing up.

So you can imagine my confusion lately with mom’s complete inability to sleep. I wish more than anything there would be something I could do to help. But somewhere between midnight and 3 a.m. last night I realized sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do. At least not in that moment. So I waited.

When mom came home from that place called work over her lunch break today I was ready. Waiting. Armed with the best kind of ammunition a dog can have. I jumped, I licked, I wagged and I showered her with all the love I felt in that moment. And that’s when she said it.

“Wiley, you know just how to cheer a person out of a funk, you know that?” As a self-proclaimed ambassador of joy from the ground up, you can imagine the burst of pride that surged through me in that moment. Success! It doesn’t get much more simple than that. I might not be able to save the night, but at least I can save the day.