Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

This Time Around April 9, 2013

I wonder sometimes if I can really call myself an optimist if I believe in second chances. Heck, what if I believe in third, fourth and fifth chances? Doesn’t that afford a certain negativity in the underlying reality that a second, third or fourth chance means admitting failure at some point? Today I realized it is (in fact) the opposite.

“Today, declare to the Universe that you are open to receiving all the abundance it’s patiently waiting to bestow,” Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance. “Each day offers us the gift of being a special occasion if we can simply learn that as well as giving, it is blessed to receive with grace and a grateful heart.”

Like most things, opportunities are all about perspective. Just as the glass can look half empty to one person What Do You Say To Second Chances?and half full to another, a second chance on something can be a blessing instead of an admission of failure. April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, so what better opportunity to root for second chances for animals all over the world? Beaten, abused, and neglected animals deserve a second chance too, and believe me – they don’t see it as an admission of failure.

There is this thing about being a rescue dog. Like many, I was beaten, abused and neglected before I learned how to turn fear to purpose in my life.

I found rescue in the shelter of the humane society. I would call that my second chance. I was adopted and the family decided I wasn’t a good fit for their situation, so I found rescue in the shelter of the humane society. Again. I would call that my third and fourth chance. It wasn’t until my fifth chance with my forever family that I found my true purpose in life. Time with my forever parents has made me realize how much more powerful my joy is when shared with others, and to bring purpose to some of the things in life that used to frighten me.

But I wouldn’t say those first few chances were completely for naught. Indeed I would argue the opposite. I learned valuable lessons in each of the paths I’ve taken in life, and I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for all the dog treats in the world.

A second chance is a blessing, not a disappointment. As such, I think an optimist would believe in second chances, not because of the inherent understanding of failure in the first opportunity, but because the glass doesn’t get emptier with each try. That’s the point of optimism, isn’t it? To see the glass half full (of potential, happiness, and all other good things) regardless of how full it might actually be?


Where art thou Spring? April 8, 2013

Perspective is a funny thing when it comes to weather in Wisconsin. I’ve always thought it was funny that people grab for their winter jackets, mittens and scarves when temperatures first fall below 60 in the fall, but you’d better believe all things winter are put away the second temperatures are a smidge above 50 degrees in the spring. To be blunt, that hasn’t quite done the trick for us in Wisconsin this year, as the majority of our glimpses into the fabulous fifties of spring have been just that. A glimpse, a glimmer of hope, dashed the very next day with wind chills in the single digits.

Normally, I’m not one to complain, especially about something over which I literally have no control. But I have noticed a trend on the weather reports lately. It doesn’t matter which station my mom has on, or whether its a local or national channel. In general, weather people are trying harder than ever to spin a positive story for viewers.

Warming My PawsIn February, we had Punxsutawney Phil promise us an early spring. He lied. March brought with it more than its fair share of brisk days, snow, and the negative spirits that come along for the ride. The forecasters promised April would be better, “unseasonably warm” even. While there have been a couple warmer days, they are only warmer by comparison. And today, I could actually see the pain in the weather person’s eyes when she said the word that may as well be a four-letter curse word this time of year: snow is in our forecast again at the end of this week. Following the next few dreary days of cold rain, that is.

Of all the people jobs in the world, I think I would be most awful at being a weather person. Sure, I know there is science involved that I might be able to figure out. And I definitely do all right in front of a camera. There’s the tiny problem of not being able to speak human, but I could find a way around that. If there’s a will, there’s a way, as they say.

In fact, I think it might just be my will that would get in the way. I’m a simple dog. I don’t keep secrets and I make a terrible liar. I would want too badly to have good news to report, and would struggle doing anything other than feeding that glimmer of hope for good things to come. But today, as my mom and I watched the bleak outlook for this week, I realized something.

I used to wonder whether the weather people know how their viewers hang on to every word of their forecasts, desperately hoping for good news. Today I got my answer. While I know I wouldn’t make a good weather person, I give them a lot of credit for doing a very challenging job at this time of year. It’s not their fault spring is taking its time to get here.

It’s all about perspective, Sarah Ban Breathnach reminds us in Simple Abundance. “Expect to have hope rekindled,” she writes. “Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” If good things really do come to those who wait, well we sure have something pretty spectacular to look forward to, don’t we?