Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Off The Leash December 18, 2014

I know it happens to people sometimes. Sure, it seems more frequent for my forever mom than my dad. But that doesn’t make me any less manly a dog when it happens to me. (Right?)

Sometimes we all have those days. You know the ones. Nothing in particular went wrong. Nothing broke. Everyone’s accounted for and in good health. But there’s an emotional emptiness. A deafening silence. A weakness in the heart. That was today for me. Me and My Gal

Days like this there is really only one thing I care about. Attention. From the ground up, I’ll take it in whatever form I can get it. I (almost) never resort to sassy behavior, generally relying much more on the gift of nonverbal seduction. The head nudge under the hand. The shameless leap onto a lap that is already crowded with work and an 11-month-old. The stubborn stare down. These are all tricks I’ve perfected over the years; ways I’ve determined are best in dealing with the general sense of neediness I feel sometimes.

Today I tried them all. I played my whole hand, especially with mom. I followed her all over the house. I sat unnecessarily close to mom’s feet as she baked cookies. I hopped on her lap the second she sat down, even at the kitchen table at dinnertime (this was a new one for me). Sometimes we doggies just need to feel the love.

So you can imagine the love I felt when the topic of dinner conversation turned to a package we received in the mail recently. It was marked “royal mail,” which is a pretty big deal around these parts, especially when most of the mail we get is bills. Instead of a bill, the package contained love from London. Inside were a lovely note and book from a very beloved and loyal blog friend, Ute.

It was the first I was hearing of the special delivery and I’m not going to lie. My heart melted with happiness and gratitude to have received such a lovely and thoughtful token from someone out there in the blogosphere. The best part about it is the book, “Off the Leash: A Dog’s Best Friend” contains humorous comics highlighting the truths of a dog’s life. From the poop dance to the frequent napping behavior to our bed hogging tendencies, cartoonist Rupert Fawcett nailed it on the head.

He even had several references to our esteemed and award-winning attention-seeking skills. Namely, the things we do on days like today when we (for no good reason) just need a little love.

I know everyone has days like that. When you really just need a hug. Or a smile, even if it’s from a complete stranger. Or, in my case, a random piece of mail from loved one in another country. Some days are like that. But today reminded me it’s okay to have days like this. Because, if you let people in, there will always be someone there to give you the hug you need. Even if it is from halfway across the globe.

Off the Leash

 

For Me It’s Both November 30, 2014

I have so many questions. So many general thoughts about life and all that makes it up. So many observations about people, places and things. And what I feel is a unique perspective from which to share all of this with whomever will take it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m babbling myself into some kind of intellectual abyss. Other times I feel like these questions, thoughts and observations have a way of coming together in a kind of harmony that I couldn’t replicate again if I tried. Like anyone I have good days and bad days. I know this reflects in my ongoing conversations with the blogosphere I have come to know as family in the last almost two years.Happy Blogging!

I can’t believe it’s been that long. In less than a month, I will have blogged every single day for two straight years. Seven days a week, 365 days a year, of joy, from the ground up. And while much of the obvious things in my life have remained static, I got to thinking today about how the world around me has changed so much since then.

Mom was recovering from knee reconstruction surgery all those months ago. She was laid up for what feels like forever, which I wouldn’t have minded if not for all the pain she was suffering through. Since then, our family of three has become a family of four and she has a different job that allows her more time at home with dear baby Carter and I. Dad liked me back then, but I know for sure he loves me now. And not just because he lets me snuggle with him more than he used to, but because he tells me he loves me when no one’s listening.

Life is different, simple as that, but I would take it as far as to say it’s better. Mom is happier, and an already stable marriage between my forever mom and dad is stronger. Carter is almost a year old and bringing more joy than frustration to all of us these days. Life is good.

When all of this started, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was I wanted to share my perspective on the joy in my world with whomever is interested enough to read my questions, thoughts and observations. Now I am blessed to have readers I’ve come to think of as family. It’s amazing what this thing called the Internet can do.

“Commitment is an act, not word,” suggested French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. In my case, it’s both. Because for better or worse, I am grateful to have your support through my good, bad, ugly, hysterical or downright challenging days. Amid all my curious musings, this is something I know for sure.

 

Always In My Head May 30, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:52 pm
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It probably sounds silly. Or crazy. Either way, I’m not shy about it because it’s true. My pal and I

You are always in my head. You, my beloved blogosphere reader of the abyss. I know you’re out there, in your various canine and people forms, and I love you so very much. Frequently I hear from you via the blog world and I’m not going to lie. Every single comment makes my day. Dear Cupcake and Ute and Lyn and Brother (you know who you are). And Huntie, though you’ve been busy lately, I know your love through your words on Facebook.

All of this is so important because it reminds me why I do what I do. I am what I always wanted to be when I grew up. It reminds me to search for positive meaning in every single day, which is a mission I can’t say I dislike.

Lately comments have slowed in frequency, which I know is because my reactions to them have been slower than they used to be. It saddens me more than anyone can possibly know if I’m losing people (or their four-legged buddies) because of my slow response times. Because, I need all to know, you can never say it enough. I love you. I appreciate you. And (in an effort that might be challenging for me) I appreciate your love for me.

Though I aim to share nothing but joy, I know sometimes my words inspire tears from my dear forever mom, so I apologize if that has ever happened to you. Because, after all, you are my friend and I have absolutely no intention of hurting you in any emotional way.

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same,” suggested American author and philosopher Elbert Hubbard.

So I know it might sound silly. Or crazy. But I’m not shy about it because I know it’s true. And therefore I thought it necessary to say. You are always in my head. But more importantly you are always in my heart. You are part of the reason for who I am today. For that I will be forever grateful.

 

 

A Dog’s Year In Review January 13, 2014

I think we all had a feeling. And it wasn’t even the kind of feeling that we really just wanted it to be over and behind us. It was the kind of feeling where we just knew we were ready for the next chapter. So it was really no surprise to me when Carter Joseph Schmidt entered the world almost three weeks early. Looking Forward

Tomorrow marks his two-week birthday (still a couple days short of the January 16 due date) of December 31. It also marks the two-week observation of New Year’s Resolutions for people all over the world who aspire to make 2014 the best year ever. For some, these resolutions – eating better, exercising more, finally kicking that bad habit – are in full swing. For others, they’ve already been forgotten.

That’s why I don’t particularly care for the theory behind resolutions. So last year I resolved not to make resolutions. Instead, I set goals for myself to live in the spirit of Christmas every day, love actively and live life forward. Because in reality you can’t really put Christmas away when you live a life of joy. From the ground up, it makes its way into everything you do. Everything you are. So I committed to living life forward by sharing everything I am with the world, hoping to touch a few hearts in the process.

Little did I know the impact a little terrier mutt like me could have on the world with something as simple as my perspective on the everyday happenings in my world. My musings have hardly gone “viral,” and yet I am touched daily by the kind words of readers who I have come to see as a whole other kind of family in my life.

Family has taken on a whole new meaning to me this past year. I’ve always been a people watcher, but as I have observed my little family more closely this year, I have learned so much about people. And relationships. And love. From the moment I knew mom was pregnant to the first time I met Carter, family means something bigger now.

I would say 2013 was a success. Not just because I  (for the most part) met my (somewhat challenging at times) goals. But because doing so helped me get to know myself a little better. And getting to know oneself is always the first crucial step in being able to truly help others in the most selfless of ways.

My feelings about when Carter was due to arrive were right. Maybe my feelings about 2014 will be too. And I am ready for the next chapter. Because if its anywhere as good as the last one, I know it with all of my little doggie heart. I have a lot to look forward to.

Happy trails in 2014, ya’ll.

 

 

Letter From A Friend – Guest Blog December 5, 2013

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:39 pm
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Deep ThinkingI had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this blog. I just jumped in and started swimming (which is a big accomplishment for a dog). I know I’ve said it before, but I there is one thing in particular I wasn’t expecting when I started blogging all those months ago. The friendships. I had no idea how wonderful it would be to find a new family in this WordPress blogosphere, and yet that is what I’ve developed. Thank you all for being part of that for me.

In celebration of this, I wanted to share a guest blog I received a while back from my dear friend Ku from over at Haiku by Ku. In response to my request for a blog on Ku’s perspective on joy from the ground up: 

 

My dear buddy Wiley,

Having friends like you brings me joy. There are so many things in life that bring me joy, but what really brings me joy from the ground up is life! All the little things, all those little threads of joy that make life life all spring from the same deep root of life itself.
Life is filled with all sorts of things that make us smile, and frown, and laugh, and cry, and sing, and pout. But through the course of my puppyhood in the puppy mill, my rescue and healing journey, and now with my Mama and my new pack I have learned that all those things, all my experiences, both good and bad, are all a part of life. Without pain, there is no pleasure. Without fear, there is no love. Without suffering, there is no compassion. These are two sides of the same coin, the coin of life.
As the poet Kahlil Gilbran said, “The deeper that sorrow carves into my heart, the more joy it can contain.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Though I am sure I would have been a sweet pup, had I not experienced the hunger, horror, and suffering during my first year of life, I do not think my heart would have the same capacity to hold and to allow to take root the eternal joy that is life itself!
Indeed, dear Ku, that is joy from the ground up. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. More importantly, thank you for being one of many of the friends who have become family over the last year.
For more by Ku, please check out his book to help support animal rescue,  as well as the other works of art listed below.
Through the Peacock’s Eyes, Insights for Spiritual Living
 

When Pigs Fly July 25, 2013

When pigs fly is one of those people phrases I don’t particularly care to support. Less is more? Sure. All good things come to those who wait? Definitely. But this pigs flying business is uncalled for if you ask me. The phrase is meant to say something will never happen or (if it does) it is incredibly unlikely.

Well I’ve got news for you. Pigs fly in my dreams all the time. They have little wings and they take naps in the clouds. They’re also animated because I like the way fake pigs smell much more than real pigs, but that’s beside the point. To me the phrase encapsulates a major problem with the way people think about the realm of possibility.

When Dogs Blog

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Albert Einstein, a man known and respected as one of the smartest in history, held imagination in high esteem. “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” he said. “It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Some scientists might argue that imagination is the arch nemesis of knowledge, but Einstein knew better.

Today imagination made reality of some dreams I didn’t even know I had. When I started this blogging journey when pigs fly was equivalent to when dogs blog in my mind. Sure, I want to share my joy with the world, but does the world want to hear it? I asked myself this as I pondered my decision to start blogging, and doubt filled my little doggie heart. But it wasn’t too long before the comments started coming in and the blogosphere became a group of friends I look forward to seeing each day.

Shortly thereafter, I went all out. I opened a Twitter account, and a Facebook account, and a Gmail account. Then I waited. A few of my blog friends have found me on Facebook and some of my Twitter friends have found me in the blog world so I suppose you can say social media is doing its job. But email remained pretty empty so I didn’t check it often. (Checking it to find nothing made me sad, and I generally avoid things that make me sad).

So you can imagine my surprise today when I logged into Gmail and was greeted with 57 emails. It might not sound like a lot to some people, but it’s a lot to a dog. When pigs fly, when dogs blog, and now dogs are emailing. And there they were amidst my correspondence from blog buddies, Twitter pals and Facebook friends: emails from two different service organizations asking if I’d like to partner with them to spread the word about adopting rescue dogs. Would I like to share the word about rescue dogs? That’s like asking if I would like some peanut butter (which is only one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world!)

These partnerships are in the beginning stages, but I can’t help but think of Mr. Einstein’s words about imagination when I contemplate how I got to this point. The way I see it, imagination empowers the realm of possibility. Without it there is only the impossible. Do pigs fly? They sure do. And tonight I am flying right along with them.

 

The Company We Keep July 5, 2013

Advertising works. I’ve seen it happen in forever home enough to know it to be true. That latest miracle face cream appearing in the bathroom a few days after the commercial. The occasional trip for ice cream after a tempting tease between classic “Friends” episodes. Even that new kind of dog food that (definitely doesn’t taste as good but) is supposed to be better for me.

This came to my mind as I made the best of my people deciding to watch entirely too much television when they got home from that place called work today. Here it is, a gorgeous afternoon and evening, squandered away with mindless chatter. We could have gone for a walk, or to the dog park, or on a car ride! But as I’m in the habit of finding the silver lining in things, I pawed my way into the perfect cuddle spot between my two favorite people and joined in the (albeit incredibly boring) family activity.

Watching TVCommercials always have a way of catching my attention (usually because of the animal activity) and tonight I got to thinking about one particular type of commercial that used to be a head-scratcher to me. The dating sites. We all know them. E-Harmony, Match.com, OurTime.com, and ChristianMingle.com are among the first to come to mind (see what I mean about advertising working?). I used to see those commercials and (somewhat mockingly) dream up my own personal ads.

SCM (single canine male), 5 people years, 24 inches, 22 pounds, with floofy tail and point ears seeks a friend for the end of the world. (Nope, sounds too desperate). SCM, 35 doggie years, 24 inches, 22 pounds, with a heart of gold and lots of joy to share seeks a female canine to spoil with love. (Too cheesy?) SCM, mysterious, seeks someone to enjoy the journey with as much as the destination. (I kind of like this one).I'm a Half Full Doggie

All joking aside, I didn’t believe in this cyber-dating concept until recently when I found a new home in the blogosphere. We are family here, friends joining together from all over the world to comment on life’s refreshing moments of silliness and embrace each other in moments of struggle. It reminds me of one of the first moments I found myself just outside my mother’s protective cuddle zone when I was a puppy.

At first I was all alone in the tremendously bright sun feeling miles away from my mom and brothers who had all been cuddled so closely together for what felt like forever. (It was really only the first few days of my life, but time has a way of dragging when all you can do is sleep, eat, and sleep some more). In reality, I only felt far away from my family because of the closeness we had previously shared. Then I remembered I was there, out in the open, with my brothers and mom by my side. Suddenly it wasn’t so scary anymore. I didn’t know it then, but the company I kept in those terrifying moments made them worth living.

“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary simply by doing them with the right people,” suggested American actress Elizabeth Green. Advertising has a way of making even the least desirable things seem necessary. But when the rubber meets the road, we don’t need the miracle moisturizer, ice cream cone or even the fancy designer dog food (that tastes like cardboard). We need people in our life to share moments with, even if it means cuddling together in front of the TV instead of enjoying the great outdoors. From our everyday people to the family we create on the world wide web, the company we keep make moments worth living.

 

Tag, You’re It! June 19, 2013

So this is the world and there are 7 billion people in it. Among the various countries and cultures that serve as home to this incredible population are hundreds (perhaps even thousands) different breeds of dogs. While the census allows some sense of accuracy with the global population, research reveals no such thing about the population of dogs. Us four-leggers are everywhere in all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities. Some breeds even look slightly different in one country versus another.

There is a pretty big world out there. It is absolutely overwhelming to think about. Not to mention completely intimidating. How (on Earth) are we supposed to make a name for ourselves among all the other personalities out there? Truth is I have no idea if there even is a right answer for that question. But there is one thing I do know for sure: who we are is synonymous with our unique set of values and beliefs that contribute to our personality.

I’ve never been much of a digger in the literal sense (as I know some of my canine brothers are), but my archeological adventure to personal authenticity has led me to do another kind of digging. I dig deep on a daily basis by seeking to find good in all people, places and things with which I come into contact. My daily blogging journey has served as somewhat of a shovel digging toward personal discovery of my authentic self. It’s a dig like no other, and I can’t say I’d change much about what I’ve found.Surfing the world wide web

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within,” American author and activist Helen Keller encouraged. “It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us that makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”

It makes me happy to believe in the power of the present in the “present” that is each day I wake. I find joy in the oddest of places, and experience the sincerest form of joy when I share it with others. When I share it with you. Every day I wish I could somehow reach farther, touch more, make a bigger difference all-the-while giving thanks for the people (and pets) all over the world who have helped me along my path to self awareness. It’s safe to say I’ve caught the joy bug and I want to share it with the world. That’s right. I’ve caught the joy bug and I want to share it with all 7 billion people and their however many breeds of four-legged best friends. My tagline is to share joy: from the ground up. What’s yours?

 

No Place Like Home May 27, 2013

Wiley’s daydreams was on the short list of other possible names for this blog. I spend the majority of my time either daydreaming or dreaming in my sleep, so I thought it would be a clever way to illustrate all those thoughts in my little doggie mind.

Blogging Away

Then the day happened that brought inspiration in the most unexpected of ways. Snow had been falling from the sky laying a beautiful blanket of sparkly diamonds on my backyard, and it came to me. My mom was so excited to get outside and play with me, she threw away caution with wild abandon, and she laughed. Oh dog, did she laugh to the point I wasn’t sure which came first – her joy or mine.

In that moment, it didn’t matter which came first. I felt such an overwhelming burst of joy I couldn’t help but want to find a way to share it with the world. Just as joy fell from the sky that day, I wanted to bring my perspective of joy to the world from the ground up.

That is among the reasons I know now with complete certainty I wouldn’t change the name, nor the path that brought me to where I am today. But that doesn’t stop my curious mind from occasionally wondering what it would be like to switch places with another blogger for a few days. Would my switcheroo be with a person or a four-legged friend? Where would this person be at in their life? Would it be a little person or an adult? A puppy or a dog? Would it be with someone in the United States or in a country far away? Oh, the possibilities! There would be so much to learn from a new perspective on things, and I’m never one to turn down a learning experience.

But I’m also not one to covet. I love everything about the people, places and things in my life, and I wouldn’t want to leave all that behind if only for a few days. There is a unique perspective to be offered by so many bloggers out there, and I can’t find it in my heart (let alone in my ability) to communicate that perspective as well as they do.

We all have our different reasons for blogging. It’s what makes us unique. While switching places might be a fun learning experiment, I fear the result wouldn’t be as pleasurable as many might have hoped. Instead I opt to continue reading the perspectives of my pals in the blogosphere, and learning life lessons through their stories.

After all, I’m really good at daydreaming.

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