Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Raindrops Keep Falling May 2, 2014

Rain drops keep falling on my head. Literally. It’s been pretty rainy and dreary around here lately. Enough that it’s getting to my head a little. I don’t know why I let it happen, but suddenly and seemingly randomly I’m overcome with a feeling I prefer to avoid. I feel sad. Blue like the sky isn’t. Downright bummed out.

And it hurts. I am the dog who finds joy in people places and things. I can’t be letting a few dreary days get to me. That’s when I remembered this trick I’ve heard mom talk about a few times. It’s a game she plays with her mind and wins with her heart. Perspective. From the ground up, it’s  a pretty powerful thing. Love in Truth, Truth in Love

When you are encountered with a sticky situation (be it emotional or otherwise) think about the worst possible thing that could happen, she says. Nine times out of ten that worst case scenario will be so far out of the realm of possibility it is destined to bring relief to your soul.

It’s a good idea to be sure. So many terrible things could have happened today. Someone could have knocked down one of those candles mom lights all over the house and the house could have burned down. Carter could have gotten hurt, or sick, or worse. I could have gotten into an altercation with the neighbor dog on my walk.

I think it’s great that mom loves her new job in the news business, but I personally am in the business of ignoring news. Today I caught some news by accident and got my answer to the question of what the worst possible thing would be to happen today. Stories of tornados wiping out whole cities and local moms dying after bouts of cancer and a teenager who was arrested after police got word of his detailed plot to kill his parents and school mates. These are real things that happened in the world today.

Meanwhile, I’m cozy and comfortable in the comfort of my forever home. I had food in my dish and water in my bowl. I have my toys and my health and my people. And, as usual, I had more love thrown my way than I could possibly catch. Rain drops keep falling on my head. Which, I’m not going to lie, is getting a little annoying. But there is a silver lining in even the worst case scenario. Perspective. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing.

 

Things I Don’t Understand July 10, 2013

People talk. Human emotion. Interpersonal relationships. There are a lot of things I think people think dogs don’t understand. I’ve got a little secret for you. We do. Sure, some of us understand people talk better than others. Certain breeds are especially gifted with understanding human emotion. And our own variety of social skills reflects our understanding the golden rule to do unto others as you would have done to you.

So you can imagine my confusion when people, my forever people no less, question my understanding. Occasionally dad comments to mom that it’s like I understood what he was saying. Today it went the other way around with mom suggesting it to dad. This surprised me, since she is definitely a firm believer in my understanding of all things human. It must have been the topic of conversation that threw her off the communicative scent, as dad made me the most disturbing (yet loving) promise.

“If you ever get cancer, we will do everything we can to save you little man,” he said. “Surgeries, treatments, even doggie chemo.”

Thinking HardWhere did that come from? Somehow the conversation that had been about what they were going to have for dinner evolved into something completely incomprehensible to me. How on Earth that happened, I will never understand. And while I sincerely appreciate the sentiment, I found it incredibly unsettling to think about. I know life is messy and these things happen sometimes, but I see negativity as a cancer of its own that I make a point to stay away from as best I can.

Sure, there is some validity to the idea of expecting the best while preparing for the worst. I’m a walking advertisement for living each day as if it could be our last. “The one fact I would cry from every housetop is this: The Good Life is waiting for us—here and now,” suggested behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. Indeed today is the first day of the rest of our lives, and that also means it could be our last. But let us embrace the positive rather than fearing the negative. It never ceases to amaze me the power negativity has to spread like wildfire. It’s almost more contagious than positivity and that breaks my little doggie heart.

It wasn’t the case in this particular conversation, which reverted back to a the discussion about dinner moments later. And I opted to see dad’s random promise akin to a people expression of love. But it all got me to thinking about the things people think we dogs can’t understand and how different the world would be if they knew we understand so much more than they think we do.

Doggie Halloween costumes. The cancer that is negativity. People grooming habits. That place called work. Why bad things happen to good people. All canines are different, but let’s be clear. These are the things I don’t understand.