Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

All Over Again December 29, 2014

Everything about it felt a bit like deja vu to me. There was cooking and dancing and silliness and it all reminded me of something I’ve seen dozens of times before. It’s just been a while.

For some time now mom does the cooking. Or dad. But it rarely happens that they cook together like they did tonight. It was nothing fancy either. Just a pretty standard sampling of spaghetti with semi-homemade meat sauce, peas and garlic bread. The music in the background was a throwback to a few years ago too, including some old favorites by “Coldplay.” As they cooked, dear baby Carter happily feasted on a pear. And I watched, as I do, as joy from the ground up came to life in my kitchen.Good Life

This is not to say there is anything wrong with the present. There is a lot to celebrate about even the relatively mundane things about daily life in my forever home. But sometimes there’s nothing like a glimpse of the past to bring the present into focus.

Paying homage to where we came from can have that effect, I’ve found. Though anyone’s past might be marred with negatives, finding the positives to embrace can make all the difference in living joy in your daily life. There’s plenty about my past I could let haunt me, but I choose to celebrate the happy things instead. Family Time Please

Like the feeling of deja vu I had today. It was in moment when mom and dad danced around the kitchen without even meaning to as they teamed up to make the perfectly seasoned pasta sauce. It was in the moment when One Republic’s “Good Life” came on the music player and they reminisced about the time mom caught dad swinging Carter around the living room to the lyrics a few months ago. It was in the kiss they thought no one saw.

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it,” suggested transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The past is not a place I’d like to live, but it certainly serves a purpose as far as I’m concerned. Because really it’s what we do with it that matters.

 

Where My Story Begins November 5, 2014

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Whether I’m coming inside from rain, snow or sunshine, it is the same every time. From the ground up, I am greeted with the words that are strategically placed in my forever home for all to see. It’s a statement for visitors and a reminder for the family. Home is where your story begins, it reads.Deep Thoughts

It has certainly been true for me during my four years living here. And it’s been quite a story to live. One filled with sights, smells and sounds that have this powerful way of making the world go round. I reflected on this today as I heard a favorite song of ours around here. “Lights will guide you home, and I will try to fix you,” sings Chris Martin of Coldplay.

It’s hard to believe the song came out almost ten whole people years ago already. I wasn’t even around then. But my people were, and they have experienced their fair share of ups and downs along the way. Through good times and bad, I get the impression this is a song that has encapsulated memories for mom of emotional survival. Of passion. Of true and unconditional love.

It was the last song mom and dad danced to on their wedding night. I’ve often thought of how the lyrics describe how I feel about my beloved people. And when no nursery rhymes came to mind in a moment of panic when dear baby Carter was a few days old, it became a bedtime song for him. It takes on a variety of meanings depending on one’s perspective in life, as any good song should do.

Personally I identify most with the concept that light will indeed guide us home, where there will always be someone waiting who loves you. Someone who can fix you with their love.

I guess that’s why I find such comfort in the familiarity of the words that welcome me back into my forever home multiple times a day. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what the weather is doing outside, because I know inside will be the same. It’s a message I can’t hear too much. It’s a message I don’t think anyone can hear too much. Home is where your story begins. I’m so blessed to say mine starts here.

 

My Favorite Time of Day August 23, 2014

Call it magic. Call it truth. Call it magic when I’m with you. Coldplay is a favorite band of mine (and my forever mom). Together we listen to lead singer Chris Martin croon about love and life and the pursuit of happiness on an almost daily basis. While some might think it melancholy, some of the words of one of their latest singles “Magic” came to life for me tonight.Seeing Is Believing

It happened during a bit of time I’ve come to look forward to each day. Not much about the nighttime routine has changed in the last almost eight months since dear baby Carter came home. He still gets the eat, bathe, rock, pray, sleep treatment each and every night. As a four-legged dog of mystery, it’s probably no surprise to anyone that I wholeheartedly support this routine. And not just because dad always gives me a dental bone treat while mom feeds Carter. Much like it is for babies, routine establishes a firm foundation in a dog’s life.

So you can imagine how I feel when it happens every night. It has been going on now for a couple of months, and I hope it never ever stops. Mom has always enjoyed keeping me company while I blog, which I always do after Carter goes to bed for the night. But lately, there is something special that has gotten added to my nighttime routine. I was going to keep it a secret, since it is so special to me that it verges on sacred. But it’s a secret I can’t keep any longer.

Every night at about the same time after Carter is asleep and before I blog, mom and I spend five precious minutes alone together. Sometimes we wrestle around on the bedroom floor. Sometimes we play fetch. But my most favorite activity involves something I’ve shared before called a love fest. She pets me in all of my favorite places and tells me about her day. Moreover, she tells me she loves me at least once. It’s my absolute favorite five minutes of every day.

It’s nothing against dear baby Carter. Or dad for that matter. I just enjoy the time with my forever mom listening to Chris Martin sing about life and love and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what I call magic.

 

Bigger Than The Sky July 24, 2014

It happens around here more than once a day these days. Mom says to whomever might be listening that she loves him bigger than the sky. Dad smirks, Carter grins and I sigh a big old commitment to happiness when it happens. Music like “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons Rescuedor “Us Against the World” by Coldplay is most likely playing when it happens, but not necessarily.

Regardless of the soundtrack that accompanies it, it would be challenging to assign a soundtrack to the summer of 2014. What I know for sure is music plays a very important role in dear baby Carter’s development. It’s as simple as that. Because sometimes things that mean the most are (in fact) that simple.

Take this summer, for example. It hasn’t exactly been the warmest or most beautiful summer in Wisconsin by any means. Yet it has, because of the joy that lights the sky around here. Mom is happier than I’ve ever seen her, which means dad is happier than I’ve ever seen him, which means I am one happy canine.

I usually don’t question when a good thing enters my life, but in this case I have. I want to know what is to thank for all of the joy around here lately. While I know a good deal of happiness comes right from dear baby Carter, I know in my heart there is more to it than that. Beauty is all around us this summer, and my life is no exception.

I know it for sure because mom keeps saying something she hasn’t before. I love you bigger than the sky. She says it to Carter and dad and me on a daily basis. And considering how very big the sky is, these words have come to mean an awful lot to me the last couple of months. Because it happens around here more than once a day these days. Mom says to whomever might be listening that she loves him bigger than the sky. And that is why I know hers is a true and mature love.

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you,'” suggested German psychologist Erich Fromm. I would have to say I agree. I’m not certain what mom means when she says she love me bigger than the sky, but I am certain of how it makes me feel. I  am needed. And that makes me feel blessed bigger than the sky.

 

Sky Full of Stars July 23, 2014

When we’re little, we can’t wait for it. It’s like something we have our own internal countdown for, just waiting until that special day arrives. Then it does and we wish it hadn’t. Birthdays. From the ground up, I’ve come to wonder about them, mostly because I’ve always thought I would know when that day came. That day, when I knew beyond a doubt that I was completely and utterly grown up. That day, when I felt on my game. That day, when I felt wise.

Well I don’t know about you, but I haven’t yet recognized such a day. At the tender age of six people years old (which is equivalent to about 42 doggie years old), I say with complete honesty that I can’t say I’ve ever actually felt like a grown up. Not in the traditional sense of the term anyway. But today, as I paused to watch my forever family for a bit, I realized maybe it isn’t about that.Think with the Heart

I sat by, as I always do, while mom and dad had dinner together. More recently, dear baby Carter has joined them for dinner as he eats various concoctions of what my people call “solids,” which (at least in my opinion) greatly resemble soups of various homemade flavors. His options thus far include mango, sweet potato, broccoli, avocado and (as of tonight) banana. And it’s all very exciting both for him, as well as my beloved forever mom and dad.

Today as I watched what is my reality unfold I realized I am, in fact, living my dream. I can’t say I knew what it would look like when I was a puppy. I know I was like anyone else, looking forward to being a grown up more than anything else. I couldn’t wait for the outside world to see me differently. To see me as a grown up.

Today I realized none of that really matters as much as remembering your inner child. Sure, it’s fun to think about what it might be like one day when you’re all grown up. That one day when you have everything figured out. That one day when you feel wise. But I realized today being grown up has absolutely nothing to do with that one day. It has everything to do with the days that follow. It has everything to do with how you move forward, how you make a difference. How you live.

So today I recommit my life to one of wisdom. I recommit myself to seeing a sky full of stars whenever it’s in front of me. I recommit myself to live. From the ground up, that’s about as simple as it gets.

 

 

Light Will Guide Me Home June 7, 2014

I don’t know much about the people thing called money. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when it comes to all things green stuff, I’m pretty clueless. Maybe it’s that I don’t see colors all that well. But I do know it can’t buy happiness. It doesn’t truly “fix” anything.

I thought of it as mom sang dear baby Carter his favorite lullaby today. It might sound silly, but he loves this song. I think it’s because mom does, but (the way I see it) that’s how it should be. It started because mom was overtired in those early days when Carter came home and couldn’t remember a typical lullaby. There are a whole bunch she could have sang to him, but she chose this one. And five months later, it still seems to do the trick.

“When you try your best, but you don’t succeed,” croons Coldplay’s Chris Martin in “Fix You,” “When you get what you want but not what you need. When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep, stuck in reverse. When the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse? Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you.”

It’s the same Coldplay favorite mom and dad danced to last the night they were married. And it had taken on a whole new meaning now, thanks (I think) primarily to the lack of sleep referenced early in the song. But also thanks to the tears.

ChallengeThey happen around here from time to time. And If I thought mom (or dad’s very occasional) tears ripped my dear little doggie heart out, I had no idea what to expect. Carter’s tears, especially in those early days, tore my little doggie heart to pieces. I wanted nothing more than to do exactly as that Coldplay song said. I wanted to fix it.

While his moments of sheer and complete terror to the point of the kind of tears of the early days have gotten few and far between, I often seek refuge in the dark cover of the basement when it happens. But today as mom sang those words, the words of an unexpectedly perfectly fitting lullaby, to dear little Carter, it came to me.

I don’t know much about money. While I know it doesn’t buy happiness, if I were to someday come across a large some of money for some silly reason I know exactly what I would spend it on. I would fix as many people as possible. I would use it for scholarships or grants or foundations or whatever would help make the world get out of reverse. I know money probably can’t actually fix anything, but I would do what I could.

And if money doesn’t work, I know light will. Joy. From the ground up, I will find a way to make the crying stop. Babies, adults and elderly alike. That is my mission. I don’t have to know much about money to know that.

 

Just What You’re Worth May 10, 2014

It made mom cry today. So I did what I do in such situations. I snuggled her while she cried. But there’s been a new addition to this situation in the last four months. His name is baby Carter, and I love him so. So does mom, which I think (at least partially) contributed to the tears today.

Because tomorrow is a special day around here. It is my dear forever mom’s first Mother’s Day. And I’m not going to lie. In my dear doggie eyes we have already been celebrating this holiday since I came to be in this, my forever home. Because But alas, now there is a little human puppy brother to really bring things to life and I cannot fault anyone from seeing it as the true first special day for my mom. She has, after all, been kind of beaming about it since a few days ago already.

But I knew it for sure today that this time was different. Because she and baby Carter have a song I’ve heard before once or twice. Or about a million times. Because since Carter was very small, she has either played or sung it to him. “Fix You” by Coldplay has become mom’s special song for Carter, because I know she doesn’t lie. She will fix him under any circumstance. She will love him above all else. She will always try to fix him even when he doesn’t realize he needs to be fixed. That is just what moms do.Love.

Tears often fall down his face for no good reason. And, sometimes as a result of those tears, we are so tired and still can’t sleep. But none of that matters. Because, like all those other moms out there, mom will try to fix any problem that arises. Because she loves baby Carter so much, it doesn’t matter what it takes.

It’s kind of a newfound thing around here. Because I know mom loves me. She always has, since that first day we made eye contact at the Oshkosh Humane Society. But I know (and respect) what she has with my beloved forever little person is different. He is her world now. And he is hers.

To me that is what causes tears like what I witnessed today. So I snuggled like I always do when my dear forever mom cries like she did today. She was clutching on to dear baby Carter as he clung to her. They love each other so. That might be what stands out most to me about that Coldplay song. There is a line “if you never try then you’ll never know what you’re worth.” And in that line I get it. Because I don’t think mother’s ever really understand what they’re worth.

My birth mom certainly didn’t. And I don’t think my forever mom could ever possibly know how much I appreciate her. So I can only imagine the level of awe dear baby Carter will have when he understands. If he understands. Because today when mom was crying as she held him close, I wondered if he could ever actually understand just how much she loves him. Just what he is worth to her.

Love. From the ground up, it happens with perspective. And experience. So I know for sure the tears of my dear forever mom will never be in vain. Because I know what she’s worth to me. Which is everything. Certainly baby Carter will feel the same way someday, if he doesn’t already.

 

I Stand For The Cure June 8, 2013

Novelty is such a funny concept to me. I like when things are new, different, and exciting. I love exploring new places, led by my nose more than my eyes. Everything is so fresh and appealing when you experience something for the first time. Novelty, like variety, is a spice of life.

But so is familiarity. Sure, it’s not the cayenne pepper that is novelty, but familiarity has an inherent comfort like nutmeg or cinnamon. Sometimes I breathe in the familiar smell of my forever home (which often smells like nutmeg and cinnamon because of scented candles) and I am overcome with the most powerful sense of fulfillment and peace. This is when I tend to audibly grunt sigh (neither a grunt or a sigh, but a combination of the two) for all around me to hear.

All of this came to mind for me today while mom readied some delicious-smelling people food in the kitchen. As usual, she was listening to music and dancing around the room while she worked, and while so much about this image was familiar something was different. I can’t quite put my paw on it, but there is something about what I was watching that was novel somehow, even though I’ve seen it a million times.

In my reflective moment I found myself paying attention to details I otherwise overlook, like the words to the song playing in the background. I’d heard Chris Martin from Coldplay sing of Clocks so many times, but for some reason it was like I was hearing the line for the first time: “Am I part of the cure? Or am I part of the disease?”

As a general believer in seeing the best in the supporting people, places and things that make up the cast of characters in my doggie life, I try to be part of my own personal cure. In a world sick with negativity, I seek joy in the oddest places and don’t give up until I find and exploit the happiness out of a situation. That is the cure I fight for on a daily basis. What’s yours? Is there something familiar in your life that might need to be cured with a dash of novelty?

Seeking the Cure

It was a such an unexpected blessing for me to be caught up in the novelty of this familiar moment. Everything about it was the same except my perspective. That’s why novelty is such a funny concept to me. While I love when things are new and exciting, I find comfort in the familiar. Yet, when I pay close enough attention to the familiar, perspective offers novelty a second chance. And, if my life is any indication, everything deserves a second chance.

 

Us Against The World April 11, 2013

The sky is crying today. Teardrops from heaven have been pouring down on and off all week, in fact. I’d say I do pretty well with the whole lightning Smiling Some Sunshineand thunder bit compared to most dogs I’ve met. But I’m not going to lie: this soppy cold mess of a weather pattern is downright dreary.

It has been raining constantly since Monday, and the forecast calls for more of the same all of next week. I told myself I wouldn’t comment on the weather again after my recent rant about what an awful weather person I would be, but I digress. This is some kind of awful that needs to be talked about. I can honestly say that I cursed under my little doggie breath when mom let me outside this morning into the frigid rainy wind that has been outside the last several days.

It actually reminds me a bit of a Coldplay song. “And if we could float away, fly up to the surface and just start again, and lift off before trouble erodes us in the rain…Through chaos as it swirls, it’s us against the world.”

Indeed, it is us against the world on days like today. Mom came home looking a mess, complete with frizzy hair and soaking wet pant bottoms. I could tell she was freezing cold and frustrated by whatever problems she had encountered today. I know it’s harder to keep your head up when there’s nothing pretty to look at, so I can only imagine all these dreary days are taking a toll on her and my dad. What’s worse is knowing that as certain as the rain falling from the sky is the toll its taking on everyone who is experiencing the dreariness that is this weather situation. As one who strives to share joy with the world, I would be lying if I said these days weren’t a serious challenge to even my resolve.

But then I remember something very important. It’s us against the world on days like these. So the sky is crying, and it’s not stopping any time soon. It is gray and dingy outside, but that does not stop me from finding my silver lining. Dreary or otherwise, I find inspiration in the sky. And when it withholds sunshine, I make my own.

 

Living the Dream March 28, 2013

Big dogs don’t cry. I’m not ashamed to admit little ones do. It’s no secret that I wear my heart on my proverbial sleeve. But there was a time I wasn’t so open to expressing my emotions. My time on the streets and in the humane society had hardened my perspective on the world. Fortunately the world has a way of changing our perspective on things.Dreaming to Live

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way,” English poet William Blake suggested. “Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and  some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature  is imagination itself.”

My eyes were opened on a hot August day almost three years ago when I met my adoptive parents for the first time. Just as perspective changes things for the bad, I remember that day my perspective changed for the good. It’s a switch I won’t be flipping back in the other direction any time soon either. In fact, I’ve noticed lately that the more you let the good into your life, the more good life gives you. That’s one of many reasons I dream big.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today,” as American icon James Dean once said. I am, in fact, living the dream.

So I suppose it’s not fair of me to assume big dogs don’t cry. I would prefer to think we all are capable of shedding a tear every now and then, happy or sad. “Maybe I’m in the black, maybe I’m on my knees,” sings Chris Martin of Coldplay in “Every Tear’s a Waterfall.” “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes, but my heart is beating and my pulses start, Cathedrals in my heart….Every tear’s a waterfall…so you can hurt, hurt me bad, but I’ll raise the flag.”

William Blake saw beauty in the trees. Chris Martin finds the joy in teardrops. I dream to live and live to dream.