Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Life Worth Living August 3, 2013

I learned some unexpected lessons yesterday. I asked for help, and it wasn’t so bad. But the responses to my request, as well as my reaction to them, brought me to some interesting conclusions.

It wasn’t news to me that I have an incredible support system made up of larger than life hearts and creative minds. I’ve known that for a while. But my defensive emotional response when it was suggested that I take a break? I wasn’t expecting that. Let my mind rest until new stories come to me? Stories happen around me every day – I just need to pay attention. Alone With My Thoughts

Indeed it has crossed my mind to take a day or two off from my 365-day journey, but I realize (or perhaps just reaffirm) now that I am stubborn about finishing what I’ve started. Being stubborn is not a very attractive quality to be sure, but I’ve never been a quitter and I have no intention of becoming one now. How can I be when I have words like commitment, perseverance and passion on my mind?

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor,” suggested American football coaching legend Vince Lombardi. My chosen field of endeavor is bringing joy to the world, and I can’t exactly do that if I don’t challenge that little blinking cursor of doom I know as the occasional case of writer’s block. You will not defeat me writer’s block.

It’s no Armani neck tie. It doesn’t hold a cake to a Gucci handbag. It’s definitely not an Hermes scarf. Stubborn is one of those people accessories that just doesn’t look good on anyone. And yet I can’t give up. Instead I’ve decided to be stubborn about that in spite of how it looks on me.

So when I struggle I shall instead embrace excellence in simplicity by taking a page from American naturalist and essayist John Burroughs. “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see,” said Burroughs. I know I have a lot more thoughts to think, places to go, things to learn and friends to make in this life. These are the things that make life worth living.

This post is dedicated to my pal Trev, who shared with me the John Burroughs quote in addition to his friendship. Thanks for being you, dear Trev.

 

Playing with Fire May 22, 2013

What is it about fire that is so tanlizingly mesmerizing? I find myself gazing at it, watching the flickers and sparks, and I can’t take my little doggie eyes off it. I’ve been staring at it all day, while falling in and out of sleep from its warmth. Maybe it’s the novelty of it, since we don’t have a fireplace at my forever home. I’m currently spending a couple of days with my grandma and my cousin Buddy at their place, as my parents have gone to a place called a spa and left me behind.

Catching FireAt first, I was kind of bummed to be left behind. This is the week we had all planned to pack up the car and head to a place called South Dakota. We were staying at pet-friendly places along the way, so I could tag along, and (like my people) I’d been looking forward to it for months. But I’ve heard my fair share of jibber jabber from my mom and dad about gas prices being at almost $4 a gallon (whatever that means), and I can’t help but deduce that is what nailed the coffin in our great American road trip. Instead, they settled for a quick mid-week getaway to a spa that’s a couple hours away. Mom calls it her “happy place” and I could tell how happy she was that she convinced dad to like it too.

The more time I’ve spent getting treats from grandma, playing chase with Buddy, and staring at this big beautiful fireplace, the less sad I am that I’m not cooped up in a car for all that time. Don’t get me wrong, car rides are among my most favorite things in the world, but a dog also needs to get outside and stretch his (or her) legs. The ride would have been about 27 hours round-trip, and that is a lot by anyone’s standards.

And now, as I stare at the sparks in the fire, my thoughts turn to how happy I am that they are happy, wherever they are. Which brings me full circle to my very reason for blogging in the first place.

“The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow,” wrote great American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox. When I started this blog, I set out to share 365 days of my unique perspective on joy from the ground up–my divine spark–with whomever wanted it. The response has been overwhelming. The friends and family I’ve made have been powerful additions to my life. For me, this blog is like those sparks I’ve been watching all day in the fire. They’ve caught fire in their own little doggie blog way, and I can only hope the fire of joy is burning in at least a few more hearts now than before I started this journey.