Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

On Kindness and Diaper Wipes November 18, 2013

It’s not rocket science. I know it might be a mystery to the two-legged observer, but our canine bathroom routine is far from complicated. It’s all part of my process. I go outside, do my business, enjoy extra-curricular activities (like staring at the birds, attempting to chase off squirrels and occasionally conversing with Demon Dog), and come back inside.

I don’t use a toilet, let alone flush it. I don’t wash my paws when I’m done. And I certainly don’t use toilet paper. My Bathroom

So you can imagine how out of place I felt this weekend as I listened to a long and serious conversation my forever parents had about something called a wipes warmer. This contraption, which apparently warms diaper wipes to what is supposed to be a more comfortable temperature, has joined the ever-growing pile of baby things accumulating in the nursery. And my people are torn about its necessity amongst things like the diapers and wipes themselves.

While I consider it to be completely unnecessary (given my previously aforementioned bathroom behaviors), their conversation got me to thinking about what people refer to as the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done to you. I highly doubt either of my people would like it if they were being woken up to go to the bathroom several times a night. Add to that some freezing cold toilet paper and you’ve got two very upset people. So why would you do essentially the same thing to a little person?

I’ll be honest. I think the wipes warmer is hogwash. But the argument for having one is incredibly solid. “Carry out a random act of kindness,” Princess Diana suggested, “with no expectation of reward, safe in  the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” While the sincerest acts of kindness and compassion require nothing in return, these things have a way of coming back to us in one way or another.

It doesn’t take much. It’s not nearly as complicated as our canine bathroom routine may seem to the two-legged observer. And it certainly doesn’t require anything to warm it to a conceivably agreed upon temperature. Something as seemingly insignificant as a smile (or in my case an enthusiastic tail wag) can contain within it more power than a thousand words. Forget the artificial warmer. Kindness. Compassion. The Golden Rule. These are the words of true warmth.

 

From the Ground Up October 28, 2013

Scientists claim us canines can understand somewhere between 100 and 200 people words. I say that’s hogwash. What these calculations can’t account for is our keen awareness of human emotion, which so frequently is hard to encapsulate into a word.Gaining Perspective

Treat. Outside. Dog park. These are words a dog comes to know. Sit, lay down, roll over. These are tricks of the canine trade. But love, faith, forgiveness and loyalty? These are words to live by. In a constantly evolving language, these words remain steadfast.

I have never been a big supporter of the “less is more” philosophy, but perhaps there is some insight to be gained from it in the case of conversation. Sometimes less really is more, given the understanding is there to aid in translation. My favorite Lebanese thinker Khalil Gibran challenged that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

I know mine certainly wouldn’t be treats, outside, dog park, sit, laydown and rollover. Mine would be the foundations from which all other language could be understood. Forgiveness. Compassion. Loyalty. Love. Laughter. Faith. Joy. From the ground up, these would be my seven words of choice because these are words us canines know inside and out.

We don’t hold grudges. We know when to be still and listen. We pause (in all our overwhelmed excitement) to welcome our loved ones home whether they’ve been gone five minutes or five days. We love unconditionally – and find creative ways to show it. We know how to bring fun to the party. We know who we are – and embrace it. We have faith in ourselves, which enables us to have faith in others. And, through it all, we know how to bring the light of joy into the darkest of situations.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life,” Gibran suggested, “not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

Scientists have their theories. And maybe they’re right. But they didn’t account for the unique perspective we canines bring to human emotion. Literally and figuratively, there’s this thing about the attitude I chose to bring to life. When you see life from the ground up as I do, you are already on the ground. Regardless of how you got there, you are at ground zero. And there is no where to go but up.

 

Making Happiness a Habit March 11, 2013

The great and powerful “they” say it takes 21 days to get into a new habit. Good, bad or indifferent as the habit may be, I’d have to say I agree. On day 22 in a row of writing this blog, my newly certified habit found its words in a post on how money can’t buy happiness. As I reflect on that day, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I had happiness on my newly habitual mind.Happy Blogging!

Fast-forward to today: my 81st day in a row blogging every day and it is definitely a happy day in my life. Today I hit a landmark of 1,000 likes on Wiley’s Wisdom, which inspires me to contemplate Mahatma Gandhi’s words on happiness. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” Gandhi reminds us. I celebrate this happiness today.Joy

It hasn’t been easy blogging every day. I often worry about whether my stories are even interesting or my thoughts insightful. But this isn’t about me. It is about my heartfelt mission in life to share my thoughts on joy with as many people as possible through what I say, and that is exactly what I will continue to do.

So today I choose share the happiness I feel with you. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” as Gandhi would say. To every single one of you who have supported me, offered me feedback, and (in all honesty) been a friend to me: thank you. I’ve never really had friends before, at least not in the practical sense. Yet in less than three short months since I started Joy: From the Ground Up, I now have more than 150 of them. I am so blessed.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I wrote one of my first posts on happiness the day after it became an unconscious habit for me. When it comes to coincidence I am also a believer in something I call “God things.” You know, those moments when the stars align, the heavens open up and the birds sing our most favorite harmonious song. Or when you think, say and do are in harmony, as Gandhi would say. But there’s this thing about those moments that I can’t help but find thought-provokingly ironic. You have to actually pause to appreciate them or the moment may just pass you by. I don’t think I have to worry about that anymore. It’s official: happiness is a habit for me now.