Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Silence Hurricane June 11, 2013

It was like a hurricane came through the house this weekend. My mom and dad spent the better parts of Saturday and Sunday whipping around cleaning and moving furniture. I’d never seen anything like it in my treasured time in my forever home, and it frankly freaked me out. Cleaning is one thing, but this interior design coup threw me for a loop. My mind filled with questions, the least of which was what brought this on? Why now? Are we leaving? What on Earth is going on?

While I found myself feeling inexplicably ill-at-ease and fearful of the implications of the changes, I remained calm with the hope that peace would be restored. The images of undressed beds, empty bedrooms, and torn apart linen closets I was experiencing brought to life a part of the Simple Abundance journey that I haven’t yet shared.

The recent musings of Sarah Ban Breathnach have focused on bringing peace, order and contentment to the soul by taking action to bring these things to life in the home. Since I have very little control over these things, I haven’t paid much attention lately to the suggestions to make subtle changes to rooms to allow more light into the heart.

“Many of us today experience creative silence,” Breathnach writes. “Not the hush of the heart necessary to bring forth the unexpressed from Spirit, but the creative silence brought about by circumstances we feel are beyond our control.”

Suddenly it made sense. Watching my parents work together to make our house an even more comfortable home no longer brought so many questions to my little doggie mind. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed the hustle and bustle. I realized that it doesn’t matter where this bed is or how the linen closet is organized as long as I have my own little safe haven of peace and serenity to continue my daydreams. I think we all need a place like that regardless of where we ultimately lay our heads at night. A little nook to call our own. Mine is my little doggie bed in the kitchen. More often than not, I prefer to cuddle up to whoever might be on the couch (or bed) but its reassuring to know I always have my little doggie bed to call my own. What’s yours?

“(We all need) a psychic space that offers passionate reminders to attend to your private, artistic impulses, a place to encourage you to reclaim your creativity,” Breathnach writes.

I’m not sure what sparked the hurricane of furniture in the Schmidt house this weekend, but I’m grateful it happened. What a pleasant reminder to silence the question-filled world around us so we can hear the faintly whispering tones of innate creativity coming to life.

 

 

 

I’m No Fool April 1, 2013

I don’t encounter many people in my average day. Generally, I see my adoptive parents and whoever mom and I run into in the neighborhood on our walks. I realized today one of many reasons that is simply not enough people time for me: I can’t share my joy with the world if I don’t encounter people with whom to share it. What a heartbreaking thought on this April Fool’s Day, a day traditionally reserved for happiness and merriment.

So I began this most recent holiday weekend with a challenge to myself to count every person I encountered. I wanted to bring joy to each of them, and count their smiles and laughs and successes on my mental scorecard. I may have lost the battle, but I most definitely won the war. While I was able to spend time 23 people who are blessings in my life, it was impossible to count their smiles and laughs. But I don’t see this as failure. I’m no fool, after all.

Twenty three was a pretty magical number for me this weekend. I eavesdropped on exciting conversations about career changes and upcoming confirmations, as well as sadder news of the recent funeral of a member of the extended family and word of an uncle being in the hospital. I performed tricks, played games and enjoyed more than my fair share of pets and love from every single person. I am exhausted today and I know exactly why that is the case.

As I half-daydreamed and half-napped my way through today, I realized something. I suppose it takes a certain amount of creativity and imagination for a dog like myself to blog. There’s definitely some who believe it’s silly of me to have Twitter and Facebook pages. And little ole me, publish a book? Forget about it. Here’s what all of those with little faith need to know: your doubt does nothing but fuel my passion to share joy that much more. I celebrate every single new follower on Twitter and Wiley’s Wisdom and do a little dance for joy when I make a new Facebook friend. Better yet, I embrace those who use social media in similar ways and listen with eager ears and a open heart to what they have to say. Hard at Work

The truth be told, I simply don’t see as many people as I wish I did in an average day. Please don’t misunderstand this as a complaint about my life in my forever home. I know it must be that way for other doggies and people alike. My dreams in life pour from the windows and doors of this place into a childlike vision of creativity and imagination into the wonderful world of social media where I too can be the difference I want to see in the world.

All Fool’s Day is a day to engrave the wisdom (of self-discovery) on our hearts, Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests in Simple Abundance. “It’s a perfect day for us to remember the importance of lightening up. A lighthearted sense of spontaneity is aligned with Spirit.” This is something I choose to not only remember today, but every day as I share my gift of light with the world.

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Hide and Seek No More February 28, 2013

Everything around me was gray. I was standing on a platform that appeared to be floating and not connected in anyway to the walls around me. It was flying down and I was struggling to keep my balance. “Newbie,” I heard someone mumble nearby. I didn’t look around because that would have made me lose my focus. Instead I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and…

my first thought upon waking this morning was I was happy to be alive. Shortly after that, my senses returned and I realized I was really hungry and really had to go outside. But when I opened my eyes and saw I wasn’t on that platform surrounded in gray plunging to what seemed like inevitable death, I knew I’d made it. I was blessed with another day filled with naps, treats, playtime and love. How lucky I am.

I know it isn’t this way for everyone. I will admit, it isn’t even always that way for me. It is a conscious choice we make each day to see it as a fresh canvas ready and waiting for our uniquely personal brushstrokes. And some days are not masterpieces. Or they don’t seem like it at the time at least. Even the works of Pablo Picasso confused (and, in some cases, continue to confuse) its viewers at first. “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” Picasso said. That’s not so confusing.

So today I take a page from Picasso’s sketchbook and paint myself a portrait of gratitude. By doing so, I breathe life into gratitude, just as Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests we take time to do in Simple Abundance. Two months ago, I reflected on Breathnach’s concept of a gratitude journal as a necessary part of the Simple Abundance experience in Hope in Gratitude.

“If you want to continue on this journey with me, the gratitude journal is not an option,” Breathnach scolds. “Why? Because you simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life.” One month ago, I challenged myself to write my own eulogy, forcing me to reflect on the value of life. Since then, I have taken Breathnach’s concept one tiny paw step further and made it a point not to separate my gratitude journal from my other musings, as a way to trick myself into being more grateful. And I would argue that my little trick with my mind is working. I’m not the same dog I was two months ago.Thankful to be Alive

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,” American president John F. Kennedy once said, “but to live by them.”

That is why I want to share my perspective with the world. It’s kind of like American comedian Jim Carrey said “I wake up some mornings…and I go, ‘remember how good this is because you can lose it.” I’m done playing hide and seek with life.

Instead when I wake I say here I am world, happy and alive.

 

Finding Freedom in Flangipropping February 1, 2013

Susan G. Wooldridge is one wise wordsmith. It has been a while since I picked up my copy of her book Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, but today I felt inspired to take a wordy walk down memory lane. As always, my walk with Wooldridge’s words did not disappoint. The beautiful scenery she paints for this “outlaw on a poem walk” bring poetry to life all around me.

“Poems arrive,” she writes in the introduction. “They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice them and give them form with our words. They take us to an invisible world where light and dark, inside and outside meet.”

The notes in the margins and the (admittedly) threadbare pages bear witness to the role this book has played in my life as a lover of words. Sometimes I think it takes a little crazy to see the world as Wooldridge does, but once you adopt her playfully poetic outlook on life its hard to turn back.

In honor of the cleverly creative cadence in her book, today I shall call the poetic philosophy it inspires flangipropping.

Flangiprop (verb): to find magic in an ordinary moment.

Whether we actively seek these moments out or they knock us over the head, poetry has the ability to form itself into life right before our eyes if we let it.

Again the words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind as he pointed out that “the question is not what you look at but what you see.” What a simply complex thought to consider on this, a day when Sarah Ban Breathnach challenges us to make time in our lives for creative excursions in Simple Abundance.

“In the beginning of any intimate relationship the best gift you can offer another person is the investment of quality time together,” Breathnach writes. “So it is with your authentic self.”

My authentic (word-loving) self invested time today in thought and reflection about how I can proactively welcome more poetry in my life. I’m no stranger to the concept, but it has been a while since flangipropping was a part of my daily life.

Those days are gone now that I’ve been reminded that when it comes to words, sometimes a little crazy sets us free.Flangipropping

 

Life in the Driver’s Seat January 22, 2013

Dreaming While DrivingIf you ask me, making the impossible possible seems a lot more attainable than it used to. Entire libraries have taken to tiny personal devices, televisions keep getting bigger, and computers keep getting smaller. Creative innovation never goes out of style, but its darned trendy right now. Heck, I’m starting to think people may find a way to make pigs fly in my lifetime.

So why not dream big? “Like pioneers on the trail, we will learn to live by our own lights and the stars of heaven, for that is all we need,” Breathnach write. My stars point north toward a whole host of possibilities. The world is my dog park, full of fun and opportunity.

That’s why I think I go into opportunity overload when I stop and think about what skill I would choose to master above all others. Sure, there’s obvious things like winning awards for agility or being the best at catch. Then, there is the other side of the possibility spectrum where I wish like no one’s business I could talk. But recently, I discovered it. My own personal pigs fly kind of dream all the way from my ground-level perspective. I want to become a master driver.

I know how it sounds, but a dedicated group of dog trainers in New Zealand have successfully trained some of my (very lucky) canine comrades to captain cars as a means to strum up adoption rates. Street smarts aren’t just about common sense, you know.

In all seriousness, there is a deeper thought behind my slightly zany (yet attainable) mastery mission. Among many variations of the definition of the word, Merriam-Webster defines drive as the operation and control of a mechanism. To drive is “to operate the mechanism and controls and direct the course,” the definition reads. While I am fascinated by the logical implications of the word, the philosophical meaning behind it has me feeling the most inspired. Most people can live life going through the motions behind the wheel, reacting to the world around them as they encounter it. Not me. I want to actively live life in the driver’s seat so I can direct the course to happiness.