Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Best of Friends February 7, 2015

I may be a bit biased in saying so, and it might not be that popular an opinion. But for the most part I think people friendships are a bit overrated. There, I said it. Now let me explain.

I’ve always been a believer in a family favorite quote to “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” Life has taught me these things. And as a canine, I feel like we are born with an innate desire to do things that have earned us that famous title of man’s best friendThrowback to my first few days at my forever home

We are loyal. We love unconditionally. And we always listen quietly with a completely open heart. If we are lucky enough to be welcomed into a forever home, those people become our world. It’s that simple.

Maybe that’s the problem I’ve found so frequently with interpersonal relationships I observe. They’re never simple.

They’re messy and complicated and sometimes people aren’t loyal. Sometimes people don’t love unconditionally. Sometimes people would much rather be heard than listen. Therein lies the fundamentally simple yet surprisingly complex problem that is human emotion in friendships.

Yet that is also what I’ve found makes them so special. Every relationship is unique, with its own story of origin and development. And it seems these imperfections are also what breathes life into friendships in the first place.

Today mom celebrated friendship. She had lunch with a couple of her closest friends, a rare occurrence since she and dad brought home dear baby Carter all those months ago. I could tell it brought her joy, not only from how happy she seemed when she made it home, but from how much I know she looked forward to it beforehand.

Something about time with good friends can do that. Just as I know sometimes things don’t always go as planned and feelings get hurt and things get complicated, friendship can rejuvenate the soul like few other things can.

It doesn’t change my biased and admittedly unpopular opinion that, for the most part, interpersonal friendships are overrated. Because in my heart I know I love my people more than any of their people friends do. But I also know the joy that warms my heart when they are happy. I know because they’re my best friends. It’s as simple as that.

 

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Smiling Eyes January 24, 2015

I didn’t mean it. I couldn’t help it. I don’t know why it happened. And I’m sorry now.

I did a terrible thing last night. I know I can’t take it back, but I certainly wish I could. It was bath time, which I’ve recently shared has become something of an event around the halls of my forever home. It involves the nakie baby run down the hallway to the bathroom where bath time ensues before bedtime. It’s a whole lot of silliness that breeds joy, from the ground up. Morning love

Until last night. I don’t know what came over me really. One second, we were playing chase and the next minute he had little pink lines running down either side of his body. From me.

It’s important to note that I would never intentionally hurt him. Ever since the day he came home from the hospital all those months ago, I vowed to protect and love him as my own. That’s why I’ve survived the tail yanking, fur pulling and occasional eye gouging that has ensued with him since he figured out he loves me too.

So when I jumped on top of him as he journeyed down the hallway to the bathroom last night, I don’t know what got into me. But that didn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. Because those little pink lines running from his tummy to his calves on either side of his little man body were my fault.

My paws didn’t break skin. And he didn’t cry. But that doesn’t change the fact that I hurt my little person. We all went about the routine as usual, but I thought about it a lot afterward.

It’s terrible that it happened. I wish I could take it back. But sometimes you just can’t. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we say and do things that hurt those we love. Intentions aside, the pain is real.

Fortunately for me so is forgiveness. After the initial disappointment from both of my beloved forever parents wore off, it was like nothing ever happened. And when Carter saw me for the first time when he woke up this morning, his face lit up just like it always does. “Doggie,” he said, with smiling eyes. And all was right in the world.

 

Mr. Fancypants December 9, 2014

Some things in life really are unnecessary. Like pants (at least in my case). Yet I hear this phrase Mr. Fancypants thrown around and it gets me to thinking.

It happened again tonight when mom and dad had the television on as dear baby Carter ran around (you read that right, a few weeks into walking and he’s already starting to gallop). There was some show on about Hollywood people that was featuring their extravagant mansions. It  was barely a whisper, but I heard dad mutter under his breath something or another about hating those people for having what they have. Standing Strong

Mom must have heard it to, because she stopped what she was doing in the kitchen and asked him why. It’s a question he couldn’t really answer other than to admit there is a great deal of farce behind the jealousy that’s all to easy to fall into.

He talks frequently about winning the lottery, too. Like that will solve all of life’s problems. I know he means well, and I also know this is coming from me, one who does less than nothing to contribute to the bottom line around here, but I think it’s all a little ridiculous. And those mansions? Who needs 56,000 square feet on a 30-acre lot anyway? That’s just silliness.

I also know money doesn’t grow on trees. I know it’s hard-earned. But I realized something today as I thought about all of the unnecessary things in life. Even if I were to come into a fortune of some kind, what on Earth would I do with it? I don’t think I could ever pass as a Mr. Fancypants (or pull off pants in the first place). And I don’t know that I would want to. Instead, I feel like I would find ways to help show my gratitude to my forever family for giving me the best life a dog could ask for.

Beyond that, I think it’s important that no matter where a person falls on the fancypants ladder, there will always be someone with more and someone with less than you. Perspective. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing. Especially when it comes to this scary thing called greed.

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction,” suggested German social psychologist Erich Fromm. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather feel satisfied. I’d rather avoid being in a bottomless pit. I’d rather feel alive.

 

So Late So Soon December 2, 2014

It’s not always easy. It’s a choice I make when I wake up every morning and a thought I affirm before I fall asleep each night. Yet after a certain amount of time has passed, it has become second nature. A habit of happiness, I call it.

One of the hurdles I find myself frequenting is similar to one my forever family also battles with pretty regularly. Anticipation. It’s a double-edged sword. In some cases, it brings as much (if not more) joy as whatever is being looked forward to. And that’s okay.Happy Post Love Fest

Though sometimes I wonder if we aren’t anticipating our lives away. I, for example, found myself longing for it to be the weekend. Already. It’s only Tuesday, which means there are three full days before the weekend officially arrives. Three full days I’ve just wished away.

It reminds me a bit of something I’ve heard mom say a few times since dear baby Carter was born. “It’s the best of times and the worst of times,” she’ll say, borrowing the words from English author Charles Dickens. Like her, I believe it can indeed be both kinds of time simultaneously. I think it often happens for growing middle class families around here. While I am all for embracing the good with the bad, there is a sense of melancholy about the words I can’t get behind.

It’s the same kind of melancholy I felt today when I realized my longing for the weekend was akin to wishing three days away. Three days to breathe. Three days to be blessed enough to wake up and start the day. Three days to love, live and find joy in the little every day things around me.

“How did it get so late so soon?” asked American writer Dr. Seuss. “Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how time has flew. How did it get so late so soon?”

Just because it is second nature to me doesn’t mean it’s always easy. I too have my struggles on my daily quest to find the good in the people, places and things that make up my life. But there is a constant that has a way of bringing things back into focus.

Time. From the ground up, it has a way of reminding me to press pause sometimes and think. About life and what it means to be alive. About how valuable time really is. About joy and how it lives in us. And today, about how somehow the best and worst of times can exist simultaneously and somehow manage to make us better. Stronger. Happier.

 

 

 

For Me It’s Both November 30, 2014

I have so many questions. So many general thoughts about life and all that makes it up. So many observations about people, places and things. And what I feel is a unique perspective from which to share all of this with whomever will take it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m babbling myself into some kind of intellectual abyss. Other times I feel like these questions, thoughts and observations have a way of coming together in a kind of harmony that I couldn’t replicate again if I tried. Like anyone I have good days and bad days. I know this reflects in my ongoing conversations with the blogosphere I have come to know as family in the last almost two years.Happy Blogging!

I can’t believe it’s been that long. In less than a month, I will have blogged every single day for two straight years. Seven days a week, 365 days a year, of joy, from the ground up. And while much of the obvious things in my life have remained static, I got to thinking today about how the world around me has changed so much since then.

Mom was recovering from knee reconstruction surgery all those months ago. She was laid up for what feels like forever, which I wouldn’t have minded if not for all the pain she was suffering through. Since then, our family of three has become a family of four and she has a different job that allows her more time at home with dear baby Carter and I. Dad liked me back then, but I know for sure he loves me now. And not just because he lets me snuggle with him more than he used to, but because he tells me he loves me when no one’s listening.

Life is different, simple as that, but I would take it as far as to say it’s better. Mom is happier, and an already stable marriage between my forever mom and dad is stronger. Carter is almost a year old and bringing more joy than frustration to all of us these days. Life is good.

When all of this started, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was I wanted to share my perspective on the joy in my world with whomever is interested enough to read my questions, thoughts and observations. Now I am blessed to have readers I’ve come to think of as family. It’s amazing what this thing called the Internet can do.

“Commitment is an act, not word,” suggested French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. In my case, it’s both. Because for better or worse, I am grateful to have your support through my good, bad, ugly, hysterical or downright challenging days. Amid all my curious musings, this is something I know for sure.

 

There’s Always Tomorrow November 28, 2014

It’s kind of a big deal. But from what I can tell, maybe it shouldn’t be. To me it sounds like a disappointment waiting to happen. And while I generally like being right, I can’t say I feel all that swell about it this time around.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a day to pause and be grateful for every single reason to feel blessed in one’s life. That means today is Black Friday, a day seeped in almost as many traditions as the holiday that precedes it for my forever mom. I’ve come to know what to expect out of today in my time with my people. There’s usually shopping. And feasting on leftovers. And probably a Christmas movie or two to foster the Christmas spirit that was sparked by the aforementioned shopping and leftovers.Better to Try

None of that went according to plan today. Too many people got in the way. Crabby, irritable, downright rude people. Everyone was in a rush. No one seemed to have any shred of concern for what was happening around them. Instead, they were focused on the madness of their self-inflicted chore of shopping. Never mind that in the majority of cases, the shopping is meant to share. To be generous. To show love for others. Never mind all of that.

Because aunt Edna really needed that last copy of Big Bang Theory Season 7 on DVD. And Grace could not wait one more minute to get that copy of Destiny for her grandson’s Playstation 4 out of the locked case. And Mary Ann needed to shove Lana out of the way to score a slightly better spot in a very long checkout line. Alas, the day meant to kick off the holiday season has seemingly evolved into a grotesque sparkplug that startles the bad out of even the best people.

It didn’t help matters that dear baby Carter was not having any of it. Likely still exhausted from all the family time yesterday, the poor kid did not enjoy being carted around to store after store of loud and grumpy people.

The resulting day was nothing at all resembling my mom’s dear tradition. Shopping yielded nothing but a general sense of disappointment in people. Leftovers were gobbled down while Carter screamed bloody murder in all his overtired glory. And time simply didn’t allow for Christmas movies.

I don’t usually dislike being right, but today is one of those days. From the stories I heard, it seemed the day brought out more greed than generosity. More cursing than common courtesy. More frustration than joy. From the ground up, this big deal of a day was instead a pretty big flop.

But there’s a truth I try to live that comes to mind after witnessing a day like today. There’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow is a new day. Thank goodness for that.

 

The Whole Way Home November 27, 2014

It’s one of my most absolute favorite days of the year. Not just because I get to see the extended members of my forever family. Or because of the delicious variety of table scraps I inevitably score throughout the day. It’s not even because I know I have a game or two of pickle in the middle to look forward to with some of my favorite (not-so) little people.

It’s because of how these things make me feel. Gratitude. From the ground up, it oozes out of my soul today, as our nation celebrates a day designated to pause and reflect on one’s blessings in life. Though this is something I try to do on a daily basis, there’s something special about today. Maybe it’s the time with family and those table scraps and after-dinner games. Or maybe it’s what happens when all that is over. Joy

That was the case for me today, as my most recognizable moment of blissful gratitude took me by surprise. It happened on the car ride back to my forever home. It was dark outside so no one could see it happening. Somehow that made it even more memorable for me. As has become the norm of late, mom was in the back seat with dear baby Carter, leaving me to her former spot in the passenger seat. This is an honor in itself, but that’s not all.

Soft music echoed through the car as dad drove, Carter napped, and mom sat in reflective silence in the back seat. In itself it was a perfect moment for our little family. But what completed it for me was dad’s hand. He pet me with his free hand the whole way home. Mom tells me all the time what I already know. She loves me bigger than the sky. Dad doesn’t have to say so. And no words were needed in that 40-minute car ride for me to know true gratitude.

Because today is one of my absolute favorite days of the year. I’ve never been at a shortage of reasons why I love it so much, but this year will always stand out from the crowd for its simplicity in silence. No one has to say a word for me to know real love.

That is what I am most grateful for today. The true and unconditional love I feel in my heart for my people. And even more so for the moments when no words are necessary for me to know for certain they feel it too.