Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Get Rich Quick November 29, 2013

Shopping isn’t for me. I’ve tried it a few times when mom was kind enough to let me accompany her to dog-friendly stores and farmer’s markets and pet fairs. While I very much enjoyed the company (and the attention I inevitably draw at these sorts of places), the actual concept of shopping doesn’t trip my proverbial trigger.

I enjoy new toys and treats and fresh bags of dog food as much as the next canine. But the actual process of hunting for it? Not so much. I get far too distracted by the people. So it sounds like I would have been very distracted today, on what my people call Black Friday. I’ve never cared much for black (also known as the color of darkness, sadness and death) and I can’t say I care much for this day either.

Talking MoneyYesterday people all over the country celebrated. They counted their blessings. They cherished time with their loved ones. Then as early as last night, all of that was abandoned for shopping. It doesn’t make any sense to me that people go out and spend so much money on things (that really are just things) so soon after celebrating what they already have. Especially when those little green bills known as money have the power to make people so blue.

This is why I chose to invest differently. Not in things, but in people. My biggest fears were realized in a doggie nightmare I had last night when suddenly, for no rational reason, my people were gone. It was just me, back in a cage, somewhere I didn’t recognize. No other cages surrounded me. I was completely alone. Thank heavens mom woke me up from that particular nightmare. Reality never looked so beautiful.

I know I have it pretty good. I am blessed, as my mom would say. But I know why I’m so rich with blessings – my fortune is not in those little green bills or in the Christmas presents that (at the very least) do seem to bring as much joy to the giver as the receiver. No sir. My fortune is in the people who make my life special. You can go shopping for a lot of things, but you can’t shop for those people. For friends. Or family. These are the true riches in my little doggie life.

 

More or Less August 12, 2013

I don’t think dogs are wired to understand the people concept that less is more. I’m sure I don’t speak for all of us, but I certainly don’t leave spare kibbles in my bowl. Not a single scrap of people food hits the floor that I don’t scoop up. One toy is just never enough. But I suppose this all makes sense because we live with our whole honest selves. We wear our hearts on our proverbial sleeves. And we love with all our hearts.

2013-06-28 21.17.47I was reminded of this today when I heard a familiar phrase on television. “Amateurs built the ark; experts built the Titanic.” I’m not certain of the origin of this philosophical commentary, but I’m drawn to it for obvious reasons. Not only does it challenge us to try something new, to challenge conventional wisdom, but it aligns with another truth I hold dear about judging a book by its cover.

Don’t do it. Easy as that.

It is in contradictions such as these that I find myself pondering things on a more philosophical level. In general more is more to me, yet I believe in extracting joy from the simple things in life. I believe in giving that book with a seemingly boring cover a read simply out of principal. I believe in second chances. These are not declarations of someone who doesn’t understand how less can possibly be more.

Maybe that’s the amateur in me. It’s the same part of me that can’t leave any food and prefers the company of all my entire comfort circle of toys rather than a simple representation. But just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I push an idea aside. Quite the opposite, in fact, to the point that I want to learn something from everything. I would much rather build something on faith and understanding than on vanity and luxury anyway.

So perhaps I’ve been going about this whole less is more concept the wrong way. It’s not one way or the highway. When we love with our whole selves, down to our core, whether we have more or less of something doesn’t matter.

 

The Company We Keep July 5, 2013

Advertising works. I’ve seen it happen in forever home enough to know it to be true. That latest miracle face cream appearing in the bathroom a few days after the commercial. The occasional trip for ice cream after a tempting tease between classic “Friends” episodes. Even that new kind of dog food that (definitely doesn’t taste as good but) is supposed to be better for me.

This came to my mind as I made the best of my people deciding to watch entirely too much television when they got home from that place called work today. Here it is, a gorgeous afternoon and evening, squandered away with mindless chatter. We could have gone for a walk, or to the dog park, or on a car ride! But as I’m in the habit of finding the silver lining in things, I pawed my way into the perfect cuddle spot between my two favorite people and joined in the (albeit incredibly boring) family activity.

Watching TVCommercials always have a way of catching my attention (usually because of the animal activity) and tonight I got to thinking about one particular type of commercial that used to be a head-scratcher to me. The dating sites. We all know them. E-Harmony, Match.com, OurTime.com, and ChristianMingle.com are among the first to come to mind (see what I mean about advertising working?). I used to see those commercials and (somewhat mockingly) dream up my own personal ads.

SCM (single canine male), 5 people years, 24 inches, 22 pounds, with floofy tail and point ears seeks a friend for the end of the world. (Nope, sounds too desperate). SCM, 35 doggie years, 24 inches, 22 pounds, with a heart of gold and lots of joy to share seeks a female canine to spoil with love. (Too cheesy?) SCM, mysterious, seeks someone to enjoy the journey with as much as the destination. (I kind of like this one).I'm a Half Full Doggie

All joking aside, I didn’t believe in this cyber-dating concept until recently when I found a new home in the blogosphere. We are family here, friends joining together from all over the world to comment on life’s refreshing moments of silliness and embrace each other in moments of struggle. It reminds me of one of the first moments I found myself just outside my mother’s protective cuddle zone when I was a puppy.

At first I was all alone in the tremendously bright sun feeling miles away from my mom and brothers who had all been cuddled so closely together for what felt like forever. (It was really only the first few days of my life, but time has a way of dragging when all you can do is sleep, eat, and sleep some more). In reality, I only felt far away from my family because of the closeness we had previously shared. Then I remembered I was there, out in the open, with my brothers and mom by my side. Suddenly it wasn’t so scary anymore. I didn’t know it then, but the company I kept in those terrifying moments made them worth living.

“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary simply by doing them with the right people,” suggested American actress Elizabeth Green. Advertising has a way of making even the least desirable things seem necessary. But when the rubber meets the road, we don’t need the miracle moisturizer, ice cream cone or even the fancy designer dog food (that tastes like cardboard). We need people in our life to share moments with, even if it means cuddling together in front of the TV instead of enjoying the great outdoors. From our everyday people to the family we create on the world wide web, the company we keep make moments worth living.