Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

With My Thoughts March 4, 2014

I thought I had forgotten what it sounds like. Which is okay with me, since I never really cared for it in the first place. But I’m not going to lie. Today it wasn’t so bad. Silence. From the ground up, the sounds of silence brought me joy today.

It was the first day in what feels like a very long time that I was all alone at my forever home for an extended period of time. In the past, this would have made me a bit melancholy. I would have spent the majority of the time wishing I were with them on whatever adventure they were encountering. But today they took with them all things noisy and it wasn’t so bad. Deep thinking

I think everyone needs some alone time every now and then, so I can’t say I minded it. There I was, alone with my thoughts. Alone to count my blessings. Like my spot basking in the afternoon glow in the windowsill. And the treats they left me as a consolation prize for not accompanying them on their journey. And my family. My beloved family.

Suddenly I missed them so. They hadn’t been gone long at all, and (based on the amount of things I saw bursting from the diaper bag) I knew they would be gone quite a while longer. So I made the most of it. I made the most of my time alone with nothing but my doggie bed and the silence I hadn’t realized I missed.

It’s funny what perspective can do to your thoughts. Silence is generally not my friend, yet it was today because it allowed me to reflect on the power thoughts can have on emotions.

“You are the architect of your own destiny,” suggests motivational speaker Brian Tracy. “You are the master of your own fate; you are behind the steering wheel of your life. There are no limitations to what you can do, have, or be. Accept the limitations you place on yourself by your own thinking.”

I didn’t think it was possible. But it’s true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. I was so very happy to see them return from what appears to be an epic shopping excursion. It didn’t matter that they didn’t bring anything for me. Because they brought themselves. Home. From the ground up, that’s the best thing that happened all day.

 

Tears of Joy August 10, 2013

For me, its in the simple things. Pursuing  a squirrel in the backyard (even if it outsmarts me). Making myself comfortable on the patio furniture (which I know is naughty). Jumping three feet in the air to catch a tennis ball (even though I always lose interest after a catch or two). These are things that bring me joy. Nothing fancy, right?

Well, the strangest thing has been happening around here lately. My mom has been finding joy in everything. At face value, I suppose this wouldn’t sound strange, and yet I can’t quite wrap my little doggie mind around it. While much of it is triggered by the same things as always (shoes, family time, Paul Rudd’s humor – you know, the usual), some of it is surprising me. I’ve come to understand laughter as an expression of joy (for example), but this whole tears of joy thing throws me for a loop.

I didn’t used to think people tears were a bad thing, but lately I’ve seen enough of them to second guess myself. She cries all the time, over the simplest things. Don’t get me started with that Wishbone commercial where the golden retriever welcomes his person home from that place called work. Tears every time. Today dad came home with a bag of treats (for me) and a bag of clothes (for the baby). Out came the tears again.

But I know with certainty these are not tears of sadness, grief, or anger. These are tears of joy. And apparently they are somehow linked to something called hormones. She’s apparently always had them, but she says they are heightened right now because of the pregnancy. I’ve heard mom and dad talk a bit about this, because mom’s tears usually trigger dad’s giggles (which mom doesn’t usually appreciate). I don’t know why dad gives her a hard time about it either. From what I’ve heard about pregnancy hormones (and their impact on patience, anger and tension), I’ll take the tears any day.

For mom, it’s in the simple things. I’m not sure what did it during my escapades in the backyard today, but it happened nonetheless. There I was, getting my joy on with squirrels, patio furniture and tennis balls. And there she was crying tears of joy. To be honest, that might be my new favorite thing about joy. From the ground up, it’s contagious in all of its forms.

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Mind Over Matter July 7, 2013

I won an argument with a fly today. It was buzzing around the house all day driving me crazy with its zigs and zags. The more it buzzed, the more I felt like it was taunting me. You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me! Oh yes I can, Mr. Fly. And (after yet another epic battle of the minds) I did. I caught you and all of your incessant buzzing, Mr. Fly!

It was a very different ending than a similar battle I had about two weeks ago. I lost the argument that day, after what seemed like an eternity of jumping, twisting, chasing and growling. Victory evaded me that day. But not today. Today I trade feelings of defeat for feelings of regret as I now feel like the buzzing continues in my tummy.

Not Feeling My Best

If there is something us canines don’t all fully understand it’s the people practice known as moderation. Our misunderstanding is probably at its worst when we’re puppies and have yet to learn the dos and don’ts of living with people. Do eat your food when it is provided to you. Don’t get so excited about your food that you spill it all over the floor. Do accept treats in reward for tricks. Do not beg for people food at the table. (Or, better yet, do not attempt to jump onto the table to retrieve the people food yourself). You get the idea.

Generally speaking, I don’t struggle with the concept. All good things in moderation. Understood. But I blame my nomadic lifestyle as a puppy for one area I lack control. I ate what I could when I could. There was no picking and choosing, and (when I was living with other street dogs) if you didn’t eat fast you didn’t eat. I know this is different in my forever home, where there is never short supply of dog food, treats, rawhides and various other chew toys. I would prefer this life to my previous time as a puppy nomad any day. Yet my mind always seems to beat my stomach in the ultimate battle royale in self control.

In the meantime, I seriously need to learn my lesson when it comes to eating live things. No matter how small, the pursuit is always more exciting than the finale. It makes me wonder about this mind over matter thing. It’s another one of those people practices that occasionally leaves us canines stupefied. But experience has taught me things that confuse us are often those most important for us to seek to understand. As American evangelist Charles Swindoll suggests, “the secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.” I suppose he’s right. I’d much rather have freedom in excellence than win a battle that leaves my tummy feeling funny.