Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Ordinary Extraordinary Hero March 2, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:32 pm
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My HeroesIt’s a moment my forever mom has dreamed about her whole life. And she didn’t even know it. She has gotten sneak peaks equivalent to movie trailers the last couple of months. But that could not have prepared her for what happened today.

Today, baby Carter became an ordinary extraordinary hero to me. Because today, he became an ordinary extraordinary hero to my mom. Sure, it’s happened before. But never like this. He smiled. On purpose. A lot. He smiled when she talked to him. He smiled when she laughed at him. And the best part? The smile got captured on camera. That moment will forever be frozen in time. And for me it will be frozen in my heart.

“I think that we all do heroic things, but a hero is not a noun, it’s a verb,” as American actor Robert Downey, Jr. suggests.Happy Doggie

It certainly rang true here in the Schmidt home tonight. Because here’s the thing – the smile itself can’t be any bigger than an inch or so. In reality it is so tiny. Yet it brought my beloved mom to tears today. It’s a moment that’s been dreamed about a lot longer than it lasted. In the blink of an eye, it was gone. But that’s the thing about firsts – God willing, it won’t be the last.

 

 

If You Can Dream It November 21, 2013

A lot of things happen in my sleep. It’s like when I close my eyes, they open to a world of possibility. Sometimes it’s silliness (like when I have wings and can fly with the birds). Sometimes it’s purely hope (like my hopes for forever happiness with my beloved family). Other times, I relieve unfortunate events of the past or find myself fearful of bad things happening in the future.

DreamingToday I experienced both sides of the spectrum while my people were away at that place called work. I dreamt of a time I felt unsafe, but not for myself. I felt unsafe for my little person at the time, Jo, who was facing another confrontation with the man with the leather belt. Feeling fearful on behalf of another is almost worse than feeling it for yourself, I realize, since you have even less control over the situation.

Then I saw something fabulous. Something joyful. Something that looked a whole lot like the pictures I’ve seen floating around what my people call the Internet. The photos tell the story of Beau and Theo, a little person and his puppy brother, who have synchronized their sleep schedules and now nap together in all sorts of cuteness. Except in my dream it was me and my own little person (who looked oddly like Jo). We were peaceful and content. But more importantly we were dreaming.

They say two minds are better than one, and I can testify to that. I can’t tell you what we were dreaming about (in the dream) because then it won’t come true.

Thinking about all of this made me realize it’s kind of funny to me the way life imitates art in this way. (Or is it art imitates life?) Just as we fear, we also hope. Or as Suzanne Collins put it in her novel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, “hope is the only thing more powerful than fear.”

Waking and sleeping, the mind is a powerful thing. It can take us places we never dreamed possible, both good and bad. But that’s okay. Because sometimes we need the bad to remember to celebrate the good. And if we can dream it, it is reality if only for those brief moments. That is – and always will be – enough.

 

Dreams Are Dreams September 13, 2013

Some things just aren’t meant to be. It would take a miracle (for example) for me to fly. Or ride a roller coaster. Or walk on the moon. Just because all of these things happen frequently in my daydreams doesn’t make them real.

But let’s say (just for a minute) things that happen in our dreams really do come true. I could finally catch those elusive squirrels that taunt me in the backyard. I could whine my doggie guts out on The Whizzer at Six Flags (yes, the starter coaster – don’t judge). And perhaps one day us dogs will walk on the moon. How amazing would all of this be? Snarky Sparky

I think there’s general misconception about these things in our society. We have our dreamers who think anything is possible, we have our realists who keep the dreamers grounded, and we have our pessimists who don’t bother thinking outside the box. I (obviously) fall into the first category, but I have characters in my life who I know have given up on their dreams. They may not say so, or even admit it to themselves, but they’ve stopped reaching for those goals. And it breaks my heart.

I’ve said it before, but it seems even more relevant now. The journey can be half as much (if not more) fun as the destination if we only let it be. It’s one thing to drive across America to get from A to B. It’s something totally different to stop and see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas on your way to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. To take the scenic route through Minnesota instead of the highways. To hike through the mountains of Tennessee rather than drive. These are the moments that make a journey worth living.

There are two ways to look at things, and I think this dog Frankenstein is the perfect demonstration of both.

To our realists, it appears the prize is just out of reach. To our pessimists, the goal is simply unattainable. But to our optimists, our dreamers, it looks like he is (at the very least) having fun making his dreams come true no matter how stubborn and challenging they may be.

I think we can all take a lesson from Frankenstein. It’s one thing to respect that some things just aren’t meant to be. Let’s face it: the chances of me ever being able to fly, ride a roller coaster or walk on the moon are pretty slim. But dreams are dreams and I will still have fun trying.

 

Reach For the Stars September 6, 2013

I saw a shooting start last night. And I made a wish. But I can’t tell you that or it won’t come true.

I can tell you it was a night to remember. My mom took me along to grandma’s house, which is exciting on its own without the surprise that awaited me. Alas, my aunt was visiting from out of town so that means my usual source of attention (my mom) had just multiplied by three (to include my grandma and my aunt).

When You WishMy cousin Buddy was there too, so we wrestled and chased and engaged in our epic dog staring contests (all of which I reigned victorious). I scored a whole bunch of people food treats, including the residual ice cream from my aunt’s dessert plate. Amidst everything I was busy doing, I noticed the upbeat conversation focused on all things baby. Everything from how mom is feeling to baby name brainstorming was on the table for discussion.

And as much as I enjoyed all of this, the best part came later. The air was cool and quiet as all five of us sat outside and stared at the night sky. The great and powerful “they” say us canines can smell fear. But that’s not the only thing we can sense. In the silence of these precious moments I smelled joy. I could feel it like a cloud hovering like a protective blanket around us.

I’m generally not a noisy dog (other than when I bark protectively at any and every animal on the television – live or animated, canine or reptile), but in that moment I felt an instinctual desire to howl at the moon. Not because I wanted to communicate with other dogs as part of a hunt. Not because I was left outside too long. Rather because I wanted to share the overwhelming sense of joy I had in that moment I saw the shooting star.

I still can’t tell you what I wished for, but I can tell you this much about wishcraft. “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do,” Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance. “Don’t just entrust your hopes an wishes to the stars. Today begin learning the craft that will enable you to reach for them.”

 

Listen Up, World July 22, 2013

I’ve got something to say. It’s nothing new or out of the ordinary. It’s nothing I haven’t already said before. But that doesn’t negate its meaning.

I love you world!I took a moment to pause today to reflect back on the last seven months of blogging every day. Like any journey, there have been high and low points. There have been days that overflow with inspiration and ideas, and days I’ve written about chasing flies. (It’s a truly fruitless task that never seems to end well, yet I can’t seem stop writing about it). There are days I am proud of my words and days I struggle to believe anyone wants to read what I have to say.

Yet all of these stops along the way lead back to a common theme. All of my most popular musings have something incredibly obvious in common. Love. For family, friends, the blogosphere, and life. Love. Shared with whomever will take it. Love and the role it plays in life. It’s no surprise to me that love is the tie that binds, but the way I see it that’s not really the point.

Here we are in this big (occasionally scary) world and we’re hungry for it. We long and lust after it. And, as Mother Theresa accurately suggested “the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” We hunger for this love, this essential ingredient in a healthy diet of life. I find this both ironically sad and inspiring, as it demonstrates a desperate need that can so easily be filled. The invigorating power of love lies within each and every one of us – all we have to do is find our own unique way to share it.

It doesn’t have to be big showy love to make a difference either. A little goes a long way. Take it from me, a dog blogger with a dream to share joy with the world through these very words. Blogging every day for the last seven months hasn’t always been easy, but it’s how I’ve chosen to share my love with the world. A dog’s life is about as simple as it gets, based firmly in this most basic of human emotion. Love. A little goes a long way.

Listen up, world. I know nothing I’m saying is novel. It’s nothing I haven’t already said. And it’s nothing big coming from a five-year-old rescue dog living happily ever after in suburban America. But I still think it needs to be said as often to as many people as possible. Great Indian thinker Mahatma Gandhi once said “where there is love there is life.” Listen up, world. I love you!

Top Posts Since December 2012

1. God’s Gift to Me – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/04/20/gods-gift-to-me/comment-page-1/

2.  Paw-sing to Share Love – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/05/17/paw-sing-to-share-love/

3. Home is Where the Heart Is – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/01/28/home-is-where-the-heart-is/

 

My Racing Thoughts July 11, 2013

I ran a marathon today. I ran through snow, rain, sun, and leaves. I ran through valleys, mountains, rivers and oceans. Through marshmallow clouds and tornados. Good, bad, or ugly, I ran 26 miles right through everything God threw at me. Then I woke up.

There I was, in the same cozy place as I was when it all started, and I realized I hadn’t actually moved at all. It had all been a dream. And a somewhat intense one at that. I’ve spoken before about my fondness for running wild and free, and my consequent patience in understanding that I instead remain leashed the majority of the time I’m outside. (Heaven forbid I run too far and never find my way back to my forever home). So it doesn’t surprise me that I dream of running and running and running until I can’t run anymore.

What surprised me was the perseverance I had in my dream. As unusual as the combination of hurdles was, nothing could stop me on my mission. Not the changes in the season, nor the struggle up the mountains. I appreciated the valleys, knowing each led to the beautiful stillness atop the next mountain. I didn’t get caught up in the beautiful clouds or the life-changing tornados. I had my eyes on the prize.

Tired from the run

In my dream the prize was the world’s largest dog bone, wrapped in bacon (the real stuff, not any of that Beggin’ Strip garbage) and covered in peanut butter. In reality, my thoughts kept racing after I woke up, but not toward the bacon goodness.

Instead I found myself contemplating the meaning of the marathon dream. I realized my thoughts are like that sometimes; racing along without a care in the world because I know my purpose in life. “Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness,” suggested American inspiration Helen Keller. “It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” My racing thoughts never tire like I did in my dream, always thinking, playing, planning, and dreaming. Always dreaming. And always with purpose. I find it’s pretty easy to do with all that extra time the marathon of life affords us.

Sure, some days are better than others. The sun is shining, and we are at the very top of the mountain breathing in God’s creation that surrounds us. Other days, every step we take is labored as we journey through stormy situations. Some days are marathons. Others are sprints. But perseverance fed by passion and purpose are unstoppable no matter what hurdles come at us.

I didn’t actually go anywhere today. I stayed in my safe, cozy place on the couch. But that didn’t stop me from running a marathon in my dreams. Now where’s my ridiculously delicious prize?

 

 

 

Dreaming to Wake April 19, 2013

I woke up this morning and I didn’t feel like myself. I felt taller. I felt stronger. Best of all, one of my most insane dreams in life came to life. I could speak human. I looked in the mirror and it all came together. I was my forever dad. Maybe I dreamed too much last night about my forever parents switching places. Maybe this too is a dream. Or is it?

While I would usually sleep my way through the majority of the morning, today the alarm woke me up. I got in the shower (the shower!) and washed myself, which is something I’ve only ever done with my tongue. Not to mention my dislike for the shower, in addition to being awake so early. I got dressed in something other than my doggie Packer jersey and drove the car to that place they call work. What an experience that was! While I’m not that big a fan of being dressed (or wearing shoes!), I do love car rides and somehow the driving came pretty naturally.

At this point in the day I was pretty darned hyped up to be living this new life. I was finally able to tell my forever mom how much I loved her before I left, drive a car (which is one of my biggest doggie wishes) and now I was discovering what this place called work was like! It must be exciting for my dad to be gone at this place for five days a week. I met all the people I’ve heard him talk about, and only my dad’s friend Kyle mentioned that I’d forgotten to zip up my pants. (Can you blame me, if I’ve never worn pants before?)

That’s when things took a turn for the worst. I went to my dad’s desk where there were two computer screens looking at me. I kind of remember mom saying something about him being some sort of engineer and wondering what that meant. Well, not only do I know absolutely nothing about engineering, I had no idea what to say to the computers. I’ve obviously done my fair share of blogging, but this was definitely new to me. The minutes ticked by, turning into hours, and I couldn’t believe how long the day felt. And here I’d thought my days of naps were so long because I wasn’t with my people? This was far worse. I found myself wondering how long this bizarre situation would last. Would I ever be me again? Fast AsleepFeeling Sleepy

Indeed, I would be me again. In fact, I was me all along. The rustling of the mailman coming by with the mail this afternoon woke me from what might have been one of the deepest sleeps I’ve had recently. it seems I was somehow dreaming within a dream.

Today made me realize there’s this thing about dreams. Regardless of when they happen (awake or asleep), they teach us something about what we’re really thinking. Best known for his thoughts on personality theories and psychological archetypes, psychologist Carl Jung laid foundations for what would become analytical psychology. I may not be that big a fan of this particular facet of thinking, but I do agree with his thought that he “who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

I can’t say for sure whether I was looking outside or inside in my dream. What I do know is that I have a newfound respect for my dad and his place called work. I now know it’s nothing I could do every day, but I respect him that much more for what he does. Somehow for me, my dreams have woke me up to a whole new world of perspective and appreciation for my blessings in life.

 

A Simply Spiritual Sanctuary February 21, 2013

I’m no stranger to feeling like an outcast. To feeling neglected and misunderstood. My misfit memories bring back visions of loneliness and hopelessness I often try to forget. But today is a day to remember. Today is a day to reflect and paw it forward to my fellow outcasts and misfits.

Today is the day because of a dream I had last night that I was gifted a plot of land and endless resources to do with it what I pleased. I know it sounds silly to afford a terrier like myself with such a gift, but I did not hesitate. The choice was simple. I had heard about a foundation that was raising money not just to provide a sanctuary for outcasts like I once was, but to offer them a second chance at emotional freedom from rejection.

“Through the art of compassion, the continuously devastating issue of bullying in our country could be approached in an intensely impactful manner that encourages healthy relationships,” the ISF web site reads. “We will bring the bruised together as a family to learn just how unique–and just very the same–we all are…and how if we unite…we are NOT the outcast, we ARE the UNSTOPPABLE. We believe in the understanding that all living creatures deserve dignity, love, compassion and the right to life.”

Bing defines sanctuary as “a safe place, especially for (those) being persecuted.” I was lucky. I found my refuge when my adoptive parents brought me into my forever home. I find my refuge every day when I have food, water, and the love that ties it all together. Not a day goes my that I don’t wish that for all of my brothers and sisters who have yet to find it.

It was that easy in my dream. I wished for my land to become the ISF sanctuary and it happened. I was there with them somehow, and we were all happy together, united in our misfit and outcast spirits. The grass was a beautiful green, the birds were singing and all was well with the world. I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed to wake up.

I don’t know how it was that the sanctuary came to life in my dream. I wished the it to be and it was. It was that simple in my dream. If only it could be that simple in real life.

 

Life in Slow Motion February 18, 2013

I’m a pretty simple dog. I have a fairly regular daily schedule that involves sleep, food, love, playtime, food, and more sleep. I can’t complain. But sometimes I do wonder what Rusty and other pals from my past would think of my life if they could somehow live it with me.Life in Slow Motion

I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life, and all of my fur friends, yet sometimes I long for perspective from those I can no longer reach. This curious loneliness often takes me by surprise. I know what Rusty would say about this, which is oddly similar to what Sarah Ban Breathnach advises in Simple Abundance. So today I take in my life in slow motion as one of these distant loved ones might do from doggie heaven.

“Mary Kingsley was a hunter of a dream: the knowledge of who she really was and her place in the world. So are you,” Breathnach writes. “Yet even without encountering the daily dangers she faced…you have embarked on an adventure as exciting as that of any explorer. Uncovering the source of the Nile or charting the course of the Amazon are outward parallels to the inner journey you are on today – a safari of the self and spirit.”

On my safari, I have learned everyone we meet becomes as big a part of ourselves as we let them. Sometimes the more we take in though our interactions with others, the more we get to know our authentic selves. And we are more likely to let them in if we let our guard down and take a risk. That is where our journey to self discovery can take a challenging yet necessary turn toward the unexpected dangers of life’s adventures. But it is ultimately up to us to find the purpose behind our fears and make something of ourselves.

Every now and then, I’ll be caught in the middle while my people parents throw around one of my toys and I find myself wondering if Rusty is looking down on me from doggie heaven. Would he be proud of me? I know he would be very happy with my efforts to see the good in all people and things. And he would be absolutely ecstatic to find out I’m sharing my joy with whoever I meet in the world and in cyberspace. But would I make him proud?

Of that, I’m not so sure. I’m a pretty simple dog living a fairly scheduled life. So I stay the course on my safari of self and spirit and hope my life in slow motion does as much for others as it does for me.