Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Bless You! Learning from Life’s Sneezes February 5, 2013

I react pretty noticeably when my mom sneezes. First of all, its no quiet matter. It is a loud and intrusive sound that occasionally reverberates off the walls of our home. So when she sneezes, I run to her (regardless of where I am in the house) and sniff around her face a bit. I want to know what’s going on…I want to make sure she’s okay.

Jumping for Perspective

I heard once that when people sneeze, their spirit temporarily leaves their body. That is apparently why person two emphatically says “bless you” to person one; to ensure person one’s spirit returns safely to his or her body.

Initially, my reaction to this concept was incredibly negative. I hated the thought of a person losing their spirit for even a second. But the more I thought about it, I realized there could be something gained from that out-of-body perspective.

Like myself, transcendentalist poet e. e. cummings placed a high value on the kind of self awareness one can gain from perspective.

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit,” he wrote. Human and doggie alike, I believe something can be learned from everything. So perhaps life affords us with sneezes to force us to take a moment to reflect.

Sarah Ban Breathnach speaks of reclaiming our future in such moments of reflection in Simple Abundance.

“Today, deliberately turn away from the world,” Breathnach writes. “Absorb the shock of becoming aware that many of your preferences and opinions are not really your own. Begin, instead, to listen for the whisper of your authentic self telling you which way to go.”

Granted, a sneeze is hardly a whisper, but the concept of understanding our own authentic spirit better by turning away from distraction might take more than a whisper. Heck, for some people I know, it takes a full out, reverberating sneeze to pull away from the television, cell phone, computer, or whatever other bright shiny object grabs our attention next.

“Only when the clamor of the outside world is silenced will you be able to hear the deeper vibration,” Breathnach writes. “Listen carefully. Spirit’s playing your song.”

What do you hear?

Today’s post is dedicated to my dad. He has requested his picture not be used in the production of this blog, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say how very many pictures there would be to chose from. They all have a special place in my heart. Happy Birthday dad!


Glamorous Gratitude January 13, 2013

I think its ironic that today’s Simple Abundance reading challenges me to see the value of all things normal.

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching television and movie sensations strut their stuff on the red carpet of the Golden Globe awards.

There have been a lot of classy (and some not so classy) black, white and red dresses, lace, diamonds and names like Versace, Armani and Vera Wang. Sophia Vergara looks fabulous as always, Julianne Hough looks ravishingly rockstar, and Zoeey Deschanel is a vision in red. I just had a moment when I wish I had a bow tie even though the closest thing I have to the red carpet is the area rug in the living room.

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened Simple Abundance to see one of my favorite quotes by e. e. Cummings: “The eyes of my eyes are opened.” Today Breathnach dares us to dream in normality, to take a refreshed glance at life’s blessings. And so I am reminded that I do not need a bow tie. Watching these awards shows is fun and all, but even the stars have the dresses and jewels out on loan. They return them to Cartier, or Tiffany’s or wherever they borrowed them from.

It brings to mind something wise that singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos had to say on the matter of glamour: “to me glamour isn’t about being sparkly.” Its about opening our eyes to see the sparkle in everyday things and pausing to be grateful.