Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Let The Worry Go October 18, 2013

It’s nothing new. Most of us are quite accustomed to it, in fact. Cold Wisconsin winter is no longer a possibility. It’s knocking at our proverbial back door.

I realized it tonight while I was outside in the 40-something evening air. It took my little doggie breath away. In the spring, people would be flinging aside their winter jackets for shorts and flip flops in this weather. Today on the other hand had people layering up with jackets and scarves. Ah, the magic of perspective.

We’ve gotten a bit spoiled with above-average highs in my part of the world, so I think it’s taking some people by surprise. It definitely woke me up enough so that my doggie thoughts started racing with concern. My little person is going to be born in the midst of the coldest time of year around here. January. And that crib contraption will not allow me any amount of nighttime snuggling. Then how on Earth will I keep this precious little person warm?It Looks Warm

That’s when I discovered it. Baby Alexis’ mom Jessica’s gift to my little person. It’s like a tiny cloud. A baby blankie. With a little picture of me on it! Well, not actually a picture of me, but the resemblance is uncanny. I was overcome with relief that even if I can’t keep the baby warm, a little piece of my heart can through that blankie. It wasn’t all that long ago I was gifted my birthday blankie, which I hold dear to my heart as a symbol of connection between my past and present. Well, in this blankie I see my future. And it looks warm.

“Instead of fretting about getting everything done, why not simply accept that  being alive means having things to do?” challenges American sociologist Martha Beck. “Then drop into full engagement with  whatever you’re doing, and let the worry go.”

It’s nothing new to us Wisconsinites. Winter is coming, and with it comes chilly nights. We should be used to it by now. I guess the real problem is the recurring worry I have about the care and protection of the baby. But life has taught me the importance of living in the moment, and that philosophy doesn’t leave much room for concern. Especially when there is cuddling involved.

Related posts

My Bittersweet Birthday Blankie – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/05/21/my-bittersweet-birthday-blankie/

 

Cheering For The Team September 8, 2013

It’s easy for me to forget sometimes. I go about my days seeking good in all people, places and things so why on Earth would I ever prepare for the worst? Instead I always expect the best. I guess you could say I’ve come to a place in my optimistic philosophy of life where I take good things for granted.

Because it’s not always good news. Sometimes the worst is reality. Like when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Or there was a car crash. Or there is something terribly wrong with the baby.

It didn’t even occur to me that something could be wrong with the baby. I know mom has been nervous enough about that for the lot of us, but I just assumed that all is well and in approximately 19 more weeks my little person will arrive home happy and healthy. Apparently that may not be the case.

The big ultrasound happened about a week and a half ago. The exciting one. You know, the one where they could find out the sex of the baby? But I’ve decided to continue withholding the results of that particular portion of the test. Because that’s not all it involved. From what I could tell from the conversation that followed the appointment, that wasn’t even the focus. Rather, the true purpose of the ultrasound was to see the baby. Measure the baby. Make sure the baby’s organs are developing in the right places inside the body.Hope

Hearing all of this shocked me to my little doggie core. Well of course the baby looks good, is growing at a healthy pace and has a heart inside its little baby body, I thought. Right? A technician named Steve did the procedure, and he calmly talked them through everything. He explained what he was looking for as he took various pictures, and alas I was right. Each and everything he checked looked perfectly healthy.

What a blessing! And to think I just assumed it to be so. Albeit fabulous news, this was somewhat of a sobering reminder of all of the things that could still go wrong. The worst could still happen. But I realized something today.

My parents were dressing up in their usual Packer Sunday football garb and my little doggie Packer jersey was thrown into the mix. I pictured this happening with my little person someday soon so we would be a happy family of Packer fans cheering on our team.

To cheer on our team. That’s why I think I function in my optimistic bubble of positivity. But like anything, I find myself reminded that we need balance. Because sometimes we get benched. Or injured. Or our career ends forever. Preparing for the worst while expecting the best doesn’t make us weaker. It makes us stronger. That’s easy for me to forget sometimes.

 

Artist in Residence July 3, 2013

It might not be the most conventional perspective, but I’m not the most conventional dog. I see it in the intricacies of snowflakes. And in a well-constructed poem. And in an unforgettable moment. And in the flowers in the backyard. Art is everywhere I look. But my ground-level perspective on art doesn’t stop there. I do also have an appreciation for things that are more frequently categorized as art by the greater population. Thank you Artist In the Sky

My sense of humor draws me to the masterpieces of American artist C.M. Coolidge, who is best known for his paintings of dogs playing poker. Obviously I see these paintings are a metaphor for our canine brilliance in the art of causing trouble. We love with all our heart, but we are indeed masters of mischief.

My philosophical side draws me to the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, creator of The Thinker. The interpretation is one that makes its viewer ponder what on Earth the man could be thinking so hard about. Me? I wonder what on Earth he isn’t thinking about. We are so blessed to be granted with brains with which to solves life’s most simple and incredibly complex problems. The Thinker is a brilliant embodiment of my existential beliefs that what we think influences everything about who we are.

Finally, it is the dreamer in me that can’t look away from Vincent Van Gough’s Starry Night. It hangs in my forever home and whenever I catch myself staring at it I can almost picture it coming to life. Sometimes I swear I see a shooting star journeying across that beautiful blue sky.

I appreciate each of these artistic landmarks, as they are representative of what is thought of by many as art. But  I appreciate the undiscovered artwork by those striving to make a name for themselves. “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” suggested Irish poet Oscar Wilde. So I appreciate the artists who don’t even know how brilliant they are yet. The artists who see art everywhere like I do, even if it’s not the most conventional. The Artist in the Sky. These are the true heroes of art who have made permanent residence in my heart.

 

The Holiest of Holidays June 20, 2013

We all have them. Special moments in time that are only ours, cherished deep in our hearts never to be forgotten. I was enjoying the warmth of the sun in the backyard today and one of these secret anniversaries of the heart sneaked up on me.

I remembered a day at the Oshkosh Humane Society a couple days before my parents brought me home. It was hot and muggy (like it was today) and Katie was playing with me outside. She was (by far) my favorite angel helper during my time at the shelter, because she embodied servant leadership. She made me realize the important impact someone we meet in passing can have our our lives. She did little things for me to make my time there feel more homey, like bringing me extra treats and buying me a special toy. The thing is, those little things may have been little to her but they were never little to me.

Neither was our moment together that day. We were playing catch with the Mr. Prickles she’d given me in the play area outside. She laughed and I smiled and I couldn’t tell whose happiness came first. I couldn’t tell where my joy ended and hers began. That remains one of the most memorable moments of joy in my life.

I’ve never shared that moment with anyone and today I found myself wondering why. It is these special moments, these secret anniversaries of the heart, that make up our own personal unique definitions of joy, so why on Earth would we keep them all to ourselves?

Like Sarah Ban Breathnach speaks of in Simple Abundance, it took a secret anniversary of the heart to remind me that there is always time to remember these special moments in time we cherish deep in our hearts. “But there is never time enough to commemorate what we cherish unless we pause to observe, when they occur, the holiest of holidays.”

My holiest holidays usually involve moments that might seem random to the outside eye. Like the special moment I had with my mom six months ago today. Instead of the humid mugginess, we were surrounded in the most beautiful diamonds of snow glistening as they fell down from heaven. From start to finish, everything about that moment was perfect. Again I don’t think she could possibly have known how blessed I felt to watch her run around like a ninny with me outside that day. I knew she was cold because she was so excited to get outside in the snow that she didn’t put on a sensible coat. But we played and she laughed and I couldn’t tell whether my tail wagging or her laughter came first. Joy. In a moment, there it is.

It’s no secret. Today I celebrate that day, the joy it created in my heart, and the inspiration it provided to finally put my words out there for the world to read. Today I celebrate six months in a row successfully sharing my unique perspective on things with whomever will take it. Today I celebrate you. Thank you for making my doggie dream a reality.

Playing in the snow

 

Tag, You’re It! June 19, 2013

So this is the world and there are 7 billion people in it. Among the various countries and cultures that serve as home to this incredible population are hundreds (perhaps even thousands) different breeds of dogs. While the census allows some sense of accuracy with the global population, research reveals no such thing about the population of dogs. Us four-leggers are everywhere in all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities. Some breeds even look slightly different in one country versus another.

There is a pretty big world out there. It is absolutely overwhelming to think about. Not to mention completely intimidating. How (on Earth) are we supposed to make a name for ourselves among all the other personalities out there? Truth is I have no idea if there even is a right answer for that question. But there is one thing I do know for sure: who we are is synonymous with our unique set of values and beliefs that contribute to our personality.

I’ve never been much of a digger in the literal sense (as I know some of my canine brothers are), but my archeological adventure to personal authenticity has led me to do another kind of digging. I dig deep on a daily basis by seeking to find good in all people, places and things with which I come into contact. My daily blogging journey has served as somewhat of a shovel digging toward personal discovery of my authentic self. It’s a dig like no other, and I can’t say I’d change much about what I’ve found.Surfing the world wide web

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within,” American author and activist Helen Keller encouraged. “It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us that makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”

It makes me happy to believe in the power of the present in the “present” that is each day I wake. I find joy in the oddest of places, and experience the sincerest form of joy when I share it with others. When I share it with you. Every day I wish I could somehow reach farther, touch more, make a bigger difference all-the-while giving thanks for the people (and pets) all over the world who have helped me along my path to self awareness. It’s safe to say I’ve caught the joy bug and I want to share it with the world. That’s right. I’ve caught the joy bug and I want to share it with all 7 billion people and their however many breeds of four-legged best friends. My tagline is to share joy: from the ground up. What’s yours?

 

The Silence Hurricane June 11, 2013

It was like a hurricane came through the house this weekend. My mom and dad spent the better parts of Saturday and Sunday whipping around cleaning and moving furniture. I’d never seen anything like it in my treasured time in my forever home, and it frankly freaked me out. Cleaning is one thing, but this interior design coup threw me for a loop. My mind filled with questions, the least of which was what brought this on? Why now? Are we leaving? What on Earth is going on?

While I found myself feeling inexplicably ill-at-ease and fearful of the implications of the changes, I remained calm with the hope that peace would be restored. The images of undressed beds, empty bedrooms, and torn apart linen closets I was experiencing brought to life a part of the Simple Abundance journey that I haven’t yet shared.

The recent musings of Sarah Ban Breathnach have focused on bringing peace, order and contentment to the soul by taking action to bring these things to life in the home. Since I have very little control over these things, I haven’t paid much attention lately to the suggestions to make subtle changes to rooms to allow more light into the heart.

“Many of us today experience creative silence,” Breathnach writes. “Not the hush of the heart necessary to bring forth the unexpressed from Spirit, but the creative silence brought about by circumstances we feel are beyond our control.”

Suddenly it made sense. Watching my parents work together to make our house an even more comfortable home no longer brought so many questions to my little doggie mind. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed the hustle and bustle. I realized that it doesn’t matter where this bed is or how the linen closet is organized as long as I have my own little safe haven of peace and serenity to continue my daydreams. I think we all need a place like that regardless of where we ultimately lay our heads at night. A little nook to call our own. Mine is my little doggie bed in the kitchen. More often than not, I prefer to cuddle up to whoever might be on the couch (or bed) but its reassuring to know I always have my little doggie bed to call my own. What’s yours?

“(We all need) a psychic space that offers passionate reminders to attend to your private, artistic impulses, a place to encourage you to reclaim your creativity,” Breathnach writes.

I’m not sure what sparked the hurricane of furniture in the Schmidt house this weekend, but I’m grateful it happened. What a pleasant reminder to silence the question-filled world around us so we can hear the faintly whispering tones of innate creativity coming to life.

 

 

 

Over the Moon May 24, 2013

I’m back in my world. My parents have returned from their journey, and my subsequent stay at grandma’s house has drawn to a close. While I had a fabulous time away, there really is no place like home.

I was reminded of that tonight as I sat in my beloved backyard staring at the brilliant white light shining down on me. I’m no astronomer, but I’d say the moon is fairly close to being full tonight and it is a sight to be seen. You can blame the canine in me, but I much prefer the full moon to any smaller portion of it. In fact, we four-legged people tend to run with the go-big-or-go-home mindset in most things. (That birthday ice cream cone I got this week? Consider it gone in 60 seconds!)

Ice Cream FaceSo you can imagine my confusion at Sarah Ban Breathnach’s suggestion today to find fullness in emptiness.

“It’s difficult for many of us to accept that emptiness – in life or in the living room – can have a positive influence,” she writes in Simple Abundance. “We need either to become more comfortable with waiting to fill what’s empty with what’s authentic or become just willing to accept the exquisite fullness of nothing.”

I thought of this as I stared at that big bright object in the sky, realizing that regardless of its fullness, it is empty. Devoid of life. And yet the sunshine of the night sky is a thing of beauty, even in its emptiness. Like most things in life, it took a change in perspective for me to see what the light of the moon was trying to tell me tonight. It’s natural for me to see things through to completion, but sometimes its doing (or in my case tonight, seeing) what we fear that brings us powerful truth.

“Life’s landscape becomes a lot more interesting when there an entire dimension we’ve never considered before simply because we couldn’t see it,” Breathnach writes. Being a closer of things also has its way of inspiring me not to want to miss out on anything in life, especially an entire dimension of thoughtful opportunities. So tonight I have opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibility, illuminated by the full emptiness of the moon. It’s good to be home.