Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Be The Change January 2, 2015

Sometimes when you think you’ve mastered something, life has a way of reminding you how much you have to learn. That’s how I feel about this thing called change. As a young pup, it was exciting. It was something I looked forward to and sought out at every turn. That all changed the day I lost my birth mom and brothers. That was when I decided change was not my friend. Looking Happy

I’ve never exactly feared it or disliked it, but it isn’t something I necessarily feel fondly for either. So the fact that 2014 was a year of more change than I’ve ever before encountered might sound like it made for a pretty awful time of it. I’ll admit that it wasn’t always easy, but reflecting on all that change has a way of reminding me of its value. It might be scary at first (like it was for all of us when dear baby Carter first came home from the hospital a year ago today). But as time passes, it fosters understanding and appreciation for where we’ve come from.

What that means for me is a new perspective, not just on change, but on life itself in 2015. Like most things, change is only scary if we let it be. And fear tends to do nothing but bad things to most people. So while I’m against making resolutions I would argue too frequently fall into the category of not fulfilled, I shall again set a goal for myself this year. A goal, not a resolution.

It’s not necessarily something new for me, but it reaffirms a belief that has become the foundation of who I am. It pieces together the best (and worst) parts of the past into a present that bridges the gap to a bright future. Not just for me, but for those around me and those around them if all goes well.

This year I will find more ways to be the change I want to see in the world. I will live the passion I feel in my heart, knowing that the joy I feel can light the way for those around me who might fear the change necessary to make the world a better place. It’s no small goal, I know. But it’s important.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals,” suggested American philosopher Henry David Thoreau.

I would argue that’s because sometimes when you think you’ve mastered something, life has a way of reminding you how much you have to learn. When I was a pup, I thought by exploring everything at paw’s reach I would know everything. I could do anything and everything. Now I realize how much there is left to learn that only change has a way of teaching.

 

The Solid Foundation December 6, 2014

For some of us, I think it starts day one. From the moment we begin taking in the world around us, the foundation on which we will build the rest of our lives is built. Day by day, memory by memory, the foundation is built and layered upon as life goes on.

For others, I don’t think it’s that easy. I think there is a hurdle (or set of them) that manages to break away that foundation. I’m sure it happens at a variety of times in life. And perhaps it even happens more than once. Be it a negative life event, bad decision, or combination of the two, the result is a shattered core. A broken foundation upon which even a healthy heart could not stand. I’ve heard of this place referred to as rock bottom. Paws for Happy Thoughts

I don’t think it is a place I’ve ever visited. I feel like I would know it if I had. Sure, I had some awful times. One night in particular I remember not knowing for sure I would make it to the morning. But rock bottom? I don’t know that it ever happened to me. To my people? They too have been shaken a few times. Struggled through it. Rock bottom? Maybe. But I don’t think so.

But I know it’s happened to others. Others who weren’t fortunate or blessed enough to avoid encountering anything that completely and totally overwhelmingly devastating. Others who have had their entire world shaken to its core and can’t recognize their foundation, let alone begin rebuilding it.

I thought fondly for these people today as I read the words of British novelist J.K. Rowling, who said “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

For me, I think it started day one. From the moment I entered the world, I was building my foundation the solid ground of optimism. But because of this I am definitely a fan of new beginnings. Second chances. Life’s opportunities to push the “reset” button. So to anyone out there who might be at that place called rock bottom, you are not alone. And life is not over. Only brightness lies in front of you. Just look up.

 

 

A Loving Heart October 17, 2013

I don’t want to know how I’m going to die. Or when. But I hear there is a new invention that offers a countdown to the last moments of life. It’s called a Tikker. And those on either side of the fence that separates the scientific thinkers from the philosophers can find things to legitimize the idea.

Me? I don’t want to know. There is a certain (in my opinion) less morbid mystery in not knowing the details of our eventual demise. It challenges us to live each day like it could be our last. It keeps things in perspective. It teaches us to live better. And I like that.

But I got to thinking about how I would change my life if I bought into this Tikker idea. If I knew when life would end, what would I change? What exactly would I do differently? And (perhaps most importantly) how would I spend my final moments? I surprised myself today with an answer to all of these questions in a single word: love.

I wouldn’t change a thing about my life or how I live it. I make it my life’s work to find sources of joy from the ground up to share with whomever will take it. I would do the same if my Tikker told me I would die tomorrow. But it gets a lot deeper than that. It has roots running through my soul that have sprouted into this thing called love for my world. I love you world

I wrote of this love tree recently, and today it grew a bit larger in my heart as I contemplated the one thing I would want to tell the world if I knew my moments were numbered. I know what I would say. And in the spirit of living each day like it could be our last, I’m going to just come out and say it.

I love you. Yes, you. Each and every one of you who take the time to spend a few precious moments with me each day. My world is comprised of my forever people, my family and my friends. It includes two-legged friends and four-legged friends, who I know either in person or through the blogosphere. You bring me happiness, love, friendship and joy from the ground up.

A certain sustained level of humility keeps me from believing the Charles Dickens’ idea that “a loving heart is the truest wisdom,” but I know my character benefits greatly from all those I love. And I wouldn’t change a thing about that.

So it’s settled. I don’t want to know how I’m going to die. Or when. But I do want all those I love to know it. Because to me love is life. Why then think about death?