Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Random Acts of Kindness November 11, 2014

I don’t know much when it comes to the high school experience. Or school in general, I suppose, since I have made all foreseeable efforts to avoid it like the plague for the majority of my doggie life. There is a reason I’m known as an obedience school drop out, and its honestly something I bear as a badge of honor more than a black mark on my otherwise decent record.

I do know my forever parents had fairly differing experiences in high school. Mom was the A student who was in every club imaginable. Dad was the popular jock who played soccer and hung out with anyone and everyone. What united their experiences was a similar disbelief in the cliche that high school is the best years of your life. They both knew better then and live that truth to this day. Listen to me

I’m sure experiences differ from person to person as they do for my people, but I heard something about a high school today that gave me pause. Random arts of kindness. The students throughout the school are leaving various kinds of artwork throughout the halls as a scavenger hunt of sorts for all things good. They are using social media outlets like Twitter to spread the joy beyond the hallways of the school. They are exhibiting joy, from the ground up.

I don’t know much about the high school experience. But I do know enough to know this is likely something kind of special. In a society where bullying continues to play too big a role in all types of social hierarchy, it’s refreshing to hear something like this is happening in schools. It renews my sense of faith in people to do the right thing in spite of peer pressure and all kinds of other reasons not to.

And it reminds me that no matter how far out of school we are, this is what we ought to strive for in our lives. Because let’s face it, bullying doesn’t just happen in schools. Violence is not reserved for the lunchroom. And peer pressure doesn’t end when you hand in your cap and gown after graduation.

These are real things people live with every single day. Why not offset some of that with some random acts of kindness of our own? I think the methods will likely be different for everyone, but you know as well as I do the method doesn’t really matter. What matters is the heart behind it. And the heart receiving it. Because tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives. Together, we can make it a better place.

 

Living the Dream June 9, 2013

When I was a puppy, I longed to be “normal.” I had this image of what my life should look like and it was so different than what it was. I don’t mean to say I wasn’t happy as I’d ever dreamed to be with my mom and brothers. Living on the streets taught me so many valuable lessons about the meaning of family and the importance of finding joy in the little things. But I could tell right away that I was different from my puppy brothers.

While we shared a scavenger’s sense of survival, my brothers looked a little different than me. (More like their dad, I gathered, since I was almost a spitting image of my mom). I even remember feeling kind of left out around them, like the odd puppy out. It’s me, I thought, I’m not like the others.

Living the DreamIt surprised me when I felt the same way after getting separated from my mom and brothers. I was still just a pup, and I would have thought being out on my own would make me feel adult. Instead I was scared, alone, and again longing for normalcy without even really knowing exactly what it looked like.

All-the-while I felt like something about me was holding me back somehow, especially when I was at the humane society. I know I didn’t think like other dogs, and I certainly didn’t look like them. The majority of visitors overlooked me for puppies, and those who did visit me often mistook me for either a puppy or a girl.

I would have found this all incredibly discouraging if not for my innate desire to find the good to be grateful for each day. And on days when I couldn’t think of anything, I gave thanks for my hope for normalcy. I knew there was something better, something normal, in my future.

But there is this something abnormal about normalcy. I think it’s kind of like how people in my country have this concept of an “American Dream.” It’s all relative. Perhaps the bigger we dream, the more this comes into focus. What is normal anyway? The more my adult mind analyzes the concept, the more I realize the negative connotations of the word. Normal has a boring ring to it, and almost sounds like something below average. Instead I find myself gravitating to the abnormal, which (to me) is more exciting.

Sure, when I was a puppy “normal” seemed like the only way to go. Throughout my life I faced challenges on my path to normalcy that made me who I am today. But today I no longer wish to be normal. Instead I accept that my place in life is among the extraordinarily abnormal. It always has been and always will be. That, my friends, is my American Dream coming to life.

 

Sweet Sixteen: A Day to Remember January 21, 2013

I find inspiration in the oddest things.

Today is frigidly cold in Wisconsin, and I found myself seeking thoughtfulness in my (albeit brief) time outside. Nothing came to me.

Today was Inauguration Day, so I was sure I’d find something to say about politics. Yet I’ve got nothing political to say.

But like the man for whom today was named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

So I find today’s source of inspiration interesting based on my journey with Simple Abundance, which challenges that today, I should “be willing to believe that a companion Sprit is leading (me) every step of the way, and knows the next step.”

Today I challenge myself to be a dreamer, a version of me traveling through time with a companion sixteen-year-old self who ironically knows what is coming.

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Since one people year is seven dog years, it is not that difficult for me to think back to my “sixteenth” birthday. I’m not a wise 20-something in people years, but I believe I have the right to reflect reasonably upon the beliefs I had on by sweet sixteen.

My adoptive parents have this birthday tradition I enjoy involving a single-scoop vanilla ice cream cone for my special day. Oddly enough, I was lucky enough to get another un-birthday cone about two months following what would have been my fourteenth birthday…my sweet sixteen. I was fortunate to spend the special day with my forever people about a year after being in my forever home. It was a pretty special day for me because I spent it with my favorite people on a boat in what I would presume to be one of their most happy of places.My Sweet Sixteen

Reflecting on that day and every day since then is the best gift I could have ever been afforded. I realize now that life was (and continues to be) everything I could ask for, even if I’m not allowed on the boat anymore. (I’ll take responsibility for that).

Today is the one month anniversary of the beginning of this blog, so I find some value in reflecting on my first steps I took in belief that I could make a difference in the lives of others.

Today I hit a landmark 100 likes on my blog. This would mean enough to me if all I wanted to do was write, but (to me) this is a pretty big deal. It means I am meeting one of my most special goals in life to spread my joy to others, which most definitely brings me more joy than keeping it all to myself.

Today a companion spirit nominated my blog for the Leibster award, which absolutely made my day. I have more research to do on what this means for me, but I honestly can’t believe what an honor it is after a mere 30 days in the blogging world.

Today I became socially network thanks to Facebook and Twitter, which means I (hopefully) have a bigger scope of influence on my readers.

Today I connected. I made a difference in the world in my very own unique kind of way.

Today is a day to remember.