Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

On Being Joy October 14, 2014

It was just like old times. And I honestly can say I can’t recall the last time it happened. Pickle in the middle. From the ground up, this familiar favorite activity of mine stirred up a whole new sense of glee tonight. It was one of those fractions of time that simultaneously lasts forever and not long enough.

Other than the time that has passed since it has last been played, nothing in particular was different about the game itself. It still involved my forever mom and dad throwing a toy of mine back and forth between them while I pretend not to know what’s going on. I chase after it, back and forth, until I run out of steam.

Tonight was no exception. I chased and jumped and heaved and jumped and chased some more. Except this time, we had an audience. Dear baby Carter sat by, occasionally attempting an interception. And laughing. I know this is a joyful game, but I had no idea how joyful it could be until the giggling started and did not stop. It should be noted that while Carter is a happy baby, giggling is not something he takes lightly. His curious mind is continuously calculating and seeking to understand his surroundings. So this giggling sound is something of an emotional golden gem around here. For mom and dad, and (to my surprise) for me.

That thing I said about running out of steam? It was like the giggles fueled me somehow, and I kept running and jumping and heaving and running and jumping some more as a result. Carter was the one giggling, but mom and dad were so happy in these moments. Joy. From the ground up, it literally fueled my spirit today.

“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward,” suggested Lebanese poet and philosopher Khalil Gibran.

It was easy for me to identify the fusion of the gift and reward of joy today. Because it was just like old times. Except it might have been a tiny bit better. My beloved little person has found a way to do it again. He has found a way to be joy, from the ground up.

Wiley and Carter Costumes

 

From the Ground Up October 28, 2013

Scientists claim us canines can understand somewhere between 100 and 200 people words. I say that’s hogwash. What these calculations can’t account for is our keen awareness of human emotion, which so frequently is hard to encapsulate into a word.Gaining Perspective

Treat. Outside. Dog park. These are words a dog comes to know. Sit, lay down, roll over. These are tricks of the canine trade. But love, faith, forgiveness and loyalty? These are words to live by. In a constantly evolving language, these words remain steadfast.

I have never been a big supporter of the “less is more” philosophy, but perhaps there is some insight to be gained from it in the case of conversation. Sometimes less really is more, given the understanding is there to aid in translation. My favorite Lebanese thinker Khalil Gibran challenged that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

I know mine certainly wouldn’t be treats, outside, dog park, sit, laydown and rollover. Mine would be the foundations from which all other language could be understood. Forgiveness. Compassion. Loyalty. Love. Laughter. Faith. Joy. From the ground up, these would be my seven words of choice because these are words us canines know inside and out.

We don’t hold grudges. We know when to be still and listen. We pause (in all our overwhelmed excitement) to welcome our loved ones home whether they’ve been gone five minutes or five days. We love unconditionally – and find creative ways to show it. We know how to bring fun to the party. We know who we are – and embrace it. We have faith in ourselves, which enables us to have faith in others. And, through it all, we know how to bring the light of joy into the darkest of situations.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life,” Gibran suggested, “not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

Scientists have their theories. And maybe they’re right. But they didn’t account for the unique perspective we canines bring to human emotion. Literally and figuratively, there’s this thing about the attitude I chose to bring to life. When you see life from the ground up as I do, you are already on the ground. Regardless of how you got there, you are at ground zero. And there is no where to go but up.

 

The Love Tree October 13, 2013

Normally I don’t care much for those things they call Smartphones. They draw attention away from where it belongs (i.e. the company we keep, namely me). They distract people on car rides. And I don’t think they are really all that smart.

But today I witnessed firsthand what I suppose would be the one silver lining within these things called Smartphones. Randomness. This may come as a surprise given my open belief that everything happens for a reason, but it is a concept I can appreciate (and even find some humor in) within the right context. Today, for example, the context made for a pretty special moment of randomness even I could appreciate.Who do you love?

“I love you.” That was it. That’s all the text message contained. And (to be honest) that’s all it needed to say. Mom received that message from her little sister Morgan this afternoon and I’m pretty sure it made her day. Which made my day. Which got me to thinking (of course) about this people theory of randomness.

As I basked in the warmth of another unusually warm fall day, I took note of the tree (my favorite in my backyard paradise) above me. I looked up at the branches, each reaching out to the next. Connecting.

It reminded me of the random bit of love mom received from Morgan. Morgan shared love with mom, who shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. Random? I’m not so sure. But love needs no explanation. And each bit of random love is like a branch, reaching to the next. Connecting.

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit,” Lebanese thinker Khalil Gibran suggested. Well then (I thought to myself as I drifted away into the fabulous dreamland of my second afternoon nap) we must do all we can to share random moments of love with those around us. Heaven forbid anyone experience a life without love.

Morgan shared it with mom, mom shared it with me, and now I share it with you. Please consider reaching out to someone sometime soon. Connecting. Whether in person, on the phone or (gasp) even in a text on one of those Smartphones. Tell them they are loved. Because as ancient Greek theologian Saint Basil proposed, “a tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

 

Little Big Things September 19, 2013

The sky is crying tonight. And it’s not whimpering in a corner. It is throwing an all-out temper tantrum complete with bright flashes of light and loud bangs that echo through the walls of my forever home. I don’t particularly care for thunderstorms, but I’m grateful I they don’t frighten me as I know they do some dogs.

Little Big ThingsInstead, I find myself cuddling a little closer to my people and bearing down until the tantrum is over. It sounds like a little thing, but it’s pretty big to me. That’s the funny thing about perspective. What might seem small to you can make or break another person’s day, week or month. Just as I am a believer in the importance of remembering the person behind the people, I appreciate when people place value on the little things.

Like when my groomer Mary stops to pet me and tell me she thinks I’m handsome while she’s got me in that terrible bath. Or I get an extra treat from Bonnie at the Starbucks drive through. Or (best yet) when anyone I come across smiles from the heart. None of these take much effort from the giver, but they the capability of having a profound impact on the receiver.

“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed,” suggested my favorite Lebanese philosopher Khalil Gibran. That’s why I call them little big things; they are incredibly valuable no matter what your perspective in life may be. Because let’s face it. Life gets stormy sometimes.

We can’t control when it happens, but sometimes the world seems to roar and shake around our feet. It is these moments, amidst these bright flashes of light and loud bangs that echo in our hearts, that the little things matter most. Like snuggling close to my forever people when its raining cats and dogs outside. Or offering a helping hand to someone who needs it. Or paying someone a hard-earned compliment. They might seem like little things to you, but sometimes the littlest things have the power to calm the biggest storms.

 

The Assault of Laughter August 13, 2013

Forget Ludwig van Beethoven. Music doesn’t get any better than what I heard coming from mom today. Giggles

Laughter. Belly busting, tears-in-your-eyes laughter. It was beautiful. Remember those tears of joy I was talking about a few days ago? This was different. It had nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with this mysterious thing my mom was looking at on the computer. Being the interactive investigator I am, I had to find out what all this joy was about so I took a peak when she wandered off to refill her glass of water. And let me tell you, if dogs could laugh, I too would be giggling like a ninny right now.

Looking back at me were images of 22 dogs who are just really excited to be dogs. They are all doing fairly common canine comedy, caught on camera no doubt by their loving people. And yet, they are illustrated in a way that brings the one of the most sincere (and random) forms of joy to the heart.

This is too good not to be shared, as philosopher Khalil Gibran would suggest that “in the sweetness of friendship (there should be) laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” We all need a good refreshing teary-eyed laugh every now and then. So today I share mine.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I picked three.

This dog who physically cannot contain how excited he is about being able to shit outside.               

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

This dog who can’t even sit still because he’s a dog and his life is amazing and he spends 24 hours a day doing beautiful dog things.

             

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

This dog who is even too excited for the other dog.
                  

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

Are you laughing yet? If not, please check out the entire list as there is much more happiness to be had from the stories of the other dogs as well. (You won’t be disappointed).

All of this reminds me that music comes to us in many forms. And I don’t really have anything against the legend that is Mr. Beethoven. But the sound of laughter is one of the most contagious forms of joy I’ve come across in my doggie life. While I know there are some things that are off limits in the category of comedy, today I revel in its wondrous affect on our lives. It’s ironically soothing. Refreshing, like the morning dew. And as great American author Mark Twain put it “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”