Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Hand Me the Lemons March 22, 2013

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:37 pm
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Hand Me the LemonsMy parents like to watch this television show called “Chopped.” I think it is one of their favorites. It pits four chefs against each other in a battle with mystery ingredients and a prize of $10,000 for whoever is the most creative in putting the ingredients into something delicious. I prefer the commercials to the show, since there generally are appearances by some of my favorite dog stars like Ceaser and the dog in the Traveler’s Insurance and Cymbalta commercials. But there is something about the show that caught my attention recently.

The judges all talk a lot about repurposing the mystery ingredients into something new or different. Usually, the ingredient is something the chefs either aren’t familiar with or have been classically trained to strongly dislike for whatever reason. Whoever said creativity killed the cat clearly missed this powerful metaphor for challenges in life.

Creativity saves moments, days, and sometimes lives because people make the best out of what they’re given. Complaining gets you no where. Instead I say we do something about it. I can remember the first time I realized the importance of creativity amidst challenges. I was stranded without my mom and brothers in a new place with no food or friends. As if it wasn’t bad enough I lost my family, I didn’t know how to fend for myself. It could have been the end of me.

Instead I started my journey to self-discovery by looking outside myself to make some allies who could help me find food. Allies became friends and food became plentiful because I made the conscious choice to try something new that day rather than let the past drag me down.

I have embraced the mystery ingredients in my basket of life and I know that has brought me to where I am today. I don’t care for lemonade (or lemons for that matter) but that doesn’t keep me from understanding the concept of the phrase. When life gives you lemons, make something new or different. It doesn’t have to be lemonade.


Greeting Gratitude January 6, 2013

I have a lot to be thankful for. A loving home. Food in my dish every day. Clean water to drink. Plenty of plush toys and rawhides. People to pet me and play with me. I’ve got it pretty good.

One of my happy placesThinking over these things made me realize that sometimes it is a little too easy to become a happiness hypocrite. The similarity of our surroundings can make us lazy. Sameness does not always equal happiness. In fact, we can get so preoccupied seeking joy that we fail to notice it all around us.

“The revelation that we have everything we need in life to make us happy but simply lack the conscious awareness to appreciate it can be as refreshing as lemonade on a hot afternoon,” Breathnach writes. “Or it can be as startling as cold water being thrown in our face.”

I’ve never tasted lemonade, but I am definitely a believer in making lemonade from life’s little lemons and serving the result to anyone who will take it. What I gain from today’s thoughts is a lesson to take time to be thankful for what we have instead of wasting time seeking what we don’t. The first step is acceptance. Only then can we share it with the world.

John F. Kennedy said it best. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”