Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

To Be Remembered July 27, 2013

I’m freaked. Now I can say so because you know the truth. The secret’s out. I’m going to be a big doggie brother. I’ve learned a lot from life thus far, but how to be a big doggie brother was never on the agenda. Did obedience school have a class on being a big doggie brother? How did I miss that one? Maybe that would be reason to go back to school. Or maybe not. I kind of like being an obedience school drop out so I shall defer instead to my life experience.

Big ThinkingThinking back on life as I know it, the only experience I have being a brother was with my puppy brothers before we got separated. And I was the little brother in that scenario. I was definitely not top dog. I was third dog. Fourth, if you count my birth mom. I didn’t mind, but I definitely learned what it was like to be the runt of the litter. I usually ate last. I know mom loved me, but she paid the least amount of attention to me compared to my brothers. I was usually the slowest in line when we moved from one home to another. None of this bothered me.

Instead my biggest fear was being left behind. I just wanted to keep up. To be treated equal. To be remembered. I don’t know how to be a big brother but I suppose I know something about being a little brother. That should mean something right? I know what not to do. This new little person will never feel left behind in this family if I have anything to say about it. Well, I won’t be saying anything I suppose. I don’t think little people can read right away so he can’t read my blog to see how I feel. But he won’t need to hear it. My little best-friend-to-be will know he or she is loved. We will sit together and play together and baby will know.

“Brothers don’t necessarily have to say anything to each other,” suggests American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. ” They can sit in a room and be together and just be completely comfortable with each other.”

I don’t feel any less nervous about being the best big brother I can be, but thinking back on life does bring me peace of heart. This little person will be loved with all my little doggie heart. And I will do everything I can to ensure he or she never feels left behind. I don’t need to go back to school to know that.

 

As Big As The Sky, Old Sport May 18, 2013

It has come to my attention that Hollywood has pieced together a new and modernized take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s charismatic American novel “The Great Gatsby.” It only just came out in theaters last week and my mom has seen it twice, so it must be decent. I’m out of luck, at least until they either allow dogs like me to the movies or it comes out on DVD and I can watch it in the comfort of my favorite spot on the couch.

Big as the sky, old sportIn the meantime, my thoughts turn to the words that make up the original story penned by Fitzgerald all those years ago. I won’t spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the book or seen one of the many film adaptations, but I will share what is most meaningful to me.

The story is romantic to the core, featuring the undying love of Mr. Jay Gatsby as shared with readers through the eyes of Nick Carraway. To me, the vision of this man is one of the most powerful written demonstrations of real hope. Determination. Vision.

Gatsby was not afraid to dream as big as the sky. Failure was never an option through his imaginative perspective. Instead, he kept his eyes on the prize, the green light that marked his destination. The green light of hope.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us,” Fitzgerald writes. “It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

At some point in our lives, we are all born into our past. We are afforded that rare second chance to do things better. To dream bigger. To effect change. Above all, I see our journey toward the green light as one that seeks progress over perfection.

“How much of our lives is frittered away-spoiled, spent or sullied- by our neurotic insistence on perfection?” Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance. “Today accept that perfection is unattainable.”

Instead we find hope in second chances. Instead we believe in the green light and are borne ceaselessly into the past. Instead, old sport, we dream as big as the sky.

 

To Making it Count February 12, 2013

I’ve heard people say hindsight is 20/20. What is that about? I learn nothing from trying to chase my own tail around, so why would people? No. I prefer to dream bigger than my memories. I prefer to respect the past as part of my present on my journey to the future. And that’s coming from someone with animal instincts.

So why is it so tough for people to be themselves? To trust their instincts?

It’s not hard for Isabelle, Sam, Sophie and Abigail. They are the four little people in my life, and I learn a lot from them. Namely, they are fearless, they dream big, and they have absolutely no censorship clause on their thoughts. They are the embodiment of joy: from the ground up. And they have no idea how good they have it. “Youth is wasted on the young,” George Bernard Shaw said.Isabelle and I - Christmas 2012

Or is it? I’d rather think of youth as the building block of memories for one’s future. Good, bad, or indifferent, youth is a time of endless imagination and that is never a waste. But something changes between youth and adulthood that I think hardens the instincts. Up go the walls of cognitive censorship, and the next thing we know, we’re living life thinking hindsight is wiser than foresight. Where, in the midst of all this grown-up thinking, is gratitude? Imagination? Optimism?

This blog is called Wiley’s Wisdom: A Unique Perspective on Joy not because I think I’m particularly wise but because I make it my life’s mission to live a life of gratitude, which I know is better when shared. I give thanks for my life by giving back to the lives of others. “I figure life is a gift, and I don’t intend on wasting it,” as the humble street rat Jack Dawson said to his millionaire dining partners aboard the Titanic disaster that would ultimately take his life. “To making it count.”

His past was a valued part of who he was, but it didn’t get in the way of his (albeit short-lived) future. Nor will it get in the way of the future of my loved ones if I have anything to say about it.

That is one of many reasons why I think something valuable can be learned from the children in my life who disregard the opinions of others in favor of their own. Let’s do as they do and forget that 20/20 business. Let’s instead think like American mover and shaker Oprah Winfrey.

“Follow your instincts,” she said. “That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”