Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Truth About Happiness May 14, 2014

There’s this problem I have with loneliness. It’s one thing when its you feel lonely. It’s something very different when it’s someone you love. I am struggling with something I didn’t know whether I should share. But she said I could, so I’m just going to say it.

Love.My mom’s dear friend Dorian has a problem. She loves. A lot. And that is not a problem as far as I’m concerned – far from it, in fact. But currently she is wrapping her heart around my dear little person Carter, and his new little buddy Noah. She loves them so much she could bite their little baby cheeks off. (Apparently this is a sign of love I don’t understand. I don’t ask questions.)

But it also makes her sad sometimes. Like tonight, when she came over to help mom make a lasagna for baby Noah’s mom. It was a happy time with a happy mission. But she was a little sad. I could see it. Mom could see it. And it bothered us both. Because if I’m being honest we don’t even have to ask what’s wrong. We just know because we love her so. (And maybe a little bit because she’s told us.)

She’s lonely. She wants what her two dear friends have. She wants a husband. And a baby (or three). And it makes her sad sometimes that she is single. She doesn’t have a boyfriend (at least at the moment), let alone a husband. This is not for lack of searching, believe you me. She is always on that thing called a (not-so) Smartphone talking with potential boyfriends on the Internet while she’s here. I can’t say I blame her. There are a lot of potential good things out there on this thing called the Internet.

But I have a theory about loneliness. And happiness. And most things emotional. Sometimes the harder you work at something natural, the harder it becomes to figure out. From the ground up, I am a believer in the power of not searching for these things. Because I think sometimes the harder we search, the harder things get to find. People call it trying too hard. I’m not sure you can ever really “try too hard,” but I do think there are adverse consequences when you do. Sometimes it’s a better strategy to stop looking. To stop trying. Because sometimes, I think that is when all things good make their way to you.

 

Just Say Hello February 20, 2014

It really breaks my heart to say it. It goes against everything my optimistic little doggie heart believes in. But sadly it’s true. Some things really can’t be fixed.

There are some medical conditions that can’t be cured. Cars that get totaled in accidents. And hearts that break beyond repair. Considering each of these, I think its the broken hearts I most desperately long to mend. So you can imagine how my ears perked up today as something other than an animal caught my attention on the television.

Just say hello. It sounds so simple and yet Oprah Winfrey has launched an entire campaign behind these three little words. Because let’s face it. They aren’t nearly as little as they seem. In a world where many of us so frequently replace interpersonal contact with a quick text, email or phone call, the power of human interaction has certainly lost some of its emotional traction.Hello.

That stops now. Because, as O Magazine editor Gayle King puts it, you never know.

“You never know the difference it could make in someone’s life,” she says in the campaign video. “You never know what people are going through, you never know how appreciated it is, and it’s easy to do.” She’s right. So many people are more lonely than they admit to anyone. And therein lies the fundamental problem.

I may not be able to actually say hello, but I know I can at the very least share joy with whomever will take it. That will be my contribution. That, and spreading the word about this fabulous cause. Because I believe in the power of words almost as much as I believe in the power of people to make a difference in each other’s lives.

As much as it pains me to say it, there are so many things in this world that are broken beyond repair. The human heart doesn’t have to be one of these things. Loneliness doesn’t have to be one of these things. It might not seem like much, but in a world where every little bit counts no step is too small toward saving a heart.

 

Lonely Hearts Club February 4, 2014

I can’t say it’s anything I would want to do. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good piece of literature as much as the next dog, but not like this. I overheard mom today talking about joining a book club this year and I think I fell asleep at the thought.

Don't JudgeI can think of so many better ways for her to spend her time (like on walks with me, taking me to the dog park, or basically doing anything involving me) than at a book club. I had to talk myself back from this one though, since I respect that reading brings her joy. I want her to do things that make her happy, even if (gasp) they don’t all involve me.

But again my thoughts turned to that phrase about a book and its cover. A strong believer in the book (not so much in the cover), I’ve never been that big a fan of the expression. I’ve been called a lot of things based on my appearance – namely that I’m a mutt. Over time, I have come to see this as a term of endearment rather than anything derogatory because I know who I am and have confidence in myself.

Not everyone is that fortunate. I think a lot of people are really good at crafting a beautiful cover that doesn’t always match what is happening on the pages of their lives. Most heartbreakingly, my mind turns to those who surround themselves with people (in a crowded city, busy work environment or on frequent social outings). Sure, there are those that are truly happy. But sometimes it is these people, these friends of everyone, who are the most lonely of all.

If being an observer of two-leggers has taught me anything it’s that. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. You never know how lonely or happy or depressed or elated a person is based on what their exterior tells you. Because that cover might be just that – a cover for something completely different hiding inside.

Forget book club (sorry mom). People. From the ground up, they are the books I like reading.