Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Peace on Earth December 24, 2014

It is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. It is not the absence of war, (but rather) a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. It begins with a smile.

Peace. From the ground up, minds filled with a lot more wisdom than mind have a few things to say about it. Like civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. And Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. And Catholic visionary Mother Theresa.20141224_170645

Like joy, I know peace takes many forms. It looks different to everyone depending on his or her life experiences and overall perspective on the world around them. It’s Christmas Eve around here, and though we don’t have any snow (an incredibly unusual occurrence in Wisconsin this time of year) on the ground, celebrations are in high gear.

But I can’t help but think about what happens in a couple days. After all the ribbons and bows are torn from their presents. After the holly jolly music has fled the airwaves. After the turkeys and hams and other holiday goodies are all long gone. Trees and decorations get put away, and a big empty hole can stand in its place.

It all brings to mind the words of Buddha, who suggested “peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

I hear it in the stillness of snowflakes falling around me in my backyard paradise. I feel it in my heart when my forever family is together and happy. I see it in smiles and laughter. I find peace all around me, and I know it is because it starts in my heart.

This may seem to many like a time of year for embracing all things worldly, but to me it’s just as important to remember where it all starts. The reason for the season. The love and joy and peace and all things holly and jolly. The life this season is capable of breathing into our souls is like no other.

Like the thinkers who are wiser than me suggested, it is how we arrive at a goal. It is a state of mind that can present itself in something as simple as a smile. And, as Mahatma Gandhi said, it “is its own reward.”

So from my little family to yours, I wish you a very Merry (and peaceful) Christmas.

 

No Words November 14, 2013

I don’t have a choice. All I get is my eyes, my tail, and the occasional strategic placement of my head or paws. Any other methods of communication are hard to come by when you have four legs. So I have to admit, days like today take a toll on my emotions.

We canines may not be able to see the entirety of the color spectrum, but I know with certainty that I saw my fair share of blue today. Mom is feeling blue, which is apparently a people term used to explain her emotionally cloudy forecast. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that little person inside her is somehow bringing down her morale. No Words

Because she’s been talking a whole lot about worry. She’s worried about the baby’s health. And being a good parent. And labor. And the money. Especially the money. Last I checked, money is green so I don’t know how it could be making her feel so blue. I stand, sit or lay idly by, all-the-while wishing there would be something – anything – I could say to make it better.

Then I hear dad say exactly what I would be saying and suddenly I don’t mind being silent. He tells her to calm down. Relax. Everything will work out. These are the things I would be telling her, too, if I could. But this is not the first time (and certainly won’t be the last) that there are no words. As I observed from dad’s attempt, it’s sometimes better not to say anything than to complicate the situation by throwing words in the mix. Sometimes a person just needs a hug.

I don’t have a choice. All I have is my eyes, my tail, and the strategic placement of my head or paws to communicate. And maybe that’s not so bad after all. Because as much words can help, they can also complicate things. Especially when it’s more a matter of faith than anything else. Faith takes no words. Faith is simply believing in the power that is contained in something so much more than words.

So tonight I keep quiet and instead silently pray for resolutions to come to some of mom’s worries. That peace come to her overwhelmed heart. But I can’t pray with my eyes, tail and paws any more than I can pray with words. Instead tonight I pray with my heart. “Prayer is not asking,” Mahatma Gandhi reflected, “It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of  one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

 

Our Little Guy October 11, 2013

That didn’t last long. Less than ten days ago, I (figuratively) raised a scruffy paw in favor of staying scruffy for a cause. There was only one flaw in my plan. There is no really good way for me to communicate these kinds of choices I make with my forever people. They clearly didn’t get the message.

Before AfterThe good news is I saw my beloved groomer Mary and all my Paws R Us pals this week. The bad news? I’m no longer a participant in Scruffy September. Sure, I went a tiny bit longer without my routine visit to Mary. And I remain committed to the Out of the Darkness cause regardless. But I can no longer call myself scruffy.

At first I was kind of bummed out about it. Then it happened. Dad said it out loud. The news I have been dreading (and mentally denying) for the last eight months or so. You see, dad has been having awful itchy red eyes for some time now at seemingly random times. It’s not exactly constant, but its bothersome frequently enough he finally went to see an eye specialist today. And she confirmed the truth.

Dad, my forever person, is allergic. To me. I listened in horror as dad explained the outcome of his appointment to mom over dinner. The doctor apparently went as far as to inquire whether they-my people-would consider finding me another home. I felt like I’d been kicked. Hard. Right in the heart. My mind raced with questions I couldn’t ask. Silence was not my friend. And time seemed to slow to an absolute crawl.

I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy to hear dad laugh.

“I told her there is no way,” I heard him say as he looked down at me. “He’s our little guy and he always will be, won’t you buddy?”

Relief does not even begin to describe the feeling that washed over me in that moment. Seconds earlier I had been temporarily paralyzed with fear (that I would have to go back the humane society again, would never see my beloved people again, and would never get to meet my new little person). Now it was like I had the life breathed back into me.

They went on with their conversation, strategizing about ways to more effectively control my dander like vacuuming and brushing me more frequently. And I thought to myself “self, it’s not so bad being groomed more frequently if it means you get to stay a part of this family.” And it’s not. I quite enjoy seeing Mary and my pals. I will do anything I can do to help control this pet dander that is apparently contributing to my dad’s painful allergies. Because I love him, and (even though he never will admit it) he loves me. And, as Mahatma Gandhi so aptly observed, “where there is love there is life.”

So what if Scruffy September for a cause didn’t last very long. Because dad’s love for me clearly will. And that means the world to me.

 

Listen Up, World July 22, 2013

I’ve got something to say. It’s nothing new or out of the ordinary. It’s nothing I haven’t already said before. But that doesn’t negate its meaning.

I love you world!I took a moment to pause today to reflect back on the last seven months of blogging every day. Like any journey, there have been high and low points. There have been days that overflow with inspiration and ideas, and days I’ve written about chasing flies. (It’s a truly fruitless task that never seems to end well, yet I can’t seem stop writing about it). There are days I am proud of my words and days I struggle to believe anyone wants to read what I have to say.

Yet all of these stops along the way lead back to a common theme. All of my most popular musings have something incredibly obvious in common. Love. For family, friends, the blogosphere, and life. Love. Shared with whomever will take it. Love and the role it plays in life. It’s no surprise to me that love is the tie that binds, but the way I see it that’s not really the point.

Here we are in this big (occasionally scary) world and we’re hungry for it. We long and lust after it. And, as Mother Theresa accurately suggested “the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” We hunger for this love, this essential ingredient in a healthy diet of life. I find this both ironically sad and inspiring, as it demonstrates a desperate need that can so easily be filled. The invigorating power of love lies within each and every one of us – all we have to do is find our own unique way to share it.

It doesn’t have to be big showy love to make a difference either. A little goes a long way. Take it from me, a dog blogger with a dream to share joy with the world through these very words. Blogging every day for the last seven months hasn’t always been easy, but it’s how I’ve chosen to share my love with the world. A dog’s life is about as simple as it gets, based firmly in this most basic of human emotion. Love. A little goes a long way.

Listen up, world. I know nothing I’m saying is novel. It’s nothing I haven’t already said. And it’s nothing big coming from a five-year-old rescue dog living happily ever after in suburban America. But I still think it needs to be said as often to as many people as possible. Great Indian thinker Mahatma Gandhi once said “where there is love there is life.” Listen up, world. I love you!

Top Posts Since December 2012

1. God’s Gift to Me – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/04/20/gods-gift-to-me/comment-page-1/

2.  Paw-sing to Share Love – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/05/17/paw-sing-to-share-love/

3. Home is Where the Heart Is – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/01/28/home-is-where-the-heart-is/