Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Seeing is Believing April 26, 2013

I look around my house all the time, but today I found myself counting the blessings of the words all around me.

“Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away” hangs over my beloved bay window.

“Simplify” graces one of the end tables by my favorite spot on the couch.

“Live, laugh, love,” hangs above the kitchen sink where I frequently steal any and every scrumptious morsel that falls to the ground.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in perfect harmony” hangs in the hallway where dad throws my toys for me to fetch.

These messages are all such fantastic reminders of what it means to be alive, and yet I live most of my days without giving them a second glance.

Sight is funny that way. I’ve noted before how familiarity with our surroundings can make us lazy. Today I wondered how our perspective would change if we could no longer see. It reminds me of a story I heard once about a little girl who got her first pair of glasses when she was four-years-old.

Her kindergarten teacher thought she was over-exaggerating. Surely this little girl didn’t really suffer from chronic headaches, she thought, and she is too smart to be struggling with her alphabet. The teacher suggested to the little girl’s parents that she see a child psychologist for her apparent emotional issues.

This was puzzling to the parents, who knew their daughter to be happy and healthy other than those darned headaches she was having all the time. It all made sense at the optometrist office when the little girl couldn’t identify the big birthday cake on the screen they use in place of the big “E” for children in eye exams. While she had almost perfect 20/20 vision in her right eye, it turned out she had 20/400 vision in her left eye. At four-years-old, my forever mom was diagnosed as legally blind. The optometrist prepared her parents for the reality that the sight may not be fixable and as a result she may never be able to drive.

The parents were devastated, but from that moment on there was no stopping them on their mission to improve the eyesight of their baby girl. It was awfully hard on them to see her sitting inches from the television to watch her favorite movie “The Little Mermaid” (for the hundredth time). Instead of singing along to “Part of Their World” like usual, she cried and cried because she couldn’t see Ariel. The patching of her good eye was excruciating for all parties involved.

Sight is indeed one of life’s most simple of gifts, Sarah Ban Breathnach reminds us in Simple Abundance, and it should not be taken for granted.

“Today really look around at your world…Smile at everyone you meet because you can see them,” Breathnach writs. “Never forget that the gift of vision was so important that when God created the world, the first command was for Light in order to see, and after the Great Creator finished with each day’s task, He glanced back on his handiwork and ‘saw that it was good.’ We need to see how good it is too.”

More than 20 years later, my forever mom now has 20/30 eyesight in her left eye. She calls it her “little miracle” in life. Because her parents believed when even her eye doctor lacked faith, she has the blessing of sight and all that comes along with it.

The senses are a funny thing, after all. We can hear but not really listen. We can touch but not really feel. We can eat but not really taste. All of these oddities came to mind today when I realized how powerful it is to look and really see.

Seeing Is Believing

 

Making Happiness a Habit March 11, 2013

The great and powerful “they” say it takes 21 days to get into a new habit. Good, bad or indifferent as the habit may be, I’d have to say I agree. On day 22 in a row of writing this blog, my newly certified habit found its words in a post on how money can’t buy happiness. As I reflect on that day, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I had happiness on my newly habitual mind.Happy Blogging!

Fast-forward to today: my 81st day in a row blogging every day and it is definitely a happy day in my life. Today I hit a landmark of 1,000 likes on Wiley’s Wisdom, which inspires me to contemplate Mahatma Gandhi’s words on happiness. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” Gandhi reminds us. I celebrate this happiness today.Joy

It hasn’t been easy blogging every day. I often worry about whether my stories are even interesting or my thoughts insightful. But this isn’t about me. It is about my heartfelt mission in life to share my thoughts on joy with as many people as possible through what I say, and that is exactly what I will continue to do.

So today I choose share the happiness I feel with you. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” as Gandhi would say. To every single one of you who have supported me, offered me feedback, and (in all honesty) been a friend to me: thank you. I’ve never really had friends before, at least not in the practical sense. Yet in less than three short months since I started Joy: From the Ground Up, I now have more than 150 of them. I am so blessed.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I wrote one of my first posts on happiness the day after it became an unconscious habit for me. When it comes to coincidence I am also a believer in something I call “God things.” You know, those moments when the stars align, the heavens open up and the birds sing our most favorite harmonious song. Or when you think, say and do are in harmony, as Gandhi would say. But there’s this thing about those moments that I can’t help but find thought-provokingly ironic. You have to actually pause to appreciate them or the moment may just pass you by. I don’t think I have to worry about that anymore. It’s official: happiness is a habit for me now.

 

Life is a highway…going where? January 8, 2013

“Car ride” is probably one of my most favorite people phrases. Never have there been two words more synonymous with adventure. While I do tend to enjoy exciting destinations like the dog park or grandma’s house, the journey is just as exciting. I think its the mystery I find in not knowing where we’ll end up.

Are we turning left or right? Are we staying on the straight and narrow? Who knows? Thinking about this, I couldn’t help but wonder, is it the questions (not the answers) that make the journey as exciting as the destination? As a lover of words, I suppose its no surprise that I am bursting at the seems with questions. I know a lot of them are nonsense, but I can’t picture life’s journey without them…questions push me, challenge me, make me think.

Understanding that car rides make me happy because of the adventure and adventure stirs up questions, I stumbled across a curious answer to one of life’s most serious questions: what is happiness to me?

Because of my time with Simple Abundance, I’ve been more aware of what it means to be happy (the answer), but perhaps that isn’t as important as the pursuit of happiness itself (the questions). Pursuit is no ordinary word. It requires one to first make a choice to engage, but more importantly to actively remain engaged in obtaining whatever the end result is.

“Happiness is a living emotion,” Breathnach tells us today. And since I’ve been in the habit of noticing happy things, I’ve noticed two different references to happiness on the walls of my forever home. Ironically, they both involve action on the part of the beholder.

French novelist and memoirist George Sand once wrote of only one happiness in life: “to love and be loved.”

Ultimately putting those words to action is Mahatma Ghandi who challenged that “happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in perfect harmony.”

The dog park and grandma’s house make me happy, but so does the ride to get there. Happiness is not a destination. Its so much more. Its recognizing moments that make up the journey that piece lifelong happiness together.