Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Assault of Laughter August 13, 2013

Forget Ludwig van Beethoven. Music doesn’t get any better than what I heard coming from mom today. Giggles

Laughter. Belly busting, tears-in-your-eyes laughter. It was beautiful. Remember those tears of joy I was talking about a few days ago? This was different. It had nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with this mysterious thing my mom was looking at on the computer. Being the interactive investigator I am, I had to find out what all this joy was about so I took a peak when she wandered off to refill her glass of water. And let me tell you, if dogs could laugh, I too would be giggling like a ninny right now.

Looking back at me were images of 22 dogs who are just really excited to be dogs. They are all doing fairly common canine comedy, caught on camera no doubt by their loving people. And yet, they are illustrated in a way that brings the one of the most sincere (and random) forms of joy to the heart.

This is too good not to be shared, as philosopher Khalil Gibran would suggest that “in the sweetness of friendship (there should be) laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” We all need a good refreshing teary-eyed laugh every now and then. So today I share mine.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I picked three.

This dog who physically cannot contain how excited he is about being able to shit outside.               

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

This dog who can’t even sit still because he’s a dog and his life is amazing and he spends 24 hours a day doing beautiful dog things.

             

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

This dog who is even too excited for the other dog.
                  

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

Are you laughing yet? If not, please check out the entire list as there is much more happiness to be had from the stories of the other dogs as well. (You won’t be disappointed).

All of this reminds me that music comes to us in many forms. And I don’t really have anything against the legend that is Mr. Beethoven. But the sound of laughter is one of the most contagious forms of joy I’ve come across in my doggie life. While I know there are some things that are off limits in the category of comedy, today I revel in its wondrous affect on our lives. It’s ironically soothing. Refreshing, like the morning dew. And as great American author Mark Twain put it “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

 

Another Man’s Trash May 14, 2013

The great and infamous “they” say one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. Well, us canines are masters at making treasure out of life’s most unusual garbage. While some of us are more subtle about it than others, we canines do some pretty good treasure hunting. From garbage cans to discarded Kleenexes, we have a gift of finding gold in the most unusual of places.

Treasure SeekerI got to thinking about this earlier today when laying on the bathroom blanket my people refer to as a bathmat. (I’m so blessed to have people so considerate to lay down this thing called a bathmat specifically for me because the bathroom floor tiles are chilly. I’m sure it has nothing to do with keeping the water off the tiles.) Every morning the Schmidt bathroom offers a myriad of scents and aromas I can’t say I appreciate.

Lotions and potions and perfumes, oh my! It is so confusing to me why my people try to hard to mask their natural (in my opinion beautiful) smell. In the shower they go: body wash, rinse, shampoo, rinse, conditioner, rinse.  Then after the shower, there’s lotions and perfumes (or colognes) and deodorant. It’s exhausting to me.

Why not find treasure in the garbage? Why not embrace one’s natural scent rather than masking it with various lotions and perfumes? I wish I could explain to my people that is why I obsessively roll around in clean clothes and dirty towels. They don’t smell like home. Call me crazy, but I love the natural smell of all my loved ones. Dogs and people alike, I prefer them in their most natural form.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus,” said American author Mark Twain. My eyes, nose, and imagination are finely tuned, if I do say so myself. To me, another person’s garbage is only an imaginative thought away from being my treasure.

 

Through the Looking Glass May 5, 2013

Many great minds have commented on the relationship between theory and practice. Words like abstract, speculation and conjecture are among the definitions of theory, whereas practice is typically thought of as a conscious effort to get better at something. Today I join the conversation as I contemplate the powerful relationship between practice and theory.I'm a Half Full Doggie

It is not unusual for my optimistic doggie mind to agree with great transcendentalist philosopher and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson and today is no exception to the rule. “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory,” Emerson once said. So which comes first, Mr. Emerson, the chicken or the egg? The action or the theory? The thought or the behavior?

To answer this puzzle I dip my toe into a casual chat about philosophy and end up in the deep end of psychology. I am a believer that we are what we think, in agreement with German philosopher Immanuel Kant. “Experience without theory is blind,” Kant suggested, “but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.”

Kant’s commentary brings to mind my mom’s journey with her sight. When she was a small girl, she was deemed legally blind with very little hope of the adult normalcy that sight has to offer. Thanks to what she refers to as her little miracle, she can now see almost perfectly with the help of prescription glasses.

Everything she sees is through those lenses. Those lenses are her looking glass to the world. This is how I see theory. Our theories are the lenses through which we view the world, providing our looking glass to all things. Our theories are the lenses filtering our perception of our surroundings. And just as mom carefully selected the lenses she wears each day, I dare say we choose the theory through which we opt to see the world on a daily basis.

It’s no secret to the world that I have carefully selected rose-colored glasses through which to view my world. My looking glasses are half full, and I’m proud to say they are. But today I gave some thought to these debates about theory and practice and I can’t say my life experiences enable me to agree with the popular opinion.

Experience lends itself to theory, but (in my doggie heart) the relationship between the two is give and take. “He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast,” said history’s most effective multi-tasker Leonardo da Vinci.

Indeed, it is not enough to see the world through a half-full pair of lenses. We need to practice what we preach. This is why I blog, why I share as much of my joy as I can with the world. “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with,” said great American author and humorist Mark Twain. So which comes first, Mr. Twain, the chicken or the egg? The action or the theory? The thought or the behavior?

Who knows. What I know for sure is my thoughts influence my behavior on a daily basis. I live to see and share joy, from the ground up. “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,” Emerson said, “This is to have succeeded.”

 

Silently Speaking: Life’s Little Reminders January 3, 2013

I’m a glass-half-full kind of dog. I wake up each day and make a heartfelt commitment to see the good in people, places and things. But even our best intentions get challenged. For me, a constant challenge to my outlook on life is silence. I hate not being able to talk. Perhaps that’s why I find such comfort in writing down my thoughts…because the silence drives me bonkers.Smiling for Silence

What I find most ironically disturbing about silence is how it can be more powerful than words. As a lover of words, I can’t help but wonder why is it that silence speaks so loudly?

I take the challenge. I am going to find something good to say about silence. Let us welcome Sir Francis Bacon to the conversation. Talk about finding the good in people. The English philosopher wore many hats, including one of disgrace following his political career. Yet somehow, he remains thought of as the creator of empiricism and respected for his influence on philosophy and science.

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom,” he once said. Well, I like sleep. And I love wisdom. In fact, I think my passion for wisdom got me in some trouble recently.

I noticed today that I have been one day ahead of myself in my journey with Simple Abundance. Clearly the problem is not my obvious enthusiasm for this journey of my mine. But that got me to thinking about life’s little reminders to hit the pause button from time to time. To be still in this super-sized, action-packed, fast-forward world. To respect the silence.

And we’re really missing out. Its been my experience that (even though silence is not my favorite thing) sometimes the stillness speaks to us in ways no words can interrupt. Southern novelist Mark Twain knew a thing or two about this. “The right word may be effective,” he said, “but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” So today I pause my Simple Abundance experience and (in doing so) find something good to say about silence.