Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Progress Is Perfection May 26, 2013

Like so many things, words are what we make them. And in my humble opinion, there are far too many nouns in this world. Too many words that mean something instead of do something. That changes today.

If a noun is lazy, breathe life into it. Make it a verb. Take the word journey, for example. Whether it was career-related, a physical trip somewhere, or purely emotion, we’ve all been on a number of journeys in life. How did the paths lead? What do you remember? What was the destination? Have you reached it yet?

Progress is PerfectionMerriam-Webster and Bing both cite “journey” first as a noun and then as a verb. To me, it should be the other way around. We ought journey onward rather than simply be on a journey. Sure, it might sound like semantics to some, but let me explain.

The progress along the way, the scenery if you will, is often the highlight of the journey itself. And in a world encompassed by the constant pressure-cooker of perfection, progress is a pretty important part of every journey. Yet commercials showcasing the next revolutionary skincare regime, magazines with their airbrushed models, and high standards at school, work, and even at play, I’d say perfection is at a premium in modern society.

Meanwhile, great transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson challenged that “a man is what he thinks about all day long.” Well then, it’s no wonder to me why progress has become synonymous with failure to so many in today’s world of bigger, better, brighter and faster. Instead, we need to recognize progress rather than focusing so much on destination perfection. We may as well give up on perfection without first finding joy in progress.

“Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection,” Lebanese-American writer and poet Khalil Gabrin said. Rightly so, advancing is the verb and perfection is the noun synonymous with the destination at the end of a long journey.

Like I said, words are what we make them. And (at least to me) there are far too many words that mean something instead of do something. That changes today. If a noun in your life is being lazy, breathe life into it. Make it a verb. Don’t simply go on a journey. Journey through life with courage enough to do more than seek happiness, joy, and fulfillment. Don’t seek these things. Seek progress by instead being these things. By being happiness, joy, and fulfillment and you’ve already reached your destination.

 

Isn’t it ironic? A Pause Amidst Life’s Symphony January 17, 2013

Irony is one of those words that can often be considered most influential in the eye of the beholder. Definitions vary, but from what I can tell perspective weighs heavily upon one’s perception of what Merriam-Webster refers to as “the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning.” Sounds pretty confusing to me. My simplified perspective includes the people in my life through the lenses of my appreciation for literature, music and artistic expression.

From the ground up, I couldn’t help but see irony in life’s little messages of today. It was the kind of day one wishes could be lived in reverse. French poet Anatole France knew a thing or two about this. “Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom,” he said. Alas, hindsight is 20/20, so instead of dreaming the impossible, I will reflect on the messages.

It was a pretty normal day for me…mom and dad headed off to their respective workplaces, followed closely by my morning nap, mom’s lunchtime visit, my afternoon nap, and then mom and dad came home. Mom had another one of “those” days at work. Over dinner, I listened intently as she explained the stress of the day to dad. I don’t understand much of what she does at this work place, but whatever it is sounds fast-paced and challenging.

“Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right,” Alanis Morissette croons in her 90s hit “Ironic.” “And life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up in your face.”

Thank you, Alanis, for putting my words to music all those years ago. Today’s Simple Abundance reading encourages us to pause to find harmony within our day, understanding that the integration of simplicity, order and gratitude in our lives will create a magical symphony of comfort and joy. “With harmony as your guide, trust that your every day moments will soon begin to resonate in a rhapsody of fulfillment,” Breathnach writes.

So I find a bit of irony in today’s daily prompt, which challenges me to “honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?” http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/daily-prompt-in-a-crisis/

Is anyone? Speaking for myself, it certainly isn’t easy for me to pause and soak in the warm rays of the sun instead of running after that squirrel in the backyard. When faced with too many stimuli, I have a tough time concentrating on life’s simplest blessings. Chaos is not my friend, and I don’t think it’s any good for my mom either. I know I can’t relive today, but I can at least take France’s advice and find some wisdom in the irony.

Isn’t it ironic that sometimes exactly what is best for us is sometimes the most challenging task of all?

 

Today I’m a Trombone Player January 16, 2013

Like many of us, Henry David Thoreau wore many hats. Writer. Poet. Historian. Naturalist. Philosopher. Most people can (and do) juggle that many titles all the time. So what made him great? Why is he one of the most respected and influential historical philosophers? Regardless of the role he played, his foundational belief system made up his spirit. His spirit enabled him with the resources to produce quality over quantity.

“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours’ toil,” Thoreau observed. “The fight to the finish spirit is the one… characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers.”

I overheard mom and dad talking tonight about what makes me unique. After a moment’s pause, dad said it’s my spirit he loves most. I see that as a very high compliment.

Merriam-Webster defines “spirit” as “an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms.” While I would argue that I wear more than one unique personality hat, dad’s comment made my day. What a blessing it is that my spirit literally gives life to me every day, but more importantly, because it gives figurative life to those around me. My spirit is contagious. I say this with confidence because I smile with my tail most of the time, and find that smiling can be incredibly contagious. I get so excited to see visitors that I often jump up to greet them. I know its naughty, but its a way I share my joy, and (nine times out of ten), the visitor catches the joy bug.

Smile! You know you want to!

That got me to thinking about Thoreau, a philosopher whose simple belief in the inherent good in nature and people I wholeheartedly share. I find peace through a transcendental state of mind, and when I’m at peace I can most effectively share joy with the world. Oddly enough, I find that sometimes I spend so much time focusing on exterior locus’ of affection, love, and joy that I struggle to see it in myself. It’s so much easier to be self deprecating than to pause and toot your own horn every once in a while. So, just for today, call me a trombone player.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/daily-prompt-favorite-thing/