Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

With or Without January 11, 2015

I’m usually pretty good with tension. When there is proverbial ice to be broken, I know just what to do. Any number of my repertoire of doggie antics tends to do the trick. But today my powers were useless in my very own living room. In The Right Direction

Nails were being bitten. Nervous eating had ensued. I could feel the tension rising with each passing minute. And nothing I could do seemed to mitigate the situation in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a Packer backer as those in my forever family. I just prefer to stay calm if at all possible.

It was not possible today. For me, or for anyone in the room. The final minutes of the Packer game against the Cowboys were intense and scary and exciting and devastatingly amazing all at the same time. I know, I know, it sounds impossible and yet it’s true. It all ended well, though I think at several points throughout the game, it didn’t seem it would.

When all was said and done, the stress and worry was for naught. Everything worked out. The Packers won the game. All was well.

It reminded me of why I’m usually pretty good with tension. I have an entire cabinet of tricks I break out to lighten up the emotions in the room, which us canines have a knack for picking up very easily. I jokingly call it our seventh sense. Cats have nine lives. Dogs have an innate understanding for human emotion.

That’s why I can say with some sense of authority that you can’t sweat the small stuff. The outcome of that game would be the same whether or not we worried and stressed like we did or not. I think there’s something to be taken from that.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another,” suggested American thinker William James. Any good journey will be filled with ups and downs and moments when we think it’s not going to work out. Yet sometimes it always does. With or without the stress.

 

It’s A Win-Win January 5, 2014

It’s not about winning. That was mom’s opinion of a failed attempt by the Green Bay Packers to continue their journey to Superbowl 48. Today our beloved Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 in a playoff battle to remember. My Little Team

It was Carter’s first Packer game, and (while he didn’t stay awake for any of it) that brought with it a new kind of excitement. Packer Sundays are filled with traditions in the Schmidt home, and this Sunday was no different. Except it was. My people prepared the usual delicious smelling food, dressed up in their Packer Sunday best, and cheered on the beloved team.

And it was an exciting game, filled ups and downs. Packed with moments of joy and moments of frustration. So when the clock ticked down to nothing and the loss was imminent, mom’s words brought to the situation into perspective for me.

This game, or any game for that matter, is much like life in that way. Filled with ups and downs. Moments of joy and moments of frustration. All of this is experienced as part of a team, which is sometimes greater than the sum of it’s parts. I was reminded in that moment how blessed I am to be part of this particular team. I know we aren’t going to win every battle. But that’s okay, because I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. They are happiness to me.

“Winning isn’t everything,” Packer coaching legend Vince Lombardi suggested, “it’s the only thing.” And in most other ways, I agree with him. But he was wrong about this. It’s not about winning. It’s about enjoying the game.

 

Foutain of Youth October 23, 2013

You’re tired. You’re sick. Or you just plain don’t feel like doing something. It happens all the time. So how do you stay motivated? I know everyone has their own strategy, but they all have the same underlying foundation. Big girl panties.

From what I understand, the people phrase about putting on big girl panties can apply to both men and women. And it used to confuse me. Until today. Today I saw the value in finding that inner source of energy and embracing it in a time when you least feel like doing so.

It's Free!While I am happy to report my aunt Morgan has moved back to the area from the home of my favorite football team (the Green Bay Packers), exhaustion is the first word that comes to mind tonight. I felt it just being around my forever family and I didn’t lift a paw. Moving is a lot of work (at least from what I can tell). And it’s not usually fun. But it can be. And it was for my forever family (and dad’s friend Chris) tonight.

I watched it all unfold from my comfortable perch on the living room couch, all the while observing the most interesting dynamic. Everyone was tired – no one felt like unloading boxes, moving couches, or assembling bed frames – but the group collectively put on their big girl panties got the job done. And the best part? There they were, this group of adults, laughing like children while they worked.

I found this incredibly ironic since most adults I know fondly recall the time when nap time was a real thing, money grew on trees and there wasn’t a care in the world. At the time, they couldn’t grow up fast enough. Now they wish to reverse the clock and get some of these ultimate simplicities back.

Well, I’ve got a secret. They can. And so can you. Because I figured something out about joy today. Sure it’s free, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows where to shop. The fountain of youth is inside you in all things that bring you joy. You just need to know where to find it. And once you do, it will make the whole big girl panty routine a lot easier.

 

The Twilight Zone October 12, 2013

If dogs have a Twilight Zone, I visited mine today. My people were still my people. My forever home was still my forever home. All of my toys were put away in their basket in the living room (I checked). Everything looked the same. But the strangest little thing was different.News? What news?

And I didn’t even notice it at first. I just did what I usually do when the television features an animal. Live or animated. From whales to cows. It doesn’t matter. My normally silent self goes a bit berserk when there is an animal on the television. I have even come to recognize certain music that accompanies commercials with animals and react before I even see that group of dogs invading the screen in my living room.

So it was actually true to form for me to react somewhat aggressively to what I saw on the television. That is, until I realized it was me. There I was, wearing a shirt and tie, reporting the latest updates in the tragic story of the death of NFL star Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son.

I woke up the very moment I realize what was happening. I looked around to find I was still in my forever home, lounging peacefully in my doggie bed. I instinctively ran to check the television, but it was turned off. Relief washed over me in confirming it had all been a dream. An incredibly unusual dream.

And it got me to thinking. I hate bad news. I despise scandal. I prefer to avoid thinking about death and loss. I would make an awful news reporter. I’m not too proud to admit it. I seemed all right at it in my dream, but that is the Twilight Zone we’re talking about.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying being tuned in to what is happening in the world is a bad thing. Quite the opposite. But, like anything else, I need balance. We need balance. My people don’t watch a lot of news, but when they do I hear a lot about death and shootings and sickness and the struggling economy. Stories of personal growth or success are few and far between. If you ask me, these news bytes are just as important for us to hear.

Fortunately we are not living in the Twilight Zone. But I think American novelist Charles Dickens would agree with my opinion on modern society. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Dickens wrote.

Indeed, there is good and bad in each and every day. I just prefer to focus my emotional energy on the good instead of the bad. “What is a weed?” transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson questioned. “(It is) a plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”