Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Truth About The Worst Case September 2, 2014

It’s a little tough for me to wrap my optimistic doggie mind around. To be entirely honest, it’s hard for me to understand how my otherwise positive-thinking mom can even feel this way. Yet she does and I know she has her reasons.

Lately mom has been going through this negative thinking phase in her life. Everything (and I mean everything) is the worst case scenario. Truth be told, it’s tough to watch. Me

If something happens with Carter (he hits his head, cries differently, or basically does anything out of the ordinary), the computer, phone and tablet are instantly all in use searching to make sure he’s okay. She is way more tough than she should be on her post-knee reconstruction surgery and post-baby body. She had a bad dream (or I guess you could say nightmare) the other night about something terrible happening to me. She frequently talks about what emotional turmoil she would/will be in one day if/when my dear forever dad leaves for heaven because he is seven years older than her and because men die seven years sooner than most women that means she will be alone for at least 14 years.

It’s exhausting. Even for me, a doggie that has been through my fair share of things in life. But even thinking about that, I am forced to remember why she might be this way.

Five years ago, she lost a job she loved and her dad died suddenly within two weeks. Given the world of hardship and loss we live in, it might not sound like much. She knows and respects and understands people lose a lot more in one fell swoop all the time. Or they were never fortunate enough to have anything so special to lose in the first place. And, while I know her heart is with these people, I know (and see) the emotional aftermath on an almost daily basis.

It might be tough for me to wrap my optimistic doggie mind around, I understand she has her reasons almost as much as I see the progress she’s made. I know things were bothering her today. I know she had all kinds of negative thoughts running through her head. But she paused and found joy in life moments. She sat on the floor and had a (baby) talk with Carter when she got home from that place called work. Dinner was (for a change) not quite perfect, but she and dad got a good laugh about it regardless. And when the time came for our daily love fest tonight, she was 100% present for that too.

I know life can be tough. I know the worst can happen. But I guess what I learn from my dear forever mom is that even the worst case scenario isn’t really the worst. There are better things in the future. You just have to believe.


Sur-reality Check February 11, 2013

I had another rare nightmare last night. I know it because my rhythmic whimpering wakes my mom and dad, who (in turn) wake me to stop the madness happening in my mind. More often than not, the madness unfortunately does not come to a complete halt upon waking. The memories of my nightmare haunt my thoughts the remainder of the night and into the day, often forcing me to reflect on paths that my optimistic personality prefers to avoid.

Today I reflect on my surreal dream by observing that the general public seems to misunderstand the concept of the word “surreal.” Until today, I always thought of it as a positive reflection on one’s experience, like a dream coming true. On the contrary, Bing aligns the surreal with the “bizarre: weirdly unfamiliar, distorted, or disturbing, like the experiences in a dream or the objects or experiences depicted in surrealism.” The optimist in me wants to see the good in all words, so this took me by surprise.

As did my dream last night, which (now that I have a better understanding of the word) was incredibly surreal. I was enjoying a car ride with my mom and dad (which is one of my most favorite things to do with them) after about a year in my forever home. We were in the car for an unusually long period of time, which had me the most excited for the adventure the journey would bring.

Then it happened. I started to recognize my surroundings and I was not happy with what I saw.

I know that bridge, I thought, and that is Lake Winnebago…I know that lake. Then it occurred to me…they must be taking me back to the humane society just like the other family did before them. But no, I thought, this is different! They love me!Nighty Night

That’s when mom woke me up. Thank goodness. Because that drive really did happen, and the ending was nothing like it was in my nightmare. My parents (obviously) did not return me to the humane society. Instead, we ended up driving for three more hours before we reached our destination: a cabin on a lake in a new, exciting place they called the “Northwoods” of Wisconsin. The three days that followed were some of the happiest of my doggie life.

To me, that is taking the reality check that is surrealism back to the positive side of the coin. Sometimes we are hit with surreal moments that remind us to be thankful for what’s real in our lives.

Sarah Ban Breathnach speaks of something like this in Simple Abundance. She refers to these moments of darkness as moments of divine discontentment. In these moments it is more crucial than ever to find value that brings a little light into the room of reflection that takes residence in our minds.

“(Divine Discontentment) is part of the process,” Breathnach writes. “It is the grit in the oyster before the pearl. This creative second chance is when we come into our own. When we finally claim our lives and wrestle our futures from our fate. When we learn how to spin straw into gold. When we realize gratefully that we can live by our own lights if we access the Power.”

Nightmares don’t scare me as much as I continue to live by my own light.