Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Good Day March 8, 2015

It’s one thing when I think it. It’s something else entirely when it gets sound out loud by one of my people. Especially when there is nothing in particular that stands out to me as anything special.

That was today around here. It was a pretty standard Sunday in my forever home, except for the loss of an hour for daylight savings time. But even that didn’t seem to get anyone down. I held down the fort while the usual errands were run between dear baby Carter’s naps. It was a stark contrast to yesterday, when the poor little guy hardly napped and his overtired and unhappy self had a ripple effect all the way to my heart. Some laundry was done, and a bit of cleaning. All in all, it was a pretty routine day around here. Big Thinking

So it kind of took me by surprise when I heard my forever dad say it this afternoon. He and mom were relaxing together, which admittedly doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to, after the errands and laundry and cleaning were done. I was napping nearby, so I’m actually kind of surprised I even heard it all. But I’m so glad I did.

“It’s been a good day,” dad said simply.

And I suppose it had. Especially after the day we had yesterday with all the crying and gnashing of teeth (literally). That’s when I realized that sometimes I think it takes a day like yesterday, a day when nothing seems to go right, to remind us to appreciate days like today.

When nothing out of the ordinary happens. It’s just another day when everything goes as expected. A day when there is time (albeit brief) to pause to reflect on such things. A good day.

It’s one thing when I think it (and I think it all the time). It’s something else entirely when someone says it out loud. Just as simple as dad’s words are the words that form the reason for my acknowledgment of the simple things today.

As ancient Persian philosopher Omar Khayyam put it, “be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

 

 

Lighting the Way January 12, 2014

It’s official. I think my people are losing their minds. Maybe it’s because of the lack of sleep. I can’t be sure. All I know is there is a new nighttime Sleep, Don't Weeproutine in the Schmidt household and I’m not sure what to make of it.

It actually starts during the day, with all kinds of loud noises, open windows and bright lights. Then at 8:30 sharp, they shut off all the lights and put baby Carter in a dark room away from any televisions or other noises. They speak to each other (and me) in hushed tones and I get scolded even more than usual for barking at animals on the television (which admittedly is one of my more unusual quirks).

Apparently it’s to do with the baby’s days and nights being flip flopped. Daytime to us is nighttime to him, so to attempt to get him on track with what my people refer to as a “normal” schedule. Tonight was the second swing at this new way of things, and I’m not sure how it will go.

Because the baby will probably do his own thing anyway. So to me it feels a bit like flipping a coin. And I found that frustrating at first because there’s really nothing I can do to help. Except there is. I don’t think my people are losing their minds. But I do think they need me now more than ever to remind them to seek out joy. From the ground up, it’s always there even when we lose our way.

 

Living the Dream June 9, 2013

When I was a puppy, I longed to be “normal.” I had this image of what my life should look like and it was so different than what it was. I don’t mean to say I wasn’t happy as I’d ever dreamed to be with my mom and brothers. Living on the streets taught me so many valuable lessons about the meaning of family and the importance of finding joy in the little things. But I could tell right away that I was different from my puppy brothers.

While we shared a scavenger’s sense of survival, my brothers looked a little different than me. (More like their dad, I gathered, since I was almost a spitting image of my mom). I even remember feeling kind of left out around them, like the odd puppy out. It’s me, I thought, I’m not like the others.

Living the DreamIt surprised me when I felt the same way after getting separated from my mom and brothers. I was still just a pup, and I would have thought being out on my own would make me feel adult. Instead I was scared, alone, and again longing for normalcy without even really knowing exactly what it looked like.

All-the-while I felt like something about me was holding me back somehow, especially when I was at the humane society. I know I didn’t think like other dogs, and I certainly didn’t look like them. The majority of visitors overlooked me for puppies, and those who did visit me often mistook me for either a puppy or a girl.

I would have found this all incredibly discouraging if not for my innate desire to find the good to be grateful for each day. And on days when I couldn’t think of anything, I gave thanks for my hope for normalcy. I knew there was something better, something normal, in my future.

But there is this something abnormal about normalcy. I think it’s kind of like how people in my country have this concept of an “American Dream.” It’s all relative. Perhaps the bigger we dream, the more this comes into focus. What is normal anyway? The more my adult mind analyzes the concept, the more I realize the negative connotations of the word. Normal has a boring ring to it, and almost sounds like something below average. Instead I find myself gravitating to the abnormal, which (to me) is more exciting.

Sure, when I was a puppy “normal” seemed like the only way to go. Throughout my life I faced challenges on my path to normalcy that made me who I am today. But today I no longer wish to be normal. Instead I accept that my place in life is among the extraordinarily abnormal. It always has been and always will be. That, my friends, is my American Dream coming to life.

 

Glamorous Gratitude January 13, 2013

I think its ironic that today’s Simple Abundance reading challenges me to see the value of all things normal.

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching television and movie sensations strut their stuff on the red carpet of the Golden Globe awards.

There have been a lot of classy (and some not so classy) black, white and red dresses, lace, diamonds and names like Versace, Armani and Vera Wang. Sophia Vergara looks fabulous as always, Julianne Hough looks ravishingly rockstar, and Zoeey Deschanel is a vision in red. I just had a moment when I wish I had a bow tie even though the closest thing I have to the red carpet is the area rug in the living room.

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened Simple Abundance to see one of my favorite quotes by e. e. Cummings: “The eyes of my eyes are opened.” Today Breathnach dares us to dream in normality, to take a refreshed glance at life’s blessings. And so I am reminded that I do not need a bow tie. Watching these awards shows is fun and all, but even the stars have the dresses and jewels out on loan. They return them to Cartier, or Tiffany’s or wherever they borrowed them from.

It brings to mind something wise that singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos had to say on the matter of glamour: “to me glamour isn’t about being sparkly.” Its about opening our eyes to see the sparkle in everyday things and pausing to be grateful.