Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Best of Friends February 7, 2015

I may be a bit biased in saying so, and it might not be that popular an opinion. But for the most part I think people friendships are a bit overrated. There, I said it. Now let me explain.

I’ve always been a believer in a family favorite quote to “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” Life has taught me these things. And as a canine, I feel like we are born with an innate desire to do things that have earned us that famous title of man’s best friendThrowback to my first few days at my forever home

We are loyal. We love unconditionally. And we always listen quietly with a completely open heart. If we are lucky enough to be welcomed into a forever home, those people become our world. It’s that simple.

Maybe that’s the problem I’ve found so frequently with interpersonal relationships I observe. They’re never simple.

They’re messy and complicated and sometimes people aren’t loyal. Sometimes people don’t love unconditionally. Sometimes people would much rather be heard than listen. Therein lies the fundamentally simple yet surprisingly complex problem that is human emotion in friendships.

Yet that is also what I’ve found makes them so special. Every relationship is unique, with its own story of origin and development. And it seems these imperfections are also what breathes life into friendships in the first place.

Today mom celebrated friendship. She had lunch with a couple of her closest friends, a rare occurrence since she and dad brought home dear baby Carter all those months ago. I could tell it brought her joy, not only from how happy she seemed when she made it home, but from how much I know she looked forward to it beforehand.

Something about time with good friends can do that. Just as I know sometimes things don’t always go as planned and feelings get hurt and things get complicated, friendship can rejuvenate the soul like few other things can.

It doesn’t change my biased and admittedly unpopular opinion that, for the most part, interpersonal friendships are overrated. Because in my heart I know I love my people more than any of their people friends do. But I also know the joy that warms my heart when they are happy. I know because they’re my best friends. It’s as simple as that.

 

 

Things Live in Memories January 10, 2015

I would say I’ve lived a pretty full life. This year I will turn seven doggie years old, and I’ve seen a lot, witnessed a lot and learned a lot in my time living joy from the ground up. But even though that makes me the equivalent of almost 50 people years old, I know I haven’t seen it all. There are lots of people in my life who have been around a lot longer and seen a lot more.

Change. From the ground up, I find it’s everywhere. People change and adapt as the world around them evolves. I’ve even seen it as I’ve seen my dear forever mom grow (what some might say is) a bit too attached to her cell phone. The same conceptual device that she used to use to call loved ones has developed into a multi-functional tool. Heck, I can even remember in one of my other (temporary) adoptive homes, they had a phone that was attached to the wall. They had other things I rarely see anymore too, like a humongous box for a television and a record player.

From what I can tell, technology is one of the most rapidly changing things people need to adapt to. And while I feel there is a certain degree of caution that needs to be taken with any and all aforementioned devices, the concept behind the continued modification of society isn’t necessarily a bad one in my mind. Today will become tomorrow whether we like it or not. And that’s nothing to be afraid of in my humble doggie opinion. Hard At Work

I’ve seen a lot in my doggie life. I aspire to see a lot more. But that doesn’t give any less meaning to the things of the past. Though the things themselves may no longer be around, that doesn’t mean they can’t live on through the memories they helped create.

Like this person mom was talking to the other day who fondly remembers when he was seven years old watching the historic 1967 Ice Bowl on 12-inch black and white television with his family. He remembers everything about that day, in part because of that tiny little box that made it all possible.

All good things from the past are not lost. Sure, they are just things. But they are also memories. And memories are meant to hold on to for as long as we’d like.

 

Turn On The Light October 29, 2013

It’s like an on/off switch. It happens in a fraction of a second. The blink of an eye. And it fascinates me. Except when there’s crying involved. Then I’m not sure what to do with myself.

I spent some time with baby Alexis again tonight and I am stunned by the emotional roller coaster she wears on her adorable little face. First she’s smiling her contagious toothless grin then bam! The grin morphs into a grimace, but only for a millisecond. Then she’s happy again. It’s exhausting for me as an observer who invests a good deal in bringing joy from the ground up into the lives of others.

Happiness begets HappinessAs disturbing as it may be to observe, it made me wonder what happens along one’s life journey that keeps this from being something common in adults. Sure, I’ve seen adults go from happy to sad pretty instantaneously. (Let’s face it, bad things happen to good people all the time). But it’s the second part of the equation that interests me. That’s the part that seems to be blocked by some sort of adult-only emotional hurdle. How do you efficiently talk yourself back to the happy place?

It happens in an instant for Alexis. I think life too frequently gets in the way of that being possible for adults. But I did observe something else about this emotional dichotomy. When my mom smiled back at her, the switch to the dark side seemed to happen less frequently (if at all). Instead, there they were smiling at each other like a couple of ninnies. Like somehow the reciprocation of happiness inverted the cycle somehow.

There’s a thought. The concept is one that mirrors the idea of Greek philosopher Sophocles, who suggested “kindness begets kindness.” Smiles beget smiles. Joy begets joy. I know it’s probably something different for everyone. But I think that little person who once switch back and forth between sad and happy so frequently is still inside us all. We just have to reprogram our hearts to cooperate better with our minds to recognize the triggers. We’ve got to find our own switch.

Because life turns the lights out on us every now and then. It can happen in a fraction of a second. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. And change can be scary. That is, unless you find a way to turn that light back on.