Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Sadness: Life’s Most Slippery Slope June 15, 2013

I lost an argument with a fly today. It was an epic battle of the minds, lasting for what seemed like hours. I don’t know when exactly it was he found his way into my forever home, but I knew the moment I saw him he didn’t belong. So I did what any dog would do. I set out on a mission to take him down to Chinatown. Or at least down out of the sky.

It was not my first rodeo of this kind, and I began confident. I jumped, I twisted, I chased, I growled. I came so close to catching him I could taste victory…yet it evaded me. The darned fly flapped its teeny tiny little wings up to the farthest corner of the bedroom ceiling, a place not even a bed would help me reach. I can’t explain what happened next. I was completely overcome with frustration to the point I was almost fearful. It was an unusual turn of emotional events and it took me by surprise.

It’s nothing out of the ordinary for me to follow mom everywhere throughout the house, but in the moment I declared defeat I started snuggling up next to her regardless of where she stopped. I sat and snuggled up to her legs in six different places before she deduced something was awry. She (wrongfully) assumed I had won the victory with the fly when (in fact) I had lost. She told dad she thought I must of swallowed the fly (a theory which lasted about two minutes longer before dad caught and disposed of it).

All SmilesI indeed had not swallowed the fly, but my mind turned to a children’s story involving an old lady who did. In the 1960s author Nadine Bernard penned the story of the woman who swallowed a fly (in addition to all sorts of other things) and the aftermath that ensues.

“I know an old lady who swallowed a fly, but I don’t know why she swallowed a fly…perhaps she’ll die,” the story reads. So the woman does what any woman would do (oh I jest) and swallowed a horse to catch a pig to catch a goat to catch a dog to catch a cat to catch a bird to catch a spider (“that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her”) all to catch the teeny tiny fly that started it all.

While it is an admittedly silly story, I think there is a lesson to be learned from the slippery slope it contains. Often negative thoughts begin as tiny flies buzzing around in our minds. The buzzing isn’t so bad at first, but slowly it grows louder and more irritating and before you know it has the power to develop into full-fledged pessimism. This cycle of negativity happened to me relatively quickly today as I found myself waving the white flag of forfeit to the fly who one the battle.

I lost an argument with a fly today. So what? It’s like the great American comedian Lucille Ball once said. “One of the things I learned the hard way is that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” My daily commitment to seeing the best in all people, places and things will not be defeated by this intruder. No sir. That fly may have won the battle, but he cannot win the war. It astounds me how something so tiny somehow be so powerful.



Home is Where the Heart Is January 28, 2013

I’ve lived a lot of different places in my relatively short life.

When I was a little pup, my birth mom and my two brothers moved around a lot, finding shelter under garbage cans, in alley ways, and in cardboard boxes (if we were lucky). Times were pretty tough and food was scarce, but one thing brought me comfort like nothing else: cuddling with my mom. I would scrunch myself as small as I could, inhale her motherly smell, and listen for her heartbeat. It was warm, and with each beat of her heart, I could somehow feel her loving me just a little bit more. More than anything, I miss that about her. She was home to me.

Later when I was fending for myself, it brought me the most powerful sense of relief to picture myself back there snuggling myself into serenity. I could be shivering cold in the icy cold rain, and the memory of being in my mom’s arms brought me warmth.

As time went on, her smell became more a distant memory and her image became the slightest bit blurry, but her warmth somehow remained a source of solace in my heart.

People at the humane society (fondly?) referred to me as needy, and perhaps that’s what I am. I never passed up the opportunity to nudge myself into the hands or arms of the workers and especially of visitors who asked to see me outside of my room. I know that’s why I struggled in the first adoptive home with all of those other cats and dogs. There was simply not enough cuddle time to go around in that house.

That has never been a problem in my forever home. My mom and dad (and various people visitors) seem to enjoy my cuddly nature (for the most part).

The other day, it was bedtime in the Schmidt household and (as has become customary), I snuggled myself in between mom and dad on the bed. I closed my eyes, let out a deep grunting sigh and realized something. While my birth mother’s warmth is irreplaceable, I have found not just one but two new hearts to lull me to sleep with their love. And with that, I realized I am truly blessed.

If its true that home is where the heart is, my heart has found its forever home.

Smiles for Cuddles