Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Our Corner of the World January 8, 2015

Last night, words spilled out of my heart. Tonight I’ve got nothing.

It’s not like today was particularly different than yesterday. There was a fair share of ups and downs just like any other day. Dear baby Carter danced around like a ninny (on his own!) in the kitchen, which in itself was a joy-filled feast for the eyes. And earlier in the day, mom cleaned up what might have been the most horrifying diaper explosion anyone has ever seen. Ups and downs. But none of it was as prolific as everything that made yesterday what it was.

The more I thought about it, I started to realize something. Not every day is spectacular. Now is our present to do with what we will, but that doesn’t mean each day is filled with life-changing revelations. Every day is a gift filled with moments that flood our hearts with a variety of emotions. As it should be.

I watched it all today. The dancing. And the diaper change with the epic poop (so much poop). And the silliness that happened when mom and Auntie M went to get Carter as he woke from his mid-morning nap. He giggled a strange and unrecognizable giggle that is unlike any other I’ve heard of his. His whole little body shook with excitement at the sight of two of the people he loves most in this world coming to get him from a nap of all things.

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back,” as American-Polish thinker Arthur Rubinstein suggested. It sounds simple, but maybe that’s the point. Carter loves life with his whole heart, regardless of what each day brings. I saw it today in his shameless giggle.

To think that after the magic I witnessed yesterday, I was under the impression I had a whole lot of nothing to share with the world today. I thought wrong. Because the more I thought about it, the more I realized how special even the seemingly uneventful days are.

Joy. From the ground up, it does not only live in prolific moments. It is all the little moments that make up our corner in this world.

 

 

Here Comes The Sun June 30, 2013

I thought I had gone blind. One second my brothers were all curled up together in the warmth of my mom’s fur and the next we were out in the open squinting into blindness. Out in the open, away from mom’s protective warmth, and in contact with the brightest thing I’d ever seen.I see opportunity

This thing called the sun used to absolutely terrify me. It was too big…too bright…too much. Not to mention I felt a bit like that baby bird who had been nudged out of the nest and forced to fly. Granted, I wasn’t exactly plummeting toward the ground on a free fall to test my limits, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary.

I thought of this today as I reveled in my own little slice of paradise. Here I am five years later enjoying something that used to make me quiver in my paws. My backyard was a paradise for the senses today, complete with birds singing in perfect harmony with the gentle tinkle of the wind chimes. The rays of sun warmed my soul in a way I would have never thought possible so many moons ago. As I breathed in the delicious smell of various types of people food on the grill throughout the neighborhood, I found myself completely caught up in the nature around me.

Nature overwhelmed me with its simplicity today, and in doing so made me reflect on some things. “The sun is new each day,” as ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, and with it comes a whole host of exciting new opportunities. Maybe that mother bird has the right idea with her little nudge toward self-understanding. These changes are not always welcome, but they sure do have a profound impact on our lives. “When the sun is shining I can do anything,” Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph explained, “no mountain is too high, no trouble to difficult to overcome.”

In some ways I was indeed blind that day when my mom left me out to enjoy the sunshine. I was blind to the beauty of nature outside our comfort zones. Blind to the possibilities an open mind affords. Blind to the truth that sometimes the things we fear most may actually prove to be among life’s most promising gifts.

 

Another Day in Paradise May 7, 2013

Soak Up the SunI had my first-ever encounter with a hammock today. Indeed you read that right: I, Wiley Schmidt, spent about a half hour in a hammock this afternoon.

It reminded me a bit of my first few days blogging. I felt uneasy, unsteady and uncertain. This new place is uncomfortable, I thought to myself, and I don’t know what to make of it. Then, as the moments ticked on, I felt more at home as I got to know my surroundings. But the first step was believing I wouldn’t let myself fall. With that, the unfamiliar became familiar and doubt faded away.

I know these moments of self-awareness aren’t easy to come by. I know there is always something “better” for my mom to do with that time, like clean the bathrooms, empty the dishwasher, prepare dinner, start a load of laundry, etc. But I would argue that each of those tasks can seem less daunting after a few minutes to yourself to collect thoughts and be thankful for the little things in life.

“Perhaps now – of all times – when I am nearly bowed under physically, emotionally, and psychologically by the minutiae of the mundane, is the very moment I need the reverence of poets who bear witness to the sacredness of the ordinary,” writes Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance.

It was peaceful there in the backyard. My mom and I sat in silence together for those precious thirty minutes being serenaded by the birds while soaking in the soothing rays of late afternoon sunshine. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t expensive. Quite to the contrary, it was perhaps the most simple half hour we’ve spent together recently. And I loved every second of it.

“We are all given a choice each day,” Breathnach suggests. “We can react negatively to the demands made on us or we can choose to live abundantly, to transfer the negative to the meaningful. Attitude is all.”

As I saw my life flash before my eyes as I tried to catch my balance my first few seconds in the hammock, gratitude overwhelmed my little doggie heart. I realized I wouldn’t erase any moments of uncertainty from my life, as I know I have emerged a better dog from each and every one. And just as the unease and uncertainty in the hammock wore off in the comfort of home that is my mom’s arms, I am grateful for my loved ones in the blogosphere who I know would never let me fall.

 

A Playful Trip to Paradise February 3, 2013

Today I was listening to Chris Martin of Coldplay sing about a girl dreaming of paradise and it occurred to me I would have a tough time picking just one “happy place.” For some, it is sitting on a white, sandy beach blissfully staring into the blue abyss of the ocean. Others would prefer to rock climb up a nameless waterfall in the outback.

Playing catch in my backyard and or wrestling with my pals dog park pop into my mind as obvious choices, but that seems too easy. And (as it usually does) digging a little deeper led me down a surprising path of self discovery. As I thought more about it, I found myself in awe of the idea that we all have the power to construct our own version of paradise in our minds. Paradise looks different to everyone, which is what I would argue makes it so special. Happiness resides in this place, allowing its creator to be his or her true authentic self.

I know I have more than one of these places in my life. But if I had to pick just one, it would definitely be a combination of dreams and reality because (if you ask me) that is one of the many impressive things the mind can accomplish.

I do my best thinking on paper, so I dream myself a writing room.

It has no shortage of plush couches, fluffy pillows and blankets that smell deliciously like my forever home. My favorite music would be on a constant stream reverberating off the walls, which would be covered with pictures of my family and the written words of all those who inspire me. There would be a big bay window with another set of comfy pillows on the sill. At first, I pictured myself solo in this philosophically inspiring writing room. I saw myself alone with my thoughts.

Then today happened and reminded me of the role my reality plays in my dreams. Today was an action-packed day filled with treats, hugs and loved ones who never cease to inspire me. No, I would not chose to be alone with my thoughts in my writing room. I would choose to be surrounded with people and pets who love and support me and my writing.

I honestly can’t picture a paradise better than that.