Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Joy: A Daily Dose December 5, 2013

Peanut butter, salami, bacon, ice cream and yogurt. I’m pretty sure these things would all be in the bag I would pack if I every was to head off to a deserted island (along with my forever people and Mrs. Prickles obviously). So it makes sense to me why people have employed these guilty pleasures to entice dogs into taking medicine. A spoonful of peanut butter definitely makes the medicine go down.Ready for my vitamin

I love these foods as much as the next canine, but I’ve never needed any such bait attached to my pills. If it hits the floor I’ll eat it. I’ve learned in life not to be choosy with such things. Instead, I eagerly look forward to my doggie vitamin each day. Every night before bedtime is when mom usually gives me my vitamin treat, which is apparently supposed to help me have stronger bones. I don’t know if it does any good (I certainly don’t feel any different), but smells fabulously stinky and tastes like chalky meat. I certainly don’t need it to be smothered with peanut butter to know what’s good for me.

Neither does joy, I realized tonight. It doesn’t need to be salami coated. It doesn’t have to come in pretty packages with bows. It doesn’t have to cost a dime. It’s completely and 100% free. It’s just up to you to take it, to find it in each day, just as you would with a multivitamin. And (just like with the vitamin) you might not even know if it’s working at first. But it is.

If you don’t believe me, perhaps you will believe the words of Helen Keller, whose blindness never kept her from finding her daily dose of joy. “We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world,” she said. “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

Not every day will be filled with joy. We will struggle. We will meet challenges. We will experience loss that affects us to our core. But on these days even the smallest dose of joy can make all the difference. Even if it’s not obvious (or better yet, covered in bacon), it feeds our soul in a way no multivitamin can.

 

On Solitude: A Spoonful of Peanut Butter March 30, 2013

I am a believer in the theory that sometimes (but not always) less is more. This is why I can say with absolute certainty what I’m about to say. Solitude sucks. I know I have previously commented on silence and my loathing of the communication gap between canines and their people, but solitude is far worse a reality than silence.

While I tend to agree with the majority of what transcendentalist thinker Henry David Thoreau had to say, I have found my exception to the rule.

“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude,” Thoreau suggested. It is at this point that I take my turn away from the Thoreau way of thought. I would much rather be silent amidst a gaggle of loved ones than at a fabulously orchestrated event all by my lonesome.

I think it is true of most dogs who have an unbreakable bond with their humans – time drags on for us while they’re anywhere but with us. I know a lot of us make the most of our solitude by daydreaming, napping, or enjoying some peanut butter goodness in the Kong toys left for us in our peoples’ absence, but that’s all we’re doing. Making the best of it.

In reality, we are counting every minute until we hear that car come back up the driveway, listening for the door to shut, the garage door to go down and alas! The door opens and we are reunited at last. I think its related to the unconditional love in our not-so-little doggie hearts. Personally, I know it’s related to my understanding and appreciation that my joy feels the most sincere when I share it with someone. Whatever it is, there is nothing like that time when we’re together.

But as I am in the habit of seeing the glass half full, I found myself thinking that maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Solitude offers a unique opportunity to be alone with one’s thoughts, which (to some) is a mighty scary thing. Dark days are real. Seeing the light can seem impossible when we’re at our lowest of the low. And yet that is the most important time to see the light at the end of an otherwise pitch black tunnel. Today I seek the light in solitude, as I know there must be something in which to find solace in even the darkest of places.

Alone with My Thoughts

 

While I hope to never be exiled to a deserted island, I think I’d find a way to make the most of it. (Other than my allowable carry-on items of bacon, peanut butter, rawhide bones, water, my dog food and Mrs. Prickles obviously). Again I find myself attempting to change my perspective on solitude, and (in doing so) I change my perspective on life. “Loneliness is the poverty of self;” As American novelist and poet May Sarton said, “Solitude is the richness of self.”

And (if all else fails) a spoonful of peanut butter makes the medicine of solitude go down in the most delightful way.

 

Go Go Gadget Gratitude January 24, 2013

I don’t understand much about the adventures of Inspector Gadget, but I’ve got to hand it to the guy for his go-go-gadget attitude. Even amidst the most challenging situation, he seemed to remain calm and positive because he had some pretty positive things up his sleeve. I found myself pondering that today and I couldn’t help but wonder how different our lives would be if we too had our own personal arsenal of positivity up our sleeve. Like an omnipresent reminder of all the blessings its so easy to forget amidst the monotonous chaos of a day.

So today I shall take ten minutes to “bless my circumstances” as Sarah Ban Breathnach puts it in Simple Abundance.

Ready, set, go….

1) Unbirthdays. Every day I wake up is a blessing.

2) Peanut butter.

3) Family. My mom, dad and all the other people in my life who love me. You know who you are.

4) Friends. Buddy, Indy, Diesel, Atlas, Lupy, Gus….this could take a while, so I’m going to move along with my list…

5) Wordsmiths of all backgrounds, genres, and mediums. Poets, authors, musicians, artists, and word geeks alike. You are all an inspiration.

6) Peanut butter.

7) Toys. Flea, Mrs. Prickles, Mr. Prickles, Miss Piggy, and Kermit.

8) Peas. Dad (almost) always gives me his leftover peas after mom and dad have dinner. (Don’t tell him I told you that – it is one of our little secrets).

9) Snow

10) The dog park

11) Playtime with mom and dad

12) Peanut butter

13) Popsicles. Mom (almost) always gives me the last few licks of these frozen bits of deliciousness. (Don’t tell her I told you that – it is one of our little secrets).

14) Simple Abundance and all its teaching me

15) This blog

16) Everyone who reads and supports this blogFeeling Thankful Today

17) Peanut butter

18) Car rides

19) My mom’s blue blankie. It smells like her, and its my most favorite thing to cuddle up in on a cold winter’s day

20) My groomer Mary at Paws ‘R Us

21) My forever home

22) Food in my bowl every morning and night

23) Treats

24) Water in my bowl at all times

25) Bedtime with mom and dad

26) Basically any time with mom and dad

27) Basically any time with people

28) Peanut butter

29) Bacon. I don’t get it often but when I do, it’s life changing.

30) Ice cream

31) Did I mention peanut butter yet?

32) Love, wherever I can get it

33) Joy, wherever I can give it

And that’s time. Phew, ten minutes sure flies by when you’re using it to fill up your arsenal of positivity. Go go gadget gratitude!