Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

My Big American Dream March 6, 2014

Nobody’s perfect. Sometimes life just sucks. Momma said there would be days like this. But here’s the thing. That inherently implies there are also days like that. When things feel pretty perfect. And life is wondrous in all its glory. That was today for me.

For the most part, it was like any other day. Same old routine. I can always sniff out excitement though, and today it was definitely in the air from the start. It wasn’t until this afternoon when two men with big cameras and lights came to visit my forever home that I found out what all the fuss was about. Our family was “image cast” to appear as a normal family living the American Dream for a promo for a local news station. Family Photo (Throwback Thursday)

It’s a concept I’ve thought a lot about my whole life. What is normal? As a puppy, I longed for normalcy. I wanted to be like those puppies I heard about who found homes with a mom and a dad and kids. I wanted the American Dream before I understood what that phrase even meant.

Today it made sense to me in one of the most real and honest ways yet. The photographer men had mom doing “typical” things a mom and baby would do in the morning like getting baby Carter out of his crib, rocking with him, and changing his clothes. And Carter behaved like a champ. But my lesson came to life when one of the photographers said it.

“It’s okay if he cries,” he said to my mom. “We want this to be real.” We want this to be real. Now there’s a thought. Because I know so often what we see on TV and social media isn’t always real. It’s airbrushed and edited and perfect.

But nobody’s perfect. Sometimes life just sucks. And there are indeed often those “days like this.” But these are the real moments that remind us to cherish the times when our dreams are realized. These are the moments that make life worth living. These are the moments that bring the American dream to life. That was today for me.

**Stay tuned for the promo, set to hit local TV stations by the end of March! Spoiler alert – I’m featured in it too, so it is going to be pretty cute!**

 

Crazy Stupid Love November 20, 2013

Light of foot is not a phrase I would use to explain us canines. Between chasing and galloping and jumping and pawing at various stimuli, we aren’t that great at sneaking up on anything. Other than enabling us to do these things, our paws aren’t good for much. We can’t eat with them. We lack the opposable thumbs required to do things that hands are capable of.

And sometimes it drives me crazy. I’m not one to complain about things, but when there is an itch behind my ear that I can’t scratch I find myself longing for the hands I lack. I try with all my might sometimes to get at it, but I just can’t reach. Or my nails are to long. Or too short. All of these things are ultimately out of my control. And it’s exhausting.

But I realized something today. There I was, scratching away, and it happened. Mom interceded and the next thing you know, the itch was gone. She simply used her hands to scratch around the vicinity I was focusing on and everything was suddenly all was right with my world again. I felt overcome with crazy stupid love for my mom, not just because I wasn’t itchy anymore but because she loved me enough to help me in my time of need.Just a little closer

In that moment I was reminded that everyone feels this way sometimes. With that goal that’s just out of reach. With that deadline that’s impossible to meet. Or maybe in that relationship that doesn’t quite fit. It can drive a person crazy feeling simultaneously so close and so far away from something.

But that’s why we have people around us to help us in our times of need. To be our support system when that relationship doesn’t go as we wish it had. Or to help us finish that project on deadline. And (perhaps most importantly) to keep us motivated.

“Love is friendship that has caught fire,” suggested American newspaper columnist Ann Landers. “It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”

Let’s face it. Nobody’s perfect. And, in the case of us canines, one of our weaknesses is a set of four fairly useless paws. So it’s a good thing I’m blessed with people who help me through. I have loyalty and love and understanding. I have friendship caught on fire. That’s nothing I’d want to catch with my paws anyway. I’d much rather catch all of that with my heart.

 

Progress Is Perfection May 26, 2013

Like so many things, words are what we make them. And in my humble opinion, there are far too many nouns in this world. Too many words that mean something instead of do something. That changes today.

If a noun is lazy, breathe life into it. Make it a verb. Take the word journey, for example. Whether it was career-related, a physical trip somewhere, or purely emotion, we’ve all been on a number of journeys in life. How did the paths lead? What do you remember? What was the destination? Have you reached it yet?

Progress is PerfectionMerriam-Webster and Bing both cite “journey” first as a noun and then as a verb. To me, it should be the other way around. We ought journey onward rather than simply be on a journey. Sure, it might sound like semantics to some, but let me explain.

The progress along the way, the scenery if you will, is often the highlight of the journey itself. And in a world encompassed by the constant pressure-cooker of perfection, progress is a pretty important part of every journey. Yet commercials showcasing the next revolutionary skincare regime, magazines with their airbrushed models, and high standards at school, work, and even at play, I’d say perfection is at a premium in modern society.

Meanwhile, great transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson challenged that “a man is what he thinks about all day long.” Well then, it’s no wonder to me why progress has become synonymous with failure to so many in today’s world of bigger, better, brighter and faster. Instead, we need to recognize progress rather than focusing so much on destination perfection. We may as well give up on perfection without first finding joy in progress.

“Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection,” Lebanese-American writer and poet Khalil Gabrin said. Rightly so, advancing is the verb and perfection is the noun synonymous with the destination at the end of a long journey.

Like I said, words are what we make them. And (at least to me) there are far too many words that mean something instead of do something. That changes today. If a noun in your life is being lazy, breathe life into it. Make it a verb. Don’t simply go on a journey. Journey through life with courage enough to do more than seek happiness, joy, and fulfillment. Don’t seek these things. Seek progress by instead being these things. By being happiness, joy, and fulfillment and you’ve already reached your destination.