Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Happiness Project May 6, 2014

It happens all the time. Mom buys a book with all the best intentions of reading every last page and it sits. Sometimes in a pile on the nightstand where there is a (slightly better) chance it will get read. Other times in the living room by the couch or (worse yet) in the book case. I shouldn’t be too hard on her since she hasn’t had much free time since she brought home my little person.Happiness.

But I got to thinking today about the books on the nightstand. The coveted could-soon-be-read-or-at-least-paged-through spot. The same four books have been in this spot for quite some time now, including “Your Baby’s First Year” and “What to Expect The First Year.” As baby Carter is now four months old, these two have been paged through from time to time in what I can only describe as a studious manner. That leaves the dynamic duo otherwise known as “The Happiness Project” and “Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words.”

I find it slightly ironic these two should find themselves in the pleasure reading place in life, as mom finds happiness in words. This is something we have in common, I realized today when it only took two words to lighten my heart. Car ride. From the ground up, it’s no secret this is one of my very most favorite people phrases. And today it happened out of the blue. I am no dummy. I know when my people are getting ready to go somewhere together. Especially now when it takes them 15 extra minutes to pack up Carter and the diaper bag and whatever other baby-related things they deem necessary to bring along. When it happened tonight, I excused myself to the bedroom to resume my first evening nap.

That’s when it happened. Car ride? Silly dad. Of course the answer to that question is always yes. It wasn’t to anywhere special, but that didn’t matter. It never does.

What does matter, I realized today as I gleefully hopped in the car, is having those words in your life that free your soul and bring joy to your heart. Whether they come from books, from loved ones or from a complete stranger, they are as important as the air we breathe. I may not be able to speak such things, but I know it to be true and find other ways to show it. That is my own personal happiness project.

 

Dreaming Out Loud April 25, 2013

I’ve noticed a trend in popular music of today involving a reverie for the younger years in life. Every song tells a story of its writer, who was inspired by any variation of emotional situations. The Lumineers tell us to keep our heads up and remember when we were young in “Stubborn Love.” Fun. suggests we are young “so let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun.” Lyrics like these bring to poetry to life.

Looking UpEvery now and then it happens to me too. I’ll be going about my day sleeping in my doggie bed, monitoring the neighborhood from my perch in the bay window, or playing with my forever people and BAM! Poetry comes to life before me. I blame author and poet Susan G. Wooldridge for this (dare I say) habit of mine. It’s no secret I’m a lover of words, but I’m also a believer in the theory that sometimes it takes a little crazy to create a unique masterpiece.

So today, I embraced my inner “crazy” by opening to a random page of Wooldridge’s “Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words,” and vowing to write a blog post about the words that followed.

“When I saw my son, Daniel, shaking our new lilac bush the spring he was three, I managed to keep myself from shrieking ‘Stop it, you’re going to kill the bush!’ Instead I asked him what he was doing,” Wooldridge writes. “‘I’m stirring the sky, Mama,’ he told me. I only asked that he stir it gently. How can you tell a child to stop stirring the sky?”

I’ve said before that little people are wise beyond their years. They are also poets. They are honest. They love unconditionally. They are wise. I’ve learned many important lessons from the little people in my life, but one of the most meaningful is their perspective on the world. Like me, they see joy from the ground up. Unlike most adults, who look down on life…in more ways than one.

Wooldridge suggests a solution to this that aligns very well with the popular lyrics of the Lumineers and Fun. “Seek out children. Jot down what they say,” Wooldridge writes. “We can find poems just by listening, being a scribe and catching the words.”

Poetry is life dreaming out loud. Let’s dream in verse…let’s look up.

 

Finding Freedom in Flangipropping February 1, 2013

Susan G. Wooldridge is one wise wordsmith. It has been a while since I picked up my copy of her book Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, but today I felt inspired to take a wordy walk down memory lane. As always, my walk with Wooldridge’s words did not disappoint. The beautiful scenery she paints for this “outlaw on a poem walk” bring poetry to life all around me.

“Poems arrive,” she writes in the introduction. “They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice them and give them form with our words. They take us to an invisible world where light and dark, inside and outside meet.”

The notes in the margins and the (admittedly) threadbare pages bear witness to the role this book has played in my life as a lover of words. Sometimes I think it takes a little crazy to see the world as Wooldridge does, but once you adopt her playfully poetic outlook on life its hard to turn back.

In honor of the cleverly creative cadence in her book, today I shall call the poetic philosophy it inspires flangipropping.

Flangiprop (verb): to find magic in an ordinary moment.

Whether we actively seek these moments out or they knock us over the head, poetry has the ability to form itself into life right before our eyes if we let it.

Again the words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind as he pointed out that “the question is not what you look at but what you see.” What a simply complex thought to consider on this, a day when Sarah Ban Breathnach challenges us to make time in our lives for creative excursions in Simple Abundance.

“In the beginning of any intimate relationship the best gift you can offer another person is the investment of quality time together,” Breathnach writes. “So it is with your authentic self.”

My authentic (word-loving) self invested time today in thought and reflection about how I can proactively welcome more poetry in my life. I’m no stranger to the concept, but it has been a while since flangipropping was a part of my daily life.

Those days are gone now that I’ve been reminded that when it comes to words, sometimes a little crazy sets us free.Flangipropping