Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Words Themselves August 17, 2014

There is this thing about words. In their way they make the world go round. And in other ways, they make the world come to a screeching halt. It’s the kind of parody that can only be in the paradox in itself that is language. Mind you, this is coming from your resident doggie optimist, who himself is incapable of anything other than nonverbal communication.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t witness every single day the power that is words. They can bring light or darkness into a room in an instant. They can bring laughter or joy, or tears and sadness. It really depends on the situation which emotion is evoked by which words. Happy Doggie

I think that is what makes poetry such a special and valuable part of human existence. I can’t necessarily say the same for us four-leggers, as we have much simpler lives with relatively less obstacles before us. The same cannot be said of most of the two-legged people with whom I have come into contact in my time in this life. They have good and bad and ugly things happen that all make poetry in both  brilliant and bittersweet ways.

It’s kind of funny in light of this book I come across every single day on the bookshelf in the living room of my forever home. It’s called “Inside of a Dog,” and I suppose the idea is to dissect the  brain of us four-legged best friends of men. The concept kind of makes me laugh inside, since it is one that sounds about as simple as me dissecting what is happening inside the mind of one of my forever people. They both keep me guessing on a daily basis and (if I’m being honest) it’s more fun that way.

This is why I know my perspective on words is the true and sincerest one you will come across. Because I know in my heart that words are powerful. They might be even more powerful than the emotions behind them. They can bring the world to an emotionally screeching halt, after all. But that is why the poetry behind the words is so valuable.

I think sometimes it can be all too easy to forget the meaning behind the things people say. I wouldn’t know since my only mode of communication is nonverbal. But I see it every single day. The words themselves don’t mean nearly as much as the meaning behind them. So mind what you say, dear friends. Because whether you know it or not, people are listening.

 

A Poem From the Ground Up June 17, 2014

Joy

I thought I knew what it

looked like

But

I had no idea

Joy

I’m convinced of this one thing

that from the ground up

it always looks different

It did for me

Joy

Existed when I was with my birth mom and brothers

I loved them and

I knew joy then

albeit brief

Joy

Prevailed when I was with Jo and the man

with the leather belt

I loved Jo

and I chose joy

Joy

Survived when I was on my own

on the streets

Even then

I had friends

Joy

Happened when I met my forever mom and dad

for the first time

I knew joy then

forever

Joy

Lived when I met my little person

so teeny tiny

I knew real joy

in that moment

Joy

I thought I knew what it

looked like

But

I had no idea because

Joy

From the ground up

it’s pretty special

to me

because it is one of those things

Joy

It always looks different

to everyone yet

it looks

the same

to me

I dedicate the above poem to my mom, a published poet at the tender age of 15 people years old, who helped me piece together my thoughts in response to today’s daily prompt.Happy Blogging!

 

The Truth About Garbage April 11, 2014

It didn’t end well. This afternoon I decided I was going to do something I’ve never done before. I’ve been plotting it for quite some time, but never had the guts to follow through. I’m not sure what it was in my mind that finally convinced me to do it. All I know is it happened. And the rest is history.

I knocked down the garbage can in the kitchen today. It smelled like ham and apples and cheese and rice and beans and corn and peas. I love peas. I don’t know what came over me. All of a sudden, I was overcome with this urge to get in there and pick out all of that goodness for myself. I never understand how my forever people can throw such gems away. I cringe when I see leftover bacon or any kind of bones go in there. Enough is enough, I thought to myself.Did I do that??

It was quite the feast, and I ate everything in a matter of minutes. Next came the aftermath. Not only was I in (really big) trouble, but I paid for it. Apparently garbage is garbage for a reason. It’s not good anymore. I’m not generally a trouble maker, so getting scolded was almost as bad as the tummy ache that followed. Almost.

I certainly learned my lesson. (At least until my nose overtakes my mind again). Philosophically speaking, I am still a believer in the theory that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. But when it comes to that garbage, it is a lesson I already knew. I just didn’t realize it. My instincts told me my people would not keep treasure from me on purpose. In the back of my mind, I knew there must have been a reason for every single time I’ve made a pass at the garbage can in the past, I was scolded.

I should have known I could trust my instincts. I thought my nose knew better. I was wrong. And it didn’t end well

“I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry,” suggested Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, “but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.”

There is obviously no poetry in garbage. But there is wisdom in knowing the value of instinct. That is the lesson I learned today.

 

A Lesson In Sacrifice December 23, 2013

Disgruntled, disheveled and exhausted. Or in other words crabby. That’s how mom came home today from that place called work. Apparently her mood was reflective of the majority of the folks with whom she came into contact today. People who wanted things done. Now. Unless yesterday is possible, in which case they would prefer that.

The truth is, on a day like today, you are only one person who can really only do one thing: your best. I got the impression that’s what she did, but it sure took its toll on her emotions. She looked like she could cry the moment she walked in the door. And my keen attentiveness to such things informs me this would most definitely not have been tears of joy.

Watching and waitingThat’s when it happened. Just as she came through the door, dad stepped up to the plate. He took one for the team. I was ready with all my usual tactics for brining joy into a room and dad beat me to it. He swept her away to some place immediately upon her arrival home and when they returned they were laughing. No more almost tears. It was really something to see.

What mom doesn’t know is dad had a rough day too. He didn’t sleep much last night either. He’s overcome with worry of his own about all things pregnancy and labor and baby related. I’ve even been guilty of forgetting this in the last nine months. But none of that mattered in those crucial moments when mom got home. He pushed everything he was feeling aside to bring joy to mom.

I never really have to do such things. Sure, I worry and have my own things that evoke fear and stress. But for me, bringing joy to the lives of others rarely (if ever) involves sacrifice. The way I see it its ingrained in me as my work in my forever home. Except it’s not work because I love it so much. It’s part of what I’m meant to do.

Dad, on the other hand, definitely sacrificed his own thoughts and emotions to support mom tonight. And I’m proud of him. “If you want to be loved, be lovable,” suggested ancient Roman poet Ovid. Mom certainly wasn’t lovable upon returning home from that place called work today. Regardless of the reasons, she was an emotional wreck. But dad loves and cared for her anyway. And it worked. That’s the thing about selflessness – it tends to do the trick every time.

 

A Second Spring October 2, 2013

We see clearly but not in every color. We hear a pin drop from one hundred feet away. We can taste the difference between health food and people bacon. The more than 200 million receptor follicles in our noses can smell diseases. But (at least in my opinion) we canines are cut off at the proverbial knees if you take away our ability to feel. And today I feel blessed.

It happened suddenly on my twilight walk around the neighborhood with mom tonight. I had one of those overwhelming senses of peace. Happiness. Joy, from the ground up. And I have all of my senses to thank. That, and the true beauty that is fall in my tiny piece of the world.

The trees have begun turning all sorts of varying shades of gorgeous. Sure, I can’t see it nearly as vividly as my people, but I can tell something magical is happening. To me it’s all its own kind of sunshine. The leaves that fall are the rays that leave crunchy paths of novelty along my otherwise familiar route. It reminds me a little of the peace I hear when the snow falls. I don’t know whether people hear it or not, but I sure do.

And don’t even get me started on the smells. Though I do still catch a whiff of grilled goodness wafting through the air, it has mostly been replaced with burning wood and leaves. And candles that smell like cinnamon and caramel. And pies in the oven that smell like all kinds of delicious fruits of the season. (Did I mention my love for apples?)

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” suggested French philosopher Albert Camus.

How special then that these sights, sounds and smells all align around this season of harvest. Just as crops are now ripened and gathered this time of year, we are blessed with a veritable pantheon of potential sources of joy, happiness and peace. Trusting in our senses is perhaps the most basic way to soak it all in, and (at least in my humble doggie opinion) may even be the most powerful.

So today I saw my second spring. I listened. I smelled. And I felt it. Joy from the ground up falling down around me amidst the leaves.

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The Mouse Will Play September 25, 2013

I guess it’s called denial. That sense of refusal to acknowledge something we wish wasn’t happening. That’s how I started my day today. The dreaded suitcase was out and I could sense this would be a people-only adventure. In spite of my best efforts and employment of “the look,” my fears were realized when we made our first stop at grandma’s house. I was being left behind.Doggie Love

I should have seen it coming. All right, all right, I did see it coming. I just convinced myself it wasn’t happening. I was in denial. And I’ve got to say – that is not a very happy place to be. It was a couple hours after my people left me with grandma and my cousin (grandma’s dog) Buddy that I realized what was happening. I was sulking by the sliding patio door when it happened.

Buddy bit my butt. That’s right. He came up behind me and nipped at me right by my tail. I was beside myself. I turned around, ready to make him regret it (why couldn’t he let me be sad?), and there he was – his tail was in the air wagging like crazy, begging me to chase him, and there was a playful sparkle in his eye. And so it began. We started what became an epic race in circles all around grandma’s house.

In those 15 minutes I forgot my people were gone. I was lost in the moment with my friend and our silliness. As my favorite transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson said “it is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

And stupid we were. Buddy, my buddy, reminded me (amidst our ridiculous game of chase) to live in the moment. When we finally took a break, I paused to reflect on his life to this point. His struggles have been incredibly different than mine and yet we’ve ended up in the same position. We both bring joy from the ground up to the world in our own unique way.

Thanks to Buddy’s contagious joy, I’m not in denial anymore. I’m not sure how long my people will be gone, but I know they will come back. And until they do I’ve decided to live it up here at grandma’s house. What’s that they say about the cat being away? The mouse will play? Consider me the mouse for the next few days.

 

My Love Languages August 14, 2013

Love. It sure does happen in a variety of forms.

As a puppy I was sure I had all the love I could possibly have in my heart for my mom. She was my provider, my rescuer, my hero, my mom. When I lost her, I thought for sure I would never know love again.

Then on the streets I met Tiger and his puppies and I knew I’d found it. Love. But it was different this time. Instead of bursting with love for the dog who gave me the gift of life, my feelings were overwhelmingly protective toward my adoptive street dog family. I loved her then and I love her still.

When I met Rusty at the humane society it happened again. He was wise, and he shared his wisdom with me. I loved him then and I love him still. He was probably one of the best friends I ever had.

And the love I have in my heart for my forever people is something I would describe as big love. Life-changing love. Unconditional love. It all falls in line with my general philosophy to love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe. I find myself reflecting on all of this today as I give thanks for a new set of friends I’ve made. My blog friends. I love you all so very much, in a very different way than I loved my mom, Tiger, Rusty and in a very different way than I love my forever family. And I’m fortunate that you all love me back. Loving Many

It’s been a while since I last pawsed to say thank you for the myriad of awards you’ve all been kind enough to share with me. That ends today.

Thank you to my dear friend in optimism, Ute at It’s A Happy World , for granting me the Inner Peace Award and Most Creative Blogger Award.

20th June 2013 10th and 11th June 2013

Thank you to blogging inspiration DMaudlin at Mama Bear Musings for welcoming me as part of her WorldPress Family.

Thank you to fellow believer in chasing the stars, ChasingThePerfectMoment, for saying I have Awesome Blog Content.

Awesome Blog Content Award

Thank you to fellow dog blogger and inspiration to me on a daily basis, Harper Lee , for the Sunshine Award, WordPress Family Award, and Awesome Blog Content Award.

http://smellybeagle.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/20130512-164635.jpg?w=640Awesome Blog Content Award

Thank you to a new friend of mine, Nodz, for the Versatile Blogger Award and ABC Award.

versatile-blogger-nominationsAwesome Blog Content Award

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to my friend in irony, Bacon over at Pig Love , for the bouquet of the Versatile Blogger Award, Sunshine Award, and Best Moment Award.

As many of you know, there are a variety of rules associated with these awards, most of which I intend to break today. However, the one very most important rule of all (in my humble doggie opinion) is to paw it forward. If you’re reading this, please consider yourself a member of the family who deserves the recognition of these awards. Take your pick. Choose one, or a few, but know that I am sharing these awards with my dearest loved ones who have supported and encouraged me to keep on the blogging path less travelled.

Its been a path with all kinds of different types of love. It sure does happen in a variety of forms. And I’ve got to say – I sure love each and every one of them.

 

What Lies Inside July 23, 2013

A lot happened in my backyard today.

After a mysterious three-week hiatus, my neighbor demon dog has returned. It wasn’t a pretty reunion, as he “greeted” me with some pretty intense growling and panting from his usual hangout on his side of our mutual fence. I saw my neighbor Lady for the first time since her husband passed away recently. She looked sad. I wagged hello at her and I think she may have looked right through me. And after a startling separation from the rabbit family about a month ago, I think they’re back. (Though they are likely being much more careful about revealing themselves this time aroundFeeling Sad for Neighbor Lady).

So many days are quiet and uneventful around here (not that I’m complaining), but today was a feast for the emotional senses. It all happened so fast, and when it was over I found myself longing to piece the puzzle together into some sort of semblance of normalcy. Why would all of these things happen in the same 15 minutes?

I was absolutely terrified to see demon dog return. I forgot how big and scary and loud and threatening he is.

Figuring it all outI felt completely defeated with the sincerest compassion when I saw my neighbor Lady. I wanted so badly for mom to let me off my leash so I could go give her a big ole hug and some doggie kisses to cheer her up. It broke my heart to see her that way, kind of a shell of her normal bubbly self. But there was really nothing I could do about it.

And then I felt the most overtaking sense of excitement and relief when I smelled the rabbit family’s return. Though I couldn’t see them, I have faith they are all right and back together and that brings warmth and joy to my heart.

Life is that way sometimes. We can be happily following our routine when bam! Everything happens at once. It’s different than the valleys and hills that challenge us along our journey. We can plan ahead and be prepared for those. You can’t prepare for moments like these. “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you,” great transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested.

I didn’t see it coming, but I learned a lot in my backyard today. At any moment when we least expect it, our heart gets an unexpected workout that pulls us in 18 different directions simultaneously. But that doesn’t change the impact they can have on our lives. Highly concentrated emotional situations may even be more impactful in surprising ways. The difference is we are forced in these moments to think with our hearts rather than our minds. And, in these moments, it is what lies inside of us that matters.

 

A Deconstructed Ocean May 2, 2013

One person’s nonsense is another person’s art. I realized that today as I powered through the puddles in my backyard in a mad dash to catch the group of rabbits who seemed to be throwing some sort of pool party. Silly rabbits, I thought to myself, I’m going to get you! But as they scattered to their hiding places in the corners of the yard I felt the slightest bit of guilt for breaking up their fun.

I don’t usually have feelings of remorse in situations like this, so it definitely took me by surprise. We’ve all been like those rabbits at some point or another, I realized as I sloshed back through the lake that seemed to appear in the backyard in a matter of minutes. (The sky is not crying today. It’s bawling.)

Playing With WordsI remember a time when water turned me into a thoughtless nincompoop too. Not too long after my forever parents adopted me, they took me aboard something I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around. One minute we were enjoying a beautiful car ride, and the next minute there we were, the three of us, on what they called a boat. I couldn’t believe my little doggie eyes. The water was dazzling. The sunlight sparkled off each and every little peak in the water in the most breathtakingly fabulous way. I had to get closer – I had to feel the magic! Once, twice, three times, I jumped off the boat into the water for no other reason than that I was mesmerized by its beauty.

In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best plan of action as that was my one and only experience on the boat with them. I also better understand now why the two people I love most in the whole world yelled at me like they did that day. I’m not the best swimmer (I can’t manage to keep my backside from sliding down behind me), and they were both fearing the worst.

Gratefully, the worst is far from what happened. Instead, I took with me the image of all those beautiful diamonds glittering on the water. The lake in the backyard looks nothing like my ocean memory, but a metaphor came to life in my heart today as I considered the fun those rabbits were having before I crashed the party.

Words are like water to me. I haven’t always liked how they make me feel, but I need them to survive. They can bring the worst, but they can sparkle in such a mesmerizing way it takes my breath away. And they’re so darned fun to play with (which must be why those rabbits were throwing that silly pool party in the puddles). I did an experiment today that brought poetry to life with the most interesting combination of articles, adjectives and nouns. I asked some of the people in my life put together a mad lib of sorts today without really knowing it. The result? A fluffy tree sings to an affectionate Tiger licking Pumpernickel bread. I don’t care if I sound like those rabbits looked at their pool party in the rain. This nonsense is artwork to me.

 

Living in the Moment May 1, 2013

I realized today I have done a fair share of blogging about the weather. I’m not even sure how riveting a dog’s thoughts on the weather are, but (spoiler alert!) I’m about to do it again.

It began with a special moment I had with my mom in the snow. Then there was more snow. And more cold. And rain, my goodness, have we had rain. While some of it has been positive, I will admit to complaining (in the best way I know how) in some of my commentary as well.Smelling the Roses It wasn’t that long ago I asked the world where art thou spring?

I finally have my answer. Spring is here. Well, actually summer is here early, and probably not for long. Today is the second day in a row of unseasonably warm weather. Given my outspoken longing for warmth throughout the majority of what technically should be considered spring in Wisconsin, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring attention to the beauty around me the last couple of days. All of the snow is melted and all of the rain has left behind it a sea of color. Trees and grass are so brilliantly green they are almost blinding. Magnolia trees (which usually bloom in this area right around Easter) are finally bearing their beautiful pink and white flowers and daffodils, lilies and tulips seemed to shoot out of the ground and flower overnight.

The world around me is a piece of art right now and I am soaking it all in. (Especially since the weather forecast for the next couple of days brings our temperatures back down into the 30s and 40s). The wait has proven worthwhile, but the resulting beauty has become a study of something I find all too frequently in our society.

How true it is that is can be so much easier to pine and long and lust after what we don’t have than it is to soak up what we do? “Forever is composed of nows,” as American poet Emily Dickenson put it.

I spent all that time praying for spring to finally come and yet I almost didn’t stop and take notice when it did. Now that it’s here I realized it’s one thing to live in the moment, but sometimes that is exactly when we should stop and appreciate the brilliance of what that moment has to offer. Most likely, it offers joy from the ground up. Musings and commentary on the weather aside, that is what it is all about for me.