Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Wise Man Listens December 5, 2014

Sleep is a close friend of mine. We’ve basically been best friends forever since day one. I’m sure my schedule in a day consists of no more beauty sleep than the average canine. There’s the early morning and mid-morning naps, followed by the early afternoon and mid-afternoon naps. Usually there’s a late afternoon and evening nap too before it’s finally time for one of my absolute favorite times of the day – bedtime.

An outsider might see this as a waste of time. I see it as the opposite. I do a lot of deep thinking and dreaming big in my sleep. I also usually have one ear open to the world. It’s a trick I learned during my time at the Oshkosh Humane Society that I have perfected over the years. Listening. From the ground up, it’s one of many reasons why we dogs are known as man’s best friend. We listen when we’re asleep. We listen when we’re awake. And when I say we listen, we really listen. Tired from the run

We are present in a way I can’t say all people are, at least from what I’ve observed. I say this with a soft kindness in my heart, because I know it is a skill that takes practice, and not everyone has had the practice necessary to be a good listener. It helps that we can’t talk back, obviously, but it’s more than that. We might not understand all the words that well, but we read emotion like champions.

So I couldn’t help but giggle mentally when I found a scrap of paper dear baby Carter threw on the ground while my forever family ate dinner. According to mom it was something called a fortune from a Chinese cookie. It bothers me that I don’t know who to attribute the quote to (other than to say it was once inside a fortune cookie), but the words stuck with me. “Anyone can hear, but a wise man listens,” the paper read.

Anyone can hear, but a wise man listens. The subtle message in the words is one with which I resonate deeply. I aspire to be wise, which I understand means making wise decisions. Some might argue I’m choosing poorly spending so much time sleeping. I would argue first that I always have one ear open. But more importantly, I would defend myself with the simple truth. I’m resting up.

To be a good dog. To be a good listener. To be a good friend to my people. And it’s because of these things I know there’s a purpose behind everything in life if you chose to listen instead of hear.

 

In The Moment September 4, 2014

Usually I side with dad when mom is emotional. Lately she’s been emotional a lot, so dad and I have enjoyed us some quality time. But tonight, on the opening night of NFL football as our beloved Green Bay Packers play the Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks, I side with my dear forever mom in all her emotional glory. At least a little bit. But mostly I’m with dad.

Eight months ago, when dear baby Carter was a limp cuddly baby noodle, mom and dad and I dressed up in support of our Packers in the one and only game they would play with all four of us present in the 2013-14 season. Carter was only five days old at the time. Packer boys

Tonight was the first game of the 2014-15 season, which I knew meant a lot to mom. Packer football is a big deal around here, and the Schmidt home is no exception. Mom has been looking forward to this day for months, the day her dear little Carter would be part of his first-ever family football game experience. Dad made dinner (which meant a lot to mom) while mom played with Carter and pre-game footage ran in the background. I could sense the enthusiasm, which made it a little bit easier to allow mom to put on the jersey I don’t particularly like to wear.

Eight months ago, we took a family photo with mom and dad and Carter and I all wrapped up in Packer gear.

Tonight it meant something to my mom to reenact the symbolism of that photo. As it becomes more and more likely that dear baby Carter may just be the only little person in the family, mom has gotten nothing but more sentimental about such things. So I guess it shouldn’t have really been a surprise to dad and I that she became passionate about somehow recreating the photo we took all of those months ago tonight.

Let’s just say it was the last thing on dad and my mind. We were much more interested in watching the game and eating the food dad made (which I may or may not have gotten plenty of sneaky scraps of). And while (at first) I definitely understood mom’s point – that she wanted to capture the moment in some way – I realized actually dad and I are right about this one.

Sometimes it is more important to live in the moment, to enjoy the present of presence, than to try to capture it in some way for future enjoyment. Please don’t misunderstand , as you can tell from the multitudes of photos of myself I’ve posted through my blog life you can certainly tell I’m not opposed to capturing the moment from time to time. But I am definitely in favor of living and being present in the present.

So while I am completely supportive of all things emotional, I’m going to stick with dad on this one. Because without living in the present, without taking in each precious moment, there are no memories to capture.

 

Searching for the Light June 12, 2014

It might sound silly. I am obviously happier than I have ever been with my forever family and our new addition otherwise known as dear baby Carter. And it doesn’t happen often. But every now and then from time to time I find myself longing for one special thing from a past life of mine. A lighthouse. Light.

During my time in Port Washington, Wisconsin, I lived with a family who had several other cats and dogs and that just didn’t work for me. I am now (dog) man enough to admit I acted out for attention in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) running away frequently. It wasn’t unheard of for me to jump the four-foot fence that encompassed the backyard, just to spite my owners at the time for not paying proper attention to me. It would be one thing if I felt loved, however there were days they forgot to fill my food and water bowls. Nonetheless, that past is past now.

But as my friends and family know, it is a personal goal of mine to make my past a vivid part of inspiration for my future. So today I thought about the good things. Today I thought about the memories and experiences I gained while I lived with that family. (That is, before they returned me to the humane society for being a nuisance). Good, bad, and ugly, there was one image that kept repeating in my mind. In Port Washington there is this lighthouse. It’s way out into the lake, but there is a stony path leading to it for people who want to visit. I have never been such a visitor, but I know my people have. And I know many (many) before (and after) them have as well.

It’s one of those landmarks I wish I could have brought with me to my new forever home. Not just because it seems to bring its visitors joy. It’s bigger than that. It brings them light. From the ground up, this is one of the very most important things an object can do for a person if you ask me. Because as one of my favorite transcendentalist thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson but it, “what lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

So it might sound silly. But from now on when I find myself longing for the lighthouse I know what I need to do. I need to dig deep and remember both what is behind and in front of me. Light. From the ground up, I know one thing for sure. This is what is within me.