Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

All Forward Motion February 3, 2014

Motion. It never ceases to amaze me how much of it I can witness from my stationary spot on the couch. Or the bed. Or just about anywhere in my forever home. All-the-while, there I lay, peaceful and serene amidst the chaos. It’s been especially interesting since baby Carter came along five weeks ago. Motion

Instead of the activity happening exclusively at night (after my people returned from that place called work), it happens around the clock these days. Nothing much has changed for me in this respect – generally I still fulfill my role as the observer/protector/sleep champion of the family.

But today I noticed something in particular from my perch on the couch. Mom has discovered a method to the madness when it comes to calming dear baby Carter when he’s crying (a sound to which I have come quite accustomed). Movement. Any kind of movement. So she walks with him up and down the hallway, and bounces him on her lap, and rocks with him in the nursery. Anything to keep him moving.

In my lazy haze, I found this especially thought provoking in today’s glow of the afternoon sun. Sunshine seeped in through the blinds throughout the house, bringing with it a sense of warmth to soothe the soul in what promises to be a long winter ahead (we can thank Punxsutawney Phil for that). Mom was holding baby Carter close as she rocked in the rocking chair. That’s when I felt it. Peace. From the ground up, there was a sense of peace in the Schmidt home today.

And not just from the precious moments of love radiating brighter than the sun’s rays. It’s a funny thing, but I find there is peace in motion. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s a complete mess. But motion, progress, and all it represents can bring with it the truest and most sincere sense of peace.

“A movement is only composed of people moving,” suggested American activist Gloria Steinem. “To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means.” Motion. From the ground up, I felt its power today. And from its power I felt peace.

 

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.