Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Another Day in Paradise May 7, 2013

Soak Up the SunI had my first-ever encounter with a hammock today. Indeed you read that right: I, Wiley Schmidt, spent about a half hour in a hammock this afternoon.

It reminded me a bit of my first few days blogging. I felt uneasy, unsteady and uncertain. This new place is uncomfortable, I thought to myself, and I don’t know what to make of it. Then, as the moments ticked on, I felt more at home as I got to know my surroundings. But the first step was believing I wouldn’t let myself fall. With that, the unfamiliar became familiar and doubt faded away.

I know these moments of self-awareness aren’t easy to come by. I know there is always something “better” for my mom to do with that time, like clean the bathrooms, empty the dishwasher, prepare dinner, start a load of laundry, etc. But I would argue that each of those tasks can seem less daunting after a few minutes to yourself to collect thoughts and be thankful for the little things in life.

“Perhaps now – of all times – when I am nearly bowed under physically, emotionally, and psychologically by the minutiae of the mundane, is the very moment I need the reverence of poets who bear witness to the sacredness of the ordinary,” writes Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance.

It was peaceful there in the backyard. My mom and I sat in silence together for those precious thirty minutes being serenaded by the birds while soaking in the soothing rays of late afternoon sunshine. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t expensive. Quite to the contrary, it was perhaps the most simple half hour we’ve spent together recently. And I loved every second of it.

“We are all given a choice each day,” Breathnach suggests. “We can react negatively to the demands made on us or we can choose to live abundantly, to transfer the negative to the meaningful. Attitude is all.”

As I saw my life flash before my eyes as I tried to catch my balance my first few seconds in the hammock, gratitude overwhelmed my little doggie heart. I realized I wouldn’t erase any moments of uncertainty from my life, as I know I have emerged a better dog from each and every one. And just as the unease and uncertainty in the hammock wore off in the comfort of home that is my mom’s arms, I am grateful for my loved ones in the blogosphere who I know would never let me fall.

 

A Playful Trip to Paradise February 3, 2013

Today I was listening to Chris Martin of Coldplay sing about a girl dreaming of paradise and it occurred to me I would have a tough time picking just one “happy place.” For some, it is sitting on a white, sandy beach blissfully staring into the blue abyss of the ocean. Others would prefer to rock climb up a nameless waterfall in the outback.

Playing catch in my backyard and or wrestling with my pals dog park pop into my mind as obvious choices, but that seems too easy. And (as it usually does) digging a little deeper led me down a surprising path of self discovery. As I thought more about it, I found myself in awe of the idea that we all have the power to construct our own version of paradise in our minds. Paradise looks different to everyone, which is what I would argue makes it so special. Happiness resides in this place, allowing its creator to be his or her true authentic self.

I know I have more than one of these places in my life. But if I had to pick just one, it would definitely be a combination of dreams and reality because (if you ask me) that is one of the many impressive things the mind can accomplish.

I do my best thinking on paper, so I dream myself a writing room.

It has no shortage of plush couches, fluffy pillows and blankets that smell deliciously like my forever home. My favorite music would be on a constant stream reverberating off the walls, which would be covered with pictures of my family and the written words of all those who inspire me. There would be a big bay window with another set of comfy pillows on the sill. At first, I pictured myself solo in this philosophically inspiring writing room. I saw myself alone with my thoughts.

Then today happened and reminded me of the role my reality plays in my dreams. Today was an action-packed day filled with treats, hugs and loved ones who never cease to inspire me. No, I would not chose to be alone with my thoughts in my writing room. I would choose to be surrounded with people and pets who love and support me and my writing.

I honestly can’t picture a paradise better than that.