Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Snow: My Blanket of Diamonds February 7, 2013

Art happened in my backyard today. God laid down a beautiful white blanket of diamonds. Sparkly snow covers the grass and the trees. It’s breathtaking. As I envisioned myself as a Giselle gracefully leaping across the yard, I found myself in awe of how alive art can be.

Art and poetry have that in common. They are living, evolving things that are perceived differently by every beholder. German artist and writer Goethe would argue this is because no beholder has the same experiences feeding into their vision.

“All my poems are suggested by real life and therein have a firm foundation,” he said. “No one can imitate when you write of the particular, because no others have experienced exactly the same thing.”

And so with our unique perspective we breath life into art. But I’m not so sure that’s such an easy concept to wrap our minds around. It can be more comfortable pass these moments by, or to think that our artistic perspective is not interesting enough to share. I used to fall victim to this myself. Who cares what I think? I’m just a terrier mutt with a big heart and a lot to say. That doesn’t mean anyone wants to listen.

Thank you Vincent Van Gogh for explaining what helped bring my vision back into focus.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced,” said the brilliant post-Impressionist artist. I have decided to take his advice and silence that negative train of thought. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

So does Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance. “Today, take a real risk that can change your life: start thinking of yourself as an artist and your life as a work-in-progress,” Breathnach challenges. “Works in progress are never perfect. But changes can be made to the rough draft during the rewrites…Art evolves. So does life. Art is never stagnant. Neither is life. The beautiful, authentic life you are creating for yourself and those you love is your art.”

With inspiration from beauty as rich as my own personal white blanket of diamonds, I can honestly say I never want to stop painting.


More People Have Gone to Hell on Their Buts… December 27, 2012

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I… I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” These very famous words penned by Robert Frost in the 1920s’ “The Road Not Taken” took me on a trip down memory lane today. It started during my afternoon nap…a memory of a warm summer day a few months ago when mom took me on a special walk. I remember I was so excited because we went for a car ride too. Oh, how I love exploring the world! I do my best thinking while I’m out in the great outdoors with the wind in my fur and the world at my paws.IMG_20110504_154627

Padding along that trail, I found myself thinking of Frost and his decision to take the road less travelled. Granted, I do not make many decisions in life (thank goodness I have my parents for that), but I see the value in making the right ones. But therein lies the question…how do you know if a choice is the “right” one?

It seems to me that taking the occasional risk in life would be exciting (albeit challenging). I bear witness to my parents discussing things on such a regular basis, and I’ve got to say – there are a lot of buts in their lives. “I would do that, but…” or “Let’s go there someday, but…”

If I could, I would remind them of a funny thing I heard mom’s grandma say when she was over one time: “more people go to hell on their buts.” All right, I’ll admit it – as the occasional sniffer of canine butts, I found some humor in her commentary. But that kind of ironically philosophical wisdom is hard for me to pass up. What I take from those silly (yet brilliant) words is that it is a waste of life not to take chances, not to take the occasional left turn instead of going the same old “right” way.

It reminds me a bit of the paradox involving a very wise cat. Devised by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935 (not so long after Frost commented on the value of novelty in life), the thought experiment known by physicists as “Schrodinger’s cat” presented a feline who was placed in a box with a vile of poison. In theory the cat could be considered both dead and alive and only through opening the box could one would discover the cat’s fate. Like Frost’s challenge to take the road less travelled, Schrodinger’s experiment challenged scientific thoughts of the time. By implying that the cat is simultaneously dead and alive, the experiment brought into question that the cat cannot actually be both at the same time. Ahead of their time, Frost and Schrodinger alike offered reflections on the value in taking chances.

So let us take that road less travelled. Let us open that box to find out what’s inside. Let us not go to hell on our buts.