Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

If I Were a Painter April 6, 2013

Every person I encounter adds an inexplicable brush of color to my own personal sketchbook of life. I’ve always been better with words than with art, but I aspire to be better at all things I love. “Today you might want to cast your net for inspiration and consider forming a circle of kindred spirits,” Sarah Ban Breathanch writes in Simple Abundance.

If I Were A PainterHow lucky I am have such a wide variety of colorful characters in the blogosphere to inspire me on a daily basis. I find my inspiration in the blogs around me that encourage a sense of exploration and adventure.

“Since I was a wee baby boat cat I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited aboard lots,” wrote Bailey Boat cat this morning. “I love exploring!”

Later in the day, I was surprised to see a message of hope from the Happy Hugger, who quoted a powerful one-liner about learning from mistakes but not forgetting what led you to that point.

Whether I’m out exploring, or learning from my mistakes, it’s a good day to be a painter by spirit. My little doggie eyes and mind may only see a few colors in the spectrum but even I can see the need for color in a day like today. Color isn’t always an easy thing to see in an otherwise grey world, especially when you’re eyes are designed only for seeing a select few colors in the spectrum.

However I would argue that (like with anything) if your sight is limited, you are (at the very least) granted the gift of gratitude for what you have rather then dwelling on what you don’t. You are given a paintbrush of the mind to make your own backdrop for what you believe. If I were a painter, I would take a page from the sketchbook and songbook of singer-songwriter Norah Jones, who would paint her reverie in appreciation of time with her loved ones.

Tonight, my messages of luck, exploration and learning come together in the one and only line in the blog from a diplomatic yet artistic canine soul who quotes Walter Miller’s thought that “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.” With my body I choose to appreciate color whenever I’m afforded the chance to do so. And if, for some reason, color isn’t part of my landscape, I paint it myself.


My Memory Mosaic February 20, 2013

I’ve never been much of a digger. I know its fairly typical for dogs to dig and bury and all that, but I never got the point of it. I live in the moment. As a result, I see art everywhere. This most basic form of expressionism is amidst our daily lives just waiting for us to breathe life into it.

I breathe life into the snowflakes of Wisconsin winters, into the smell of grass in the springtime and into the beautiful sunsets of summer.

I am the Fish Flying in the Sky

I breathe it into pictures drawn by the little people in my lives, like the one Sophie drew of my adoptive parents and I. I can’t help but notice the flying fish in the sky of the portrait and smile. I feel that way sometimes, like the fish defying all odds and flying amidst the birds. I dream in the sky, seeing art in words written by great thinkers, lyrics sung by influential singers, and thoughts unspoken by lost loved ones.

Kind of like Peggy, a character who came to English folk singer Frank Turner in his sleep to say “it doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go.”

These words strike a chord with me, one who does well to suppress memories of the past. I was an emotional mess in my past. Why would I ever want to relive that? The optimist in me prefers not to relive those moments. But today I realize my inner optimist has perhaps been doing me a disservice. There were good times amidst those suppressed memories that may have a positive impact on where I am going in life.

I call to the witness stand my mom and my brothers, who I loved and lost. I have many happy memories with them in that first month before we were separated. After that, I have memories of Scotty and Pheobe who I met during my time on the streets. Then Rusty and all the people who cared for me at the humane society. These faces are the rays of sunshine in my otherwise dark past. I owe it to them to respect the crucial role they played in my life then and now. They all became part of who I am today, and without them I would not have developed my current philosophy on joy, from the ground up. In fact, they make up the majority of the beautiful mosaic of memories that empower me on a daily basis.

I’ve never been much of a digger. Now that I know why, I think its due time I do some digging to develop the art of my past. Just because I’m not able to see all the colors in God’s crayon box doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate sources of art all around me. So today I choose to see all the art in my life: past, present and future. After all, it doesn’t matter where I came from. It matters where I go.