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.

 

Sleeping on Clouds April 1, 2014

Today was strange. I slept the majority of the time, as I usually do. Baby Carter went about his day pretty much as usual too. Mom, on the other hand, was like the Energizer bunny.

She spent the entire day on the phone and in meetings with various people talking very seriously about things that sound important, like road improvements and tax-incremental financing districts (whatever that means) and fire stations. Apparently it was something called election day in the local communities she is now covering for her new job as a reporter.

From these conversations, I took three things.2012-12-29-15-51-47

1) Local government is legit. Sure, voter turnouts aren’t always the best and sometimes politics gets too political, but behind closed doors these are real people with visions for the future.

2) Mom’s job is important. As a reporter, she is a liaison of information from the people with the messages to the people who need to hear and understand the messages. I know from my experience learning from people that things can get lost in translation all to easily, and it is her job to make sure that never happens.

3) Passion is powerful. I heard it in the voices of the people on the phone. I heard it in mom’s voice. These people have some serious passion for what they are doing. They are from all different backgrounds and walks of life. They have different experiences to bring to the table. They are republican and democrat and everything in between. But, at least from what I can tell, they all have one thing in common. They want to make a difference.

Today was strange. It may have appeared fairly normal to an outsider, but something happened in my dreams today. As I slept I dreamed of sleeping on clouds, up where my dreams are. Because from there I can look down on the world and see such things. I can see these people and all of their counterparts across our democratic system doing what they do best. Making a difference.

 

Stupid Is As Stupid Does February 25, 2014

I used to think it was pretty cool to be a know-it-all. Worse than that, I thought I did know it all. That is, until I realized I didn’t. The older I get, the more I realize how much there really is to learn. In reality, I know nothing in the greater context of everything.

This came to mind tonight as the story I was going to share shaped into something completely different. The evening started off better than most, with lots of laughter and love. Mom and dad enjoyed dinner together, after which dad showed an above average interest in spending time with baby Carter. He rocked him and talked to him and played with him. Meanwhile, Carter cooed and smiled and seemed to be having the time of his life while mom and I sat by and watched the scene unfold. It was like something from a movie.

Us Against The WorldUntil it wasn’t. None of us will ever know why it happened, but Carter started crying. Mom and dad ran through all the usual suspects – he’s not hungry because he just ate, he’s not wet because we just changed him, he doesn’t have a fever and all four limbs are still well attached. So what could possibly be wrong? It was kind of a devastating turn for the worse but I was still kind of surprised by what happened next. (Especially when you consider the truth – this is normal baby behavior. Every now and then they cry. It happens. We’ve been over this).

Tension built and they turned on each other. Mom and dad got upset. With each other. Even though I know (and they know) it was completely unnecessary for them to do so. In reality, they were simply sharing in frustration and confusion and exhaustion and it all just caught up with them. But I realized something. Dad said something he’s said more than once before about not being good with babies. About not knowing what he’s doing. To which mom responded that she doesn’t know what she’s doing either.

I’m hardly a know-it-all, but in this situation all I wanted to do was raise my little doggie paw to correct them both. They may not know everything about parenting a newborn. But they’re doing great. It’s okay not to know what you’re doing sometimes. It’s okay to learn as you go. And (perhaps most importantly) it’s a blessing that they have each other to learn with. They can work through challenges together and celebrate success together. They can learn together. And they have.

They did it again tonight when they brought the argument to a quick and (fairly) painless close. Because it’s not always about knowing it all.  Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is admit you don’t know everything.

 

The Time Wings October 27, 2013

I don’t think I’d call myself a morning doggie. Like many of my canine comrades, I like my sleep. Though I prefer to call my daytime naps daydreams, let’s be honest. I’m sleeping. I sleep a lot.

Not only that, but I have this whole sleepy morning routine. I snuggle my way into what I guess people call a spooning situation with either mom or dad until it’s time for them to wake up. Then I keep them company while they get ready to go to that place called work. I have a special spot in the bathroom (on the rug I’m certain they place on the tile especially for me) where I watch the chaos unfold.

JoyThen I usually sneak back on the bed and snuggle into the pillows until it’s time for them to leave. At that point, I move to my doggie bed in the kitchen where I get a treat. I think the treat is meant to neutralize my disappointment at their leaving, but obviously it’s just a treat. It’s not my people. So I daydream my mornings away where (in my mind at least) I’m running around the dog park or exploring new places with my people.

All of this takes a holiday on weekends. And while I am inexplicably motivated by routine, this is one routine I don’t mind veering away from. Because I wouldn’t say I’m a morning doggie, but there is one kind of morning I can’t get enough of. Weekend mornings are my favorite. Every weekend is different, and not all mornings are the same, but there is something that seems to happen regardless. Time stands still. For just a few moments, the outside world ceases to exist. We three (soon to be four) musketeers embrace the time together.

It doesn’t have to be in the morning. Or on the weekends. But I think it’s so important to take these moments every now and then to pause to embrace those you love. “Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs to slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings,” wrote French romanticist Victor Hugo.

I wouldn’t say I’m a morning doggie. But there is something about mornings I look forward to each day. Those precious moments, no matter how fleeting, are the wings with which we fly.

 

The Twilight Zone October 12, 2013

If dogs have a Twilight Zone, I visited mine today. My people were still my people. My forever home was still my forever home. All of my toys were put away in their basket in the living room (I checked). Everything looked the same. But the strangest little thing was different.News? What news?

And I didn’t even notice it at first. I just did what I usually do when the television features an animal. Live or animated. From whales to cows. It doesn’t matter. My normally silent self goes a bit berserk when there is an animal on the television. I have even come to recognize certain music that accompanies commercials with animals and react before I even see that group of dogs invading the screen in my living room.

So it was actually true to form for me to react somewhat aggressively to what I saw on the television. That is, until I realized it was me. There I was, wearing a shirt and tie, reporting the latest updates in the tragic story of the death of NFL star Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son.

I woke up the very moment I realize what was happening. I looked around to find I was still in my forever home, lounging peacefully in my doggie bed. I instinctively ran to check the television, but it was turned off. Relief washed over me in confirming it had all been a dream. An incredibly unusual dream.

And it got me to thinking. I hate bad news. I despise scandal. I prefer to avoid thinking about death and loss. I would make an awful news reporter. I’m not too proud to admit it. I seemed all right at it in my dream, but that is the Twilight Zone we’re talking about.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying being tuned in to what is happening in the world is a bad thing. Quite the opposite. But, like anything else, I need balance. We need balance. My people don’t watch a lot of news, but when they do I hear a lot about death and shootings and sickness and the struggling economy. Stories of personal growth or success are few and far between. If you ask me, these news bytes are just as important for us to hear.

Fortunately we are not living in the Twilight Zone. But I think American novelist Charles Dickens would agree with my opinion on modern society. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Dickens wrote.

Indeed, there is good and bad in each and every day. I just prefer to focus my emotional energy on the good instead of the bad. “What is a weed?” transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson questioned. “(It is) a plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”

 

I’m No Fool April 1, 2013

I don’t encounter many people in my average day. Generally, I see my adoptive parents and whoever mom and I run into in the neighborhood on our walks. I realized today one of many reasons that is simply not enough people time for me: I can’t share my joy with the world if I don’t encounter people with whom to share it. What a heartbreaking thought on this April Fool’s Day, a day traditionally reserved for happiness and merriment.

So I began this most recent holiday weekend with a challenge to myself to count every person I encountered. I wanted to bring joy to each of them, and count their smiles and laughs and successes on my mental scorecard. I may have lost the battle, but I most definitely won the war. While I was able to spend time 23 people who are blessings in my life, it was impossible to count their smiles and laughs. But I don’t see this as failure. I’m no fool, after all.

Twenty three was a pretty magical number for me this weekend. I eavesdropped on exciting conversations about career changes and upcoming confirmations, as well as sadder news of the recent funeral of a member of the extended family and word of an uncle being in the hospital. I performed tricks, played games and enjoyed more than my fair share of pets and love from every single person. I am exhausted today and I know exactly why that is the case.

As I half-daydreamed and half-napped my way through today, I realized something. I suppose it takes a certain amount of creativity and imagination for a dog like myself to blog. There’s definitely some who believe it’s silly of me to have Twitter and Facebook pages. And little ole me, publish a book? Forget about it. Here’s what all of those with little faith need to know: your doubt does nothing but fuel my passion to share joy that much more. I celebrate every single new follower on Twitter and Wiley’s Wisdom and do a little dance for joy when I make a new Facebook friend. Better yet, I embrace those who use social media in similar ways and listen with eager ears and a open heart to what they have to say. Hard at Work

The truth be told, I simply don’t see as many people as I wish I did in an average day. Please don’t misunderstand this as a complaint about my life in my forever home. I know it must be that way for other doggies and people alike. My dreams in life pour from the windows and doors of this place into a childlike vision of creativity and imagination into the wonderful world of social media where I too can be the difference I want to see in the world.

All Fool’s Day is a day to engrave the wisdom (of self-discovery) on our hearts, Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests in Simple Abundance. “It’s a perfect day for us to remember the importance of lightening up. A lighthearted sense of spontaneity is aligned with Spirit.” This is something I choose to not only remember today, but every day as I share my gift of light with the world.

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