Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Turn The Page July 20, 2014

For some people it’s a new job. For others its a major lifestyle change like swapping out alcohol or cigarettes for exercise. Or maybe it’s the end of a bad relationship or the start of a good one. Crossroads. From the ground up, we all come across them at different times and in different circumstances. Sometimes it’s expected. Sometimes not. Feeling reflective

For my mom and most of her family, it happened five years ago when her father died suddenly. Everyone in the family dealt with the loss differently, in good and bad ways. If the aftermath of the experience has taught me anything, its that there is no timeline on grief. Whether you lose someone suddenly or have enough warning to say goodbye properly, it doesn’t matter. It’s hard. And everyone copes differently.

I was reminded of this today when I overheard mom on the phone telling dad about her time at this place called the spa. It’s something her and her mom and sister do every year, and this year was not an exception. While the trip was abbreviated slightly this time around (due mostly to mom not wanting to be away from dear baby Carter for long), I could hear the rested enthusiasm in mom’s voice as she recalled the events of the day to my forever dad. (Meanwhile, it should be noted I am helping him care for Carter while mom is away).

I couldn’t hear the whole story, but I gathered the point of it from dad’s reaction. Someone (or possibly all of them) had some sort of revelation today at the spa. There they were, at the place they sought emotional refuge just days after the loss of 2009, and something happened. A weight was lifted off shoulders. A deep breath was taken. And a decision was made. It’s time to turn the page.

An original thought it certainly is not, as it pays homage to Bob Segar’s ballad (which I understand was a favorite of the man who would have been my grand forever father). But it was as if he were somehow there with them today, prompting them to turn the page, which itself looks different to each of these very important ladies in my life.

As I suppose it does to everyone, but ultimately the root of things is the same. Crossroads. From the ground up, we come to them from time to time for reasons good and bad. Like anything, it’s what we do next that matters. And I say we turn the page.


Money Can’t Buy Happiness January 12, 2013

Its just moneyThey say money doesn’t grow on trees. Seems pretty obvious to me.

If there is one thing I’ve heard a lot of people argue about its this money thing. There never seems to be enough of it. Then there’s this whole fiscal cliff thing that was going to happen, then didn’t happen, but people aren’t sure whether it still might happen or how it will affect them whether or not it happens. It all sounds like a bunch of hooey to me. My perception on the matter is that regardless of what happens, it ultimately will not affect the underlying problem that money does not buy happiness.

I think a very insightful lesson can be learned from a dog’s perspective on money. As one who has always been at the complete mercy of people with or without money to spend on me, I know I can’t fullyWhat would I spend this on? understand what this whole money debacle is all about. I’ve gone from scavenging for food on the streets, to eating the donated food at the shelter, to eating some pretty darned yummy stuff in my forever home. I know food isn’t free. I get lots of neat toys and chews and even bones that clean my teeth. Today my parents came home from the store with these surprisingly yummy things they kept calling joint vitamins shaped like little bones. I ate mine up as soon as I could. I know toys, chews and vitamins aren’t free. Everything costs something.

While nice to have, none of these things define happiness for me. The things are just things. Sure, the resulting smiles of mom and dad when we play with Mrs. Prickles or Flea are pretty great. Yes, its nice to have people like me just a little bit more because I don’t have the typical “dog breath” (which I’ve heard can be quite stinky). And (of course) its nice not to have to scavenge the streets for yummy food. But the thing is we could be playing with a blanket or a piece of cardboard and have just as good a time. I’d still get along well with people if I had stinky breath. And I could (probably) survive on most normal doggie diets sans joint vitamins.

Simple Abundance got me to thinking about this today, which is ironic since I noticed mom was counting some money on the bed (which I instantly viewed as a comfy new place to lay down), and I could tell by the look on her face that this money is pretty special. It is what she calls “adventure” money, hidden away in dad’s watch box. From what I can tell, this adventure money is used by mom and dad to go to exciting places with (or without) me like camping or this spa place mom likes called Sundara. But its still not this adventure money that buys happiness. Its the moments. Its the memories from the moments. Moments and memories that create “happy places” for mom and dad to reflect on when things seem otherwise gloomy.

It seems ironic to me that money – this thing that is supposed to provide all these amazing things in life – can be rightfully referred to by Breathnach as a “dark, menacing shadow” for people.

Man, have I got it good. Perhaps a dog’s way is one of the best ways to look at money…as a special (above the ordinary) gift…even if it doesn’t grow on trees. While I’ve never quite made sense of the money on trees concept, there is one frame of mind I firmly believe can be derived from life. Money can’t buy happiness. Simple as that.Doesn't Buy Happiness