Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

I Can’t Wait to See the View March 15, 2013

Today was like most Fridays. My parents woke up later than they wished, let me outside, filled my bowls with breakfast and water, rushed around to get ready and left for that place they call work. I slept until mom came home over her lunch break to let me outside and spend a little time with me, then she disappeared again. I slept some more. Then they got home at about the same time, made dinner together, filled my bowls with dinner and water…well you get the idea. I realized today that while I love a sense of adventure as much as the next dog, I do like our routines. They bring stability to my life story.Atop a Mountain

I will admit there are moments in my past I choose not to remember. I know I’ve mentioned it before. And I keep telling myself it’s for my own good. I keep telling myself to live my present with high hopes for the future that look nothing like the past I once knew. But maybe I’m going about things the wrong way. Maybe I’m not doing my life story justice with my emotional autobiographical edits.

A light turned on in one of those dark attics of my past tonight during something referred to in our family as a love fest. I know it as an especially long petting session for me, usually involving both mom and dad telling me they love me in their own unique ways (mom saying it directly, dad implying it with his silly behavior). I realized in that moment that if not for the valleys of my past I wouldn’t know how much to appreciate the view from the mountaintops. I know now from looking down from the mountains that the valleys are where the growth happens. That’s where the life is. I realized in that moment I am indeed doing myself an injustice by not being honest.

“People will tell you most of the story,” writes Nicholas Sparks in his recent novel Safe Haven, “and I’ve learned that the part they neglect to tell you is often the most important part. People hide the truth because they’re afraid.” I am done being afraid. The time has come to embrace the fear that Sarah Ban Breathnach refers to in Simple Abundance as “false evidence appearing real.”

Today was like most Fridays. And I do glory in routines. But I also love adventures: good or bad. Sure, there are moments in my past I would prefer not to remember. But I’m not doing my story justice with my emotional editing. I don’t want to live an emotionally edited life story. Because without spending some time in the valleys, we wouldn’t be able to move forward to the climbing the next mountain. I can’t wait to see the view.

 

Hope in Gratitude January 14, 2013

Hope in GratitudeWriting can be a bit like life. Some days are like poetry, weaving experiences together in the most beautiful (albeit sometimes ironically morbid) of prose. Those days can be easier than others to write things worth reading. Other days are like the worst case of writer’s block. Nothing among the list of one’s ordinary function comes easy. Even waking up (or picking up a pen and paper) sounds absolutely impossible on “one of those days.”

Either way, I’m starting to notice how easy it is to find something to bring a ray of sunshine into even the cloudiest case of writer’s block. I say this because if its possible for a dog to have what humans refer to as “one of those days,” that was my life today. Instead of shattering a glass on the hardwood or breaking a nail (which I’ve heard can be quite painful for womenfolk), I struggled to find any inspiration in today.

Mom journeyed back to this place she calls work today. I missed her terribly. After all the time off for her leg surgery, I realize I’d gotten spoiled with people time during the day. But to make matters worse, I could tell things didn’t go well by her emotional state when she came home over her lunch break. And again when she came home from work well after the sun went down. And I will be the first to admit it: a tough day on her takes a toll on me. I can easily slip into a darker way of thinking, wishing more than anything I can somehow be that lantern of love I’ve pledged to be while at the same time not having any idea of how to light the match.

Then something hits me. A ray of sunshine makes its way through the cloudy darkness that is the blank screen or notepad mocking me with its silence. Today it was two things combining in perfect harmony, just like poetry coming together on the page: music and good writing. Two obvious things that inspire me (and lots of other thoughtful writers, poets and songwriters), but as I am embracing simplicity this year I find solace in (even) these most obvious of things. Miracles happen in simple moments like this.

I was reading today’s thoughts on Simple Abundance, which focus on finding specific things to be thankful for in even the cloudy days while listening to “Tell Me a Story” on Phillip Phillips’ album.

“Hope is just a ray of what everyone should see
alone is the street where you found me
scared of what’s behind you
and scared of what’s in front
live with what you have now
and make the best of what’s to come.”

Phillips sings to me his guitar-stringed thoughts on the world, and I find myself so grateful for his words that I want to share them with anyone who reads. Quite the paradox, since today’s Simple Abundance entry cites the thoughts of author Melody Beattie.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow,” she said.

Tantalizing little cursor on a blank screen? You’re no match for me. Trouble lighting the match for my lantern of love? Forget about it. There is hope in gratitude, even on a day like today.