Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Painted Baby Blue February 23, 2014

I thought we were past all of this. The exhaustion. The disoriented distracted state of mind. The emotional instability. But mom has seemed especially disheveled the last couple of days and I can’t put my paw on why. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love dear baby Carter. That simply can’t be the case as she tells him she loves him even more than she tells me. Something isn’t right.

Unbeknownst to my people I have done my own research on these things. Apparently it’s normal for new (especially first-time) moms to experience something called the baby blues. (It’s a good thing blue is one of the colors I can see). Usually it happens early on, within the first couple of days, and wears off over time. Feeling Blue?

That’s why I’m not completely convinced that’s what’s wrong. (But I’m ready with all kinds of love if it is). That, and the fact that it seemed at least mostly cured by something pretty silly today. I will never understand why people paint their nails. It’s enough of a rigamarole for me when I get mine trimmed. Mom frequently takes it quite a few steps farther when she gets her fingers and toes painted, blue of all colors. That’s what she did today.

She left dad and I alone with Carter (a fairly new and unfamiliar experience) and came back with a new color about her. I got the impression it wasn’t so much about where she went as it was that she went at all. It doesn’t mean she loves us any less. It doesn’t mean she wants to return Carter to the magical place he came from. She just needed a little time away to regroup.

I don’t think we can call this the baby blues. Because I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we all need that every now and then. A little time away to regroup. Whether it’s a five-minute walk around the office or a week away in a foreign place, experience demonstrates it does the body good. It doesn’t mean we love our lives any less. It just means we are human (or canine in my case). And, as Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle suggests, it fuels our drive to persevere.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this that in all things distinguishes a strong soul from the weak.”

 

The Mouse Will Play September 25, 2013

I guess it’s called denial. That sense of refusal to acknowledge something we wish wasn’t happening. That’s how I started my day today. The dreaded suitcase was out and I could sense this would be a people-only adventure. In spite of my best efforts and employment of “the look,” my fears were realized when we made our first stop at grandma’s house. I was being left behind.Doggie Love

I should have seen it coming. All right, all right, I did see it coming. I just convinced myself it wasn’t happening. I was in denial. And I’ve got to say – that is not a very happy place to be. It was a couple hours after my people left me with grandma and my cousin (grandma’s dog) Buddy that I realized what was happening. I was sulking by the sliding patio door when it happened.

Buddy bit my butt. That’s right. He came up behind me and nipped at me right by my tail. I was beside myself. I turned around, ready to make him regret it (why couldn’t he let me be sad?), and there he was – his tail was in the air wagging like crazy, begging me to chase him, and there was a playful sparkle in his eye. And so it began. We started what became an epic race in circles all around grandma’s house.

In those 15 minutes I forgot my people were gone. I was lost in the moment with my friend and our silliness. As my favorite transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson said “it is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

And stupid we were. Buddy, my buddy, reminded me (amidst our ridiculous game of chase) to live in the moment. When we finally took a break, I paused to reflect on his life to this point. His struggles have been incredibly different than mine and yet we’ve ended up in the same position. We both bring joy from the ground up to the world in our own unique way.

Thanks to Buddy’s contagious joy, I’m not in denial anymore. I’m not sure how long my people will be gone, but I know they will come back. And until they do I’ve decided to live it up here at grandma’s house. What’s that they say about the cat being away? The mouse will play? Consider me the mouse for the next few days.

 

Faith In the Future July 14, 2013

“Make the most of your regrets,” Henry David Thoreau once said. “Never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

Yesterday, I wrote about five things I would attempt to save if my house was burning down. Reflecting on the contradictory definitions a “spark,” I focused more on the fire than its aftermath. Its so easy to do in the heat of the moment. Why is it that in so many cases we don’t appreciate what we have until its gone?

Today, I realized all of the precious things I left behind. Practical things came to mind like my warm doggie bed and my Packer jersey. But I know those are replaceable. They’re just things.

Far more devastating are the memories lost in the ashes. I’ll never forget the first day my parents brought me home and let me explore my new house. All those hours spent playing fetch with Mrs. Prickles in the hallway. The first day mom let me come up on the bed. Money can’t buy back these memories.

I take a two-fold lesson from this experiment in thought. (See, there is always a silver lining).

1) Savor the small things. There are so many ways to lose sight of the importance of special moments in our lives. But there is a reason money can’t buy memories. Moments are priceless. There are groundbreaking days when major milestones make things easy to remember, but as Sarah Ban Breathnach points out in Simple Abundance “there is a lot of drudgery in most days.” These are the days we need to seek out joy in the small things.

2) Respect the past as preparation for the future. It’s all too easy to take things for granted. If we surrender to life’s simplicities and appreciate what we have on a daily basis, the future will be that much brighter. “I never regret anything,” says actress Drew Barrymore, “because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.”

It is with my past in a special place in my heart that I find faith in the future. With faith as my fuel, I know my dreams will always be more exciting than my memories.

Today’s post is dedicated to Mandy Atkielski.

Eighteen-year-old Mandy entered doggie heaven yesterday. She will be missed.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Mandy

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