Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Feel My Love April 9, 2015

From fluffy blankets and rays of sunshine to hugs and smiles, warmth happens in a variety of ways. And I love all of them.

So last night and today when the sky cried really, really (really) hard, it became a priority of mine (as it always does) to make sure my warmth was felt. This is not that unlike most days, yet there is something different about days like today. Getting cozy

The dreary, chilly, wet days when the sun keeps its distance and is replaced by thunder and lightning. I’ve never minded the actual weather pattern as I know some of my canine pals do. Instead, I mind the impact it has on the world around me and do what I can to adapt.

There was nothing all that unusual about what I did this afternoon as my dear forever mom settled down to get some work done during dear baby Carter’s nap time. She sat first on a loveseat, where I immediately snuggled myself in very (very) close to her.

She had to go to the bathroom a couple minutes later, so I followed her upstairs and kept her company while she did her business. Then she settled into the couch instead of the loveseat, and I again found my snuggly self a spot that I knew would keep us both cozy. And warm. In more ways than one.

I guess she must not have been very comfortable (as has been happening more frequently lately now that she’s in the home stretch of pregnancy) because she moved back to the loveseat a few minutes later. Again I followed, making sure we were cozy and warm.

It was then that she paused and gave me a good long once over. It was then I knew she felt the warmth I intended her to feel with my presence. She smiled, and scratched some of my favorite places, and for at least those few moments I knew I’d done my job for the day.

I know there are comfy blankets and rays of sunshine that can do it. I know there are smiles and hugs that can do it, too. But for me, the ways of warmth don’t stop there. Snuggles do the trick, too.

 

To Be Still March 29, 2015

The sky cried today. It was dreary and cold and windy outside. But none of that mattered, because there were no tears inside. There was only warmth and laughter and relaxation. Sleeeeeeep

The bad news is that had a lot to do with the fact that this illness that my dear forever mom has is spreading. Between dad’s sneezing and dear baby Carter’s coughing, all I can say is I’m pretty relieved things like this usually don’t pass to man’s four-legged friends.

The good news is it was a day to remember. I honestly can’t recall the last time I watched as all of my dearest people spent the day together in their pajamas. It didn’t matter that the sky was crying and it was cold and dreary outside.

Inside there was playing and resting and playing some more. There was snuggling and cuddling. There was joy, from the ground up.

Yes, there was also sneezing and coughing. And yes, no one is feeling 100 percent. But today, as I snuggled into a spot much too small for me next to mom and dad and Carter on the couch, I realized how important these days are to have every now and then.

It doesn’t necessarily need to happen in pajamas, but there was something nice (and cozy) about the fact that it did. As a (somewhat professional) observer of people, I can say with some authority that today was necessary regardless of the coughs and sneezes.

The reasons are different for everyone. Around here, it’s been all things baby No. 2 lately, with endless errands to stockpile things like diapers and make sure the nursery is just as it should be. Weekend respite from the daily grind doesn’t always happen like it should between nap times, at least not with groceries to buy and cleaning and laundry to be done. Rat race takes on a whole new meaning when there’s a new little person on the way.

So what happened today was special. Sometimes you really do just need to be still. To be together.

Days like today are not only good for their health. Days like today are good for their hearts.

 

 

The Truth About Neediness January 6, 2015

I think it’s supposed to be an insult. Or maybe something akin to a bad thing. But I refuse to see it that way. Not today. Not ever.

To me me there is never a bad time for snuggles, cuddles and pets. All things hug-related are more than welcome in my world any time. But there are certain times when it’s not just welcome. It’s almost like a need. Hence the nickname I (proudly) earned today.

Needy. From the ground up, it’s no insult to me. I heard it a bunch today, because I wouldn’t leave mom alone. I pushed and shoved and strategically placed myself in all kinds of compromising positions to be near her today. I climbed up onto her lap. I snuggled into her legs. I needed her, because I think she needed me. Feeling Blue

Call it doggie instinct, but something is definitely up with her recently. She seems distracted and nervous about something I can’t quite put my paw on. So to me I am simply fulfilling my doggie duty to her by being this so-called “needy.” For me it’s one of the only ways I can show how much I care.

And in truth, I think we all need to be a little needy from time to time. Whatever the reason, life happens and it’s not always pretty. Like yesterday when everyone I know seemed to be having a bad day. Or today, when lives are turned upside down by car accidents and car troubles due to the extremely frigid weather. Bad days happen.

And when they do, it’s okay to be needy. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to find a shoulder to cry on. It’s okay not to be perfect. And if you are blessed enough to have people to rely on, now is the time. Not tomorrow or the next day.

So they call me needy. That’s okay. Because I am a firm believer in the words of Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who suggested “life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” If my experience is a needy one, so be it. It simply means I’m doing my part in life.

 

 

 

 

No Waste of Time January 4, 2015

It’s been a good run. My dear forever dad has been home from that place called work for what feels like ages. He gets a break each year when his work shuts down during the holidays. Though the time off is nothing new for us, something about this time seemed special somehow. Pausing to smell the snowflakes

I couldn’t really say why until today. It was kind of a mystery to me why this felt so different this time. We celebrated the holidays (mostly) as we always do. There was love and joy with family and friends. There were a few days when they left to go somewhere exciting where dogs weren’t allowed. I was fine with that because of all of the positive energy I felt from them upon their return. (That, and they were never gone too long on account of dear baby Carter’s napping schedule). And there was an unconventional New Year’s that was more about Carter’s first birthday than anything else. All of it was special in its own rite, but that’s not that unusual in itself around here.

So today when mom said it, a light bulb illuminated my heart. This is the longest stretch of time dad has been home with Carter since he was born. And that didn’t go unnoticed by him or Carter, believe me. In the last week and a half, Carter has perfected his pronunciation of “dada,” favors him for many parts of his daily routine, and chases after him all over the house.

As I’ve watched this all unfold, I thought it might start to bother my dear forever mom. As his primary caregiver, I thought maybe she’d be jealous of this behavior. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I knew it as her and dad reflected on the events of the last few weeks. From Carter’s birthday party to the family time in the snow yesterday to the time they spent together doing nothing at home today as another snow storm made its way through our area, it’s been a pretty great stretch.

That all ends tomorrow when everything goes back to reality. Work. From the ground up, it’s not one of my favorite things. But as tonight makes its way into tomorrow, I figure it’s better to embrace everything that has made this last couple of weeks so memorable. Because that is exactly why these kinds of breaks are important. Not only do they have the power to make reality a lot more bearable, but they remind us of what’s important in life. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget what it’s all about.

As British thinker John Lubbock once said “rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

In our case it was pausing to make snow angels as beautiful snowflakes painted the sky, but it’s all the same to me.

 

In A Moment January 3, 2015

I woke up smiling today. I didn’t know why at first (as I sometimes don’t), but I encountered the reason as soon as I made my way outside to my backyard paradise for my early morning stroll. Snow. From the ground up, it has always been a favorite source of joy for me. I know some people (especially anyone who plows or shovels it, or tries to drive in it) don’t particularly care for the stuff. But I love it.

It’s so simple and understated as it falls silently from the sky, covering everything in a snow blanket of diamonds. Happy memories abound for me and especially my forever mom, who has on occasion been so excited to get outside and play in the snow with me that she has abandoned all common sense to do so. (Coats and boots? Who needs them?)

Family in the snow

Today was no exception to this, as we got our first significant snow that dear baby Carter could enjoy. It has been an unusually warm and dry winter in Wisconsin thus far, with hardly any snow to date. Though I’m sure the headaches involved with snow were not terribly missed, I could tell my forever mom was waited with baited breath for this day. This day when she could share her child-like appreciation of the simplicity that is snow with her son.

There was no forgetting boots and coats this time around either. Carter was so very bundled by the time we made it outside that I wasn’t sure he’d be able to move. True to form, he figured it out.

Really it’s no surprise I woke up with a smile today. Because in the matter of a few hours, there we were. Mom and dad and Carter and aunt Morgan and I, playing together in the snow like a bunch of ninnies. Dancing like no one was watching. There were snowballs. And giggles. And silliness. We played and they laughed and I couldn’t tell whether my tail wagging or their laughter came first. Joy. In a moment, there it is.

 

Shoot the Moon December 7, 2014

It’s not something I think I’ve ever done. Even if I did, I’m not sure I would enjoy it. At least that’s what I thought before tonight. It’s that time of the month again around here. The moon is full and bright in the clear night sky, and something deep in my spirit tells me this is something to celebrate.

I don’t know much about my ancient canine heritage, as I choose to embrace the life I have with my forever family without too much other than respect for the past. But there is definitely something about days (and nights) with a full moon. From what I hear, people can get kind of silly for no good reason other than some strange impact of the lunar cycle. And dogs howl.

As a dog who doesn’t bark that often, the idea of howling is pretty foreign to me. Even if it was, what would I say?

Tonight I pondered this as I roamed about my brisShoot the Moonk but beautiful backyard paradise. If I were one to howl at the moon, what would I say?

It brought to mind something I have observed about human behavior. From the ground up, sometimes things just need to explode. I know everyone processes emotions differently. Some people work out to burn off steam. Others eat their feelings. Some people vocalize everything they’re thinking. Others store it inside until they reach a boiling point. I know there are happy mediums as far as all of this is concerned, but there is also a common thread that (albeit loosely) ties these people together.

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it,” suggested one of my favorite existential thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson.

At some point or another, it’s going to happen. You’re going to need a good cry. A thunderous yell. A howl at the moon. It’s only natural. Beyond that, it’s okay. Because from what I can tell, it has a way of healing deep emotional wounds like few other remedies. If that’s what you need to do to feel better, then I say shoot down that moon. Maybe not every month. But every so often, I see it as an opportunity worth seizing.

 

 

Glowing in the Dark November 25, 2014

It doesn’t make sense. I have never and will never understand it. I will, however, question why this trick of nature happens every year. Here we are in the midst of all things holiday and literally speaking it is the darkest time of year.

The sun seems to rise later and set sooner every single day. That means less sunshine, which (at least from what I can tell) means less happy people. None of this is good news in my world. It’s also not the worst news, because I make it a point of mine in life to be a light amid the darkness in whatever way possible. This thing called daylight savings time will not break me down.

My faith in the power of one’s inner light was renewed tonight as I watched as another bought of silliness unfolded between my forever parents and dear baby Carter.Hard at Work

There we were, the four of us, in the darkness of the basement. I was sure either mom or dad would turn the lights on eventually. Instead they grabbed out these little sticks and I listened as they cracked them to life. I’m not sure of the correlation between the cracking sound and what happened next, but I suppose some things are best left to mystery anyway. Within a few seconds, the room was dimly lit by little florescent glow sticks, which brought far more joy to everyone involved than I would have ever expected.

The fun continued as mom suggested Carter have a glow-in-the-dark bath time. He loved every minute of it. He was happy. Mom and dad were happy. I was happy.

It doesn’t make sense to me why there is so much darkness during such an otherwise joyful time of year. But that’s okay. It sounds silly, but the glow-in-the-dark games tonight reminded me it’s possible not just to let your light shine, but to find new ways to do it. Routine has its perks, but switching it up from time to time is good for the soul. How you choose to shine ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is that you shine at all.

Because as Dutch Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus put it “give light and the darkness will disappear.”

 

A Little Sunshine October 16, 2014

It’s a pretty easy thing to take for granted. It’s there so much more than it isn’t, so I think that’s part of the problem. But I’ve certainly missed it around here the last few days. Sunshine. From the ground up, its light has the power to warm the soul. Backyard Happiness

I do sincerely love and appreciate the beauty of fall and all the things it brings with it. This you know. The last few days I was reminded why I sometimes doubt my love of this spectacular season. It has been cloudy and rainy and downright dreary for four or five days now. I find its easier to lose count when you succumb to the darkness.

I didn’t even realize I had indeed let the weather get to me until the sun slowly revealed itself this afternoon. It was like seeing a long lost friend. There I was in one of my favorite spots in my forever home – the windowsill in the living room. (My beloved forever people call it my perch). As the light shined in through the blinds, I felt it warm my fur and somehow it seemed to soak right through to my soul.

It must have had a similar effect on mom, because it was a matter of a few seconds before dear baby Carter was bundled up and in his stroller and it was time for a walk around my neighborhood. The crisp fall air smelled so much better with the light shining down around us. The leaves fell from the trees in the beautiful silent way they do. I pranced. Carter giggled. Mom smiled. It was a happy moment for the three of us.

It was a reminder to me to cherish the sunshine. It was a reminder not to let the darkness get to me because the sun will shine again. It was a reminder to live in the moment instead of longing for something you can’t have. Because if you do these things, there is no way the dreary things in life can conquer your spirit. If you do these things, you bottle up the sunshine for the bad days. If you do these things, you have the power to warm your own soul, whether or not the sun is shining.

Take that, dreary Wisconsin fall.

 

We Have Lived July 30, 2014

It actually sounds a bit crazy to think about these days. Yet it doesn’t change the truth. The majority of the first several weeks of dear baby Carter’s life, it was ridiculously cold around here. I know such things are a matter of perspective, but today I reflected back 190 days ago In The Grassand alas, it was two degrees that day.

The thing is, after that frigid a winter (with abnormally regular temperatures in the negative 5 to 10 degree range) people around here now have something new to complain about. A cold summer. So far, we’ve only had a few uncomfortably hot days and my all intent and purpose summer as we know it is indeed drawing to a close already. It seems too soon. It seems like we deserve more after the absolute north pole-esque winter we had.

Instead we have this, a fairly mild summer. And while it’s easy to be pretty upset about that, I can’t help but think back to 190 days ago when it was freezing cold and baby Carter cried. All. The. Time. It ironically even came to mind today what those days were like, three weeks after Carter was born. When no one slept more than an hour at a time. Stress and all other emotions were running at full steam ahead. And neither of my people would have changed a single thing about it.

Joy. It doesn’t sound like it to most people, but that is what those first few weeks were for my forever people. It’s just taken us all a bit to realize it since we were in such an over-tired, exhausted haze of sleep depravity at the time. Now that Carter has been sleeping through the night for some time, I am reminded of those harder (yet somehow joyful) times all those months ago. He hasn’t been sleeping quite as well, do doubt do to something mom keeps calling teething. So I stand by and hope (for everyone’s sake) that sleep will still resume to its previously happy normalcy.

In the meantime, I know how far things have come since all of those months ago. January 21, 2014 it was literally two degrees outside. Mom would never have thought to let me outside to do anything other than relieve myself and come back in (for fear I may have formed into a doggie icicle of some sort I suppose). And I realized today that my dream that day, that frigidly freezing day, has indeed come to fruition on multiple occasions. I am so blessed to say I had hoped and prayed all of those months ago that dear baby Carter and I would have a chance to play together in the grass.

We have, and in doing so, I would say we have lived.

 

On Choosing Joy June 19, 2014

I don’t get out much. I mean no disrespect to my people in saying so either. It’s a simple truth that of the 365 days in a year, about half of those days are actually walkable by a dog who lives in Wisconsin. Especially when we have an epically cold winter like we did this year, followed by a freakishly chilly (almost non-existent spring) and now this. Tornadoes have taken over cities around here lately as thunderstorms make their presence known.

Happiness IsJust the other day I was napping peacefully when alarms sounded to let my people and I know danger was potentially headed our way. Thankfully we were safe, save for a few tree branches in my backyard paradise that didn’t make the cut. But I was more upset about the interruption of my dream. As is the norm during nap time, I was in a very happy place. Except this time it surprised me to find that place was someplace other than my forever home.

It was everywhere else. There I was, on my own again, exploring the world. Except in this dream I knew I had a home to return to when it was all over. I knew because I (of course) had Mrs. Prickles with me to remind me of my forever people. But, more importantly than that, I had my joy. From the ground up, it is always with me reminding me of all things past, present and future for which I can be thankful.

I was reminded of this as the most simple of things came into question the other day. The rain fell down and the thunder and lightning were so strong they woke mom, dad and I all up in the night. Carter somehow slept through all of that (don’t ask me how). But as the rain fell and the winds shook the walls of my forever home I was reminded of what is really important in my life. It’s not my toys. Its not my plush doggie bed. It’s not even the photos of my dear forever family that scatter throughout the house.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t get out much. Our weather around here is harsh and unpredictable. But that’s okay, because it’s the joy I choose every single day that brings me strength. I think this is what is missing from so many lives, more than the possessions people seek. Joy. From the ground up, it’s yours for the taking.