Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Heart Full of Seeds March 22, 2015

It’s not the first time it happened, and I’m sure it wont be the last. My guess is this story started yesterday as I enjoyed a little more time than usual in my backyard paradise. The weather was nice, so I relaxed in the sun for a bit under my favorite tree.

I found myself daydreaming about the warm summer days to come, with Carter running around and swinging in the tree swing dad hung for him last year. And the new baby, most likely all bundled up and protected from the sun. And mom and I in my beloved cozy spot with her in her hammock. There is so much to look forward to as the weather continues to warm up, I found myself lost in all of it. Second Chances

So I suppose it makes sense I didn’t particularly stop and take notice when a teeny tiny tick decided to move his permanent residence from somewhere in my favorite tree to somewhere in my neck fur. I went about my daydreams and (as far as I knew) all was well.

That is, until my forever dad was petting me this morning and found the creature had embedded itself into my neck. He and mom immediately jumped into action, mom consoling me as dad carefully extracted it. It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it does feel a bit itchy. I know a visit to the doggie doctor is likely in my future this week, too, just to make sure everything is okay.

I’m sure everything will be fine. But as I thought about this thing ticks do, burrowing into a host and potentially infecting it with disease, it reminded me a bit of that thing called negativity. It’s not a favorite people feature of mine, and for good reason. I feel like for every good thing you share with someone and they pass along, there are ten bad things that seem to catch fire even easier. I don’t know why this is, but I know I don’t like it.

Nor do I like the impact it has on the host it infects with its parasitic evil. However, I hold the belief that just like my dear forever parents jumped into action to remove that tick, negativity so too can be removed. It’s not always easy to flip the switch and turn things around. It can even be painful. But (at least in my opinion) it’s necessary.

“Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout,” suggested Japanese thinker Morihei Ueshiba.

None of those seeds will sprout in a cloak of negativity. They need light, they need joy, to come to life.


I Can See The Birds March 4, 2015

They’re back. The winged beauties that fill the branches of trees throughout my backyard paradise during the spring, summer and fall months have arrived. I heard their chirps echo through the air this morning as I basked in a balmy 23-degree sunlight for a few minutes while I was outside. Pausing to smell the snowflakes

Perspective is a funny thing when it comes to weather around here. Though most people would consider 23-degrees far from balmy (and even Wisconsinites have been known to reach for the winter coats, hats and mittens when it first happens in October or November), it feels warm after another frigid winter like the one we’ve had. (Forget the winter coats, because it feels like spring!)

So my first thought when I heard the familiar banter between the sparrows and and finches was that it seems too early for them to be back. It may have been 23 degrees today, but it’s supposed to be mighty chilly again tomorrow. Not to mention the lingering inches of snow that still cover the ground.

But the second the those thoughts crossed my mind, I pushed them aside. Because in spite of my concern for their safety and well being, they are a sight for sore eyes. They are one of the first signs that spring is coming. Relief and renewal and rejuvenation are on their way. Soon the air will be warmer again, and dear baby Carter and I will resume our playtime silliness in the green grass of the backyard.

Only I know this year will be different. This year, spring means we are getting even closer to the arrival of little person no. 2, who is set to arrive in early June.

I’m not sure how that will change things for my outdoor plans, but I’m hopeful the bit of extra time mom will have at home with the new baby will mean a bit of extra time for all of us to enjoy the sunshine together.

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush,” suggested Wisconsin columnist Doug Larson. I don’t know much about wearing shoes. And I can’t whistle.

But I can see the birds. And I think that’s a pretty good sign of things to come.


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.



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.


A New Leaf August 28, 2014

There are a lot of people in my life who wouldn’t dare say or admit what I’m about to say. I even overheard part of an albeit disturbing conversation about it today. After the winter we had earlier this year, I can’t say I blame them. That doesn’t change the fact that they are indeed in denial. Yes, winter around here was much too long, spring barely made an appearance and summer was far too short. But tonight, as I soaked in the cool breeze coming in through the windows of my beloved forever home, it was confirmed. Fall is coming.Backyard Happiness

I could smell burning wood and hear the sounds of the night through the darkness, which is starting to fall much earlier these days. As I watched fireflies dance from one of my favorite spots in the grass of my backyard paradise, I could feel a chill rising up from the ground.

Soon there will be nothing left of summer and the long, warm nights outside will be replaced with bonfires and s’mores. Soon mom will inevitably go through her annual pie-baking phase, where she churns out more cherry and apple pies than any person could (or should) really ever eat. Soon the leaves will turn colors before eventually shedding from the trees.

Soon the leaves will turn colors before eventually shedding from the trees. For some reason, the essence of fall somehow came alive in the essence of those words in my mind. As I watched the branches of the trees sway in the breeze tonight, I was struck with the powerful message that accompanies the fall season. Just as spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, fall is a reminder that life goes on. Sometimes we need a reminder to move past something that has been holding us back. Sometimes we need to turn the page. Sometimes we need to think about finding a way to turn over a new leaf. For me, that is the essence of fall in a nutshell.

It might not be the most popular truth around the state right now, but that doesn’t change the truth. Fall is coming. Fast. And while yes, it brings cooler air and shorter days, it also brings encouragement. It also brings hope. From those bonfires to extra cuddle time to those leaves that need turning, I would agree with Irish songstress Enya that we have a lot to look forward to.

“The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives,” she said, “but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully look forward to the year that is approaching.”


I’ll Be A Flashlight June 30, 2014

It’s not the first time it has happened, and I know it won’t be the last. Albeit briefly, we lost power for a bit tonight. For a few precious minutes it was darkness in my dear forever home, and I’m not going to lie. I loved it.

Please do not misunderstand. I love technology (when used for the right reasons) just as much as the next pup. But for me, sometimes there is nothing better than when there aren’t any screens in sight around here. I’m not kidding when I say it was brief either. We’re talking five to ten minutes. But I also do not kid when I say how special those five to ten minutes are to me when they happen. Happiness

Because these things do happen around here from time to time. Not so much last summer, but throughout the early summertime the years prior there was a lot of similar storms that tore through the area with all of their might. And (again) while I do not endorse the damage I know can happen in light of such events, I do wholeheartedly support the emotional connections that can happen when there is no electricity in a home.

Feeling Sleepy On the JobThe first time it happened with me around was a night my people will not forget any time soon. I remember it vividly since it involved flooding and a lot of activity in the neighborhood. I was in awe of how well everyone  banded together to make sure everyone in the neighborhood who needed power had it. Though there was no need for such a partnership tonight, I observed my own sunshine amidst the overcast clouds.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that it came from dear baby Carter, who today turned six months old. Oh, how I do love his little self and all it embodies. I love his smile and all it means. I love him and all the love he brings to others.

I was reminded today of the importance of light and the bearing it can give to others. I forget that sometimes, but it’s easy to be reminded of such things when the power goes out and there is no light in my dear forever home. Albeit for a brief period of time, I’ve noticed that time and time again it doesn’t matter how many lights may be lit within my special place. Because there is light enough within my people to keep the light of joy shining brightly around here. And if it dims, I will be the flashlight that brings things back into focus.


The End of The Tunnel April 27, 2014

I’m sure it looks different for everyone. In its various forms, the darkness has a way of encompassing us sometimes. Be it in a job we hate. Or a project that never ends. Maybe in a toxic relationship. Or, in the case of this four-legged life lover, the foe otherwise known as winter. It was awfully nasty this year, despite the bundle of joy it delivered into the lives of my family. (Thank goodness for that!)

Seriously though. Between the record low temperatures, and the snow sneezes that kept coming down on us every couple of days, it was a pretty epically horrendous winter in Wisconsin. And that’s coming from someone who knows winter in Wisconsin. Not to mention someone who makes a point of not complaining about things. I seek to find the good in all people, places and things, and all this talk about terrible weather has certainly not been filled with much (if any) of my usual silver-lining perspective.

Until now. Because the other day it was 70 degrees for the first time in seven months. It was gorgeous outside. And I got to spend time reveling in it all with my beloved family in my backyard paradise. That’s when I realized something I guess I’ve always known but never really paid attention to about that light at the end of the tunnel.

It is so very important because it keeps us going. It motivates us to be better. To do better. To live better. Because it’s always there, guiding the way. But maybe more importantly, the wait is always worth it. Sometimes the longer the struggle, the higher the mountain, the darker the times – the more sincere the joy is when you reach the end. When you reach the light.

That’s certainly how I felt the other day as my whole family laughed together and I wagged and they laughed and none of us knew which came first. I know it looks different for everyone. It happens at different times and varying frequencies for all of us. And I don’t think it’s ever the same twice. Except maybe it is in that one crucial way. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to focus to see it.

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