Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Quit Playing Games November 16, 2013

It’s one thing when its Mrs. Prickles being thrown around in a game of pickle in the middle. It’s something completely different when it’s a person’s heart. I’m a believer in seeing the best in the people, places and things that make up the chapters of my life. But people don’t always make it easy.

The way I see it, relationships are pretty cut and dry. You love someone, you spend time with them. They are your world in that moment. And in every moment, I suppose. We forgive. We move on. We are loyal, and nothing will stand in the way of that. I don’t why people let things get so complicated.Game Face

Take, for example, a pair of girlfriends who are interested in the same potential mate. That never seems to end well for anyone involved. Or the “mutual” breakup between a couple, in which someone decides its best to stay friends. That’s not fair to the person who wants (or perhaps needs) to make a clean break and start fresh.

Mom and dad don’t really partake in these sorts of games, but these are a mere sample of the myriad of relationship struggles that seem to plague the people they care about. Which makes them people I care about. Friends and family alike, these are some of the real relationship games being played in modern society. And I don’t like it.

Because my time as an observer of people has made me pretty savvy to the reality of these games. Many times what people don’t seem able to piece together is that they may think they’re only playing with the other person’s mind. Really they’re playing with the heart.

And it’s one thing when its Mrs. Prickles being thrown around in a game of pickle in the middle. It’s something completely different when it’s a person’s heart. Matters of the heart are not game friendly. “The only way to have a friend is to be one,” as my favorite transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson said.

And what does it mean to be a friend? When you love someone, you spend time with them. They are your world in that moment. You forgive. You move on. You are loyal, and nothing will stand in the way of that. I don’t why people let things get so complicated.

 

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.

 

What Lies Inside July 23, 2013

A lot happened in my backyard today.

After a mysterious three-week hiatus, my neighbor demon dog has returned. It wasn’t a pretty reunion, as he “greeted” me with some pretty intense growling and panting from his usual hangout on his side of our mutual fence. I saw my neighbor Lady for the first time since her husband passed away recently. She looked sad. I wagged hello at her and I think she may have looked right through me. And after a startling separation from the rabbit family about a month ago, I think they’re back. (Though they are likely being much more careful about revealing themselves this time aroundFeeling Sad for Neighbor Lady).

So many days are quiet and uneventful around here (not that I’m complaining), but today was a feast for the emotional senses. It all happened so fast, and when it was over I found myself longing to piece the puzzle together into some sort of semblance of normalcy. Why would all of these things happen in the same 15 minutes?

I was absolutely terrified to see demon dog return. I forgot how big and scary and loud and threatening he is.

Figuring it all outI felt completely defeated with the sincerest compassion when I saw my neighbor Lady. I wanted so badly for mom to let me off my leash so I could go give her a big ole hug and some doggie kisses to cheer her up. It broke my heart to see her that way, kind of a shell of her normal bubbly self. But there was really nothing I could do about it.

And then I felt the most overtaking sense of excitement and relief when I smelled the rabbit family’s return. Though I couldn’t see them, I have faith they are all right and back together and that brings warmth and joy to my heart.

Life is that way sometimes. We can be happily following our routine when bam! Everything happens at once. It’s different than the valleys and hills that challenge us along our journey. We can plan ahead and be prepared for those. You can’t prepare for moments like these. “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you,” great transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested.

I didn’t see it coming, but I learned a lot in my backyard today. At any moment when we least expect it, our heart gets an unexpected workout that pulls us in 18 different directions simultaneously. But that doesn’t change the impact they can have on our lives. Highly concentrated emotional situations may even be more impactful in surprising ways. The difference is we are forced in these moments to think with our hearts rather than our minds. And, in these moments, it is what lies inside of us that matters.