Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Let The Worry Go October 18, 2013

It’s nothing new. Most of us are quite accustomed to it, in fact. Cold Wisconsin winter is no longer a possibility. It’s knocking at our proverbial back door.

I realized it tonight while I was outside in the 40-something evening air. It took my little doggie breath away. In the spring, people would be flinging aside their winter jackets for shorts and flip flops in this weather. Today on the other hand had people layering up with jackets and scarves. Ah, the magic of perspective.

We’ve gotten a bit spoiled with above-average highs in my part of the world, so I think it’s taking some people by surprise. It definitely woke me up enough so that my doggie thoughts started racing with concern. My little person is going to be born in the midst of the coldest time of year around here. January. And that crib contraption will not allow me any amount of nighttime snuggling. Then how on Earth will I keep this precious little person warm?It Looks Warm

That’s when I discovered it. Baby Alexis’ mom Jessica’s gift to my little person. It’s like a tiny cloud. A baby blankie. With a little picture of me on it! Well, not actually a picture of me, but the resemblance is uncanny. I was overcome with relief that even if I can’t keep the baby warm, a little piece of my heart can through that blankie. It wasn’t all that long ago I was gifted my birthday blankie, which I hold dear to my heart as a symbol of connection between my past and present. Well, in this blankie I see my future. And it looks warm.

“Instead of fretting about getting everything done, why not simply accept that  being alive means having things to do?” challenges American sociologist Martha Beck. “Then drop into full engagement with  whatever you’re doing, and let the worry go.”

It’s nothing new to us Wisconsinites. Winter is coming, and with it comes chilly nights. We should be used to it by now. I guess the real problem is the recurring worry I have about the care and protection of the baby. But life has taught me the importance of living in the moment, and that philosophy doesn’t leave much room for concern. Especially when there is cuddling involved.

Related posts

My Bittersweet Birthday Blankie – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/05/21/my-bittersweet-birthday-blankie/

 

A Shower of Gold October 9, 2013

Sometimes I want it. Badly. Other times I’m overcome with relief that I never really have to worry about it. This thing called money offers me a variety of emotional responses. Lately I’ve been struggling with the realization that while I am blessed not to have to worry about it, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Instead my people worry about it. A lot.

Money, money money. It used to come up occasionally, but the frequency has increased lately as preparations continue for my new little person. And its never really a happy conversation. Not that there is arguing or fighting, but us canines have a sense for things like stress and tension.Its just money

It happened again today. I overheard them talking about it and I was overcome with longing. I wanted money. I wanted to buy them all the nice things for the little person they keep talking about like a travel system (whatever that is) and a mobile for the crib. I wanted to give them everything they think they want.

But that’s just it. Wants are not always needs. And needs are not always wants. It sure would be nice if I somehow had all kinds of money to spend on these things. But that’s all they are – things. Just things. Things don’t create happiness, no matter how necessary they seem. Moments of real joy begin in the heart, not the mind.

I was reminded of this tonight as mom and I took a quick walk around the neighborhood right as the sun was setting. It made for a beautiful scene, with the sun shining through the trees as the leaves fell peacefully along our path. And I realized in those precious moments there is this thing about beauty – its completely free. And (even better) it often buys happiness. And joy. And gratitude.

“Here we are sitting in a shower of gold,” observed Australian writer Christia Stead, “with nothing to hold up but a pitchfork.”

It seems I’ve gotten it all wrong. I don’t want money. I want my people’s worry to go away. I want them to see the beauty in all things like I do and feel the sense of emotional richness that brings. I want them to be happy. These wants are really needs in my book. So today I renew my vow to do my small part to highlight these things in our lives, starting with my people. Because I know my heart contains within it its very own shower of gold.

 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy June 18, 2013

It’s kind of like hitting your hind legs on the footboard jumping up on the bed. Or getting your leash wrapped around the tree in the backyard when the sky is crying. Or being left at home alone for the majority of a weekend day.

Each of these things can make me feel emotionally handicapped in the most bizarre way. I know everything will be all right – the shooting pain in my hind legs is sure to pass, my fur will dry from the rain, and my parents will return from their so-called errands – but there is something unsettling about when these bumps in the road happen.

As I soaked up some sun in my backyard this afternoon, I questioned why these occasional stumbles (physical or otherwise) have such a power to bring down my otherwise optimistic spirit. Stuff happens. Life moves on. Or does it? I remember thinking my life was over when I first was separated from my mom and brothers. And again when I lost Rusty to doggie heaven. And again when that family returned me to the humane society citing my alleged behavioral problems.

SimplifySuddenly it made sense to me. These stumbling blocks seem to have a way of bringing my past into my present. At the root of all my stumbles is the same useless emotion: worry. I know it’s not a four-letter word in people language but it is in my world. Worry is the handicap!

Yet I worry my parents got a higher bed so I wouldn’t jump on it anymore. (Don’t they like our cuddle time?) I worry maybe my forever parents will take a book from previous chapters of my life and forget about me outside, leaving me in the rain to shiver and fend for myself. (Don’t they love me anymore?) I worry that maybe they’ll never come back from wherever they go when they run errands. (Will anyone else ever love me like they do?)

Worry, worry, worry. It’s a nasty little habit for a practicing optimist to conquer. It’s one I don’t frequently even address out of sheer embarrassment that people won’t take me (and my joy) seriously if I admit to my weaknesses. But there is strength in admitting to our shortcomings, not only in the truth of the admission itself but in what it means for the future. It’s easy to push aside being a worrier. To hide it away in a place in my heart I don’t want anyone to know about.

But I’ve never been one to take the easy road, especially in matters of the heart. So worry be gone. I cast you away like the bad habit you are. Starting today, I will make an effort to see life’s stumbling blocks not as triggers for worry. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,” Dutch Christian activist Corrie Ten Boom once said. “It empties today of its strength.” I’d much rather seek strength in knowing everything will be all right than add any unnecessary sorrow to my days.