Category Archives: General

Emojis, the Soul and Genetic Memory

Emojis are like the soul – our essence without context reduced to pure impression.

Wahula Gonzo

I think we each have a soul. When we die, our brain, our memory, all that is gone. What’s left is an energy that has been influenced by our living experiences, but doesn’t remember any of it. The soul is like a compendium of emojis evoking emotions that are now lost, yet there is a retained glow, an echo, an effect of their existence.

Pretty heavy.

Emojis are also fun. My tween nieces just got their own cell phone to share. I’m their favorite text-buddy.

Which brings us to emojis. The older niece is very literal and loves to write exactly what she wants to communicate, though she will sign off with a few special emojis. The younger is a free spirit still running on magic fairy dust and would prefer to communicate with the world exclusively through emojis. Which made me ask, “What is an emoji?” Not just a smiley face. Deeper. Way deep. Like, are emojis in our genetic memory deep?

If man has been around for centuries, what about emojis?

I know there was one back in 1969.

Rolling Stone Tongue

If you don’t know this from the Rolling Stones, designed by John Pasche, we’ll have to go back further. How about the Mayans? This is Ajaw, maybe a sun god from thousands of years ago. I think the sun god is a happy guy. I’d sign off a text with him.

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And what about the Egyptians? Hieroglyphics are like writing with all emojis.

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And let’s not forget Asia.

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Yin and yang. The balance of the universe. If you tip it on its side it’s almost a smiley face.

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So what does this all mean? I don’t have a clue. I can only guess that when we all join that universal flow of energy in the afterlife, maybe our genetic emoji memory will kick in. Hopefully, we’ll all be as comfortable communicating with them as my nieces.

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Compassion is a Bitch

0fd5dd1e246d6c7e6cca2ce7b2859c72-wildlife-paintings-bird-paintingsBlack Bear came to a meeting late and said, “I’m feeling frazzled after dealing with my cubs. What if I don’t feel compassionate?”

Raven said, “Fake it.”

That doesn’t seem honest,” said Black Bear.

It doesn’t begin with honesty,” said Raven.

~Zen Master Raven Stories by Robert Aitken Roshi

Here we are, a new year, yet again. Most of us are in familiar resolution territory: fitness, nutrition, save money, and write that book. I’ve given a lot of thought to Raven’s advice above. Fake it. For much of the past year I’ve struggled with compassion — especially relating to one person in my life.

In pursuit of compassion I’ve seen a counselor, an acupuncturist, and a yogi on a regular basis. They all help, to some extent — the balance of yoga building physical and spiritual muscles. Yet it wasn’t until October 2nd in Ann Arbor, Michigan when a stop for gas turned into one of those before and after moments. A man committed suicide, jumping off a roof of a parking garage. His lifeless body less than 100 feet from the gas pump.

I realized then my compassion was still present. Just buried under many many… MANY… layers of anger.

So here I am on the cusp of a new year. Much of the same old same old. I resolve to be healthy, slim, solvent and prolific. Less angry. More compassionate, too. Eventually. For me, compassion is still a bitch, contended with on a daily basis. My greatest challenge.

In the meantime, maybe we can all benefit from Raven’s advice and fake what we really really want until it becomes our truth.

Riley Reveals Our Origins Story

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Today is my mother’s 40th birthday so I have decided to share our origins story. In March 2009, I was forced to adopt Jessie Smith as my mother. We have different accounts of how it all went down…

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Riley’s Reviews: Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

RileysReviews

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My mother is one day away from turning 40 years old. She was supposed to be a successful author by now.  However, I’m the one getting a taste of fame just from these blog posts. Not to brag but I got 30 views on a single day. My mother says that is actually not a lot of traffic but if you think of views in dog years, that new number is quite impressive.  But my ambition exceeds the borders of this blog. I want to be the Seabiscuit of this generation.

Seabiscuit was a horse with heart but on his last chance. It was a miracle that he was adopted by the right owner and got to work with the right trainer. One might say it was the perfect trifecta and they made racing history. On the other hand, I was adopted by my mother. I should be as famous as Seabiscuit. My mother needs to keep writing.

Seabiscuit earned fame twice. When he was alive, he rose to success and riches. Everyone knew his name. Then in 2003, Laura Hillenbrand meticulously described his life, in all his glory, in a New York Times Bestselling novel, which led to a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Most humans can only achieve notoriety once but this horse got it twice. Imagine what a dog like me could achieve if I had a Hollywood agent. Imagine it. I do.

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Even when forced to wear a Halloween costume, I’m still the cutest dog in the world.

For recognizing that non-humans deserve to have their story told, I’m awarding this book the full 5 Greenies:

greeniegreeniegreeniegreeniegreenie

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I’m Riley. In pleasant company, my mother refers to me as feisty and independent. In closer circles, there is talk about a Napoleon complex. A select few have called me by my spirit animal, Cujo. But at the end of all her stories, she concludes that she loves her grumpy old man, which is me. I’m a mix of many magnificent species includes Tibetan Spaniel, Corgi and Pomeranian. My mom says that I’m about 11 years old, which is an ironic lie. She has created this space to celebrate her actual 40th birthday but she refuses to admit that I’m probably about 13 years old. I recently had a horrible eye injury which reminded her that I’m the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and she rewarded me with 24/7 greenies. Thus, we have decided to celebrate me (and her 40th birthday) but creating a month long blog series, called Riley’s Reviews as a fundraiser to help my fellow creatures while they are waiting for their personal staff (aka forever homes). But we all know in our hearts that we are doing this so I can get a stage to become a very big deal within a small group of people.

How this will work: My mom is a sucker for stories with animals on the covers so I will post reviews about some of her favorite books by sharing some doggie perspectives to enlighten readers. You are welcome to just visit this blog to adore me and enjoy my canine commentary. Or if you are so inclined, you can celebrate Jessie’s 40th Birthday, by making a donation to one of these wonderful organizations:

Please come back during the month of September to find out what other books I have strong opinions about because I am strong and I am opinionated.

Riley’s Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

RileysReviews

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“This book makes you want to hug your dog.”  That is the exact review my mother gave The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. And she did it. She broke my NO TOUCHING policy. I had to karate chop my way out of her arms. I barely made it out alive.

This book tells the story of Enzo and his human Denny. Their life was pretty good until Denny screwed it all up by falling in love and starting a family. Enzo entered Denny’s life as his #1 priority and then slowly slipped down to 3rd place. Going from Gold to Bronze must suck. I wouldn’t know because I entered my mother’s house as the King of the Castle and I have never been dethroned. My mother always says that when (Halt! My mother made an editorial change from if to when. I wish I could fire her as my scribe), when she finds love, she will have enough love for the both of us. I wish I could tell her that this fictional man could have my portion of her love in exchange for more personal space.

The only thing I liked about this book was the sections about racing. I don’t care about cars but I love the rides. Other than greenies, nothing makes me happier than the freedom of being in the car and going somewhere new. It’s a shame that my mother always has to come with me.

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Behold. That is an actual twinkle in my eye. One might even say it’s golden.

I’m torn. This book made my mother laugh and cry so I should award it 5 greenies but not once, but twice did I have to escape her clutches when she tried to hug me so this book loses a greenie for each breach of the NO TOUCHING policy:

greeniegreeniegreenie

birthdaybanner

I’m Riley. In pleasant company, my mother refers to me as feisty and independent. In closer circles, there is talk about a Napoleon complex. A select few have called me by my spirit animal, Cujo. But at the end of all her stories, she concludes that she loves her grumpy old man, which is me. I’m a mix of many magnificent species includes Tibetan Spaniel, Corgi and Pomeranian. My mom says that I’m about 11 years old, which is an ironic lie. She has created this space to celebrate her actual 40th birthday but she refuses to admit that I’m probably about 13 years old. I recently had a horrible eye injury which reminded her that I’m the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and she rewarded me with 24/7 greenies. Thus, we have decided to celebrate me (and her 40th birthday) but creating a month long blog series, called Riley’s Reviews as a fundraiser to help my fellow creatures while they are waiting for their personal staff (aka forever homes). But we all know in our hearts that we are doing this so I can get a stage to become a very big deal within a small group of people.

How this will work: My mom is a sucker for stories with animals on the covers so I will post reviews about some of her favorite books by sharing some doggie perspectives to enlighten readers. You are welcome to just visit this blog to adore me and enjoy my canine commentary. Or if you are so inclined, you can celebrate Jessie’s 40th Birthday, by making a donation to one of these wonderful organizations:

Please come back during the month of September to find out what other books I have strong opinions about because I am strong and I am opinionated.

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