Uncommon Sense

Each person we meet has so much to teach us, if we are open to the gifts. Of all the daily life ‘teachers’ I encounter, I find children and senior citizens to be the greatest ones of all.

Less inhibited by conditioning, social expectations, baggage and mental stress that so many adults are governed by, children tend to live in the moment and shoot from the hip.  If we are lucky, we can join their world and connect with a whole new world of possibilities. 

 On the other side of the spectrum, filled with life experience, a more balanced and realistic outlook, and wisdom that can only be acquired with age; we can notice that seniors have arrived at a place of natural clarity and insight, if we are smart enough to slow down and listen. 

 Unfortunately in today’s society there seems greater separation and isolation between the generations.  While being able to Skype family members from a distance is a wonderful tool to keep in touch, technology in many ways is creating a greater gap. 

 Recently I did a Brain Fitness talk for a group of senior citizens who commented on how hard it is to pull their grandchildren away from their devices to simply talk, go for a walk or play a game.

 This made me sad and it inspires me to do something about it in my own life and share reminders of how vital it is that we connect with family, friends and community – of all ages, person to person, in real time. 

 I know in my own life, right from a young age, the impact elders have had on me, not the least of whom my grandmother who is the subject in the introduction to my second book.

 On that note, it’s my pleasure to share with you the introduction to my ‘soon to be’ in print, second book: Uncommon Sense…Put Into Practise. It is a collection of stories to open your heart and inspire your mind to greater well-being.

Here it is…

My grandmother was one of my favourite people to spend time with.

I was taken by her keen eye and mental clarity.
I was inspired by her creativity and practical insights.
I was warmed by the tenderness she showed her great grandchildren.
I was amazed by how, into her nineties, she was still able to knit gifts for us and teach my daughter, her great granddaughter, how to knit.
I was grateful for her feedback on my fashion choices.
I resonated with her love of nature.
I was empowered by her candour and directness.
I was rejuvenated by her presence.

Real, down-to-earth, and imbued with maturity and life experience, Viola could accept things as they were, even through her later years of declining health that culminated in her becoming bedridden.

Born during the roaring twenties before television had hit Canada or automobiles were common, my grandmother played a part in a now fading generation who could live very comfortably without relying on technology in the slightest.

We can only begin to imagine the changes she saw and experienced during the 93-year span of her lifetime. Grandma was our modern-day link to the good ol’ days, and I found a lot of comfort and peace spending time with her thanks to it.

When she’d frequently ask, “Why hasn’t the good Lord taken me yet?,” I’d often reply with, “Grandma they just aren’t ready for you! They are preparing one heck of a big party, and they want to get all the details just right before you get there.”

Deep down, I also knew it was because she was still needed here. Her presence and all she represented were continuing to have an important impact on all of us. Every time I was with her I was reminded of the beauty in simple living and slowing down.

Although Grandma lived along a steadfast and consistent life path, she was very open-minded and had an adventurous spirit. She told me once that if she were to do it all over again, she wouldn’t have a big house or many belongings. Instead, she’d live in a small apartment with just a few plants and come and go as she pleased, travelling most of the time. I think this is one of the reasons she loved to read so much, to engage in creative projects and to chat with people. It gave her access to ideas, life styles and experiences that she wouldn’t otherwise have had.

A strong, practical, intuitive, nature-loving role model, she lived and exemplified many of the qualities I do my best to learn and practise in my own personal and professional life. She innately understood how to live the kind of life that would afford her almost a century of productive and healthy existence on this planet.

While life is moving us forward at warp speed, with us all the while governed by the media and technology, let us look to role models like Great Grandma Viola who remind us of those simple, common-sense and effective homegrown conventional values and traditions that can also earn us a life well lived.


Warmth and gratitude,