The Way I See it: Sharing the wisdom of many

Michele Blais reflects on the lessons we learn through the years, advice shared by parents, friends, children

Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favourites as we gather family and friends together for a great visit. We can share a wonderful feast, long walks, games, conversations and wisdom. Some will come from our elders, peers, or youth will aid us with technology, social media and more.

How much advice do we receive in a lifetime?  It must be thousands of bits and bites that we hear or read almost daily to improve our parenting, health, education, work, relationships, bodies, gardens, pets, technology.

We start young, getting advice and direction as babies through our childhood, teen years and it keeps going. We also start to   deliver advice as well as receive. We can be bombarded through the Internet, TV, magazines, friends, strangers, colleagues.

How much do we actually follow through with? I read some good stuff on dieting, health, organizational wisdom, work, gardening, relationships, parenting, cheap travel, take notes while watching Dr. Oz and I think I am going to do that. I put colourful post-it notes on my new bulletin board to be a visual reminder and then I do it and then I don’t.

Apparently I am not alone in this.

For an exercise program the wise ones recommend six weeks are needed in order to make it a routine. If you can do that chances are good you will change your behavior. Any one else stop at 4.5?

In October’s Oprah magazine the issue is devoted to giving “advice.”  One of the pieces that struck me was Martha Beck saying that people pay her to give advice so obvious, and then don’t follow through, and then come back to be told again. Her top five pieces of wisdom are:

1. What leaves you feeling bad, do less of. What leaves you feeling good do more of.

2. To achieve bigger goals, take smaller steps.

3. Lie down and rest awhile.

4. When you don’t know what to say, try the truth.

5. Free yourself from dysfunctional people by refusing to try to control them.

There is a minefield of sticky notes for my bulletin board as I could mind-map each of those. A mind map is where you have an idea and then you have off-shoots of other ideas. It is a great goal-setting project development tool as you break down the original thought into workable action or discussion steps.

We will take in the information, and either adapt it, swirl it around with other information or kick it out. If you find you are working on an issue, and keep reading about it, and reading, talking about it and not doing anything about it, spend time figuring out why not before you take in more ideas. Taking the time to analyze what is blocking you can make a big difference and maybe talk to a counsellor about what stops you. You may need to give yourself permission to say yes to yourself and make you the priority.

There are many great avenues for shared wisdom; some of my best parenting advice came from other parents who were friends or strangers at the playground or sports fields sidelines. Their ideas came from a from place of love and respect and experience. My parents were great role models for parenting, family, work habits, including my mother, who was the queen of networking a room, social networking before the web.

Be kind, eat your vegetables, find your passions, read books, value sleep, be a friend, love, watch your money, be curious, get an education. Laugh, travel, become a good listener. Respect your self and others. Work hard and play hard and enjoy both. Take care of your body. Feed your soul. Be active, appreciate nature, enjoy silence. Live your life.

Michele Blais writes on a variety of issues, appearing every other Sunday.