23rd June. It was Referendum Day in the UK – a day we were all supposed to be thinking about the next generation. So it was great the young ones were involved when we decided to host a family Street Wisdom at London’s Southbank Centre. Simon, Kate, Seren and Raya live on an idyllic cliff-top in Cornwall. So why did they come all the way to the big, rain-filled city to experience a Street Wisdom?
My wife and I are at crossroads in our lives, with big questions about which way to turn. The idea that the answers are right there in the streets (and even within us) intrigued us. Also, we love where we live, and we were excited by the prospect of discovering new ways to interact with our community, as well as meaningful games to play with our children.
Simon, a social entrepreneur who has worked with the Dalai Lama in the past, is no stranger to the wisdom traditions. So what was his take on this urban wisdom experience?
As with all of the greatest wisdom, the Street Wisdom experience was beautifully simple. There was something about having permission to interact with strangers; to notice what drew my heart; to slow right down; and to open to the story of the streets, that was very powerful. I found myself submitting to something universal, noticing clues about my path all around me. At the same time, I felt empowered by the process to skilfully navigate the journey by following only that which appealed to my heart. This paradoxical potion of submission and free will was a beautiful thing to savour, and it has shed a luminous light on my own life moving forwards. The conversation I had with a mother and daughter on the streets, speaking about heartache, love and loss to a stranger, is something that will always stay with me. From my short Street Wisdom experience, I have re-discovered the magic of the Universe and the magic that lies latent within. I have also been reminded by the wisdom of our children; to follow their leadership in noticing the world around us, and the simple joy of singing to strangers. I’ve got some way to go before I invite an old man to join me in a rendition of Mary Poppins – but at least I now feel I’m on my way.
We’re curious to see how Street Wisdom can be developed for families, especially ones with younger children. I can’t remember a more playful event, with Seren (3) and Raya (18 months) taking lead facilitator roles in Stomping Giants, Spot the Graffiti Cat and Flying Umbrellas. They are the future – and they get our vote!