Street Wisdom taught me I don’t have to disappear into the wilderness for a four-day vision quest, steam away in countless sweat lodges or go on an arduous pilgrimage to Greece to try and discover my real work in the world. I began to unravel the answers, the clues, the pointers in the very prosaic environment of a Saturday market in Frome. Buggies, buskers, traders, steamed-up coffee shop windows, leaf and bark patterns, rashers of sizzling bacon, sunlight squinting over tiled rooftops, fragments of accordion music, cheeses, bric-a-brac stalls and the slow pulse of people out enjoying the crisp winter sunlight.
My question was pretty straightforward and the orientation questions at the beginning helped immensely. How do I use my professional skills to contribute to the vitality of the wider community whilst making a living and paying the bills? Like many self-employed people, I spend great chunks of time working alone. I need to get out and engage more – to open up more opportunities for work.
The answer did not come in a tablet rolling off a rooftop but on my slow progress through the delightful hills and pedestrianised streets of Frome. I kept noticing clusters of people having animated conversations in coffee shops and I began to realise what was missing in my life. It is something I wouldn’t normally take any notice of but somehow the very process of slowing down and becoming more mindful of my surroundings helped me to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary.
How would my life look if I really began those conversations with colleagues, friends, fellow professionals, potential clients? What would happen if I opened up to change and took the plunge of meeting strangers and simply starting conversations? Walking back for the final plenary session at the Cheese and Grain l glanced up and saw a wonderful enamel sign ‘Colman’s Blue – For Laundry Purposes’ set against the bluest sky imaginable. If I needed a sign for more blue sky thinking in my work, the universe had just handed it to me on a plate. For free.
I returned home to begin the redesign of my website, update my Linkedin page and picked up the phone to make my first appointments to have new conversations. I have been too passive for too long. Thank you Street Wisdom and thank you, Dave, for being such a big-hearted facilitator.
by Kevin Redpath