Walking is… protest

By Street Wisdom

I have just got home from a protest march. While I was there, I realised that – in a way – we were all on a giant Street Wisdom.

Here’s what I mean:

First, we tuned in.

Even though it was a “march”, we did not get walking for about two hours. The number of people present was so big it took that amount of time to get started. So one way of looking at it is: we were collectively “tuning in”. That’s what we do on the first hour of a Street Wisdom. We slow right down. Quite literally and metaphorically, we take a stand. We look at things more carefully, more closely, with more care and curiosity. We notice things we haven’t seen before. We feel how our bodies are in themselves and how it is being a body on the street. How it feels being with other people. As the march prepared itself, someone tooted a horn and we all cheered and started chanting things. That was our own tuning in device. We were all resonating, making way to make our way. 

Then, we went on a quest.

On the second hour of a Street Wisdom you are invited to go on a quest. This is something like a problem or a situation, an opportunity or a question in your life that you would like to pose to the streets. The idea is that the streets will respond, somehow, in some way, especially now you are tuned in. On this march, we were effectively going on a shared quest. We had a shared problem – or opportunity – and we were using our bodies to ask the streets a question: does it have to be so?

Finally, we reflected.

Walking away from the protest, I overheard – in quite a Street Wisdom kind of way – so many couples, friendship groups, families and other configurations of people talking about what they had just experienced, what they had learned. The streets were flooded with mirrored aliveness. I felt like I was bathing in the wonder of people and their imagination for a better future. In fact, I felt like I was bathing in the whole city – that at some level we were all on this gorgeous, giant Street Wisdom, sensing in to our lives and using our collective body and heart to call for change.

I was technically alone on the march, but I have never felt so connected.  

And in that sense, all walking is a kind of protest. A protest against inwardness and insularity. A march, instead, for the shared outer life. For togetherness and the connection – and resonation – that comes from walking side by side.

by Philip Cowell