How about both?
With hundreds of people wanting to either attend or lead events up and down the country, we came up with a day when people could do either – or both. 30 or so would-be Street Wizards gathered in the Covent Garden piazza – braving the horizontal rain – to learn about how to run a Street Wisdom by experiencing it, under the guidance of David Pearl, Chris Barez-Brown and the Upping Your Elvis gang.
But that wasn’t all.
After lunch 12 ‘newbies’ stayed on to lead their own Street Wisdoms with a new set of participants who arrived in the afternoon. From fledgling to facilitator in a few hours. Amazing. It’s a format we intend to run again. And not just in London.
We’re working to feed all the sparks of inspiration around the country. So do keep in contact.
Jersey’s first Street Wisdom was also the first one we know of anywhere in the world where all the participants were artists thanks to the Jersey Arts Trust who hosted the event as part of the Skipton Arts Series
Most people associate Jersey with bankers and potatoes. But the arts are increasingly prominent. And the artists are clearly plucky, turning up to Street Wisdom despite threats of torrential rain. There were painters, ceramicists, designers, musicians – even a fire artist. The hub of the event was the beautiful, bustling and – thankfully covered – market. We did out tune-ups under the eyes of the increasingly curious stall holders. And the quests ended at the very welcoming CCA Galleries International surrounded by diamond-dusted prints by Damian Hurst. It was a great place to reflect on the day’s experiences and hear extraordinary stories like Susan’s here –
New Taste for Life
Susan is an artist who has just completed a bout of chemo therapy which has been medically successful but affected her taste an interest in food. So the impact of Street Wisdom took her by surprise.
I wandered into an Italian deli I used to love. Nothing particularly grabbed me until I looked up and saw all these parma hams hanging there. I was fascinated by these and I was thinking about some drawings I made of parma hams a few years back when suddenly the smell from the spice shop hits me. It was a smell like ayurvedic tea. Soothing. It made me feel ‘mmmm’. It drew me to the shop and I went in. I inhaled the coriander and cumin. Sprayed myself with some lavender. Then the owner and I started swapping favourite smells. She told me about Les Landes (on the North West Coast on the island) where she lived as a child and how much she loved Gorse. I said yellow is such a wonderful cheerful colour. She wasn’t trying to sell me anything, just enjoying the dialogue. At the end she said ‘please come back any time’. And I will. This experience has reawakened my taste buds and interest in cooking and food again.
Lucky Creation is the name of a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It’s also the place where we found ourselves discussing all that happened in our Street Wisdom on 4th April, the first ever event to be held in the USA. We hadn’t planned to be there, but that’s Street Wisdom. The right thing just sort of happens. We didnt order off the very complex menu. Having spent the morning trusting the environment to send us insights and learnings, we just asked our hosts to serve us what they thought was right. Good call. We talked. We ate. We talked through our Street Wisdom experiences. We talked about being Intensely Laid-Back. We thought about being Defiantly Happy. We laughed. We ate some more. And to finish everyone had a go summing up their experience in a few short words on a postcard. Here are some of those comments…
“I was wondering if I should move house. Then I saw a business sign which read Hang On Realty” Daniel
“Decided to decide later” Erin
“It’s easy to forget your feet hurt” Byron
“Experience Nature, City and Art with a child’s mind” Paul
“Sacred City Streets. They speak to you…” Michelle
“It was refreshing to go for a walk with open eyes looking around and within for clues about things in my life” Doug
All great comments – and do keep them coming! And maybe the most succinct – and certainly most tasty – comment of all? Lucky Creation.
Most people think of the street as just a way of getting from A to B. We hurry along, avoiding contact, screening out the city with our iPhones, blanking strangers, heads down and thoughts turned inward. Street Wisdom sees it differently. We think the street is an amazing place if you are curious and willing to break the rules of ordinary life.
So it was a thrill for us to discover Sunday Assembly – a whole tribe of people who basically think the same way as us. And even more of a thrill to be invited by the Sunday Assembly team to hold a Street Wisdom event in London last weekend when their normal venue wasn’t available so the street was, by happy coincidence, the venue anyway.
We’ve been experimenting with Street Wisdom for years, refining the experience to the point where we can now give it away as shareware to anyone who’s interested. It’s free, it’s simple and it’s surprisingly transformational.
The Sunday Assembly event forced us to simplify the experience even more as we had more people attending and less time than usual. We gathered at 11am for a bit of a briefing and a mingle. There was no real ‘ice’ to break as Sunday Assemblers seem to arrive pre-warmed up. (“You’re one of us” said a smiling lady on the street as I arrived for the set-up. “I can tell by your smile”. Sweet.) Then 200 people spilled into London’s streets to first “tune” their senses and then “ask the street a question”.
After an hour everyone was invited back to share their tales what they learned.
“Bizarrely amazing!…The thinkiest I’ve ever been…It was AMAZING…a very tangible hour of meaningfulness… I started off with quite low expectations of what I would get from this hour, but I can now say it was a revelation!”
Tweets went out:
V positive experience on my 1st @Street_Wisdom walk: seeing London afresh & thinking differently
Particularly wanderful @SundayAssembly today! Recommend everyone tries @Street_Wisdom.
One person told us “I didn’t arrive at a definite answer, but that’s ok. Doors have been opened, more wanders will be had.”
And that’s the point. There are many streets out there. And many Sundays. And now more people able to gain some Street Wisdom. Altogether it’s a wander-ful life!
Every year thousands of people trek to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain on routes that wind through Europe, carved by countless pilgrims and spiritual seekers before them. It can be a long, long walk. But that’s the point. If you’re looking for answers, inspiration and insight, the journey’s the thing. It’s where the magic happens, the chance meetings, the unexpected discoveries. I haven’t walked the camino myself but those who have tell me they get a huge amount from it.
Every year hundreds of thousands – millions – of people trek through our city streets on their way to and from work. And what they get from is, mostly, – nothing. Zip. Nada. Niente.
The street to many of us is just a traffic-filled, annoying space to hurry through, a logistical obstacle, something to screen out with an iPod playlist.
Street Wisdom disagrees. We think a scrubby path through the northern Spanish hills is more like Oxford Street rush hour than we realise. We think the magic is more about how you look than what you are looking at. We’re suggesting the difference between a quest and a commute is a choice you can make any time. When you really switch on your senses and connect with what’s around you, you can start picking up inspiration right outside your door.
What do you think?
Give it a try.
Thanks to the recent tube strike Londoners were given an excuse to slow down and use the walk. Ask a question and see what the street answers…
If you get some interesting results, check out where the next Street Wisdom events are taking place and come really experience what the street has to teach you. It’s free and designed as shareware so you can even run your own event for friends or colleagues.