Improve your wonder superpower – try these three tips

How often do you say “Wow” on any given day?

No judgement. Just curious.

And it’s not really about quantity, of course. Let’s make these high-quality Wows we’re talking about. So it’s about really stopping, noticing the wondrous thing (a beautiful flower, the moon, the quality of the light or air, someone helping someone cross the road) and feeling the wonder from the inside out with a big embodied “Oh wow!”

According to Dr Darach Keltner in his new book Awe: The Transformative Power of Everyday Wonder, wonder is

“the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your current understanding of the world.”

Classically, you experience this kind of awe or wonder when your tiny-ness is exacerbated (but still felt as significant) by whatever you’re experiencing – a range of mountains, the entire universe, the birth of a baby.

As ever with Street Wisdom, we reckon you don’t need to venture out to a giant mountainscape to experience wonder.

How about finding more wonder in the everyday, every day, with the streets all around you?

Or another way of putting it:

Is wonder the thing we’re missing in this busy modern life of ours?

Could wonder be good for us? Could opening up to more wonder make us feel even better? And maybe not even just feel better, do better things that improve all our lives?

Dr Keltner argues that wonder is as critical to our well-being as joy, contentment and love, with huge benefits for calming down our nervous system and triggering the release of oxytocin, the “love” hormone that’s key to trust and bonding.

Psychologically, when we experience a wow moment, we are more likely to quieten our negative self-talk, and move from self to other.

With wonder, we can get out of our own way, in other words. 

Street Wisdom is an everyday creative practice you use as you walk, and it can directly boost your wonder superpower! David Pearl, the founder, even wrote a whole book about it – check out Wanderful!

Wonder doesn’t just make you feel great. It can help you “transcend your current understanding of the world”.

Put another way, wonder is the very thing that can help you find new, better ways of living, learning, playing, working, loving and more.

Use these three tips below to help get your wonder back:

Wonder tip 1: Use David Pearl’s Street Wisdom Audio Guide to take yourself on your own personal Walkshop. Be drawn to what attracts you. Slow right down. Notice the patterns. Sense the beauty in everything.

Wonder tip 2: Dr Keltner says we can experience wonder by registering ‘moral beauty’ in others. For example, if you watch someone help an elderly person cross the street, you will probably feel better and more likely to replicate the good deed yourself. Go for a wander and deliberately seek out ‘moral beauty’ in other people. It can be as simple as someone carefully carrying a kid, or smiling as they pass you. It might be someone lifting up a box for someone else. Revel in the wonder of other people!

Wonder tip 3: Dr Keltner says you are more likely to experience awe or wonder if you put yourself in unexpected situations. So go to a new part of town, try out a new cafe, go to a different bookstore. Seek out the unexpected. You might surprise yourself! (It might just be wonderful.)

 

Read more about Dr Darach Keltner’s new book here: How A Bit Of Awe Can Improve Your Health (New York Times)

 

*****

Inspired? Fancy some more Street Wisdom in 2023? Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

Street Wisdom from the Stoics

The ancient philosophers LOVED a wander. We’ve taken a stroll through some of their philosophies to find some ancient insights as freshly useful today as when they were first thought. Slip one of these quotes into your shoe and head for a wander. See what happens?

 

Get outdoors, asap!

“We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”

— Seneca, from ON TRANQUILITY OF MIND, 17.8

 

Listen more than you speak

“To the youngster talking nonsense Zeno said, ‘The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is so we might listen more and talk less.’”

— Diogenes Laertius, from LIVES OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, 7.1.23

 

Focus on the present moment

“Don’t let your reflection on the whole sweep of life crush you. Don’t fill your mind with all the bad things that might still happen. Stay focused on the present situation and ask yourself why it’s so unbearable and can’t be survived.”

— Marcus Aurelius, from MEDITATIONS, 8.36

 

Keep steady now

“If then it’s not that the things you pursue or avoid are coming at you, but rather that you in a sense are seeking them out, at least try to keep your judgment of them steady, and they too will remain calm and you won’t be seen chasing after or fleeing from them.”

— Marcus Aurelius, from MEDITATIONS, 11.11

 

Take the long way round

“You could enjoy this very moment all the things you are praying to reach by taking the long way around — if you’d stop depriving yourself of them.”

— Marcus Aurelius, from MEDITATIONS, 12.1

 

Get curious about your obstacles!

“While it’s true that someone can impede our actions, they can’t impede our intentions and our attitudes, which have the power of being conditional and adaptable. For the mind adapts and converts any obstacle to its action into a means of achieving it. That which is an impediment to action is turned to advance action. The obstacle on the path becomes the way.”

— Marcus Aurelius, from MEDITATIONS, 5.20

 

For more on this vivid connection between walking and the ancient philosophers, we loved this piece by Donald J Robertson, How To Walk Like A Stoic.

*****

Inspired? Fancy some more Street Wisdom in 2023? Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

Libby DeLana: The Wanderful Podcast with David Pearl

“I have exquisite wanderlust”

Libby DeLana is an executive creative director, founder of This Morning Walk and co-host of the podcast This Morning Walk with Alex Elle. She spoke at the 2022 Do Lectures with Cheryl Strayed about the transformative power of a walk.

Libby spent her career in advertising. She was the Director of Design at MullenLowe for 15 years, then went on to co-found the boutique agency Mechanica. Libby’s work has won many industry awards and been featured in publications including PRINT Design Annual, Fast Company, Graphis and Communication Arts. She has been profiled by the BBC Radio 4 series The Chain in which ‘leading figures name the woman who has inspired their success’.

She is an advocate for female leadership, an aspiring pilot, rookie fly fisher, fan of a strong cup of tea and mum to two tall, smart, kind men. Do Walk is her first published book.

https://linktr.ee/DavidPearl

 

Timeline

00.00 – 00.46

The Wanderful Theme

00.47 – 05.55

Introducing Libby DeLana

05.57 – 11.18

Libby talks about ‘wandering’: The back story – How ‘This Morning Walk’ began:

  • What did Libby need to nourish her?
  • Missing the outdoors – the space between
  • Walking every day for the last 11 years
  • The ‘Practice’ is not about mileage
  • Treating the walk as a ‘practice’ in the same way as a seated meditation or a yoga sequence.
  • Even a 3 minute walk can have a profound effect
  • Libby’s mission to share this knowledge with all

11.19 – 14.30

  • Learning new lessons through every walk
  • Loving the fidelity of the practice: Keeping a commitment to herself
  • The ‘practice’ as a ‘radical act of love’: Attentiveness and mindfulness – taking a walk for ‘me’
  • Libby learns the most on the days she doesn’t want to go

14.31 – 21.08

  • What Libby learn’s from the practice and what’s the magic state?
  • Learning to tap into the inherent wisdom of what goes on in the chest (heart) and the gut (intuition), rather than ‘thinking’
  • Walking allowed Libby to put ideas down into heart and gut – what was embodied in that?
  • Libby holds a thought – takes it for a walk and it softens and she begins to understand it.

21.10 – 27.48

  • Walking the same loop: Focusing on each step and each breath
  • Submitting to the routine
  • Flipping the ‘inquiry’ from external to internal
  • Seeing the world feet first rather than head first
  • Not just walking through the streets – you were walking through yourself: what you find beautiful out there – resides in you.
  • Finding the internal beauty – is the ultimate self-care: By doing that – we are caring for our community
  • Walking with others – the walk-pod

27.50 – 31.10

  • Libby’s navigation system: trusting gut / age
  • Inquiry & Curiosity – what’s going to show up each day?
  • Things change all the time – embrace and lean into change?
  • The ‘Beginners Mind’

31.11 – 35.49

  • Waking up with the grumps – curiosity about the deep dark depths.
  • One of the most challenging walks Libby did.
  • Do I crawl into bed and pour a bourbon or do I need / want to get outside and walk?
  • Did the loop? And repeated the loop? After each loop – ask self – how are you doing?
  • Loops – Stomping / Screaming / Beyonce Lemonade / Crying – the best therapist and loving friend was the walk. Needing to know ‘what would come up’?
  • Not all walks are beautiful but there are lessons in it.
  • Libby loves her partnership with the walk and cannot imagine her life without it.

35.50 – 38.30

  • Moving through grief and sadness
  • Being curious about whats in the heart and in the gut.
  • Taking your ‘discomfort’ for a walk.

38.32 – 45.03

The ‘Wanderful’ Exercise: Holding your discomfort and taking it for a walk

45.04 – 46.04

End credits

 

Quotations


“Walking is an equivalent practice to one of meditation or yoga. It has become a place of quiet, of nourishment, sanctuary, healing of inspiration. I find it’s my most creative part of the day.” (Libby)

“Even a three minute walk can have a profound effect.” (Libby)

“I just love the fidelity of the (walking) practice – it feels like fidelity for myself. It’s not about steps and miles. It’s about keeping that commitment to myself. It’s a radical act of love.” (Libby)

“It’s about an attentiveness and a consciousness, about taking a walk for ‘me’.” (Libby)

“As I walked with a thought in my head… slowly it would come down into my heart and then down to my belly… it’s a way of me understanding my ancient knowing.” (Libby)

“As I walk, that ‘ball of string’ softens and loosens and I can become to see the individual thread.”

“(Walking) enables me to know more, feel more… and trust my heart and gut, versus everything I’m telling myself up in my head.” (Libby)

“I’m seeing the feet first and changing my gaze from external to internal.” (Libby)

“You’re not just walking through the street, you were walking through yourself. The thing you find beautiful out there is a reflection of the thing you find beautiful within.” (David)

“For me it’s constant curiosity and inquiry – what is going to show up each day. Who is going to show up? What kind of conversations are we going to have? Those are my navigation tools.” (Libby)


Links

Libby DeLana

Web: https://libbydelana.com/

Twitter: @parkhere

Instagram: @parkhere

This Morning Walk: https://www.thismorningwalk.com/


David Pearl (host)

Twitter @DavidPearlHere

Instagram @davidpearl_here

Website www.davidpearl.net


Andrew Paine 
(Producer & Audio Engineer)

Twitter @ItPainesMe

 

The Green Room at COP26 – What (On Earth’s) The Story?

 

Full film: https://youtu.be/UWoO9UmWscM

Trailer: https://youtu.be/zmQqj5WHSPM

 

 

*****

Inspired? Fancy some more Street Wisdom in 2023? Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

What’s your word for 2023?

Street Wisdom’s poet-in-residence, Philip Cowell, has a challenge for you!

I was just going for one of my wanders, here at the start of a new set of days, when the question floated in front of me: what word would I like to take with me into 2023?

It doesn’t have to be the word, just word.

It doesn’t have to have an answer for everything, and it doesn’t have to be with me the whole year. I could let it go at some point, in April for example. Once it’s done its bit.

But yes, a word, a single word, that could help take me into this new year of possibility and potential.

So I used Street Wisdom to find it!

I spotted things I was drawn to, and noticed what I wasn’t drawn to.

I slowed down.

I noticed my breathing.

I found the beauty in everything (or certainly lots of things), even that normally ‘gross’ bit of chewing gum on the ground (it had such a lovely pattern).

Then I asked the streets my question (in my head). I said, Streets! Hi! Show me some options for my word for 2023. Thank you, please.

And then I just carried on wandering and simply let the word come to me, whenever it wanted to come out of its hiding place.

Admittedly, nothing did for the first few minutes, though I loved the way the sky was opening up a bit more.

Then, suddenly, the word “Sight” popped up. It was on a sign and I couldn’t see anything else on it apart from that (ironically).

Gorgeous, I thought, I’II have that.

I decided to keep going, just to check if anything else wanted to come through.

Ah ha! There was the word “Dance” waving at me, on a movie poster for the new Whitney Houston film. Love it.

Then nothing much more shouted out at me, though I enjoyed the street a bit more than previously, and felt I could feel my feet on the ground. I was more in my body, in the moment, so to speak.

Ahhh, that’s nice. Sight and Dance.

So there we have it. Sight and/or Dance. Which will it be?

I love the word Sight. For the clarity. The transparency. The seeing and being seen.

I love the word Dance. For the grace. The movement. The possibility in flow.

Can I break my own rule and have two words?

Of course I can, this is a game.

And maybe they’re the same thing, anyway?

Surely it’s when we realise we’re dancing that we really see what’s going on?

 

*****

Inspired? Have a go yourself at finding your word for 2023. Use the Street Wisdom process, even just briefly, to get grounded and into your body, and ask the streets to show you some options for your word. Let us know how it goes! Fancy some more Street Wisdom in 2023? Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

The power of slowing down in Sydney

Helen Lawson Williams led a Street Wisdom Walkshop in Sydney. Here’s what she and the group discovered!

Our mid-week walk was cozy – just the four of us gathered in a courtyard in inner Sydney, keen to reconnect with some streets we often think of as touristy and a bit tacky. We started with a range of questions, from a couple of loose variations on “what should I do next?” to a more pressing “how can I find a better balance?”.

The sensing walks brought back a wealth of textural and structural detail from some tiny old laneways, a fascination with light and shadow, and a new appreciation for the power of slowing down: “I didn’t want to speed back up”.

The street quests turned up a series of intriguing clues: “don’t turn back”; “it’s all linked together somehow, but I need to spend the time to see the big picture’; “sometimes what you really need is to stand by the Harbour and cry for a minute”.

For me, the themes ended up being colour, contrast, and movement – or kaleidoscoping, to make a verb of it. That’s useful as I’m thinking about my next couple of months of work. The street helped me see that although my core project could easily take 150% of my time, a singular focus will make me feel hemmed in, which will be counter-productive in the end. Now it’s clear I need to set aside some quality kaleidoscoping time, and that thought on its own makes me excited for the year ahead.

Agapanthus always make me think of Dumbledore

Millions of tiny fish

SO BRIGHT

I love the full stop.

 

*****

Inspired? Street Wisdom is all about finding better ways. Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

#FindBetterWays

Street Wisdom is all about finding #betterways to live, work, love, play, learn, laugh.

Here are some of the recent ones people have used the FREE Street Wisdom technology to help find fresh answers to:

Better ways to overcome grief

Better ways to find meaningful work

Better ways to utilise anger

Better ways to reignite your relationship

Better ways to live together

Better ways to help reach net zero

What #betterways are you working on right now?

 

*****

Inspired? Street Wisdom is all about finding better ways. Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

 

 

 

“Hands held around the world”

Andrew Paine took part in this year’s World Wide Wander and shares an insight.

 

I sat in on four World Wide Wander events all together and each one was magical in its own unique way.
What really took me by surprise, was just how emotional I could get looking through the camera of other people’s phones: the streets, paths, graveyards, oceans, lakes, kayaks, beaches, hidden lanes, gardens, reminded me that the world is generally a peaceful and beautiful place, more than capable of looking after itself and those within it.
Amazing.
I think we all felt that palpable sense of community. Hands held around the world.

 

Andrew Paine is producer of the Wanderful podcast and yoga teacher and coach.

 

*****

Inspired? Street Wisdom is all about finding better ways. Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

 

 

 

Caroline Adcock sees things afresh

Caroline Adcock took part in this year’s World Wide Wander and shares the results of her Quest.

In the midst of a dripping wet country lane I was drawn towards the verge where three large tyres had been thrown down, each one equidistant from the other and placed in a row.  In the centre of each  tyre was a mass of bright green tangled foliage, largely grass, dandelions and weeds.

These plants were no different to the foliage surrounding the tyres, but I had the feeling I was staring down at individual beings. The plants  inside the tyres were just the same species as the foliage on the verge. It’s true that within the tyres the proportions of each species varied, and one tyre may have included a different  flower or weed.  However, the truly amazing thing was that the reality on the outside of the tyres, and beyond the verge, although  made up of similar things, was SO MUCH BIGGER, richer, fuller, more magnificent. And then, looking beyond the verge, I could see many levels and scales of reality – the hills, the sky the horizon…

Are we not like the tyres? Our reality is within us, made of all the things from the outside world and yet so very limited. When are we ever really aware of the enormous scale and complexity of the much greater reality outside of ourselves?  Could this be the many layered universe? It was a pretty mind-blowing experience to be able to peep outside of the rim of my metaphorical tyre and appreciate the awe and wonder of this landscape.

And then came the answer to the question I had posed; this was in response to thoughts about a recent mediation case I had been working on and why the two parties had such different versions of “the truth”. I began to wonder about what reality was like inside each one of those tyres.  Although the stuff inside appeared rather similar, when our  awareness operates at the micro or personal level, even the type of grass and the presence of a single weed can seem so much more important, so much more significant.  It’s because we focus on the differences to make ourselves seem special,  but looking down from a greater height it’s evident we are all made of much the same stuff. If that weren’t the case we would never be able to communicate with each other, and most of the time we can generally understand each other, even if we don’t always agree.   Those whose tyres have been cast down in similar environments have more of the same inside,  but those  but whose tyres have been thrown down on a different terrain may find it harder to gain an understanding of those at a distance.

The human race is like a mass of tyres, each one thrown over patches of the universe, and each one trying to get a sense of each other’s reality and the reality outside, which is generally hidden from all of us.  Now I understood why two people can have such a different experience of the same event.

And then I became aware of a small brick hut, overgrown with ivy and overshadowed by a small tree.  A low hum was coming from inside the building  but a heavy iron door, safely sealed by a large rusty padlock, kept it tightly shut.  What could be inside?  It seemed like a whirring  machine and I had a sense that it was generating reality. All those codes, patterns and numbers which create form.  Easily overlooked and never seen by humans but an essential part of creation.

Who would have thought a wet Friday morning could have been THAT amazing!

 

Caroline Adcock is currently a volunteer mediator, listening Samaritan, on the steering committee of Compassion Practices and author of the ME-FIT books “Mental Fitness Training” and  “Dealing with Conflict”.

Thanks to rawpixel.com for the gorgeous picture of the tyre!

*****

Inspired? Street Wisdom is all about finding better ways. Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_

 

 

 

In search of sleep, Chris Sollett wanders the corridors

After a busy week of work that turns into an exciting motorbike ride, Street Wisdom facilitator Chris Sollett finds himself using the meditative Street Wisdom practice to help him with his sleeplessness.

I’m sleep deprived. I’ve been busy working – and I did a good job last week, working with good people. The team around me, and also the clients – smart, interesting, funny people. People with integrity. You might make assumptions about oil companies, you might assume they’re bad people who like doing bad things. I didn’t find that to be true. The people who invented engines – they rode horses every day. Thomas Edison and Lewis Howard Latimer also worked by candlelight, until they had perfected the lightbulb. You have to work with what you’ve got while you’re developing the next thing. We’re not there yet, with clean energy – we can’t stop using gas and oil completely – not yet.

Anyway I digress. I’m sleep deprived. It’s 06:00 and sleep largely eluded me last night. I’m staying in a beautiful place, at a Parador in Sos del Rey CatóIico, in Aragón, northen Spain. My friend Bruce and I are riding motorbikes and making each other laugh. Boys will be Boys. (That’s no excuse – but let’s not throw the boys out with the bathwater.)  Bruce is snoring gently, and I decide to leave the room, if I start writing I’ll wake him up. So what shall I do? The hotel is quiet, it’s like I have the place to myself.

I know! – I’ll do some street wisdom. This hotel is a beautiful place, old, old stone and wood, hundreds of yards of corridors, cafes, terraces, bathrooms, kitchens. What better place?

Be drawn to what attracts you – and notice what doesn’t

I wander the lengths of the corridors, imagining myself as a ghost, no one can see me (this game is much easier to play when you have the place to yourself) and I wonder – if I die now, is this where my spirit will wander? How does that stuff get decided?  I make my way down, floor by floor, gliding silently along patterned carpets, imagining the innocents (and the not so innocents) sleeping (or not) behind their doors.

I make my way, silently, down to the 4th floor, where there’s a café. (I’m drawn to cafés) unfortunately it’s closed. Fortunately, there’s a library room next to it. It feels like it ought to be a library, anyway. A few thousand books would really hold this room together. I’m drawn to dark wooden pillars, the terracotta stone, the natural cotton sofas and brown leather armchairs.  I’m drawn to sit in the corner, back to the wall, observing the entrances. I’m drawn to sit at a desk, lay down my computer, my notebook, just like a real writer. Anyone watching me would probably think I am one. Ha!

Slow right down

I walk, as slowly as I can, to the bathrooms just outside. I need a bio break. Walking, breathing, thinking slowly is so much easier when there’s no around. Although, one thing I have noticed, after some years as a street wisdom practitioner – people don’t notice you nearly as much as you think they do. You can dial up your inconspicuousness  (if that’s actually a word)  and it feels good. If you can’t be invisible, then at least you can be inconspicuous. I recommend it.

In the bathroom, I try to wash my hands and face slowly. As slowly as ever I can. But – the water won’t play along really. It will pool slowly, but it will not be splashed slowly.  Never mind.

See the beauty in everything

This is all too easy today. For one thing, I’ve fallen in love with the world again. The last few months have been… busy, some shadows, some doubts, some dark thoughts. Fuckers. But you know, like Winston said – ‘when you’re going through hell – just keep going’ And I think, he actually knew something about that.  But today, I’m in love with the world again. I’ve finished a job, I’ve got 3 days off, I’m with my best friend and we’re both riding moto guzzis.

The beauty is hard to avoid, actually. The library is a pretty perfect place (apart from the lack of books – but that would be an easy fix.) There are paintings, soft glow from table lamps, comfortable furniture, walls clad in hessian writing desks covered with chintz. I try to find the beauty in the fire alarm diagram, and of course, that’s there too. We’re on a roll.

The quest

I don’t have a question in mind. I have to retrofit it. How to use Street Wisdom as a meditative tool when you can’t sleep. Get out of bed, wander around, follow steps 1, 2 and 3. See where it takes you.

Now – check my privilege. I’m in a nice hotel. I can do this here, no one can really stop me. That’s the great thing about 5 star hotels, you can imagine, for a while at least, that you’re important. That’s probably why people come.

It’s getting light out now. The magic moments are leaving me, gradually but gently. Back there, just for a while, I’d started to grasp the idea of Time as an ocean. I’m not clever enough to present the argument – but it can be made, by people cleverer than me – that actually, everything is happening all at once. Past, present, future – it’s all going on. But we’re all in different layers, like layers of photoshop, and we can only interact with our own layers. But it’s all going on. Wandering around the corridors of this building, are all those other people who came before and will come in the future. Everything is behind me and in front of me. They’re all going about their business, right here. I’m really getting a sense of that.

Like I say. I’m sleep deprived and I should get some shut-eye.

Then again – you can sleep when you’re dead.

 

 

*****

Inspired? Street Wisdom is all about finding better ways. Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy your own copy of Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_