Whilst waiting for the brave group of street explorers to arrive, I began noticing all the brightly coloured clothing being worn by Londoners and tourists alike, to frighten off the crisp cold of a Winters day! As I stood scanning the streets for my fellow adventurers, each person arrived from different points of the compass, curious and all excited to begin.
Despite the cold, there was an air of wonderment in discovering the streets around us which, until now had gone unnoticed. Amazing things happen when we take the time to slow down, relax and begin seeing the world in which we live with fresh eyes. The patterns suddenly stand out in the cobbled streets, the buildings surrounding us come into focus and the places we didn’t even know existed are magically revealed to us.
Suddenly, the bubble of routine is broken and our perspective expands in new and exciting ways. There are some questions that cannot always be answered directly though answers may appear in the following days and weeks, mysteriously popping in to our mind. And some questions can be clarified as a result of seeing and experiencing the world differently especially when one of the local chocolate shops (Rococo Chocolates) very generously helped warm us up at the end of the session with some tasty hot chocolate!
An insight from the group and no doubt many others, is that taking the time to appreciate the streets and towns we live in, we begin noticing the people as individual human beings. Then we’re no longer separated from each other, we’re connected to each other :)
A warm and sunny morning on the SouthBank greeted us amidst talk of the recent results of the EU referendum. When I arrived, 6 people were already getting to know each other, talking, laughing and eagerly awaiting for the experience to begin. Soon more people arrived and we became an International bunch of keen explorers ready to dive in and learn from the street and each other, and this is exactly what happened.
In times of uncertainty Street Wisdom is the perfect antidote in providing community spirit and shared wisdom.
Several people noticed that slowing down felt like a disconnection from the rest of the world. And yet having slowed down or stopped in some cases to ‘smell the ‘Mexican food nearby’ the sound of laughter was heard and allowed for a gentle reconnection with the world on a whole new level.
There is movement in the River Thames flowing past as there is also movement in the sea of people enjoying the river bank. Life moves and flows whether we want it to or not sometimes and creating space for ourselves to explore this is beneficial to our wellbeing. There were some poignant questions asked and answered among the group providing much needed clarity and a sense of unity.
I wonder what answers the street has for you?
See you soon
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!
Spitalfields is a diverse market filled with a multitude of colours, fabrics and new ideas for all who visit including those of us in search of wisdom.
The simplicity and structure of the street wisdom experience is an opportunity to take some time for yourself, slow down and notice the world around you.
I began my Saturday morning with a small, yet perfectly formed group of people all showing up to explore and discover answers to their own questions, culminating in sharing their experiences with a hot drink in warm surroundings.
Each person had different insights and observations from goldfish to straight lines in an area which to some was a familiar landscape and yet they noticed that there’s aways something new to learn and gain answers from.
“I’m so glad I came” and “I’m so inspired” were some of the words I heard during those three hours of Street Wisdom warming me up from the inside out.
All of us are looking for answers about life in some way or another and there’s a special magic about this time we take for ourselves that words alone cannot convey.
As I gently guided the group through the simple exercises, I loved listening to each person’s insights and perspectives, appreciating the value of providing others with the space to slow down and connect both with themselves and the outside world.
The answers are everywhere if we choose to look for them…even on the street!