It’s a cold day for a hot chocolate!

.facebook_1484488107299Whilst 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 🙂



Modern ballets and the magic in a brick wall

20 February 2016. Things don’t look good. It’s 5 minutes before my first Street Wisdom event is due to start. Of the 14 sign-ups, not one has arrived. It’s pouring with rain. It’s cold. The church yard I’d carefully chosen in Covent Garden as a meeting point (with rain cover) is unexpectedly closed for renovation. I’m starting to despair – but then Fatima arrives. And suddenly a whole bunch of people appear from nowhere – all smiles, good nature, and curiosity. We’re a group!

And the event went really well.

There were two things that took me by surprise.

The first was how very differently each individual related with the Street Wisdom tasks. From timing, to the interpretation of specific words like “beauty” and “patterns”, to the way of engaging with the Street Quest – I was reminded that despite all that we share as human beings, every individual is a different universe.

The second thing that I really wasn’t prepared for, was how powerfully I became attuned to the street myself. The minute the group had left and I was on my own, I found myself utterly captivated by the texture, colours and smell (!) of the brick wall I was standing by. I saw a multitude of tiny magical details I would normally be unaware of. Then, behind the back of the Savoy, the hotel staff were coming and going, dragging laundry carts, smoking, talking on mobiles. I would normally dismiss these as utterly uninteresting everyday activities, but they now appeared to me like a modern ballet, randomly and beautifully orchestrated. I was silent with wonder.

Alongside this heightened sense of perception, another joy was meeting the participants after their quests. They were simply glowing with warmth, interest, and an openness to connect with each other, and they had a mix of colourful and inspiring stories to tell.

I was touched by one participant’s simple but profound experience: “I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow during the event I came back to myself and started seeing the world more gently and kindly.” Another was relieved to discover that the question she’d been struggling with in her life turned out not to be so important after all. And one guy, who works for a homelessness charity, had spent his quest time sitting on the street begging – and got a whole new perspective on his work.

We were enjoying each other’s company so much, it was genuinely difficult to leave at the end of the day. And just to say – the rain actually added to the experience, so don’t ever let that put you off!

Millie Baker

Covent Garden, 6th May, ‘Train or Try?’


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.


Training the Street Wizards

Inés Alonso and the AHA! moment that followed

I approached the Street Wisdom event eager to try out a new way of learning. I already had experienced on my own the power hidden in streets, but I wanted to go further and find out how giving a structure to the experience could enhance the outcome.

The tuning up was useful to make me notice things that I usually would not pay any attention to, such as the Apple store, where the simplicity of the design aims to keep stimuli to a minimum and provoke conversations. The quest provided me with lots of insights but somehow they didn’t match my question, I felt confused. Then, when sharing the experience with the group, new insights emerged, but still didn’t make much sense to me.

InesI had a lot of fun, I met fascinating people and I learnt a new technology for learning, all of it for free!

However, deep in me, I could notice a hint of disappointment and discomfort, it felt like wearing a woolen cloth, a welcoming itch. It’s been lingering in my mind since then, until after reflecting deeply, finally the AHA! came.

The signs I got from the streets were not intended to answer my question, but to show me the path to dissolve the blockage that was preventing me from stepping further and finding the answers.
WOW! This is more than wisdom, it’s magic!

Thank you all, leaders, participants and of course streets for being so inspiring and fun!

Inés Alonso

Victoria Fenton – Street Wizard, Covent Garden, 6th May

My journey with Street Wisdom began with a childish giggle when I arrived in Covent Garden on Wednesday 6 May to be greeted by a giant, luminous pink Shaun the Sheep statue, covered in painted confectionery.

Though my day ended with me shivering, damp and buffeted by the Great British weather, the time between these two moments was full of insight, inspiration and reflection.

During my time that morning I listened, watched and responded, tuning into the thrum of Covent Garden and allowing the sights, sounds, smells and symbols to talk to me and help me find answers to my questions.

The first hour – tuning in, slowing down and recognising the magic – tumbled into the second. My slightly esoteric nest of questions were unwound via another Shaun the Sheep statue (this time painted as a bright red London bus) a serenading opera singer, an ancient London restaurant and the menu of a ice cream parlour.

Far more than answering my specific questions (which it did), my morning with Street Wisdom showed me myself, my approach to the built environment and surroundings, and my receptivity to the energy within.

During our final hour together, sharing stories, coffee and smiles with my fellow explorers, I was aware of an overwhelming sense of the peace within us all. Everyone seemed to come away calmer, more in touch with their sensory connection to the environment and more at ease with their questions and with themselves.

As I left the piazza in the drizzle and damp, Shaun the Sheep grinned back at me as I snapped his picture and saved him to my iPhone wallpaper. A constant reminder that the world is full of magic, and there really is Wisdom on every street.

Victoria Fenton

March 2015: London reveals her secrets

A magnificently crisp winter’s day drew a small, diverse, but perfectly formed band of adventurers to London’s Covent Garden. As the morning mist evaporated and the city woke slowly around us, we began our search for answers – but our wanderings would lead us around unexpected corners of both our minds and the city we thought we knew.

Shaking sleepy Sunday heads, we were soon looking up, down and all around at the buildings, street life and shop fronts of this ancient part of one of the world’s great metropolises. Many of us were familiar with this well trodden tourist zone, having rushed through it thousands of times on our way to other destinations, but there were secrets lurking at its heart.

StPaulsAs our volunteer Street Leader, David Micklem, helped us to tune up, slow down and observe the world around us, a few in our group stumbled upon a hidden churchyard created in 1633. The peace and tranquillity found in its garden were ethereal in the midst of such a dense and busy area. A garden of snowdrops looked upon benches dedicated to those who had passed on and were much missed. It made me think a little about how I might like to be remembered one day and began a playful couple of hours as I tried to answer my question for the day: ‘How can I be a better, truer version of myself?’

The cobblestones are steeped in a million stories here and slowing…right…down gave the opportunity to be enmeshed with the dramas playing out all around us while sensing the history of lives that had gone before. Little moments that normally flit by came clearly into frame: the older couple holding hands, a red haired girl looking lost and despondent, the homeless man folding his clothes under a portico. It takes you out of your own head and into a zone where you’re much more aware of human interactions.

The Street is a wise and often capricious muse. I occasionally laughed softly to myself as I wandered the roads and alleyways of central London and answers appeared in the most unlikely of places. A maze laid out in a courtyard lured me into its dead ends until I finally found my way to the centre. A metaphor perhaps to keep trying, never give up. Above me, inscribed over a doorway, were the words ‘Que sara sara’ (What Will Be Will Be).

The answer to my question came from a sign propped up in a bookstore window. It was a quote from a new fiction novel: “You can be whatever you want, but you will always be yourself”. The shop assistant approached me and we had an interesting conversation about the book, which he had read. It got me thinking about the way we outwardly portray ourselves as opposed to our inner voices and convictions. Unhappiness appears when the gap between those two things is at its greatest and reconciling them is the key.

As I walked back to meet our group again, a holographic photo of Marilyn Monroe mouthed the word ‘Wow!’ at me and made me laugh again. Street Wisdom is nothing if not playful, joyful and unexpected. There were plenty of revelations to share amongst the 10 of us ranging from gentle insights and appreciation of the headspace to direct answers that hit some participants right between the eyes. For me, the messages from the street are always loud and clear – we just need to be ready to hear them.


Photos courtesy of Ashley Jones

Covent garden cobbles

David Micklems story

Like all the best ideas, Street Wisdom is simple. Just a couple of hours taking time to experience your environment differently with a focus on you. It shouldn’t be hard. It’s not hard. But somehow in 2014, especially in the city, we seem to have forgotten how to slow down, appreciate our streets and soak up the stimulus that surrounds us.

street performerMy street wisdom took place in Covent Garden. But any street is full of answers if you know how to look. Last year I was wondering whether to take some of the jobs I was being offered. I had left a big role a year before, a job with long hours and significant responsibilities. I was enjoying the freedom of working more effectively as a freelancer on a wide range of new projects. But I was still new to freelancing and with my new found freedom came the usual freelancers concerns – would the work dry up?; how could I retain my networks?; did all these projects add up to a whole?

I’d been debating whether to go for any of the new jobs being offered my way. So I came to Covent Garden with a simple question at the forefront of my mind – should I continue to work independently on a range of projects or was it time to take on a new job?

With the guidance of my Street Leader (or Street Wiz) I quickly tuned up to a different way of being in Covent Garden. I took my time, I looked up and around, I noticed things I must have passed a dozen times, I began to experience my environment differently. I’ve heard this described as a walking meditation – a simple state to achieve and a lovely new way to experience a familiar place.

As I walked and reflected I met new people – a homeless guy, a policewoman, a man with a fabulous moustache in a coffee shop. The streets seemed more alive with people, with colour, with life. Perhaps with answers too.

Without offering I was asked by three separate people to take their photos. A freelancer’s calling perhaps? Every time I thought about a new job I saw signs that pushed me away – The Mousetrap, Danger, No Entry. Every turn seemed to reveal a new set of answers and after only an hour I felt a renewed confidence in my chosen path.

It’s a simple idea but the answers Street Wisdom reveal can be powerful. There is insight and magic everywhere. Street Wisdom helped me find it.

David Micklem, March 2014

Héloise, SCA

I believe that people who come to Street Wisdom don’t expect anything from it, they don’t have any pre-conceived judgements about what’s going to happen and that’s the beauty of it.

I felt myself, step by step, being guided by the architecture, the sounds of people talking, walking on the street, various colours…The Street Wisdom experience enables you to listen to yourself, realize what’s around you and be guided by this energy within you. If there is one thing which is important is to let go.

We all come with a question, which can be anything and you’ll realize that throughout the day you’ll be able to answer it yourself.

This adventure let you discover another part of yourself , that you’ll be able to nurture throughout your life. (specially if you live in a big city) It brings back the importance of our surroundings and the powerful impact that it can have on us.

Héloise Jutteau, Creative at School of Communication Arts