So says David Pearl, co-founder of not-for-profit Street Wisdom in London.
It’s based on the simple proposition that the environment and people around us are full of wisdom, yet we largely overlook or ignore these. Street Wisdom was set up to teach us to tune into the rich stimulus and learn from our surroundings. Their strap line says — ‘answers are everywhere — you just have to ask‘ and to my delight, I found this to be incredibly so recently when I was invited to experience this as part of the RSA’s free events for their Fellows.
As the group gathered outside the stunning RSA building (turns out that David Attenborough was inside giving a talk on Climate Change), the group then split into smaller teams and all headed off into the streets of Covent Garden to be given instructions by our guide (ours was a mindfulness teacher at the RSA) on what to do over each stage of the next 3 hours of street wisdom experience. Each one hour session has an objective in mind and are called TUNE, ASK and SHARE. They’re specifically devised to help us tune up our senses in order to pick up far richer information from the environment that you would normally.
Did I really need to do these exercises? What would I gain from more wandering with one key focus each time?
I must admit I was a little sceptical. I’d already had a few hours in London on my own, so felt relatively chilled already. Did I really need to do these exercises? What would I gain from more wandering with one key focus each time? Yet the magic of these 3 hours really are in the simplicity of the quests. So I reminded myself to be open to whatever came and before I could draw any conclusions, we were then sent off on another new journey, by ourselves — our street quest — where we were told to come up with a key question. What burning issue did we each need to resolve, or what was holding us back? Each armed with a focussed question for ourselves, we had an hour alone (well, alone on the streets of London) to see what answers were presented.
And for me (and many in the group) I found it utterly amazing what you can learn when drawing in from your environment. My question was a relative biggie ‘what did I really want from this life’. Yet the more I wandered and watched and soaked up my surroundings, the more the answers flowed. They seem obvious in many ways, but are profound in their simplicity, so here they are:
- To remember to always enjoy life, to see the beauty in the challenges
- To have fun
- To explore
- To travel
- To learn
- To surround myself with authentic people
- To keep things simple
- To develop and grow
- To taste (good, local food made & grown by people who care)
- To love and be loved
- To be outdoors
- To aim to be the best you can be, whatever you are doing
And when everyone gathers at the end of the 3 hours to share what’s happened to them (and many proclaimed their wonder at how magical an ordinary street can become when you’re really aware of those hidden messages) it was clear to me that these very simple exercises were often seriously profound.
Photo Courtesy Street Wisdom
So impressed we were with these magical 3 hours that I not only became one of Street Wisdom’s facilitators, which makes me a fully-fledged ‘Street Wizard’. On top of that, the company I founded last year, LearnShedLive, now runs it’s own free Street Wisdom experiences for individuals, as well as creating bespoke Street Wisdom events for organisations. Find out more.
Text by Justine Clement / www.learnshedlive.com