This first appeared on the London blog. Due to popularity we’ve let it circulate here.
Did you know that the streets are more than a means of getting from A to B and an amazing learning zone? Together with the people at Street Wisdom (Get in touch with them) Sunday Assembly London went on an urban adventure and took to the streets. Do tell us about the things you see on the street by including #SundayAssembly and #StreetWisdom in your tweets.
Here are five tips, from their founder David Pearl, that will help you tune into the wisdom that’s all around us all the time.
Number one.. Blink!
Take a look at the people in street. Look at their eyes and you’ll see most people aren’t really seeing what’s around them. Their focus is turned inward. They are thinking – usually about what just happened on what is going to. Most people in the street aren’t really present at all. Scary. A great way not to become a zombie yourself is to blink.
Yup, just blink. Think of your eyelid as a camera lens and blinking as taking a picture of whatever you are looking at. Blink. Blink. Blink. And each time you do, think you are mentally capturing the image on your retina. It’s a wonderful way to switch from looking inward to outward. And gives you some nice visual memories of your walk to enjoy later.
Number two.. Wrong Word Walking
Language is a wonderful thing. But, ironically, it can tone down the wonder of life. Before you knew the names for things (bus, bus stop, paving stone, Macdonalds wrapper) those things could be anything. When we were kids an empty box was full of infinite possibilities.
A way to bring the street back to the life for us so-called ‘grown ups’ is to look at every object you see and call it ANYTHING BUT its real name. When a “bus” becomes a horse/red monster/roaring machine/moving greenhouse/eric the world gets a whole lot more interesting and even the most familiar street will start to surprise you.
Number three.. Wanderful Life
We’ve trained ourselves to get from A to B by the shortest route. It’s effective but can become really boring. Everything changes when you decide to get from here to there by the most interesting route. Today, leave a little earlier and allow yourself to wander. Dilly. Dally. Get yourself a little lost. It’s exhilarating and feels like you’ve broken free of the routine. A mini holiday you are giving yourself in the middle of the busiest day.
Number four.. An Attitude of Gratitude
Try walking along any street and be grateful for everything you see. Everything. A great way to get into an attitude of gratitude is to imagine you were dead and you could come back for five minutes on this one street. It would seem pretty miraculously beautiful, right? Once you’re in grateful mode, watch what starts to happen. When you love the environment, it tends to love you back…
Number five.. Stranger and Stranger
Maybe its the don’t-talk-to-strangers advice we were given as kids, but many of us are wary of connecting to people we don’t know on the street. But what if the person you just passed had an answer to a question you are asking yourself? Or if you have an insight that could really help the person sitting next to you on the bus?
On Street Wisdom you discover teachers are everywhere. Try today by simply asking a stranger for some advice. Tell them your question and listen to their perspective. Whatever they say – even if you wildly disagree – say thanks. Remember that attitude of gratitude!