What the HECK is street wisdom?

Image Shows: Shot of Jess Wilby from Philocalist walking down a Manchester backstreet wearing a camo jacket that displays the message 'Make every day a good day'.

Before we get started, to really get an idea of what Street Wisdom is you really have to attend a session. So if you’re here looking for a sign as to whether or not you should sign up – the answer is always yes! Yes, you really should sign up right away.

Street Wisdom is a non-profit program that aims to help you answer the big questions by tuning you into the environment around you. No headphones, no notifications, just wandering.

Word on the street

A Street Wisdom session is based on the belief that the answers we seek are always right in front of us, if only we pay attention. Sessions last about 3 hours and help you to tune into your surroundings. You’re given four 10 minute exercises, each setting you a task to see the streets you walk across almost every day in a totally different way. So for example, your first task might be to look around and notice the patterns around you for ten minutes, the next you might be asked to ‘see the beauty in everything’ whatever that means to you.

At the start of a session, you’re asked if you have a question to focus on during the morning. Something smaller than ‘What is the meaning of life?’ but bigger than ‘What should I have for tea tonight?’ I must admit, in both of the events I attended, I didn’t go with a specific question but I still came away with answers.

The trick to getting the most out of a Street Wisdom session is to go in with an open mind and try not to look for answers, let them find you.

My first session

I met with a group of 5 strangers outside Manchester Central Library. Going into the session I had a few annoying things bouncing around my mind. Should I continue blogging? Will I ever see a return? Am I cut out to be a writer? All these doubts haunted me so whilst I didn’t have a specific one to focus on, I was aware of them all throughout the morning.

Straight away as we set off walking I was confronted by my questions. As I stepped away from the group I noticed a fellow blogger doing a shoot besides the library. It’s no secret that photoshoots are my least favourite aspect of blogging and I much prefer hiding behind my keyboard.

I tried not to focus on this, telling myself that if I thought too much about it I would miss something else. However, as I battled with my mind to switch off I turned a corner and yet again I was faced with another photoshoot. At this point I was beginning to think the streets of Manchester had quite a dark sense of humor.

I reconviend with the group with more questions than I had started with. We were given another ten minute exercise to do but the same questions I had about blogging confronted me once again. This time, two lads were having a photoshoot a stones throw away from where we started.

Call it coincidence, but being reminded of my least favourite aspect of blogging three times in the space of half an hour spooked me out just a little bit. To make matters worse, just as I mulled over the question ‘Is this making me focus on the aspects of blogging I hate because I’m supposed to quit?’ I almost walked into a Wagamama sign which read: ‘Be positive’.

Picture displays a wall of graffiti. The writing on the grey wall says: Truth is not on the TV, it's on the streets.

Now I fully understand that there will be some people out there reading this and thinking ‘sounds a bit airy-fairy to me’ and I totally get you. It really does sound odd, but everyone at Street Wisdom has a totally different experience so all I can say to you is give it a go for yourself and come back to me.

When we were let loose for our full hour I admittedly felt distracted by what I’d already experienced, but I was fully satisfied because this had helped me open up about my blogging predicament. I gave myself a mini-inner pep talk and tried to get back into my zen state. I let myself be drawn to things, rather than seeking them out. I started to notice the same numbers during my walk and as a total numerology newbie I felt compelled to look up their meaning. Part of me didn’t want to touch my phone, just in case I got too involved with my notifications and started to go off track so I made a mental note of one particular number that kept popping up throughout my journey – 77.

Towards the end of my walk I got itchy fingers and couldn’t help myself. I took my phone out to Google the meaning and realised at that very moment it was 11:11 so I made my wish and continued to look up the meaning of 77…

Angel Number 77 indicates that you have listened to Divine guidance and are now putting that wisdom to work in your day-to-day life. Your desires and wishes are coming to fruition in your life as a direct result of your actions and positive attitude to life, and the time has come to reap the rewards for your diligence and determined efforts. – Info from Sacred Scribe.

Relevant. I’d recently been practising new mindful tasks such as morning pages and new techniques from the book ‘The Universe Has Your Back’.

The session really helped me work through some of the things I needed to change about my blog and heavily shaped my blog rebrand.

Wisdom is all around you, if only you would look up from your phone to notice. Maybe it was all a wild series of coincidences, but even if you choose to look a little further into it, what harm is there in doing so? If you get the chance to attend a Street Wisdom session in Manchester or beyond, I highly recommend it. The experience is whatever you make it.

You can book your free session or get more info here: http://streetwisdom.org/

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  1. April 30, 2018 / 6:19 pm

    First of all, the jacket on your cover photo is AHHMAZING! I’ve never heard of street wisdom and it sounds like a really interesting concept, thanks for sharing 🙂 x

  2. April 30, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Street wisdom is a completely unfamiliar concept to me, but it sounds really interesting. What made you decide to give it a go? By the way- I have the same doubts about blogging. I feel like I’m a writer first, but struggle with all the additional hoops you have to jump through when you run a blog. You write wonderfully, so please keep going! x

  3. May 2, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    I’ve never heard of the term street wisdom before but I feel like it’s the exact thing I’ve been trying to do for ages!! Deffo looking more into this after reading your post!!

  4. May 2, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Oooo this is so up my street! Need to check it out!

  5. June 1, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    I found this so interesting to read! I had never heard of Street Wisdom before but it sounds so interesting. I think I might try looking around for signs around me like that and see if I notice anything. I think this also helps you to feel more present, which is always a good thing. x

  6. June 2, 2018 / 12:27 am

    This sounds like a really interesting concept. I’m not sure I would trust myself to not get lost in Manchester without google maps (I get lost every time I visit) but definitely in my local community I am going to try and put the phone away and pay more attention to what is around me.

  7. June 2, 2018 / 3:44 am

    Wow this sounds so fascinating! I have not heard of it before, but this kind of thing, along with mindfulness, is right up my street (no pun intended) lol 🙂

  8. June 2, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    Sounds like such an interesting session and so insightful to get you to think about all your questions and doubts x

  9. June 2, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    This sounds like a really interesting session, I think I would get a lot out of it.I’ll see if anything is happening near me!

  10. June 2, 2018 / 4:02 pm

    What an intriguing concept. I’ve got a few questions bouncing around my head so I might see if there is one nearby

  11. June 2, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    This sounds like such an interesting series of meets, I have to admit Street Wisdom is something that I haven’t heard of before, but it is definitely something I would be interested in knowing more about.

  12. June 3, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    Oh I love this and I don’t think it’s remotely airy fairy. In fact I find the numbers 11:11 appear all the time for me. I would really love to do this.

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      June 4, 2018 / 10:28 am

      I hope you make a wish every time Linda!

  13. June 4, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    I have never heard of these sessions but they sound interesting and very isnspiring .It sounds like you got a lot out of them .