Today - working in an amazing school...
The response from everyone about what has happened over the last week has been immense. The comments were so varied, often polarised, and I feel that no matter what I do I will upset somebody. So I personally feel like it's time to move on and get back to walking for peace and helping unconditionally along the way.
One of the main things that has arisen from it all is the issue of us reporting the ways in which we help each other. Some opinions say we should just do it and not talk about as to talk about it is 'driving my ego', whilst others are appealing to us to relate our helping stories back to you.
I asked everyone a few weeks ago to report one random act of kindness they were going to do that day. With that there is no issue regarding 'ego issues' as you all can use pseudonyms if you like, so you are not boasting about what you have done. I don't have that luxury as you all know who this is from!
So my dilemma is this - either I report all the acts of unconditional giving and risk the wrath of those who believe I am fueling my own ego, or I don't and risk missing out on the opportunity to inspire lots of people to carry out generosity in their own lives.
I've decided from this day onwards to start reporting what we're are doing, though it does feel a bit strange. If people want to criticise us for it, thats fair enough, I understand where they are coming from. But I think that given that 99% of the news out there is extremely negative, it is really important that I get as much 'positive news' out to the world as possible.
So from the lessons we've learned so far, we embarked on a slightly altered mission, one we hope will take us much longer. Now we walk from town to town offering unconditional help in the UK until we feel we are prepared enough to go further. We will walk until we run out of food and are too exhausted to take another step. If people feel inspired enough to offer us food and shelter along the way, we can keep doing what we do for longer.
So what has happened since we made the decision on Sunday.
Firstly, I went to volunteer for an amazing organisation in Brighton called 'the Cowley Club', a volunteer organisation with no person in authority. Here they do all sorts of stuff to providing organic, vegan and ethical food to people for no more money than will help them break even financially. I served customers for the night and in the middle of it was served with the most delicious food, which I very kindly accepted as you can imagine!
But the most important development happened yesterday. We had quite a tough day, had no food to speak off, and the offer of a bed and food from an enthusiastic follower of what we are doing fell through for reasons out of anyones control. So we started walking to the next town to see what would arise there. About 5 miles from town, we got a phonecall from the headmaster of an amazing local school who asked us to come and help him with this amazing project they were undertaking.
Without a seconds thought we turned back, as to work with kids is both myself and Eric's dream. They are so unconditioned by society, so honest and open. So after a night sleeping in an abandoned shed, we headed off for West Rise primary school early in the morning (wasn't hard to get up, it was freezing!), with no idea how we could help them or what they had in mind.
What we found blew us a way. This is a school building an organic educational garden, bamboo play structures, a room where kids can leave their class at any time of the day to do some art work, another room where they can go to think (called 'the vibe room'), and with a headmaster that eats with the kids at lunch and who is treated as a fellow student and friend.
We spent the morning working in the garden helping build the bamboo structures, which was great timing as one of the guys had just hurt his back. In the afternoon the headmaster, Mr Fairclough (or Mike to us!) called an assembly to let myself and Eric talk about what we were doing.
Their response blew us away - there was a couple of hunderd of them and they all had a question. They were so enthused by it and they all left wanting to do whatever they can to help each other and even their parents! I think we may have gone too far!
Not only were the kids into the message of unconditional giving, the teachers got really excited about it too. Shortly after the assembly talk we were kindly offered a warm bed for the night and a meal, and we have learned to accept both whenever it is offered these days!
We have decided to stay here for as long as we are needed, which seems like it could be at least 3 or 4 days. I get the feeling we could spend months here, they have so much to do and it is so positive. They have offered their school grounds as a place we can camp and they want us to use the school showers whenever we like - maybe thats because we are starting to smell though!
Tomorrow we are going to be out in the gardens most of the day and then helping out in 'Room 13', where the students (and here even the teachers are classified as students) can go to do some artwork at any point of the day.
After that, who knows. If they need us longer, we will stay longer. If we feel we are of no more of use, we will go on. But that is the essence of what we are doing right now.
We made a huge breakthorugh yesterday evening. We decided that instead of getting wrapped up in our feeling of being tired and hungry, we would just walk until we drop, offering help unconditionally in every town we visited. About 15 mins later, the phone rings and this headmaster asks us if we can help them. The universe quite often works much quicker than we can understand.
So if any of you out there need help with anything, whether it be with a local project you are working on, one of your own personal projects or whether you just want help cleaning out your garage, then give us a RING on 0775 886 1783 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - if you can't get us keep trying as we can't ring back as we have no money and hence no credit!
I'm off now to work with Paul on the organic garden, which is going to play an essential role in educating the kids on each step that food takes between the soil and the plate.
Please please please give us a ring if you need help. We will be in the Eastbourne area for the next few days, but no matter where you are in the country do not hesitate to ask, we will mark you on our future route and get to you as quick as we possibly can.
There is so much of the criticism I would love to respond to, but to be honest I just want to get back to helping people. There are lots of opinions about me and what I am doing, and often they are polarised. The truth is, I am just a very ordinary guy trying to do my best to make the world that bit more beautiful. I am human, I make mistakes (more than most and will keep making them), have no amazing skills or talents. I just want to help and put a smile on peoples faces. When I sleep at night, I know I can rest peacefully. And at the end of the day, that's all any of us can do.
Comment on this Post:
Sarah comments ...
Hello, my name’s Sarah and I’m eleven years old, me and my mum have been reading your blogs and the comments on them for most of your journey. My mum was the first one to read that you had decided to come back and commented on it, and, as she said in her message, you haven’t let anyone down. However, what you have done is send an exellent message to all those who have read, heard or seen about you. Whether these people decide to accept this message and do anything about it from joining you to just letting it give them some food for thought is entirely up to them.
It has certainly given me something to think about and I’m really glad you’ve decided to carry on helping people. As my old headmaster would have said: \"Well done Saiorse, keep up the good work\".
T comments ...
That’s much better! Along with some others, I was initially cynical about your walk. It was a nice idea but very impractical and misguided. It’s better that you are back in England. Firstly, I doubt very much that you would have made it to India safely. You would have come across danger and hostility. Knowing other languages may help, but I think it’s cultural awareness that is more important. Secondly, as stated on other blogs, Western society is much more in need of learning about the message you want to share. Europe and North America could do with it. Your posting today is fantastic. Spreading the idea of volunteerism and community spirit is a task I think will be better suited to you and a much needed concept in the UK. Maybe your failed trek has brought you closer to your calling. That’s just my opinion.
Anyway, good luck in all you do and keep spreading the love!
dukeofrochdale comments ...
Good luck to you Saoirse.
If anyone fancies reading another man’s similar story i can recomend ’Broke through Britain’ by Peter Mortimer, he walks from Plymouth (i think) to Newcastle without money but does accept some lifts, i dont think he has quite as noble a mission as Saoirse but i still found it an exciting account of off the grid thinking.
Saoirse thanks for sharing your story on this blog, what an exciting way to live, i will continue to read it at my desk job in Bristol.
All the best
shaz comments ...
I am SO GLAD YOU ARE HAPPY!!! shaz x
Toltec comments ...
I’m thrilled with what you are doing to get people thinking about and perhaps experiencing living life differently.
Yup! You’re under fire from some folk and praised beyond measure by others; as you say, most opinion is polarised - inevitable living as we do in a dualistic world.
We learn to judge whether things are right or wrong, then create our personal belief system based on our judgements, and then we live our lives through that personalised system. Opinions come from beliefs – and we like to scatter those on all and sundry, just as I’m doing now! Exhausting!
And they are only thoughts … and they are valueless!
What is of value is action for the highest good … as you’re clearly showing!
So no need to respond to all these opinions!
Just use your precious energy for what is of real value: your love in action, having fun with all you meet and spreading happiness!
And the by-product? A relaxed ego and more energy! Yippeeeeeeeee!
Mauricio comments ...
A wise decision already bearing its fruits, isn’t it? Instead of dissapointed, I’m absolutely glad about the way it all turned out to be. And maybe it’s not you that need to go further from UK - it would be much more efficient to have a lot of people helping out on their own neighborhoods than one individual walking across the whole Europe. If you’re concerned about setting the example, well, I guess that was just what you were doing above.
My suggestion, If I may, is to seek out people to translate this home page to as many languages as possible, to create a fixed section about others’ random acts of kindness, and to help spreading the word.
And never forget: take good care of yourself to be of good use to others. ;-)
andrea comments ...
Hello loveliest creatures,
You have no idea of the huge smile you put in my face with your last blog entry. I’m so happy and looking forward to walk a bit with you both soon. Our encounter in Brighton was so short that I forgot to mention about last Saturday. Basically a few freeconomists, including myself, helped a fellow freeeconomist to move a shed on her allotment. It was so much fun! After the move we were offered a delicious dinner. Amazing people. I’m so looking forward to meet them again. I also think I’ll be able to help someone with my language skills. Please send my love to Eric, as there is no space for comments on his blog. xxx
Jane in Bristol comments ...
Brilliant! This is fantastic and I really think that this is the way forward. A few have suggested that parts of this site should be translated, and I think that would be a great way to get the message beyond the UK so I would second that. Time to appeal to all freeconomist linguists on this one I think!
Just as an aside, I came across this on the web, an article entitled ’Money as Metaphor’. Should appeal to all freeconomists I think!
Good luck with what you are doing!
caroline comments ...
great to hear about the school and what they are doing - can you give us a web page link or any contact details so we can find out more?
I would really stop worrying about what everyone is saying and just get on with what you are doing. People worshiping you or being negative about you is equally meaningless really and its just distracting dealing with peoples good or bad feelings if they are given too much weight. You’ve turned yourself into a public figure which has its cost as well as its benefits. Just do the do man and don’t pay too much attention to people like me with buckets full of advice.! x
Kelly Richardson comments ...
Hi. I’m in Atlanta, GA, USA, and I just found your site. I am completely inspired by what you are up to...and I am really inspired by this incredible school that you are visiting now. How cool is a school w/ an organic garden? I love it. Keep up the good work. Thank you for sharing yourselves and your experiences.
Steph comments ...
Hiya, I started reading your blog from the beginning, and my internet has been down for a couple of days so I’ve been desperate to hear what all the ’big decision’ stuff was, and now I know. You’re still doing it, you’re still on the pilgrimage to India. You’re doing what you originally thought about doing - walking round the UK gaining momentum. All of this is part of your pilgrimage. From the sounds of it your pilgrimage started before you steeped out of the door earlier this year, am I right. I dreampt about you last night, because you’ve been in my thoughts so much. Have a huge hug and keep going, and I hope that you’ll make your way up to Sunderland some time.
Pip D comments ...
Bravo Mon Ami
There will always be those that criticize, just like there will always be those that get up and try to change things for the better. I know which one I am and I know which one I’d rather be. May the spirits guide your feet on the paths of change. God Bless you. Oh by the way, I’m reading a really good book at the moment called Faith in Dark Places by David Rhodes. It’s helping me on my own journey.
If you’re passing Kenton in Devon, your welcome will be really warm.
Philip Austin comments ...
Sorry it’s not gone well for you.
Thought you might be interested in this fellow walker (see below), who started off nearly eight years ago and has another few years of walking left. Perhaps he can give you some tips?
"On August 18th, 2000, at 9:00 am, Jean Béliveau left Montreal, Canada. His goal is to walk around the planet to promote "Peace and non-violence to the profit of the children of the world". He is travelling alone with a three wheeled stroller to carry a bit of food, his clothing, a First Aid kit, a small tent and a sleeping bag. Jean plans to walk across all the continents, from North America to South America, then across to South Africa, up to Europe, then the Middle East, South and Eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand and finally back to Canada."
lynn & benito comments ...
Well well....... I feel so much excitement when i read this! The french have all been fantastic to assist this expanded and amazing process you’re experiencing to help us all with the shift in planetary consciousness!! It’s an incredible journey you are taking for us all - and don’t think for a minute that we have missed a day in your account (and bbc radio 4’s) of what the day’s steps have offered you in the process of higher consciousness!! We’re with you every step/breath/dream/cuppateaoftheway!! much love as always - you’re doing just fine ! as intended.....lynnandbenitoxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sidney Stanford comments ...
Hey! I go to West Rise where you have been for the last few days and your assembly was inspiring.It’s been a pleaure for you to come to the school and goodl uck on the walk.