I am in Liverpool. I arrived yesterday, for the first two days of a programme designed to help budding social entrepreneurs like me (so apparently that is what I am now!) in the next chapter of their businesses.
Motivated by my new found way to monitor the amount of steps I walk in a day – and aiming to hit the magic 10,000 a day, I have been walking; I walked from the station to the venue, last night, I walked around the city centre with a very good old friend, and this morning, I have been walking about again, hunting for my breakfast.
With my steps, I am reminded of three women.
First, our current Prime Minister, Theresa May; it was reported in the newspapers that it was her walking in Snowdonia over the recent Easter weekend that gave her the space to think, and inspired her decision to call a general election. This is not a political broadcast (and please don’t make the comments section one either), but merely to say that it was very inspiring to me, as the Director of a small project that is increasingly taking over my time, and the temptation to never switch off, to always answer that email, to always reply to that message, that the Prime Minister of our country took time out of her schedule, to walk, to breathe in deeply, to reconnect with nature, and give herself the head space to think. I am making a promise to myself that I am going to do more of that too – part of my 10,000 steps motivation as much as the physical healthy benefits.
Second, my good friend and inspiration behind the cafe, Anita, who walks everywhere. This is very common for asylum seekers because, quite frankly, anything else costs money. I hear time and time again from people in the cafe about their walking from their home, across mountains, literally across continents, to escape their persecution and seek sanctuary. When I walk now, I am always, somewhere, thinking of their journeys, and the blessed life that I have been given, and feel gratitude for all that is good in my life.
And third, my headteacher from school, Mrs de Swiet, who spoke in assembly, over twenty years ago, whose words still resonate in my mind to this day; “I love walking, because it’s the pace at which we as humans are designed to move.” When she was talking, smartphones didn’t exist, the internet was in its infancy, and she recognised how unsustainable it is to always be seeking to be faster, achieve more, do more.
So three very different women, whose shoes are undoubtedly very very different, but all inspire me, as I am walking around Liverpool, seeing things I just wouldn’t see otherwise, having the time to think, and breathe and be grateful for so very many things in my life.
Having now finished my breakfast, a rather fabulous bircher muesli and cappuccino in an independent cafe, I’m going to pound the streets, looking for inspiration as well as the building where the course is, on Hope Street – what a wonderful name…