Deepen The Dialogue Process With Urban Hiking

What’s Urban Hiking Got To Do With Anything?

Years after I’d left the meditation retreat thinking I’d put the unnerving questions of the old man in the past I found myself in an East Coast city eagerly playing the part of a tourist and all that entails, when suddenly I felt a large hand grab my shoulder. “Tell me what you see.” the old man said as I swiveled around preparing to defend myself from an attack, but before I could strike a blow I saw the old man’s familiar face grinning at me.

Years earlier I’d met the old man in an alley behind a meditation retreat, I was in the alley to escape and smoke a cigarette. Our meeting was unsettling as were the 5 or 6 other meetings I had with him while at the center, and now in the middle of millions of people he grabs my shoulder and asks me one of his stupid questions. If that wasn’t enough to confound me, the old man was dressed in jeans and a leather jacket fitting in perfectly with a good portion of the pedestrians who now had to bend and twist to get around us while we both stood in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Tell me what you see.” he asked me again while I pulled on his arm to guide him to the sidewalks edge, “I see an old man who’s interrupting me, yet again,” I said without trying to hide my exasperation at him just showing up and interrupting my sightseeing. “What a coincidence that we bumped into each other,” I said, but wished I hadn’t. “Of course it’s a coincidence, what else could it be.” He said, adding a wide toothy smile to the ending.

Again he asked “what do you see.” but this time he lifted his arms wide and turned in a circle. “What do you see?”  ” I see buildings and people, lots of people,” I said.  The old man’s shoulders slumped and for the first time his intense gaze went from me to the sidewalk, “I know,” he said. My heart sank and  in the middle of millions of people I was completely alone, the old man was gone.

It wasn’t a trick question but one of deep caring and hope for me, the old man saw more than buildings and people as he scanned the city. The old man saw connections between everything, he saw dynamic energy of imagination and innovation pulsating through each spec of the city and it’s inhabitants, he saw history enfolding itself into each moment and each moment expanding faster than the speed of light toward unfathomable opportunity for each of us. It took me years and a few more unexpected meetings with the old man before I could answer his question. The one thing I came to early is that seeing all this rests on sharing our connection with each other, Dialogue is one such process that can open up that unfathomable opportunity for your creative team.

 Take the step to expanding the promise of dialogue by embracing the possibles found right in the middle of many urban areas, spread your creative wings and jump into Urban Hiking.

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