Monday, September 30, 2013

a Psalm written by homeless people

Honest to God – a Psalm written by homeless people

One of the most exciting areas of my work with the West London Mission has been the development of our Chaplaincy over the last year.  Our Chaplain, Ruth, does a great job across our services, offering spiritual support and care to our residents and users whose lives are so affected by homelessness, offending and addictions.
At our Day Centre for homeless people in Marylebone, Ruth helps run a weekly spirituality group.  One of the activities this group has done in recent months is write Psalms in the style of those in the Bible.  Just like many of their biblical versions, the psalms they have written contain anger, reality and a deep questioning of where God is in the midst of pain.  And yet, they also speak of hope.
Below is one titled ‘A Psalm of Lament’.  This and one other can be found on the WLM website:
A Psalm of Lament
God who seems to have two faces:
Blind and wicked spirit of heaven;
Blessing and wondrous spirit above;
Why is life a lottery?
Why is it that some have more
and others have less?
Some people have no one to love them.
How can life be balanced?
Should you reap what you sow?
What does equality mean?
We are not all the same.
People who have wealth
should share and use it.
Everyone should be able to have treats.
The poles are melting,
Greed is destroying things.
We need to live in harmony.
Does anyone care?
Send us angels of mercy.
Enable people to build themselves up.
Let us not give up
but look to the future.
May we begin where we are
in small ways,
Persevere through the new challenges,
Keep hope alive.

If you would like to support the work of the West London Day Centre please think about sponsoring our sleep out on October 19th via this page:

Communication for human development - a story/reflections.

I went to the Bar,
my turn to order the pints of lager,
and as she pulled the pint I said,
"Tell me one person on your mind right now"?

She looked at me and said it was unusual
to be asked such questions but
could I ask her another question .

The young woman, as I found out later, was nineteen - Kelly by name.
She serves at the bar in a Hotel in the Midlands of England.

I was away there for four days,
facilitating a conference.
It was a midlands region of YMCA's with their
CEO's, Chairs, young staff members and young humans - 
all living in hostel accommodation because 
they were homeless and with needs ......
....... haven't we all?

"What is your favourite scar" I asked.
I pulled my jeans up to the knee
pressed on my shin - revealing a big dent - 
"This is mine"I said, "a rugby injury".
Kelly lifted her top from the waist and
pointed to her belly button - "that one",
and moving her finger to her left,
"and also that one - keyhole surgery on my appendix."
She went on to show me
one on her forehead and the side of her head
each one with a story attached.

Kelly repeatedly expressed how she had never
been asked questions like these and then ....
..... asked me for another one ........

The guys were really impressed when eventually
I returned to our corner with the beers.
She wouldn't let me pay for ages
and delivered the drinks to our seats 
because she was engaged in all this Q&A.

Then we all started to engage .
All the young adults, all over 18, - we really had a great buzz going.
She was asking questions about our developmental programme
and more questions were forthcoming
for her to answer.

In years of serving drinks to the business community
she had never been involved like this - with questions and conversation.
She was really up for Level Five communication
which I said I would share with her the following evening.
The news spread around the conference –
that Pip had seen her belly button!

The next day we all arrived in the bar pretty late that evening
following a hard-working, powerful and beautiful day.
In my case it was 11pm as I walked in the bar, it was buzzing.
The whole group of CEO's and Chairs were interacting with Kelly.
There was laughter and all sorts of questions being asked
back and forth.

Already the CEO of the local YMCA, which does wondrous work with
hostel residents, detached youth work and children's programmes,
had asked Kelly to consider joining their volunteer team.
AND Kelly was waiting for more questions ........

The questions I asked, as far as I can remember, were::
If you had to have a tattoo in the palm of your hand
what would it be and why?

What colour are you?
A colour which describes your personality and character?

We all have abilities and disabilities
Tell me one ability and one dis-ability?
Not staying with physical but beyond into vulnerabilities.

These are being related to you in Kelly order.
There is a process here,of going deeper and more intimate -
between the drinks and the drinks ordering.

Think of an animal which describes me, I asked.
And why choose that one?

At the end of the evening I asked the big one.
One which is most searching of the soul.
Most asking of personal self disclosure .......
When did you become and adult?

At the end of the evening, following great communication
with our conference members - and Kelly, I did what I had promised.
I used a bar serviette  to draw the Level Five steps,
and talk her through how, having this as a tool in her toolbox
can help in all sorts of personal and workplace transactions.

We said farewell with that feeling you get when you leave a conference
having worked together and bonded - collided - connected
and I love it love it.

Naturally I want to continue to ask you 
to go beyond my story.
This will/maybe take you outside your comfort zones where growth resides.
Are you willing to journey with me for a few more moments?

I also want to reflect on why I do this. 
What was the purpose and process.
So I start with this - why do I do this at airports, 
railway stations, curry houses?

L5 is how I work and live            
I am an Informal Educator - a posh title for a Youth Worker.

Superficial, cliche communication darkens my soul.
L2 (Facts)and L3 (Opinions) are so instant coffee - 
so why sip at these cups when we can venture into cappuccino, 
espresso, latte - all depending on our taste.

The process I use instinctively
is to dive right in and ask a question.
Then, if someone is interested, I go deeper.
I ask more questions which 
help in the self revelation process.
ALWAYS answering them myself first
which sets the climate of trust and openness. 

That was what I did with Kelly
and she was outstandingly receptive and keen.

The first three words in 'The Road Less Travelled'
by M.Scott Peck,

There can be no vulnerability without risk; 
there can be no life, 
without community.
M. Scott Peck

The first three words in my last book 'Pip Wisdom'

'We don't have to be sick to get better' Carl Rogers

Why talk about the weather 
when we can share more important stuff?
So I often test the water,
sometimes rebuffed,
sometimes go over the top,
sometimes someone has cautious willingness to go deeper.

I believe that we can enjoy developing together 
and such interactions as above can feed our souls.
These moments can speed up the process of human development.
That vulnerability
is a strength
not a weakness.

'.... unless the members of a group interact with each other
then not only is there no group
but there are no group processes either.'
Tom Douglas - 
Groups: Understanding groups gathered together.

This is where I am at.
I sometimes say the wrong thing.
A humble apology from me 
can also be developmental.
For both in an interaction.

"And now you know I'm only human
Instead of all the things I'd like to be."  

Are you aware how much you stay at L1,L2 and L3?
A way we can clock our own verbal transactions
is to clock others on the Bus, Train, Underground,
coffee shop or anywhere where humans are communicating.

So many contact me on Facebook and Twitter etc
when their friends are facing a tough time
and don't know how to share feelings.

There's one sad truth in life I've found
While journeying east and west -
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
...We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.
Ella Wheeler

L5 is not a hierarchy,
in social and emotional matters.
It seems to me, where I am at,
that we need to be competent at
all levels appropriately.

Are you able to move from opinions,
strategically,into sharing feelings
because you have that emotional intelligence?

Are you able, to change the climate in a dialogue,
from conflict to sharing feelings
rather than just thinking
of how to deliver a win-lose outcome?

"being vulnerable is the same as being authentic 
and all humans warm to this
It seems to me that we all need to be on that journey 
of joining the dots/inside meeting outside 
and ...
... the longest journey starts with the first step ........"
pip wilson

feel free to ask me any questions -
all are developmental for me
as I have to scrape the surface of my soul
understand who I am - intimacy with myself.

Feel free to pass on any developmental questions
which I can use in my exchanges with beautiful humans.
(and feel free to use mine!)

I believe that  
what triggers my vulnerability 
also triggers my beautiful.  
Knowing, and getting to know more of these  
is like making friends with my enemies 
and discovering they too are beautiful.
Pip Wilson

Kelly said I was a Dog,
a Spaniel,
the kind the police have -
intelligent in searching!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

If I could get you to read ONE book of mine .....

If I could get you to read ONE book of mine
it would be the one with
60 years of my journey in it.
called Gutter Feeling - the 2012 edition.

Gutter Feelings

Paperback, 183 Pages 
     (1 Ratings)
Price: £10.00
Ships in 3–5 business days
Gutter Feelings Pip Wilson has been on the frontline of Youth Work for many years, including much intensive work and love for young offenders. He feels with the Gutter Feelings of the toughest of teenage gangs and wants, at the same time, to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. This is a book about putting Christian principles into practice and living it out – the failure, the hurt, the wounds and the hope. It is a faith journey of a human being... becoming.