Wee Summit 2019 in Edinburgh

The theme for our event this month is WONDER and although there can be many different interpretations of the word, I would like to stick to one: ‘a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar’.

When was the last time you felt wonder about something?

Even if one has already landed the unicorns of the perfect job, work-life balance or is a true mindfulness guru, grasping a moment of wonder in the middle of our city-based, industrialised lives have become more uncommon than we like to admit. In fact, what makes the feeling itself into a true wonder is the rarity of sharing that ‘wow’ moment with someone else.

It is that feeling of wonder that pushed me to volunteer for the CreativeMornings Lisbon team a little over a year ago and if you have already attended our event, you must have heard Elisa explain, that since Tina Roth-Eisenberg started it 11 years ago, it has grown to more than 200 chapters all over the world. What you may not know is that every once in a while this international community of volunteers comes together in a three-day event packed with joy, learning, face-to-face connections, hugs, and high-fives.

For me, it all started with Nadine’s visit to our Lisbon event in March (those who were there should remember her group-selfie skills). The longtime Cologne host was the one who motivated me to join the meetup with her contagious enthusiasm. It did not take much convincing to be fair and after a couple of glasses of wine in Park bar, I was sold.  

Set in the Scottish capital and countryside, the “wee” (tiny in Scottish) summit 2019, was to become my very first but surely not the last.

The Edinburgh chapter team took on the role of the organiser and united a semi-European semi-global crowd of spectacular individuals into what became three days on wonder steroids.

As I left Lisbon at its warmest peak of the year so far, I could not believe my luck walking to the PRESERVE talk by Mary Johnston, in total sunshine. I must admit, at this point, I did not know what to make of the weekend to come since I knew practically no-one. Much like in every other event, it did not take long until that was no longer the case.  After the talk, and while we were still stuffing ourselves with delicious bagels, we debarked into a Constitution Street field-trip hosted by local writer Jemma Neville. Jemma took us on a walk around Leith, the buzzing port district at the north of the city of Edinburgh, while she introduced us to the history and background of her neighbourhood. Walking around the stone-house streets, surrounded by tall trees, little gardens and historical buildings, we were quickly moving past the prosaic ‘what do you do?’ ice-breakers towards more meaningful conversations. 

One of the main wonders of this trip is how a group of strangers can overcome the notion of social time when they have something in common that they feel passionate about. 

In a remarkable energy cloud, we took the bus to Eden Leisure Village, singing songs like schoolkids and eating home-baked cookies by Elise.

Lost in the Scottish countryside with little wooden huts and firepits, we spent the rest of the weekend in what felt like a long-overdue wellness retreat among a family of like-hearted people where it takes zero effort to be yourself. From spontaneously dancing disco tunes to brainstorming, sharing heartbreaks or playing the highland games (some brave souls among us anyway), this weekend had it all.

As an expat, I am perhaps hard-wired for curiosity but the decision to attend the mini-summit of CreativeMornings volunteers in Scotland was by far the most unexpectedly rewarding, wonder-packed weekend of my life. Considering that multiple distractions showed up, none was important enough to keep me from fully emerging in this pool of emotional abundance. 

Eventually, there are many reasons people choose to volunteer. Sometimes, it’s because they want to offer help to the people around them, support a cause they believe in, or simply boost their portfolio. But for some people like myself, it is a chance to get involved in what feels like continuous moments of wonder, and everyone is welcome!

My little how-to guide on finding wonder:

  1. Try something outside your regular routine!
    It can be taking a new route to go to work, escaping the Netflix binge routine and walking around your neighbourhood instead, perhaps texting someone you haven’t seen in a while or just enjoying the life around you.
  2. Travel ofter and don’t be afraid to do it alone. 
    I know that one is heavy if you haven’t tried it so far, but it might be your closest chance to learn something new about yourself and perhaps make new friends along the way! ( there is usually a CM chapter nearby)
  3. Don’t let little things steal your focus from what is important. 
    What we define as little is anything that can be resolved with or without the support of wonderful people you keep around. It is my view that “accidents” come as reminders for us to appreciate how lucky we are and feel grateful for what’s important instead!
  4. Keep the right crowd around. If you are in search of wonderful people then sign up for our next event, we have loads!

Fools look to tomorrow. Wise men use tonight.  – Scottish proverb

Text by Sofia Karakaidou (CreativeMornings Lisbon) 
Photos by 
Francis AugustoEllie Morag and Edith Whitehead

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