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Heroes of Wonderland

The Liberators International

Libby Griffin

In a world where people are scared to talk to strangers, knock on their neighbour’s doors, speak their mind or express themselves in public (the very things that came naturally to us as children), the question is... how free can you be if you care what people think of you?

 

Born in Perth, Western Australia; the most isolated city in the world where ‘nothing ever happens’, it seems that things are now well and truly happening...

What was once a small group of outcasts & dreamers has now become a global network of over a hundred thousand strong, who’s revolutionary social experiments are continuing to spread inspiration to all corners of the globe. The Liberators International have become world leaders and experts in bringing people together in the most simple, beautiful and inspiring ways.

 Most of us resist change like it will kill us, even though ironically, it is the only thing we can count on. Same goes for connection; most of us are pretty lonely, yet we avoid each other. We can barely look each other in the eye.

Change is desperately needed in the world. We all know and sense it, yet most of us won’t dare try new things or step outside our comfort zone. We yearn to feel deeper joy, share more meaningful connections with others and express ourselves more authentically, yet we won’t put ourselves in situations where this could become possible. We long to be free from our little boxes, but we won’t dare step outside the line.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Friday night drinks has become the west’s new modern day religion. We spend all week looking forward to it: one of the rare times that we can almost be ourselves. After a few drinks we can let loose and express ourselves more freely. It’s when we feel that rare sensation of freedom roll through us. When we are around our friends and almost feel safe enough to just be ourselves. It's when we finally get a bit of release from our cages of caring what people think. Of having to act a certain way in order to be taken seriously. Its the time when the caged animal gets a little walk around before being put back into the cage.

It's actually kind of ironic: we spend all week pretending to be a "professional" and put on a brave face when actually deep down inside we just feel like having a good cry or sleep, and then to try and balance this out, we get blind drunk on Friday nights (while wearing the same suit) and act like a complete animal. Then we wake up the next day feeling even worse and the cycle just continues.

What we really want is to feel free. To just be ourselves. To feel some relief from the inhibitions and self-doubts that usually prevent us from doing what we really want to do.

The Liberators seek to free you from your seemingly insignificant little fears... the ones that are so easy to brush off and ignore. For they believe that life begins just outside of your comfort zone.

They understand the rewards that await those who dare to be vulnerable.

 They believe that facing your fears by doing what scares you is your golden ticket to true liberation.

Their message is simple; freedom is a state of mind.

For how free can you really be if you are fearful of what others think about you?

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Founded by accountant turned social artist and public speaker Peter Sharp, it all began when he decided to conduct his first social experiment; hitchhiking from Spain to Croatia…in a business suit. Never having hitchhiked before, his goal was simple: to completely step outside of his comfort zone. Learning many valuable lessons on his adventure, he was blown away by the kindness and generosity he received from so many strangers.

On his first day he waited only 3 minutes before being picked up by a nice couple with a baby in the back. On the second day he was picked up by an Entrepreneur and his opera singer wife in their flashy BMW and was even bought a beer, lunch and offered a room to stay in at his holiday house in Cannes. Peter refused his generous offer and many others like it, reminding himself that his priority was to remain outside his comfort zone.

Describing hitchhiking as an “alchemy of deep conversations”, he made many new friends and broke through many limiting fears and beliefs, realising the world is actually a much safer place than the media makes it out to be and that our distrust of each other is simply unreasonable.

Most importantly, the success of his experiment inspired him to try some of his other ideas, and soon he conducted his next social experiment: the blind trust experiment. Blindfolding himself in front of a cathedral in Barcelona with a sign that said “I trust you, do you trust me? lets hug..” it wasn’t long before there was a line of people waiting to hug and thank him. This experiment was more successful than he could have ever imagined, receiving over 400,000 views on youtube, it sent waves of love all over the globe, and like a chain reaction it inspired many others to try similar experiments of their own. These experiments demonstrated that when you give trust, you get trust.

It also showed just how much the world is waiting for us to step up and do it.

When Peter returned to Perth from Barcelona he founded The Liberators International and soon after he had a team that would help him bring more of his ideas to life. Also known as “the inner circle”, his team are a collection of around twenty Gen Y’s. These radical bohemian hippie activist visionaries, artists, dare devils and professionals share common stories and big dreams of a world free from the systems of social behaviour that keep us disconnected from each other.

Their next experiment, was the Perth Train Party. But this time he wasn’t alone; planting members from his team and any willing volunteers to act as members of the public, their intention was to inspire other passengers to join in the fun. On what had probably seemed like just the average morning on TransPerth’s Fremantle line, suddenly the train commuters were awoken from their daydreams when Peter stood up and announced his desire to simply express himself. Stating that he didn’t want money and instead just wanted to spread a bit of joy, he invited others to join him if they wished to. This video quickly went viral on youtube and made international headlines.

Some people have simply brushed off The Liberators as just a bunch of exhibitionist hippie show offs. And its true, they are certainly larger than life, and their tremendous senses of freedom can certainly overwhelming for the average person, but these people are driven by their love for humanity. And they are wise.

They are the kind of people who truly see you when they look into your eyes. With big open hearts and playful personalities, they are fully present in the moment with you. And that is exactly where they challenge you to meet them: the here and now.

Next time you're in a public space, have a look around: how many people are present in the moment and how many are away somewhere else, thinking about the past or future? Sure it is important to dedicate time for planning and daydreaming, but what percentage of them are simply distracting themselves with Facebook and mindless games? How many people look fulfilled and how many look sad or mad?

We escape the present moment when its uncomfortable, and we all know how uncomfortable public transport is. Its confronting, because it becomes blatantly undeniable just how disconnected, shy and socially awkward we all are. It highlights just how scared we are to do anything outside the norm, for fear of drawing too much attention to ourselves. It shows just how sad or "insane" some of us are. It shows the lack of trust we have in each other. 

Isn’t it ironic that as a society we feel lonelier than ever and yet when we are around each other we can barely stand it?

Does public transport really need to be so depressing and uncomfortable?

Perhaps it’s time our public transport system got a little makeover. And when it comes to bringing people closer together, surely public transport is an ideal and convenient place to start? Perhaps it’s time we began utilising our public spaces with more creativity, innovation and good old-fashioned love.

What’s special about The Liberators is that they don’t just dream of a world that supports us enough to want to stay present; they are prepared to do something about it.

They are modern day freedom fighting warriors; they paint on their colourful battlefield art, dress in courageous costumes, arm themselves with sparkly signs of truth, and with their brave spirits, all in the name of love and freedom, they charge out with their uninhibited self-expression, love songs, and freestyle dance moves. Facing an army of time paupers, serious shoppers, and not so curious onlookers, they are too often simply ignored, laughed at or dismissed. But not by all. For some: the curious and the brave, it is an unforgettable life changing experience.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  

 

Perhaps The Liberators are to us what Martin Luther King was to African Americans, what William Wallace was to the Scots, or Gandhi to India. Sure, they aren’t being punished, jailed or killed for their acts of freedom, instead they are simply being ignored, for their message is misunderstood, for they are attempting to do the seemingly impossible; to liberate those who are the most hopelessly enslaved; those who believe they are free.

One thing is for sure: The Liberators are experts at creating spaces for people to drop their barriers and come together to celebrate what makes us the same. They are professionals at throwing spontaneous heart-centred parties where everyone really is invited. They have been know to throw supermarket flashmobs and shopping mall "dance of freedom" parties, and one of my personal favourites train sing-alongs.

Their colourful and outrageous drug/alcohol-free morning raves have demonstrated that the key to a good time comes from the natural high we get when we feel connected to and accepted by those around us; when we feel safe enough to just let go and be ourselves.

They have demonstrated that the sensations of freedom, joy, authentic self-expression and connection really don’t have to wait until Friday night drinks or even until you are with your closest friends.  And they inspire us to think outside the square for how public spaces can be better utilised to make the world a better place; that perhaps life could be lived very differently.

We have forgotten the power that music and dance has to heal and connect us. There is a subtle yet powerful connection between music and revolution. When you look at the fresh new sounds of the 1920s and 1960s and the social revolutions that occurred at the time, it makes you wonder... 

In a world where we can now listen to anything at any time, where there is an overwhelming amount of new sounds being created all the time, are we all sitting on a massive well of untapped musical revolutionary potential? Science has now proven just how powerful our intentions are… combine that with the fact that the human voice is the most powerful instrument on the planet, and perhaps we can start to understand the purpose of the The Liberator's recent global experiment The Worlds Biggest Sing -a-Long.  A project to “turn fear into love and inhibition into liberation." The Liberators understand the power of thousands of people from all corners of the globe singing the same beautiful song at the same time while holding the same intention in their hearts.

But of all their accomplishments and successful projects, The Eye Contact Experiment has to be one of their most incredible, for not so obvious reasons. It was their first global experiment conducted on a mass scale, and simply involved sharing a minute of continuous eye contact with a stranger or friend.

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Setting up spaces in well known public spaces just after 5pm, over 100,000 people across 156 cities participated in this revolutionary experiment that sent a powerful message to the world. Deeply transformative for many, it brought up many questions and realisations, such as 'why is it so hard to sit and look into a strangers eyes for a minute without saying anything?' For some it was an enjoyable walk in the park, whilst for others, it was challenging and confronting; bringing some to tears and others into uncontrollable laughter. 

The Liberators aren’t your average hippies, nor are they your average activists. They are a unique breed of freedom fighters; a powerful concoction of dancers, engineers, accountants, doctors, teachers, students, artists & visionaries. They are leaders, among many others, who are at the forefront of a revolution thats been taking place for decades, one thats about to blow the lid off of our outdated system. The signs are everywhere that humanity is waking up to our long lost truths; we are remembering what it really means to be a human being.

In our rapidly changing world; the age of information and technology, most of us are so busy and distracted that we still haven’t stopped for long enough to notice all the new possibilities and opportunities now available to us: one small act of kindness or love now has the potential to ripple positive vibes all over the world within minutes! We are pioneers of a new world of possibilities and unexplored potential.

As Peter Sharp said in his recent birthday post: “we all have huge untapped reservoirs of human potential to shift and change the story of the world around us, Humanity is crying out for everyday citizens to stand up in the name of creating more authentic and sustainable pathways for ourselves, our communities and our planet. Now is the most vitally important and well supported time to stand up and create proof of what we believe will assist the healing of the planet. I am humbled and deeply inspired by your love, participation and support. Let’s keep enjoying the moment whilst thriving for a better world!”

We all have the power to write a new story for ourselves and for humanity, and sometimes all it takes is one minute...