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How to Be With the Non-Woo-Woo

photo: Ben Salter on flickr

photo: Ben Salter on flickr

Have you ever hung out with someone you had nothing in common with? How was it?

Did you love the challenge of connecting with someone completely different than you? Did you revel in the satisfaction of bridging dissimilarities and basking in your essential oneness?

Or did you hate every minute?

I have been in both camps, depending on the person and the situation. Although I understand intellectually that we’re all one, all part of the same human experience, I’m not always feelin’ it.

Take the Woo-Woo vs. the Non-Woo-Woo, for example.

The Woo-Woo, for those of you not in the loop, are folks like me. We’re into meditation and auras and affirmations. We believe in God, though we don’t always call it God, because God is old school. We like words like Source, or the Divine, or All That Is. Or Herbert.

Some of us wear flowy clothing and talk like valley girls, but many of us don’t. Some love to consume massive quantities of free-range tofu and sip on grass-fed chai tea, but many of us don’t. What we do have in common is a belief in something more than the material realm, an awareness that there’s Something Bigger going on.

photo: Davide Flume on flickr

photo: Davide Flume on flickr

Which brings me to the Non-Woo-Woo. (Or as I call them, the Not-At-All-Woo-Woo or NAAWW.)

The NAAWW think that all the above is crap silly. They think that if you can’t see it with your own eyeballs, it doesn’t exist. They think that Woo-Woo folks are wacky at best, delusional at worst.

Talk about a difference. How on earth can two such different species of humans get along?

In my experience, Woo-Woo folks tend to clump together. As do the NAAWW. But occasionally, in extraordinary circumstances, the two groups are forced have the opportunity to mingle.

And that’s exactly what happened to me the other day.

I was at a mixed party. And by “mixed,” I do not mean that the party was comprised of people representing a variety of ethnic identities.

photo: Davi Oliveira Garcia

photo: Davi Oliveira Garcia

Nor do I mean that copious amounts of mixed drinks were being served.

photo: Jeremy Noble on flickr

photo: Jeremy Noble on flickr

I mean that the party was attended by both Woo-Woo and Non-Woo-Woo folks. Crazy, I know. But it happened!

Throughout the afternoon, I found myself in conversation after conversation with people who thought auras are unusual cloud formations and meditation is something you do to avoid having to go to court.

We had nothing in common.

I had a good time, as I often do at parties. I chatted up everyone I met, asking them about themselves and their lives. Even if they were hard-core NAAWW, I managed to find something about them that interested me, something to keep the conversation going.

But as the afternoon progressed, I found myself a little disconnected.

While I was able to draw out the NAAWW about their lives, their attempts to do the same with me were accompanied by blank looks and furrowed brows.

A degree in Consciousness Studies, what the heck is that? You’re a meditator, how nice for you! Some of my best friends eat tofu!

They were nice about it, but there was that look.

The “you’re one of those people” look. The “you’re super weird” look. The “I gotta go, normal is calling” look.

photo: Victor1558

photo: Victor1558

It was tough.

And then I remembered my junior high science teacher.

Mr. Hollis was a great guy. Smart, earnest, and enthusiastic. He loved science, and he had a passion to share his love with others, especially kids.

I loved his class because I loved him. But I didn’t always share his passion.

One day, Mr. Hollis took us outside to look at trees. He showed us their leaves and bark and talked about the variety of species, including their scientific names –their family, their genus, their genera, etc.

photo: Moyan Brenn on flickr

photo: Moyan Brenn on flickr

He was so excited. Just watching him, I could see how much he cared about the trees he was showing us.

There was only one problem.

I didn’t care.

It’s not that I didn’t care about Mr. Hollis. I loved him, like I said. But I didn’t have a passion for genus and genera and all that stuff.

Had Mr. Hollis been talking about psychology, or the arts, I would have been all over it. But names of trees, not so much.

It was the same with my party and the NAAWW.

Only I was Mr. Hollis.

Yes, I have a passion for consciousness and spiritual growth. But the NAAWW do not. And imposing my passion on them would be annoying. Or if not annoying, boring.

photo: Jason Scragz on flickr

photo: Jason Scragz on flickr

I’m not denying that sometimes the gap is bridged and the Woo-Woo and the NAAWW can find common interests. It happens.

But it’s also true that not everyone is interested in genus and genera. Or astral travel and affirmations.

Which brings me to my original question: How to be with the NAAWW?

If you’re reading this post and you’re NAAWW, bless you. And I mean that in a totally secular, you-just-sneezed kinda way. Also, I have no advice for you on how to be with the NAAWW, because they are your people. You know what to do!

For those Woo-Woo folks interested in how to be with the NAAWW, here’s what’s worked for me, once I remembered my old friend Mr. Hollis:

Be present. Stay in your heart. Remember and feel the love within and around you.

Yes, it sounds corny and, well, Woo-Woo. But putting our essential Woo-Woo skills into action when surrounded by those who don’t give a rat’s ass aren’t interested in our Woo-Woo ways can be extremely helpful.

For one thing, it’s calming. And for another, it taps us into our essential aliveness. Our being.

Woo-Woo or NAAWW, we all have that in common.

The NAAWW might call this waking and eating and working. The Woo-Woo might call it an awareness of our oneness with all of creation.

But it’s ultimately all the same thing. It’s all being. And remembering this makes it possible to be with anyone. Woo-Woo and NAAWW alike!

photo: Andrey on flickr

photo: Andrey on flickr

What’s your experience with the Woo-Woo and the NAAWW? How do navigate between them? Share your comments below!

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25 Responses to How to Be With the Non-Woo-Woo

  1. Karen October 1, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    LOL — picture of the bored girl.

    I’ve learned to sidestep the “Oh no, I’m stuck talking to this person and we have zero/zilch in common” by simply setting the intention to enjoy myself as much as possible wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. I don’t try too hard to understand people anymore or to bridge any gulfs. My main job is to relax and be happy, and anyone who’s on board with that — well, we’ll probably connect very nicely. And if we don’t connect, I don’t really give a rat’s rumpus, but I wish them well.

    Thanks for another fun and insightful post, Z. I share them with the “Abraham Fun” group on Facebook.

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Hi Karen,

      I know, right? The bored girl picture just popped out at me as the perfect one for this post.

      Melissa and I also do something similar to what you mention – we claim and affirm that we’re going to have an awesome time wherever we go and this tends to happen. How about that?

      Thank you for sharing the post with the Abe Fun group!! :)

      XOZ

  2. Linda Robinett October 1, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    The subject of meditation and spirituality rarely comes up in conversation for me so I don’t know who the woo woo people are and the non woo woo people are.

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Linda,

      You raise an interesting point. If we don’t know who’s Woo and who’s Non-Woo, we can’t ever feel separate or different than anyone. Oneness is a natural byproduct. Just sayin. :)

      XOZ

  3. River October 1, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    I go for the old “So what do you do for a living?” connection. However lame that may be, I find asking a person questions about themselves is often the best way to make a good connection and leaving them in charge of woo-woo or non-woo-woo stuff. All of us want to be heard so that is how I put my woo-woo skill in action. Just hearing them, being present in the moment and relaxing into the joy of Who We Really Are (even if the NAAWW would yawn at that)

    Bright Blessings,
    River
    PS…I am a fan of the bored girl picture too!

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Hi River,

      I love this. It’s a great reminder – asking others about themselves is truly a great way to engage. Plus you learn a lot. And you can put all those Woo-Woo skills into play, regardless of the Woo quotient of the other party in the conversation. Awesome! :)

      XOZ

  4. Sherry October 1, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Another insightful and funny post, Z!

    I don’t mind the NAAWW’s as I get something from everyone I talk to. Everyone has something to give whether they are a Woo Woo or a NAAWW. But, I have to admit, they can be a great source of amusement!

    But, I digress – here is my story…

    I always knew I was different than everyone else growing up in the 1960s-1970s. My family told me I was. My teachers told me I was. In 9th grade, the school sent in a Psychologist to see what was wrong with me. Turned out, I was Brilliant! I just didn’t go in for the Norm.

    So, everyone made me feel bad because I wasn’t like everyone else. And, I did feel bad about myself until I finally got in touch with who I AM.

    I am Souce. I am Wonderful. I am Creative. I am All.

    I’ve always felt and saw things differently than the NAAWWs. Not that there is anything wrong with them. I am just further along the path than them.

    Funny because I am closer to God than they’ll ever be. It cracks me up. I wish I knew that I had this power sooner. I would have avoided a lot of anxiety.

    Thanks, again, Z!

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Hi Sherry,

      Great to see you here again.

      It’s funny how different is automatically seen to be bad. I guess, as a kid, being singled out is usually not seen as a good thing. But, as you point out, different doesn’t have to be bad. And each one of us – whether we identify as Woo Woo or not – is a unique, individual creation of the Divine. And how cool is THAT?

      I am glad that you are appreciating your wonderful, creative, beautiful self now! :)

      XOZ

    • Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

      Dear Sherry;
      I totally relate…

      I was born in Latin America, of mixed cultural & religious parentage – not accepted by any of the particular groups, as where I lived, at that time, people still were of one ethnic group or culture, speaking their native tongue as well as Spanish, eating “their” food, going to “their” school, church or synagogue, etc.

      In elementary school, we moved to the States (mainland). What culture shock, despite my mom being 1/2 American. And my fellow 4th graders teased me for “being an alien” (when it wasn’t cool to be from somewhere else).

      Then I was tested as “gifted”, but my mom didn’t want me to go to a private school that would develop those gifts (thinking she was protecting me from not fitting in! lol). (Though it does make me wonder how different my life might have been had I gone to a private school. Hmmmn.)

      And, since childhood, have had WOO WOO experiences, with no one to share them with until about 25 years ago (I’m 57).

      I worked in a very NAAWW clinic, was dismissed personally for expressing just a wee bit of my WOO WOOness (i.e. we didn’t relate much personally) – yet they couldn’t argue with results in my work.

      So, yes, I felt very different, in a bad way. (Being quite sensitive, it helped me develop self-hatred, which is changing to more & more self-love.)

      On the other hand, the mixed parentage & being from another country helped me understand our interconnectedness since childhood. It has helped me appreciate diversity ~ seeing how the Divine expresses Itself in so many ways!

      Thankfully, I am becoming more comfortable with being WOO WOO, & am meeting other WOO WOOs, while recognizing NAAWWs are also part of the Oneness of Life.

      As was mentioned by another responder, connecting through questions, asking what their passions are, listening with interest all help me to connect with someone who would freak out if I shared some of my WOO WOOness.

      Having experienced the blank stare, the sudden leaving, I tread softly… And as I become more WOO WOO, I realize I have to develop better language skills that help us connect… As well as know when to disconnect & move on to be with someone that also hears me.

      Thank you Z for a wonderful posting – & thank the rest of you for all your great input!
      <3

      • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 11:50 am #

        Aloha Lani!

        I love that you are now seeing the gifts of your “differences,” and that having the specific experiences that you’ve had has led you to being able to more easily see our interconnectedness. What a gift!

        I also hear you on learning to be discerning in navigating the woo-woo and the NAAWW world. Even though we’re ultimately all one, there are times when getting our distance from certain people and situations helps us to more easily see their Divine qualities! :)

        XOZ

  5. Janet October 1, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Wow, what fun, Z! I got an email for a NAAWW family member this morning, a very long email, detailing all his family doings, and I appreciated the update. However there was that thing tagged on at the end, inviting me to say what I was up to. I’m not even going there…lol

    I’m grateful that I have stopped expecting an ego-warming response when I have told them (them being anyone I am related to by blood) my exciting news. We don’t live in the same world–well maybe it’s just parallel universes!

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      Hi Janet,

      Learning when to NOT go there is one of the beautiful things about self-knowledge. Praise God for that!

      I think you’re onto something with the parallel universes ideas. No blame, no shame. Just different realities. :)

      XOZ

  6. Donna October 1, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Thanks so much for this post and all of the responses. I leave next week to visit family on the east coast. I haven’t seen many of them in many years. We didn’t have a lot to talk about then. So it hit me the other day –what are we going to talk about now?! Yes, I’ll stay present, come from my heart and ask them questions. I think one reason this trip came up is to provide me an opportunity to heal the past, to let go of judgment, to honor our oneness and the good that came from that place and time. Thanks for helping me think this through.

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sending you lots of love and blessings on your trip. Coming at the whole trip from a place of love is certainly a wonderful way to approach it – including love for yourself if you ever happen to catch yourself being less than loving! :)

      XOZ

  7. Diane October 1, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    You’ve put it so well, as usual, Z.
    I appreciate your take on life. The thing that I (speaking as a self-confessed woo-woo) find tricky is to be in the middle of a conversation with a person you “thought” was also a bit woo-woo, and suddenly you realize that you probably weren’t speaking the same native language. Where did things shift and I didn’t notice it? Why did my attention wander as they were talking?
    Once I bring myself back to reality, I can choose whether to continue or not. I think that people want to be heard, most of all, and if for any reason I feel that I can’t listen, I move out of the interaction as gracefully as possible. I also want to be ” heard”, and if I’m speaking with someone who has no idea what I’m talking about, why bother?
    We all try to fit “reality” into our own pre-loaded photos of what life is supposed to look like… sometimes I wonder that we even barely recognize the creativity we were born with.
    Thanks for creating a forum in which to be heard.
    diane

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      Hi Diane,

      I appreciate what you say about being heard – the importance of hearing others and the importance of speaking with people who can hear us. As you say, it is important to cultivate situations where both of these things can happen. Learning to do this is an ongoing process – at least, that’s how it’s been for me. I certainly catch myself not listening as well as I’d like to. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of this. And thank you for adding your voice to the conversation. :)

      XOZ

  8. Naava October 1, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Love this Z! But remember, you and I both had plenty of practice working in our respective offices all day long with NAAWWs. In fact, moving to Sonoma County from the Midwest a few decades ago was the first time I met other WooWoos, and it was quite a relief to know I wasn’t the only one! It’s one of the many things I love about this county – the WooWoos, and availability of organic GMO-free savory tofu!

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Haava,

      Yes! We both had many years of working in a NAAWW work world – although I did manage to find/cultivate some Woo-Woo relationships at the County. Those Woo-Woo folks are everywhere! Especially here in Sonoma County, land of free-range savory tofu!!

      XOZ

  9. Denise October 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I find that people often think I’m a NAAWW (love that name!) because I don’t tend to talk about my personal beliefs, because well, they’re personal. And I don’t think that should get in the way of connecting with others. Everyone has something that they love and geek out (feel strongly or are passionate) about and I thoroughly enjoy finding that thing. Even if I don’t have a clue or really the interest to explore it further, their joy is contagious.

    What I find though, is if you think of yourself as woo-woo or NAAWW, or any other way that you can identify yourself, that sometimes can lead to being intolerant and judgmental about others when really we all just need to remember we human beings and that they are many ways to get to the same place.

    • Z Egloff October 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Hi Denise,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I love what you say about finding what people are passionate about. I also love finding this out about people. It’s a great way to connect, and it’s a wonderful inspiration to remember to find and cultivate my own places of passion.

      I also agree with you that the labels of Woo Woo and NAAWW are ultimately divisive. In our shared humanness, we’ll all one. Maybe that’s why those moments of finding out the passions of others feels so good – we all understand what that’s about, even if we’re passionate about different things.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Stop by again any time! :)

      XOZ

  10. Jerrine October 1, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    So I go on the idea every one has at one time or other experienced the woo…I ask about how did you meet your wife / husband as that period tends to be a very woo woo for most people…and I like a love story and God is LOVE and I love to tell the story and so do most people…it is sometimes the only magic they have ever experienced, sharing the thoughts of the other, secret self rising up and speaking, a feeling of fate, destiny so if some one seems to be inclining to ‘judging ‘ me i go for the story of personal love.

    • Z Egloff October 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      Hi Jerrine,

      This is beautiful. I love this! And it’s a great thing for me to remember as a beautiful way to connect with someone I don’t know very well – or someone I may feel I have little in common with. Yay! :)

      XOZ

      • Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

        I totally agree!
        Thanks for the suggestion…

        It is so beautiful to connect with Love… & how people met their mate.

  11. jp October 2, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    For me, Woo and NAAWW are not as mutually exclusive as your article makes them sound. I stand in both worlds. I love meditation, yoga, and therapy which are hard core Woo. I disdain auras, astrology, God, or any discipline that requires me to believe something for which there is no evidence, and in this I am NAAWW.

    It is one thing to know the “oneness of all creation” and to be humble and curious about getting and staying in touch with that awareness but it is altogether a different thing to claim special knowledge of how the unseen and unprovable works or what it means. The latter really gets my goat, probably because the Presbyterian ministers of my youth claimed to have the special knowledge that God heard and judged all of our thoughts. Now I consider that child abuse. It has left me with a sensitive BS meter and a deep distaste for snake oil.

    I choose body centered therapies for many reasons: to feel better, to feel at all, to combat depression, to explore my own consciousness, to reveal my blind spots, and ultimately to help me live a great life that causes a minimum of suffering to others. The only miracle I know of is that I am alive and aware.

    Thanks for the blog, Z.

    • Z Egloff October 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Hi JP,

      Thank you for your comments. I love what you point out here – that there is no hard and fast line between the Woo Woo and the NAAWW. Although for the purposes of this post, I put the vast spectrum of humanity into these two different groups, I agree with you that it’s ultimately more complicated than that.

      I also hear you about the misuse of religion and spirituality by those in positions of power. As someone who considers herself to be, for the most part, solidly in the Woo Woo camp, I absolutely agree with you that no one has a special claim on how the unseen works. Each one of us gets to experience and explore that for ourselves – or not.

      I am happy that you are alive and aware, and finding what works for you. Woo Woo or NAAWW or somewhere in between, nothing is better than that! :)

      XOZ

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