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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