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“Bad ass” is the buzzword I’m seeing thrown around to sell everything from sales courses to jeans. Everyone’s not a badass. Some of us don’t want to let our freak flag fly and are scared of the “woo woo” label.

It’s not easy to come out as animist. It’s strange. Most people don’t even know what that word means. I get not wanting to explain it or defend it. Sometimes you even feel that your closest friends and family wouldn’t get it. So how do you handle the conflict between wanting to be authentic, yet not labeled woo woo?

Control the Narrative

When going into any conversation that’s not easy, it’s always best to control the narrative. That means you decide in advance what you are going to share, with whom, when, and how you are going to share it. Select a time when you and the other party is most receptive. Share only what you think the other person can digest.

You might be really excited about a great moon circle that you just attended, but if your mom thinks that anything that is not within her comfort zone is evil, you might want to leave that out. Not because you’ve done anything bad or wrong but because it probably wouldn’t benefit both of you to share that.

Think sovereignty and connection. It might do you good to be open and authentic, but your relationship may not be better because of it. So, it’s a balancing act.

And remember that the difference between Pepsi and Inca Cola is marketing. Story telling is everything. Be an effective storyteller.

Reclaim the Woo!

I actually didn’t know “woo woo” was derogatory. I know. I often miss the political correctness class, so when someone would ask me if something that I do is “woo woo,” I’d often say, “No, not woo woo, just woo.” What I meant by that is “yes, it’s a bit outside of the norm, but it’s not really all that crazy.” Usually that would ignite some curiosity and we could have an intelligent conversation about whatever they wanted to really know.

Animists are not mainstream. It’s silly to pretend that we are. There is no use in being defensive about it because it’s not wrong, so owning the “woo” (in my view) is a way of acknowledging that we’re different so that both sides can start off from a place of agreement and honesty.

“Woo woo” doesn’t have to be a negative. It’s all about the attitude that you bring to it. If you claim it with confidence and appear polite, kind, and respectful, people tend to respect you even if they don’t agree with you. It’s a win/win.

Employ a Filter

Everybody needs a filter. As much as we’d like to be wild children and badasses, everyone still needs a filter. You just can’t eat, sleep, and poo whenever or wherever you want to. You can’t share your spiritual life with just anyone either.

You can think of it like a dart board. You’re the bull’s eye. The ring closest to you is your closest friends and family. The one furthest away are those who are furthest. The closer someone is, the less filter you employ. So, you share more with your best friend than the stranger in line at the grocery store or your boss.

People who are closer to you have experience with you. They have context. So if you say something way outside their comfort zone, they are less likely to judge because they know you better. Other people might want to call the cops on you!  Share accordingly.

Cultivate a Strong Posse

The best antidote for judgment is acceptance. When you cultivate a strong posse, you know where to go for that acceptance. And any negative feedback you get won’t sting so much because there are people you like and respect who get you and have your back.

Nobody is accepted everywhere or all the time. When it’s “dump on me” day, you know where to go. Call on your peeps at Pan Society. Talk it out. It will be okay.

You don’t have to be a closet animist. I get it if you are. People can be brutal. So do what works for you.

I hope these tips help you to be your best self. If you have anything to add that has worked for you, please share them in comments so that we can all grow together.

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