Dr. Helen Johnson
31 Oct 2021
Ahhhhhh, the modern day dilemma – how how much ‘woo’ is right for you? Or even, is this too woo/not woo ...
Ahhhhhh, the modern day dilemma – how how much ‘woo’ is right for you? Or even, is this too woo/not woo enough for me? You’ll get a good idea of your inclinations just by your reaction to the word ‘woo’ in the title of this post.
Were you like ‘HERE WE GO, WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS, SPARE ME THE NONSENSE PLEASE’ (in which case, let’s be fair, you probably haven’t read on… or if you have you were looking to reconfirm your anti-wooness?!)
Were you all ‘OOOOOOOOOH INTERESTING I LOVE ALL THAT STUFF!’ – or, more likely, somewhere in between?
Well, when it comes to your own growth and personal development here’s what you need to know about whether or not you need to go ‘woo’:
IT DOESN’T MATTER (gasp!).
Yep, read that again. It is completely irrelevant whether something is ‘woo’ or not! It. Does. Not. Matter. It’s woo-ness is pretty much immaterial to whether a certain tool, idea, outlook, or modality works for you. When you take the approach (which they repeat a lot in 12 steps groups) to ‘take what you like and leave the rest’ then you learn to ignore your discomfort about the unknown, your fear of being indoctrinated, and/or your distaste for people who think differently to you and- instead- start to be an active and curious participant in discovering what is powerful and what works for you.
Having said that, there is a whole other conversation to be had about picking and choosing and basically having no personal integrity and responsibility but that’s for another day!
Now, before all you woo fans get excited and start saying ‘yeah you sceptical lot all you need is to open up your minds and let yourself be curious’ – ahem, cough, cough, here’s the issue… THE SAME APPLIES TO YOU. Being into ‘woo’ does not mean that you need to forsake science, critical thinking, academia, research, and pragmatism. If you think it does then you are also placing unnecessary limitations on yourself and your discovery of what is powerful.
Since when did really robust thinking, nuance and critical analysis become undesirable or not even needed?! These can be amazing tools for creating awareness, engaging with the world, and ultimately leading a full and satisfying life. In fact, combining them with the woo (if it IS for you!) would surely only enhance them and vice versa. The single most useful subject I ever learned was philosophy – it consistently helps to clarify my thinking and sift through nonsense and misleading ideas and arguments (whether in my own mind or from other people!). On the other hand, the most useful tool I ever learned was EFT (emotional freedom therapy) – a tool for clearing out unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and that has its roots firmly in wooness… but then went on to be robustly scientifically proven!
In summary, whether something is academic or woo, it really doesn’t matter because all that matters is what works for you, and what elevates you. If you keep a narrow focus then you won’t waste time (let’s face it, some of the stuff out there really is a complete waste of time!) but you will most likely waste opportunity.
So… How to get the balance right? By trusting yourself to find the gems and to intuitively know what to leave behind, plus to know how to integrate new thinking into your life in the right way… by staying away from dogma and instead focussing on growth.
You know it, so maybe it’s time to go with it… whether woo or not!