One of my most popular emails was one where I wrote about hiding my “woo” side from my husband.
(Subject line: Don’t tell my husband.)
I’m not a true woo-woo type. You’ll never hear me say I’m on a “spiritual quest” or call myself a “seeker.”
I won’t give you my “favorite manifesting crystal” for your birthday.
My anti-woo edges have, however, worn away over the years. Like the heels of all my Nikes. (Those are goners in as little as 3 months a pair. I walk a lot.)
I now identify as Woo-Adjacent™.
I’m not really trademarking it, but I like to use that obnoxious option-2 flex to call “dibs!” on a term I believe I coined.
I also like to own it by writing a manifesto. Here’s how I define being woo-adjacent.
The Woo-Adjacent Manifesto
We are the woo-curious, the closet woo, the woo-adjacent.
We’re not normally the types to believe in all that magical/spiritual shit.
But we secretly, grudgingly allow that some of it might be real, and we’re open to it if it is.
We might even be into it.
That said, we don’t like the aesthetics of woo:
The caftans in floaty fabrics, the patchouli, the wind chimes and whale sounds.
The soft, breathy voice telling us to breathe innnn, 2, 3, and ouuuuut, 2, 3.
The purple, the script font, the light bursts that are supposed to indicate God or Universe or Being or Source or whatever you call it (but it’s the same as saying God, which = religion, which is fine but let’s not pretend it’s not).
We don’t like the culty language — “Holding space to catalyze your full embodiment of the sacred and divine;” “Shift into a new paradigm of alignment;” “Welcome to my high-vibe tribe,” etc.—not just because it’s a hornet’s nest of cultural appropriation, but because it’s corny-ass buzzword soup.
We cringe when woo talk doesn’t take privilege into account. For instance, “It’s all mindset” or “It’s all about a state of abundance” when, no, it’s also privilege. But sure, that other stuff helps.
We do like a little “mindset” talk.
We agree, mindset is important.
If not, how do you explain so many mediocre, seemingly talentless people being so successful?
(Make no mistake: thinking you’re talented when you’re not, AKA not knowing you have no talent, is absolutely a talent.)
Anyway, “mindset” isn’t really woo, it’s psychology.
We like the idea of manifesting, because who doesn’t?
However, it’s hard not to give side-eye if you say you “manifested an office space” when, actually, you found and rented an office space; or “manifested a boyfriend” when you went on an app, dated a lot of scumbags and losers, finally found someone you liked, stalked him, discovered he was a serial killer, stayed anyway, helped him hide a body, worked through his commitment issues, and are now officially a couple.
“I manifested a peeled banana.”
No, you bought a banana and peeled it.
Still, manifesting: neat!
We like the idea of a muse, the notion that genius can be channeled—and would very much like to have that function on demand.
We know, we know: We should meditate. It’s not that woo an idea anymore. Everyone does it on the show “Billions.” Makes ‘em rich, if not better people.
We believe that whatever works for you, works for you, and is worth paying for.
We like when stuff is put in scientific terms, like “brain plasticity.”
We’re willing to agree that vision boards can actually be effective—but if so, it’s because you’ve made the idea feel possible, which motivates you to take forward-moving action and behave in a way consistent with making the idea a reality…and not because some Greater Power has agreed to partner with you and make things happen so that you get to meet Oprah.
We’re open to things that are “impossible” in physical, practical terms—like psychic powers and contact with the spiritual world—if only because wifi is an equally crazy idea and yet the world now runs on it. If I can instantaneously send someone in China a cat gif without mail or a pigeon, maybe a few extraordinarily intuitive people can see the future or talk to my dead grandparents.
…And so, we might book a psychic reading if we hear someone’s really good and has a 6-month waitlist. But we don’t want them to have any info about us beforehand, because we’re not convinced they won’t cheat.
We love ease.
If it makes life easier, we’re willing to try it, even if we have to hide the receipts.
To that end, when our partner looks over the Amex statement and asks, “WTF is this fifteen hundred dollars to ‘Third Eye Crystal Corp, is that some woo-woo shit?” we will say, “Oh, ha, no, it’s an optometrist. Getting new lenses.”
Because we’re not woo—we’re woo-adjacent.
As you can gather from the last part, I still hide it from my husband.
Where are you on the Woo Spectrum? Tell me in the comments. And share this!