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December 12, 2011

Embracing the Weirdness that is the Elephant Journal community. ~Tom Rapsas

I recently finished a book by the always insightful Seth Godin titled We Are All Weird. While its primary focus is marketing, its main message extends to our culture at large:

We’re weird—and getting weirder.

Godin calls the shift toward weirdness “the epic battle of our generation” and it pits the status quo of the mass market against, well, everyone else.

So who actually makes up the weird? Godin identifies them as

people who have chosen to avoid conforming to the masses, at least in some parts of their lives.

He further explains that

weird means that you’ve made a choice, that you’ve stood up for what you believe in and done what you want, not what the market wants.

Count me in.

Looking at the big picture, this weirdness is perhaps best personified by the Occupy Wall Street movement. While arguably unfocused, the movement is challenging and confronting the status quo on several different fronts, including various economic, social and environmental injustices—and showing us a new way to approach and ferment change.

How this weirdness applies to Elephant Journal.

Godin’s book got me thinking—much of the weirdness he’s talking about can be found right here in the Elephant Journal community.  As he says:

the weird are weird because they’ve foregone the comfort and efficiency of mass and instead they’re forming smaller groups, groups where their weirdness is actually expected.

I believe the readers and writers at Elephant Journal fit this definition, as we’re exploring fresh ideas and topics that are comfortably removed from the status quo. As proof, look no further than some of the headlines and stories that have appeared on the EJ home page over the past few days:

How my Manduka Yoga Mat just saved my Life when I got hit by a Truck on my Bike.

The Sex Lives of Monks: Confessions of Kalu Rinpoche.

Vitamin D, I Heart Thee.

Moon Salutations for Dwindling December & A Full Moon Eclipse.

Could the Buddhadharma Offer an Inspiring Environmental Ethic?

Yep, the writers and readers who make up the Elephant Journal community are weird—and proud of it! But our work isn’t done, as our efforts to push the yoga-health-sex-spirituality-environmental boundaries are on-going and importantly, help move people from the boringness of normal to the vivacity of weird. Godin points out that:

“The weird set an example for the rest of us. They raise the bar; they show us through their actions that in fact we’re wired to do the new, not to comply with someone a thousand miles away.”

I’m all in and look forward to continuing our collective march away from normality and into weirdness in 2012.

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