The Power of Being Weird
“It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
This was the quote Parzival contributor Tad Hargrave of Marketing for Hippies opened with as he shared his wisdom with our students.
He immediately noticed something they all have in common…they’re weirdos.
Those who are not “well adjusted to a profoundly sick society” are typically referred to as weird, odd, strange, difficult, black sheep, etc. by society at large.
Did you know that the term “weird” actually comes from c. 1400 meaning “having power to control fate?”
Yep, the weirdos are the ones who create changes in the world.
In fact, weird even meant “uncanny or supernatural,” describing the goddesses who controlled human destiny in German mythology.
So basically, the weirdos are full of the feminine wisdom that has the power to change the world.
The weirdos will be the ones to venture forth, not forward in preservation of the same path we’re currently on, not backward into old ways that no longer serve us, but on the awkward path, the uncomfortable but utterly necessary path that bridges away from or off of the destructive, unconscious status quo path toward a viable and sustainable future.
Being weird is exactly what we need now.
The Gift of Not Fitting In
Tad Hargrave’s recent teaching to the Parzival students emphasized that while it’s easy to fit in in the short term, it’s quite hard on the heart in the long term.
Those of us in midlife, i.e. the parents of young adults moving into the world looking for “something different,” know all too well the truth of heartache connected with trying to fit in, and thus betraying the calling of our Soul.
Our youth help us to wake up, and they aren’t putting up with any of the B.S. out there. They know there’s a better way, a more loving way, a healthier way, a more sane way.
As parents, our responsibility is to support our children to become who they’re here to be, and sadly, conventional education programs are largely about supporting them to fit into a box and be “successful” according to societal standards.
But let’s face it, the current societal measure of success is falling apart at the seams.
The veil that presented what was “good for us” is being lifted.
As the veil lifts, while there’s a revelation of all of the shadows we’ve been ignoring, there’s also a revelation of the many possibilities that have been encapsulated in old paradigm thinking.
Young adults today see that possibility, and will settle for nothing less.
When we embrace ourselves and others for being different, expecting something else, and moving toward a new future, we resist the “normal” that has gotten us here in the first place.
We must embrace the gift of not fitting in, thinking differently, and being weird, for it is that very gift that will allow us to become bridges that truly change the world for the good.
Bridging within Community
Quality community relationships require bridge building.
One of the ways we can become a bridge to a more sustainable future and beautiful world is to consider the health of our communities.
Today’s culture expects small children to be seen and not heard, dumbing them down with devices as make-shift baby sitters, while we feel trapped in the hamster wheel of our far too hectic lives.
We put elders into homes, often to be ignored and die there with little interaction from anyone outside of those walls.
The in-between years are spent trying to conform, make the grades, get the promotion, build the retirement fund, etc. with far too little attention paid to the here and now, and the ways the collective community can feed us and we can feed it.
In our Bridge Building course, Parzival contributor Tad Hargrave helped students to see that those in the “in-between years” have the critical function of becoming healthy, strong bridges.
We need to reach out to the little ones, offering them true role models that encourage their inner gifts and give them hope.
We need to actively “make elders” by going to them and seeking their wisdom.
Elders are not made by simply being a certain age, joining the AARP, or having certain experiences. They’re made by those younger and less experienced asking them, “Did you ever have a challenge like this thing I’m going through? What did you do about it?”
Author and mythologist Michael Meade noted that there are many olders on drugs, but not many elders giving out medicine. They need to be asked! This is what ignites within them the knowing that they have something to offer the world.
As with Parzival’s search for the Holy Grail in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s original version of the tale, it is in asking the sacred question that Parzival frees and renews the desolated kingdom.
In becoming bridges toward a regenerative future, we learn to ask the sacred questions and stop focusing on the answers or thinking we already know them.
The Art of Weaving for Bridge Building
Building a proper bridge is much like weaving a strong and beautiful tapestry.
Parzival Academy supports students to Discover who they are, Connect to their deep values and sense of purpose, Envision new possibilities for their life and the world, and move toward Creating a new paradigm.
Each of these elements, i.e. the stages of the Parzival journey, are like threads in the great tapestry of our lives.
The warp is set with the threads of our inherent gifts, strengths, and experiences, along with the wounds that leave a mark on us and inspire us to keep others from suffering in the same way.
The weft is woven with the values we have, the issues we care deeply about changing, and the life skills developed through a program like Parzival Academy’s.
When we weave the elements of our gifts, wounds, values and skills together, we have the capacity to build a strong bridge of ourselves.
Our strongly woven inner bridge will carry us from the old paradigm of prediction, control, reductionism and separation to a new paradigm of regenerative action, harmonizing with Nature.
More importantly, we need to acknowledge, support, and even cultivate the deep longing and hope for a healthy connectedness that allows all of humanity and the planet to thrive.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
When young adults long for the “endless immensity” of what they feel in their hearts is possible, and are supported to explore that longing, they’re inclined to become the bridges we so desperately need.
We all need to become bridges in these times. That’s how we’ll move forward on our evolutionary path.
We’re so inspired by the young adults in our program and the bridges they’re becoming!