New Age Fluffering

Maybe you’ve heard them, those words and phrases “enlightened” folks use these days to take the badness out of other words and phrases, words which they perceive to have negative connotations and need to be cast on the junk heap.

I’ll go on record in warning you that if you ever use these expressions in my presence I’m apt to fake barf.

The first time I heard such turn of phrase was many years ago when some colleagues were presenting a day long “playshop.” This was a self-development sort of event, with lots of introspection, journalling, role playing, sharing, and other methods of inner and outer dialogue.

Having done my share of personal growth over the years, I can say with certainty that this kind of activity is hard work. While I do understand the conceptual shift they were trying to accomplish with the word switch,  it made me wonder what had happened to give “work” such a bad rap.

When did “work” move from productive effort to “unwelcome repression?”  It reminded me of the Ike and Tina Turner version of “Rollin’ on the River” … workin’ for the man every night and day, the voice of the downtrodden and hopeless, that sort of thing. Nothing appeared to justify such an extreme reaction as far as I could see, but I suppose you never know.

In addition to the “aren’t we clever” factor of this particular word switch, labeling this event a “playshop” makes light of the sincere and strenuous effort it takes to effect personal growth; I found the attempt at being groovy to be offensive.

On to the present day. This week, someone asked me to make a “love offering” to help offset a business expense she made which might benefit a workshop (yes, I said it) we are facilitating together.  I wanted to say, “You mean like canned goods or something?”

Barf barf barf.

This phrase is such a misrepresentation of the facts. It is not coming from the love in my heart nor is it an offering if you have to ask me to give it to you. IT’S A FEE. IT’S MONEY. What she really meant to say was, “I want you to give me some money to help pay for one of my business expenses.” Dirty ugly money.  We all need it desperately and yet there are so many ways by which we couch the notion of getting it/having it/keeping it.

I don’t consider my business and the Tarot work to be New Age-y, if anything it’s Old Age: ancient, mysterious, enigmatic, steeped in tradition. Regardless, I can understand why New Agers, or anyone else for that matter, would want to distance themselves from the control freaks of the patriarchy, but sometimes it seems that the  living in “the new paradigm” just leads to different words for the same old stuff.

This new paradigm we’re all seeking requires that we be truthful, authentic, and kind. And whole. One of my favorite quotes from the iconic Carl Jung is, “I’d rather be whole than good.”  We can’t throw “work” or “money” on the junk heap if the new paradigm hopes to become integrated into our future reality.

It’s not likely that there will be a “love offering” for the ad campaign in question, but I may throw in a few cans of soup.

Jeanne Fiorini is a Tarot reader, teacher, and author with a few strong opinions on certain issues. Visit the TarotWorks website to learn all the ways the Tarot can help clarify your values, bring insight into your  dilemmas, and foster confidence for your life.



  1. Josephine Mori said,

    October 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    As someone who ran a swim-with-the-dolphins encounter said, “Give me a group of accountants over a group of New Agers any day.”

  2. Mike said,

    October 20, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Google ” fluffer”-you might be surprised at what you find!

  3. October 20, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    uh -oh, now I’m scared.
    Regardless of what I find there, I meant it in terms of insubstantial-izing something. How’s that for a made-up word?

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