Top Navigation  
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues

 Kindle Subscriptions
 Kindle Publications
 Back Issues
 Discount Books
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

 BHM Forum
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Lost Password
 Write For BHM

Link to BHM

Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for December 4th, 2012

Claire Wolfe

So very NOT a guru
(and other thoughts on a rainy day)

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Your comments on my “How did Grandma do it?” canning post the other day reminded me of yet another thing I like about this blog.

Not just the always-interesting and helpful comments (though that, too). But that it’s okay not to know something. Um … lots of somethings, actually.

I can be what I am — an ordinary person with all manner of gaps in my knowledge. I’m relieved to be able to get out here and be non-special in front of everybody. And by what I don’t know, I get to help bring out what you do. And there it is for anybody who needs it.


When I was young, I looked for leaders and gurus. But it didn’t take long for my skeptical, stubborn side to see right through them.

When I first became semi-hemi-demi-quasi-pseudo famous back in the 90s, I got a whole lot of “Oh, Claire, lead us to freedom!” stuff. Creeped the heck out of me. Which is one reason I kept trying to disappear from view in those years.

Not that I’m opposed to leadership or guruhood. I’m just opposed to followerhood. Oh sure, there are times when it’s dandy to “follow” someone who knows more than we do on a subject; wouldn’t most of us happily “follow” Jackie Clay’s homesteading advice? But those times are limited — and even when someone has expertise that we don’t, we still owe it to ourselves to inspect the bejabbers out of that expertise and determine for ourselves how expert it really is.

Too many “experts” remind me of Mark Twain editing an agricultural journal. And most leaders and gurus know less and do more harm.


I used to date a guru-type. It was a very short relationship, because like so many of that ilk, he would fly into a rage if anybody differed with him. When one day he declared that he felt like hitting me because I wouldn’t use some word (I don’t even remember which) in the particular fashion he thought it should be used (so I could use that word to change the world’s thinking, dontcha know), it was good-bye.

He always denied being a guru, though his little band of followers saw him as such. And in his denials he gave me one of the couple of good things to come out of the relationship. When somebody would call him a guru, he’d grin and say, “No. Spell ‘guru’ out loud and you’ll know better.” “Spell …? Okay … Gee You Are You.”

Okay, it’s corny. But it works. There are no experts in how we should live our lives — except ourselves.


I feel sorry for leaders and gurus, even as I mistrust them. What a burden to have to be wise and right all the time! Ugh.

How ridiculous to pretend you’re right and wise all the time when nobody can possibly be.

It’s much nicer to be able just to be ordinarily stupid or ignorant at times — even in front of other people.


I have a friend who’s as sweet and good-hearted as they come, but tends to be gullible. Many times she’s told me some “truth” — that is, something she heard on TV or in church — that was demonstrably, gobsmackingly false.

The other day she and I were at Costco. We wheeled our carts our separate ways, but both of us passed the same charming pitchman in the deli department. Wearing a Santa hat and giving out free samples, he was hawking, “Special Christmas hummus! Hummus for the holidays!”

It was just the exact same hummus you could buy any day of the week. The guy was just having fun.

When my friend and I met back up to check out, she happily pulled a carton of the stuff out of her basket and said, “Look, I got this special Christmas hummus!”

“That’s good stuff,” I said. “But that bit about it being Christmas hummus is just a line of BS.”

She didn’t miss a beat. “Well, it’s a different taste for the holidays, anyhow.”

It was the exact same stuff she’s bought there before. But some joking pitchman calling it “holiday hummus” made her think it tasted different.

Costco should have charged double for that batch.


Okay, enough rambling. On yesterday’s topic, AG sends this priceless photo:

And from the comment section, naturegirl found this smart (and actually BoR) respecting response to the sports commentators who suddenly became “experts” on guns after Jovan Belcher went on his rampage.

(BTW … Jovan Belcher? Seriously? I never heard of him ’til this weekend. But what kind of parents would name their kid after a cologne? Especially if their surname was already stinky?)


And here’s a diver and a dog and an orca.

I was thinking that might be a case of a mama orca protecting its baby. But D, who sent the link, points out that the diver in the black suit and the swimming black dog both resemble nice, tasty seals …

Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.