Truly Powerful People (331)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

In his chapter on Taoism, Eric Weiner writes about Wu-wei: “Wu-wei is actually ‘effortless action.’ It’s the difference between making things happen and letting them happen.” I read the chapter this morning and recognized a theme for me in early 2012. Wu-wei is popping up everywhere!

Scott and I recently talked about the difference between soulful action and willful action. Soulful action is Wu-wei.

When I paint, I know I am in the “zone” when the painting comes through me, when I am merely the conduit. I am not trying to make anything happen. It is almost as if I follow; there is no thought, no pushing, no sorting, no composing. Flow is Wu-wei.

In coaching classes for the past few weeks we’ve been discussing the difference between acting according to “what wants to happen,” and trying to force things to happen.

In Tai chi class, we practice letting the energy move us instead of trying to move the energy. Tai Chi is the practice of Wu-wei.

I suspect Wu-wei means to step out of the story of struggle. Today, I was late meeting a friend for lunch. If I hit a red light I’d tell myself a story of being blocked. If I hit a green light, I’d tell myself a story of good fortune! “What great luck!” I’d think. Being “late” was a story (in fact, I got the restaurant before my friend). Being “blocked” by a red light was a story. “Good fortune” in a green light was a story. All was willful action, pushing to make something happen. None of it mattered outside of my mind.

Here’s the paradox: effortless action is something I strive for. Funny, yes? I am most alive when I am stillness in action. I am learning not to strive but to allow.

Eric Weiner continues his thought: “Wu-wei means approaching life less like warfare and more like navigation.” Who doesn’t want to bury the sword, call a truce between the factions in the inner warfare and instead pick up a compass? Woo Wee!

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