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  • Leslie Deems


Have you ever noticed that when you just take a deep breath, relax, and let go that things seem to fall into place anyway? Sometimes it's not exactly as you had planned it and sometimes it is, but the point is that it works out! The way of "no effort" in Taoist philosophy is not an excuse to do nothing. It's a reminder that there are different kinds of effort, both equally important. In the Western world we place an incredible amount of importance on action. But non-action, or wu-wei, is just as valuable. It's this non-interference that allows things to happen in a completely natural way.

The element of water is an example of wu-wei, unstriving and ever-changing. It is "always benefiting things without claiming credit" and never "contending with creatures." "It is yielding but persistent, soft but strong." "In the end water can wear down the greatest mountains and the hardest rocks."

Ask yourself, in what ways can I practice relinquishing effort? Practice taking a step back and letting go of control so that you may witness how things unfold gracefully in the absence of forcing, pushing, and resistance. Relax into your "beingness" and accept what is occurring in the moment, whatever that may be. I know, easier said than done, but give it a may find beauty there.

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