The Magnet

Nov 20, 2023 | Mindful Kitchen Practices, Watch

How can we practice and embody a way of living with less effort and conscious and effective actions?

Wu wei: Effortless Living

Wu wei, which means in Chinese “inexertion”, “inaction”, or “effortless action” is the key concept at the heart of the philosophy of Daoism. Is not about doing nothing. Rather, it’s about doing things more effortlessly.

Easy to say, different in practice. Many of us, grew up with the mindset that we need to succeed at all costs in different areas of our lives. We spend our 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s overworking and at some point when we arrive at our late 40’s we start questioning the way we have been living. At that time, we realise we need to adjust some aspects of our lives and re-train ourselves to cultivate different behaviors. And here it comes one stone in the path: 

Behavior change is complicated and complex because it requires a person to disrupt a current habit while simultaneously fostering a new, possibly unfamiliar, set of actions (University of Utah). 

What it means is that because we have been overdoing for years, it takes time and training for the mind to recalibrate and rewire our patterns to start living following the Dao. When following the Dao, we have complete  control over ourselves and all our senses and at the same time we are less tense, less insecure, and less serious. At the end, we do what we have to do but we don’t end up exhausted. We feel invigorated and fresh.

From theory to practice

Well, around 10 years ago, while diving into Anthroposophy, the book “The Fourfold Path to Healing” by Thomas Cowan and Sally Fallon, landed in my hands. Along with a lot of practices, I found the practice of the Magnet under the chapter “Healing the emotional body”. 

In practicing the Magnet, the emotional body experiences a periferical stimulus, independent of one’s emotional state. The movement is a release rather than an effort and the result is a proper posture and improved flexibility of the spine, and blood supply to the entire body. Proper posture also strikes a balance between gravity and levity. Excerpt from the book.

This practice is rooted in the concept that the way we move is dictated by how we feel, and not only reflects how we feel, it can determine the way we feel. This means that by altering the way we move, we can alter how we feel. How powerful is this!

This video is an invitation to experience both gravity and levity in order to enjoy the full dimension of feelings. Gravity is accepted as a force by science because it is a measurable “given.” Levity on the other hand is, by nature, infinite and thus cannot be measured by instruments that are limited. Levity is not a “given.” It is an invitation. 

Wu Wei during Menopause

Then, to embrace the art of effortless living and reshape the way we will live our menopausal years, we need practice. The Magnet exercise can be done in your kitchen! Practice, practice and practice until your emotional life reflects itself in graceful, easy movement.