The Art of Wu Wei

cherylby Cheryl McNulty, LMP, Mind Body Spirit Fusion Union

You’ve heard the expression, “go with the flow”, but few can really understand or internalize the concept. Wu–wei is a state of mind or realization that when we are on the right track in our lives, things are easy and effortless. The idea of wu-wei is not to literally do nothing, but to know when something in your life is a struggle and when to let go. We are so often in our lives doing what we think we “should” do without taking into consideration if it’s congruent with what makes us healthy and happy. Our lives are filled with work, goals and accomplishments that are designed to get us more “things”.

Yet, how many of us are truly happy doing the work, reaching the goals or accomplishments in order to obtain things that we really don’t need?

Wu-Wei is about allowing yourself to let go of things that don’t serve a purpose in your life. Many of us tend to replay the past and worry about the future. There’s nothing you can do to change the past and how the future plays out is beyond our control. What we really need to do is focus on the present, to engage in the moment, and enjoy focusing on the tasks at hand and connecting with those around you.

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu related the concept of wu-wei when he explained, “Nature does not hurry, yet all things are accomplished.” When what you do is in direct alignment with your individual contribution to this life, then what you do becomes exhilarating and joyful even though the work may be physically or mentally demanding.

Unfortunately, when situations arise that put one in a position of doing whatever it takes to pay the bills and put food on the table, the last thing to consider is personal happiness. It’s not necessary in most cases to quit your job and move to a tropical island. Small changes in your life can have a huge impact. Get rid of excess items in your environment that are unnecessary, rethink relationships that aren’t working, take up a hobby that makes you feel better about yourself. In time you may be able to take a leap of faith, listen to your inner voice, let go of something major in your life and know that it will be replaced with something better. Life really isn’t supposed to be as difficult as we make it out to be.

Cherish the moments that you have to be good to yourself and others, and life may become much easier for you. When we are so caught up the struggle of daily living, we miss out on opportunities to create joy and happiness. Why push the river when you can go with the flow?


mbsfu_logo_art_225_207_xxMind Body Spirit Fusion Union is a trade association for alternative and complementary healers in northwestern Washington. Monthly meetings focus on personal and professional development, networking, and supporting the community we live in. For more information, see, and go to to read more articles.


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