my day in wu wei

14 Mar

Thanks to rarasaur for the prompt 🙂

This morning, I ran late. I was supposed to bring in some treat for my AP Psychology review session, but I’d forgotten to make something last night. I grabbed some marshmallows, butter and store-brand rice crispies and started stirring.

As I mentioned, I was in a rush. So mine looked nowhere near this perfect. I think I also accidentally used about 30% more marshmallow than the recipe called for. It felt right.

As I mentioned, I was in a rush. So mine looked nowhere near this perfect. I think I also accidentally used about 30% more marshmallow than the recipe called for. It felt right.

According to the concept of wu wei, or nonaction, I did what felt natural: I continued cooking my rice crispy treats despite the (purely metaphorical in this strictly digital age) ticking of the clock. I wound up (pun unintended) leaving the house twenty minutes later than I’d originally planned, and got caught in traffic that made my travel time just over double the norm.

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite this bad. But it felt like it. (Especially when my teacher actually CREATED a grade for being on time today, and gave me a fifty.)

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite this bad. But it felt like it. (Especially when my teacher actually CREATED a grade for being on time today, and gave me a fifty percent.)

Embarrassed, I walked into a silent double classroom where everyone was already taking their test. I went to my teacher to get the materials, and she actually hissed at me:

“You’re thirty three minutes late for the practice test. You only have half an hour to take it.”


When the thirty minutes were up, she told me I had to come in later to finish. Fine. She started up the video the class was to watch, but neglected to give me the question packet. It was probably only because she didn’t realize I was sitting there (I had gone to do the natural thing and engorge myself on the various refreshments), but it certainly went through my mind that she did it to spite me.

I went back later and finished the test without further incident, then headed to the library to complete my Gov-Pol homework. My free period went shockingly slowly. After the second (of four) lunch wave, I asked another student which wave it was just to be sure.

He crinkled his eyebrows at me in that most infuriating way. “That was second period,” he said. “No lunch waves today.”

Well. That’s just peachy… I had finally finished my homework for the class that I had just unintentionally ditched. To top it off, I had actually talked to the teacher earlier that day, so she KNEW I was in school. She must hate me now.

After school, I saw my sisters playing in the yard. One sat on the trampoline, throwing a hard yellow ball at the one with a lacrosse stick. Tor kept missing, and afterwards she swung her stick in anger. I sat out with them on the trampoline, sometimes jumping and sometimes simply basking in the sun. Whatever felt natural.

Trampolines are my favoritest invention in the world. Besides teddy bears.

Trampolines are my favoritest invention in the world. Besides teddy bears.

When the sun began to fade, we went inside. I was just about to go for a run when my dad yelled downstairs that I needed to hurry up.

I had a doctor’s appointment that he’d forgotten to mention. I quickly changed my underwear (the doc probably doesn’t wanna see the ones with a hole in front and a hole in back… I know, I should give this pair up to the trash can gods. It’s just so darn comfortable that I can’t bring myself to do it.) and went mumbling into the car.

It was just a check-up. After lacing up my disposable gown, I got onto the scale and






When the doctor reviewed my height and weight, she informed me that my height was the same as last year. My weight… well, all you need to know is that it went way up. I filled out a mental health questionnaire. It asked about my sleeping and eating habits and whether I feel good about myself. I answered as best as I could.

As she went over it with me, she asked about why I ticked “most days” for undereating or overeating. I explained that I tend to overeat. Then she asked why I also wrote that I feel bad about myself most days. It seemed pretty obvious to me:

“Well,” I explained, “it kinda has to do with the overeating thing.”

She continued reading her survey. When she finished, she concluded, “I don’t think you’re depressed, but you should be careful. Just try to trade an unhealthy snack for some exercise. It’s not gonna happen overnight, but just try.”

So here’s what I don’t understand: according to the principle of wu wei, should I NOT try to exercise more? If I let myself do what comes naturally, my little X on the height vs. weight graph will continue to go up and up and up. Then, knowing me, I’d likely spiral into depression. Why, you ask, would I be unhappy with myself? Because even if I follow wu wei, that doesn’t mean the rest of society will, too.

Maybe I’m just not Tao enough, but I don’t think I could take on society’s scorn without letting it get to me. While action without action sounds nice in principle, I simply can’t see myself being happy with that kind of lifestyle.

I mean, is everyone’s wu wei different? For instance, if we all reached perfect nonaction, would we all eat the same amount? Would we have the same opinions? Would we all be peaceful? I guess the idea is that eventually everything will go back to natural harmony, but I don’t see it. What’s the point of making yourself into a freak if not everyone is willing to commit to wu wei? I mean, doesn’t it only work if everyone does it?

And you can’t really commit to wu wei, either, can you, because then you’re consciously TRYING to have wu wei…. AGH!

I read parts of this once. Or maybe the whole thing... oh, bother.

I read parts of this once. Or maybe the whole thing… oh, bother.

I give up on understanding wu wei. I’ve had it with this post. I’m just gonna go back to writing whatever I feel like writing.

P.S. I also had to get a shot at the doctor’s. Humph. I think I’d rather get tetanus.


7 Responses to “my day in wu wei”

  1. rarasaur March 14, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    I love Pooh and trampolines, too! I think (strictly speaking) that practicing wu-wei would solve the overeating by sheer default of not putting more in your body than your body actually wants… but I’m not the best spokesperson for wu-wei, so don’t take my word for it. 😀 I loved this post though I am sorry you had such a stressful day!

    Thanks for participating in Prompts for the Promptless!!

    • chloeaevm March 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Well, of course you do! Pooh and Trampolines are some of the most loveable things out there. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love Pooh. As for overeating… I suppose that does make sense. But I think there are some psychological/biological factors of eating that are also natural—so even if your body doesn’t NEED food, it still wants it. For instance, when you see food, your biological response is to salivate as preparation for eating. When it becomes the time during which you normally eat, the same thing happens. I think part of it is the fact that we now have much more food available to us than our hunter-gatherer primate ancestors. So I still wonder what would happen. Thanks for your kind comments 🙂 Prompts for the Promptless is such a great idea!

  2. TheImaginator March 14, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I met a personal trainer who told me that losing weight is 20% exercise and 80% what you eat. You could substitute some types of food for fruit and veg, cut down on fruit juice and replace it with water. I personally lost around 20 pounds in two months just by doing this and cutting out potato chips, candy, cookies etc.

    • chloeaevm March 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Wow, congrats! That is actually really impressive. Thanks for the great advice! Sometimes it’s difficult to choose better foods because I live with my parents. They are the ones who ultimately decide on what comes into the house (and therefore into our bellies.) But I can still try! Today’s a new day… here goes nothing.


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    […] target=”_blank”>That Blog About – My Day in Wu Wei […]

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