Bending spoons with 'woo-woo'
I'd heard of BYOB (bring your own booze), but never BYOS (bring your own spoon), until I did a course on bending spoons with your mind. Or as I like to call it, Jedi Mind Tricks 101.
Kerstin Waddell is a life coach in Cape Town. Bending spoons is just one of the tools she explores, alongside equus therapy (using horses). Joining us is Ian Waddell, personal trainer and Kerstin's husband. This is his second go, having been unsuccessful last time.
"I was totally open to it," he says. "This other guy, there with his girlfriend, arrived late, was cynical, not interested. He bent a spoon. I was annoyed he could and I couldn't."
Stefan Graebe will join us later. He's also a business and life coach.
I'm confused. Are we bending spoons with our hands or our minds? Apparently both. This isn't magic or a trick. At the start we try to bend spoons with our hands. Sure, you can bend the head with great effort, straining and grunting. None of us can twist our spoons in loops. The course trains hands and brain to work together so bending a spoon becomes effortless.
It's like walking on hot coals - you're not levitating, it's still your feet on coals, much like this is still your hands on steel, but now there's technique and mindset involved.
Part of the secret is just that, The Secret, that annoying 2006 bestseller about the law of attraction. We watch a brief (thank goodness) clip, which I'm irked to admit makes sense. Then we do Qigong, ancient Chinese postures, breathing and focused intention.
Kerstin says you don't have to be an SSP (super-spiritual person), which is a relief - the only thing spiritual about me is whisky. She also says this isn't "woo-woo", but it is a little woo-woo - one exercise is called "moon circles". We're asked if our palms feel hot? Mine do. But maybe they've always been hot and I've just never focused on them.
We pair up for an exercise in intent. I succeed when I ignore my "opponent" and focus on my hands. Ian reaches for a spoon and bends it easily. "How'd you do that?" I ask. "I just thought about bringing my hands together, and not the spoon," he says, as surprised as I am.
Stefan arrives. He doesn't just bend spoons, he twists them in knots, effortlessly. "Is it strong forearms?" I ask. But getting that angle with normal force isn't possible. I touch his knotted spoon and burn my finger.
While they're chatting I channel intention. When I open my eyes I've bent my spoon all the way back.
"How did I do that?" I ask. "With your mind," Stefan says.
"What can you apply this to?" Kerstin says, "Where are you trying to push something with the wrong force?"
"You need to translate this into something useful instead of just ruining spoons," Stefan says.
Kerstin equates "effortless effort" to the gentle power of Madiba or Gandhi. "Far more effective than aggressive power." Maybe our next president should be able to bend a spoon with his mind before we vote for him.