It was early morning as the Shaman set out from the village heading for the forest. As he approached the pool just outside the village, he saw a now familiar figure. It was the boy he had met there twice before.
The boy held a stick in each hand and was banging them together, moving from one foot to the other. At first the Shaman thought he was dancing, but as he got closer, he noticed that rather than being joyous, the boy's face and body language showed great effort and tension.
"What are you doing?" he asked the boy.
"I am trying to knock this stick out of my hand. My mother caught me playing with a stick and told me it was dangerous. She told me to get rid of the stick. So I picked up this other stick and knocked the first stick out of my hand. But then I was left with this stick in my other hand. I cannot go home with this stick. My mother will not allow it. So I have picked up the first stick again and now I am trying to knock this stick out of my hand."
The Shaman smiled to himself. He was beginning to really enjoy this boy.
"Why don't you just drop both the sticks?" the Shaman asked.
"Drop them?" answered the boy. "I am sorry, but I do not know what the word 'drop' means."
The Shaman bent down and picked up two stones. He stood up and held out his hands, at first clasping the stones tightly. Then he opened his hands and let the stones fall to the ground.
The boy looked on, astonished. Maybe it seems stupid if you know about dropping but he had simply never considered this possibility. For a while he stood there. There was a lot of tension on his face and the Shaman could see that he was still holding on tight, still clasping the sticks. He was trying hard to drop them instead of simply dropping them.
"Just relax," the Shaman said to the boy. "You must relax your hands totally. Don't try. Don't make an effort of it. Just let go."
More minutes passed. The Shaman kept perfectly still, waiting. Then finally, suddenly, the boy got it. He let go and both sticks fell to the floor simultaneously.
"Ha ha!" shouted the boy. "I did it! I did it!" he laughed and began to dance around the sticks.
"Now pick them up and do it again." the Shaman said. "Quickly, or you will lose it."
The boy did as he was told. He did it several times until it became instant and effortless for him, just as it was for the Shaman. Then the Shaman went over by the nearest trees and found himself two sticks.
"Join me!" he said. The Shaman began to dance, banging his sticks together. The movement was like that of the boy when he had first noticed him. But with a joy, with a spring in the step, a smile on the face and relaxation in his body. He banged his sticks together as part of the dance. "Join me!" he said once more.
The boy joined in and together they danced and laughed.
"Now you have learned to drop," the Shaman said, "You can pick up and play with the sticks whenever you want."
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