Natural Magic (with Chopsticks)

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One afternoon I got lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant in town that I’d never visited before. Soon after sitting down, I decided that this was going to be the first meal that I finished using nothing but chopsticks (which I’d performed pretty ineptly with in the past).

This wasn’t the easiest dish to try the experiment with, either, as it consisted of long rice noodles, crushed peanuts, shredded lettuce, carrots and cucumbers shaved thin, and small slices of grilled chicken. I began in my typical fumbling manner. I was determined, though, to meet this challenge that I’d playfully set for myself.

Mid-way through the meal I suddenly realized that I’d spent the last several minutes in a kind of right-brained reverie, just daydreaming as I ate. During this period of time I’d had no trouble with the unfamiliar utensils at all, but had just gone along as easily as if I’d been using a spoon and fork. I was amazed to notice that I’d finished off half of the bowl without thinking about it.

Then, once I did become self-conscious about the action once more, it immediately became more difficult. I had to laugh to myself when I thought about the contrast between this and my previous fluid performance, when I’d managed to forget for a while my belief in my own clumsiness and just let my hands act out of their own natural grace.

In Trust in the Unseen, my protagonist (and narrator) Brandon Chane learns to more deeply trust the natural movements of his being and, in so doing, ends up delivering the most inspired musical performance of his life.

I just drifted along, my mind in a free-floating space. My thoughts could not attach themselves to facts, certainties or expectations. I learned to just appreciate my questions without demanding that they produce answers. And I came to discover that the deeper region of knowing carries its own form of certainty. It just isn’t arrived at through deduction.

I suppose you could compare it to the phenomenon that sportsmen remark about sometimes: Just knowing that you’re going to sink a basket, or bowl a strike, before the ball even leaves your hand. It’s as if the essential thing, the miracle, has already manifested. It just needs to play itself out in the field of time.

That’s how it was when we played Broomstick Belladonna’s a couple days later. {…}