Thursday, July 14, 2011

Morning Tea

I made my self a cup of tea this morning. This was on the whole nothing unusual; the point was that I took the time to boil the water on the stove, use loose leaf tea, and let the tea leaves soak for the recommended four minutes. Yes, this is how tea is supposed to be made.

When I lived in Japan, I was fortunate enough to attend a formal Tea Ceremony. The ritual of making and honoring the tea is a meditation. Giving thanks to the fire that boils the water and that forged the tea pot, honoring the clouds that give us rain for the water that not only makes the tea we drink but grows the tea leaves. The ceremony is designed to slow each step down of making the tea, to focus on each motion involved, to concentrate to the point of exclusion. And once the tea is made, drinking the tea becomes an art, a dance, too. In the tea ceremony, one does not gulp the tea, while dipping a donut in it. Holding the cup, raising the cup to your mouth is done in full consciousness, feeling each muscle as the cup rises to your lips, feeling the warmth of the cup in your hands.

Drinking tea is a meditation. And I wanted to return to that this morning.

Before the lay-off, when I was working, I would grab a cup, put some tap water in it and stick it in the microwave for 90 seconds. Grab a tea bag from the cupboard, dunk it in the cup a couple of times, pour some milk in it and rush out the door. The odds were fifty/fifty whether I would finish that cup of tea before lunch. I was so busy at work. I never took the time to slow down and treat the tea (and myself) with honor.

In my kitchen I have one cupboard dedicated to teas, not by choice. It's just that I have never taken the time to slow down, make that cup of tea, then drink it. Oh, I have good intentions. But it never seems to happen. So today, I thought I would make myself that cup of tea.

I have the time to slow down. I have time to boil the water. I have time to feel the warmth of the cup in my hands. I have the time to honor the fire, the water, the earth that grew the tea leaves, the sun that nurtured the tea. I have the time to honor me.

Did you take the time to do something special to honor you today? Let me know. We all need to take care of ourselves in small and big ways.

© pranaknits

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