Saturday, January 19, 2013

Freedom in Mistakes

Hishaku, water ladle
I made tea for a number of guests last night using one of the Japanese Tea Ceremony procedures I'm learning.  I made lots of mistakes.  LOTS.  I put utensils in the wrong place, I handled the hishaku all wrong - oh my!, I forgot the procedure, I used the wrong words.  In short, I bumbled along.  And it was wonderful!

I have excuses, of course, but they don't matter.  I made many mistakes and it was fine!  As a recovering Type A, living through this is profound.  I loved the experience even though my hands were shaking and I made a "mess" for myself.  The sky didn't fall, I didn't get in trouble, and most importantly, the guests enjoyed their bowls of tea.   

Handling the hishaku has been one of the most difficult things for me to learn
Here's the irony:  I am so motivated to try again, in a child-like gleeful way.  Please, please, please let me do it again!   I know where at least some of my mistakes were and I bet I'll avoid them next time.  It was a breakthrough moment because it allowed me to live through fears of my making.  The mistakes didn't hurt.  Learning chanoyou is partly about learning the procedures and partly about learning to trust

In fact, many of the guests thanked me for the beautiful demonstration.  They weren't criticizing my every move, but rather being present in the moment with me.  Isn't that a wonderful gift!?!  I am honored to have shared my less-than-perfect making of tea with these generous guests.  Through it all, I kept reminding myself to focus on the big picture, a good bowl of tea.

"The Way of Tea is naught but this: first you boil water, then you make the tea and drink it."  
~Se no Rikyu


Marilyn said...

I love this, Stephanie!
Done with so much GRACE!
And the learning and making mistakes is part of the fun.
Thanks for sharing this with us.

jan e. said...

Having been there, the experience was one of tranquility and learning for all of us.........we loved learning from you, Stephanie.
And Margie's style of teaching promotes the love of tea and the willingness of learning through mistakes!

Linda at Friendship Tea said...

Wish I could have been there!

Margie Yap said...

I am so glad you blogged about this experience. As Minako sensei says,
"If you are going to make a mistake, make it beautifully." And of course mistakes are just opportunities to learn.

cha sen said...

That's a great sentiment, "learning to trust" others and yourself through the practice of chanoyu.

Steph said...

Thank you all for your encouragement!

Angela McRae said...

A fellow perfectionist, eh? Good for you for not giving up -- and I love the gracious responses of your friends. Well done ... all of you!

amherstrose said...

Self discovery comes in stages and remember mistakes are proof that you are trying.

Thank you for sharing this step in your journey. It reminded me that I need not be seeking perfection. The idea of perfection is so imperfect and I will try to focus on the effort and intention.

Sending a hug.

Karen said...

Wonderful post, Steph!