Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Inspiring Thoughts on Tea

This is from The Book of Awakening, Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, by Mark Nepo. It is entitled Making Tea. Enjoy!
If we stop to truly consider it, making tea is a miraculous process. First, small leaves are gathered from plants that grow from unseen roots. Then boiling water is drained through the dried leaves. Finally, allowing the mixture to steep creates an elixir that, when digested, can be healing.
The whole process is a model for how to make inner use of our daily experience. For isn't making tea the way we cipher through the events of our lives? Isn't the work of sincerity to pour our deepest attention over the dried bits of our days? Isn't patience the need to let the mixture of inner and outer brew until the lessons are fragrant and soothing on the throat? Isn't it the heat of our sincerity that steams the lessons out of living? Isn't it the heat of those lessons that makes us sip them slowly?
Yet perhaps the most revealing thing about all this is that none of these elements alone can produce tea. Likewise, only by using them together, can we make tea of our days and our sincerity and our patience. And none of it is healing without a willingness to drink from the tea of life.
* Slowly, and symbolic care, make a cup of tea.
* As the tea is steeping, be mindful of your life and how you bring your sincerity and patience to bear on your days.
* Sip slowly and feel gratitude coat your throat.

Hand tied green tea with red clover in center, expanding

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Green tea, hand tied with a red clover in center

Tea Tasting with the Formula 1 Crew

I had so much fun hosting a recent tea tasting! Four friends and I gathered on a Monday afternoon (the day after the Formula 1 race) to inspect several different teas. The crew was an interesting mix: graphic designer, italian car mechanic, engineering student, PhD student, and me. A commonality among all of us was an appreciation for tea and chocolate (especially French Silk pie!).

We tasted 6 teas total. We started with a white tea, tightly hand shaped (in little spirals). This special tea was called 100 Monkeys. Then we moved to a tied green tea, with a red clover inside. This tea opened as it steeped to reveal the clover. I don't know much about this tea, as it was a gift from a friend who had visited China. The third tea was Gen Mai Cha, a green tea with toasted brown rice. The fourth tea was the lovely oolong, Bai Hao. The last tea in the tasting was an aged Pu-Erh. After reviewing each of these teas, we had a nice lunch. With lunch, we sipped Iced Wine tea.

The conversation was fascinating. I learned much about Formula 1 racing, and this year's political and safety issues with the race.

Thanks to my visitors for the wonderful company. I hope it can be a yearly event!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Goldie, a miniature horse (and a princess!)

Antique brass tipping teapot with warmer

Tea and Horses

I've just returned from spending a weekend in one of my favorite places on earth: the Rafter M horse farm and therapeutic riding center. I have spent many happy hours of my life there!

On this particular visit, I was honored to host a tea party for volunteers of the therapeutic riding program. The riding program serves the physically and mentally disabled. The program is so inspiring!

As decoration, we used an antique brass teapot with a warmer (see photo) that is hinged so that it tips. We also used some of my friend's family heirloom plates and nut dishes. The tea party was lively and fun!

Also during this visit, I had a rare opportunity: time to sit and do nothing with my hosts. This is rare indeed, as running a farm means that there is always something to be done. However, on this particular Sunday, it was raining heavily and we sat on the front porch and relaxed. A nice surprise for us all!

That afternoon,the rain stopped and I was able to help with Goldie, a miniature horse (see photo). Goldie is learning to pull a tiny little cart. She's precious, and well mannered! She just doesn't like to step on dark spots in the road. >-)

Thank you to the Rafter M Therapeutic Riding Center for the service, kindness, and care it provides in our world!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tea with friends at Abbey Gardens

Treasured Tea Time

A week ago I was in sunny Arizona for a business conference. To my delight, I was able to sneak in time for tea (at Abbey Gardens) with friends. This was particularly special to me because I no longer see these friends as often as I would like. We're scattered across the US.

What a gift, truly, to spend an easy hour with friends at tea. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Do Less with More

Drinking Picasso Soiree, a gift from a friend. An intensely caramel scented tea.

I'm practicing doing fewer things. This is tough for me, as I'm generally a "joiner" kind of gal. I like to volunteer and sign up for things! I also know well the discomfort of being overextended. So I'm working very hard to say "no" more often. My thought is that I will do less, but with more energy, more positiveness, more anticipation, more creative ideas. I'll have more of me to bring because I'm not spread in too many other places.

So far, so good - tho I have been challenged! For example, I've said no to a committee at my church. Instead, I said yes to a "greeter" role that requires no more of my time than an ordinary service.

This concept extends beyond my time, to my resources. I said no to a great eBay deal on my favorite china pattern (Old Country Roses) - and it was a sweet deal! However, if I bought it, then I'd have to store it, and I'm trying to downsize. I need the space (physically and mentally) more than I need the teacups. I can own less, but enjoy it more.

How can you do less with more? Wouldn't it be cool if Americans did this, in general? If we did less shopping, less buying, less complaining...and had more of our true, uncommercial selves to give?