Ahhh, tea. Just the words create an image in my mind of relaxation and private time; time to reassess my day and let go of all my concerns and stresses. Tea is a means of experiencing the essence of nature and infusing ourselves with her soothing, healing spirit. It stimulates our senses and signals our minds to refocus. Making myself a cup of tea has become a port key to an alternate state of mind and a conditioned reflex for letting go of life’s worries.
In my late teens and early twenties, I enjoyed exploring the wide range of new and popular tea blends. I felt somehow elegant, taking time out for tea and giving myself permission to do nothing else but sit and experience my sensory responses. It seemed I had a special secret, and an interest that separated me from my peers. I felt I had found a mystical pathway to self knowledge and a unique niche of my own.
As I grew older, stopping for tea became the necessary reprieve at the end of the day; A time to relax after my many chores and errands, time after the children were fed and bathed and sleeping sweetly in their beds. I remember my pleasure at the feel of the cup, the smooth roundness of the porcelain filling my palms and warming my tired hands. I would sit for a moment, taking in the aroma of my warm cup of indulgence, and then slowly take the first sip; the warmth spreading over my body like a comforting blanket. Almost immediately, the concerns of my day seemed less and my mental load lighter. I found myself able to slow my spinning thoughts and let go of my body’s tension, and from this perspective, see the circumstances of my life more clearly. I found that I was able to step back from problems and see them with less emotional attachment, and therefore make better, more rational decisions about them.
Stopping for tea has kept me sane, or at least mostly sane, throughout the difficulties and trials of my life. It has been my prompt to step back when I feel overwhelmed and to think through my life’s situations before I acted rashly. It has been my passageway to a private peace that has allowed me to reset my brain and refresh my body, and to begin again with a new perspective. It has healed my physical ailments and those of my children without the side effects of many drugs. Tea has been a lifelong companion and is responsible for one of my most valuable gifts; the numerous friendships developed and strengthened over many a shared cup.