Our long days of self-isolation and being confined to our homes for all but essentials, provide an opportunity for us to think about what we value most in our lives. A chance to reflect on priorities and spend more time doing the things we love.
But when we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup.”Osho The Art of Tea
Self-isolation can make us live without many of the aspects of life we have always taken for granted. Like the freedom to come and go as we please, stocked supermarket shelves, and being able to see people whenever we want. In this temporary downtime at home we are not rushing off to catch the train or ferry or stuck in traffic or commuting so there may be more opportunity to be more mindful and to use our time for adding that extra refinement to life. For some, this may be more sleep-in time, more time to read or more time to play with the children or more time to cook. We can also take the time to be more grateful for want we have and to spend those extra hours doing what we love.
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”Ernest Hemingway
Rejoice in everything, even in small things. If you start rejoicing, even a cup of tea starts having a sacred significance”Osho
During the week of being locked up overseas, I became very appreciative of the value of being able to put the kettle on any time I liked to enjoy a cup of Tea. This small daily activity may often be taken for granted and once removed, can be dearly missed. Now safely home, I can make tea with a greater sense of mindfulness and appreciation. Tea is a source of comfort creating a sense of inner poise. A solace that helps maintain balance in all life situations.
“There is no need to have any special attitude while drinking except one of thankfulness. The nature of tea itself is that of no-mind.”Pojong Sunim
Now in our own isolation in rural New South Wales, the daily ritual of tea making and sometimes the baking of scones is a special treat and a welcome aspect of the day. Not every day is for baking but Tea is most certainly enjoyed every day.
“The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement.”Arthur Gray
Tea is solace to the mind, it soothes the soul and energises at the same time. It is not just the drinking of tea but also the preparation of doing something for others, sharing the enjoyment, and sitting down together to chat that Tea represents.
We do not need to go as far as having a Japanese Tea ceremony at home every day. However, taking the time to use the family heirloom or vintage teacups or the best china will make the tea an occasion.
Polish the silver teapot, press the fine linens and set a tray or table for tea as a special event. Even by doing a daily ritual of mindfully having your attention on preparing Tea in a Teapot instead of a quick tea bag will enliven the experience s and make us aware of a more refined way of life.
Taking tea with a mindful attitude is the art of slowing down and enjoying doing nothing. Enjoying the taste, the aroma and the solace that tea brings. Listening to all the things you can’t hear.
Cynthia came in quietly and set a cup of tea before him. He kissed her hand, inexpressibly grateful, and she went back into the kitchen. When we view the little things with thanksgiving, even they become big things.”Jan Karon
Take the time to make each encounter special and give yourself the chance to be pampered even when alone and there is no one to make tea for, then do it for yourself – you deserve it. Remember we can still share tea with loved ones when we on facetime, zoom or skype or simply chatting on the phone.
Tea is the next most popular beverage after water across the world. From the vast array of herbal tisanes and floral teas, to American iced teas, to piping hot tea of Japan and China. The strong sweet tea of Ireland or the spiced milk driven chai, or bubble tea in Asia. All tea is good for the soul.
Tea is the body as music is to the soulEarlene Grey
The softer photos above were taken just now as I took a break from writing and made hot, light scones ( if I say so myself), accompanied by piping hot tea served on a white lace cloth and tray. The Cup, Saucer and Plate is a delicate Shelley 1920’s Black and White set. This was probably the best cup of tea we have shared in the last three months due mostly to using such delicate china cups and appreciating the ability to be inside on a cold, rainy day. I can make tea whenever I want. Tea does taste better in vintage, bone china cups, for sure.
Content and Images Di Baker 2020 All Rights Reserved
Title quote by Arthur Gray from The Little Tea Book