One of the simple joys in my life is having a good cup of afternoon tea. I go through my little ritual; heating the water in a sauce pan, selecting one of the good teas my son bought me, opening the industrial strength steel canister, and inhaling deeply. Ahhh....
I put a couple of tablespoons of Jade Citrus Mint in my personal Teavana steeper, and slowly fill it with the hot water, making sure to enjoy the hissing and popping sounds the water makes as it goes over the super-heated side of the saucepan. The clear steeper allows me to watch the loose tea swirl and slowly sink as it transfers its essence to the water. I place the tea maker on top of my NPR mug, and watch it drain soundlessly, leaving the soaked bits of lemongrass, verbena, and green tea behind. I carry the cup to my desk and let it cool off a bit for a minute or two. The slowly rising steam is mesmerizing and comforting.
Even before I have taken one sip I have already “experienced” the tea. It may not be a Japanese Chanoyu tea ceremony, but most of the joy gained in having that cup of tea happened well before that first taste. My daughter calls it “living on the cusp”. Perfect.
Like the distant train that is sensed well before it arrives, the thunderstorm 10 miles off, or the morning sunrise, life is filled with events we experience well before their actual arrival. And our rituals in advance of these events make them more enjoyable. Wine tastes better when we toast beforehand, and meals are more delicious when we pause to say grace.
Let's enjoy life more fully by slowing down our racing minds, become mentally quiet, and fully take in what is to come. Let's live in the present, but enjoy the preludes around us; the pre-sunrise morning light, the distant thunder, and the warmth in our hearts before we see a loved one.
And let's make ourselves some good tea slowly, and take time to watch the steam rise.