the ritual of the ‘art’ of tea

It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs.
We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so.
It dictates to us our emotions, our passions.
After eggs and bacon it says, “Work!”  After beefsteak and porter, it says, “Sleep!”
After a cup of tea, it says to the brain,
“Now rise, and show your strength.
Be eloquent, and deep, and tender;
see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life:
spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar,
a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you,
up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!”

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

I love tea. Honestly.

I love the actual drink, but more than that, I love the RITUAL of tea.

And I totally believe there’s an art to the ritual of tea…

I love that you have to wait for the kettle to boil. I love that you have to wait while it steeps. I love that you have to wait to sip it in case you burn your mouth.

There’s lots of waiting involved in having tea. It’s a very ‘patient’ ritual. It slows me down. It calms me down.

When I’m at home, here’s how my little tea ritual goes:

  • I pick my tea. Depending on the day, or my mood, it ranges from green, to peppermint, to chai, to chamomile, to any concoction of bits I might have laying around…
  • I boil the kettle. I stand and wait. I like that it slows me. I can feel myself physically relax. I don’t do anything else while the kettle boils, I actually watch and wait. (I know! Who does that?!)
  • I pick my cup for the day. Sometimes it’s my fun ‘owl and pussy cat’ pottery mug. Sometimes it’s my gorgeous white cup and saucer set, or a special cup and saucer set my lovely Sarah gave me which she used to use. All of my favourite cup options are the ones that have been gifts, and usually pre-used: they have special meaning to me.
  • I carry the teapot and my cup of choice upstairs to my balcony.
  • I usually DO NOTHING while I drink tea(even if just for the first cup). I sit and listen. There’s usually a light breeze, and birds, and sometimes a far-away ferry beeping on the harbour. Sometimes voices from the street behind us, but mostly not.
  • I sip slowly. I concentrate on FEELING the tea going through my body. I know. Weird. But I love it.
  • Usually I’ll meditate… not my usual type of meditation – but definitely a focus. And a stillness.
  • I finish the whole cup. I like the completeness of it all. It’s the ritual in it’s entirety. Definitely the whole of the process. And I like that it’s ‘whole’… for the fullness of the word itself…

Tea. Sometimes I feel like it saves me from myself. Dramatic much? Probably. But that’s me… so I go with it.

Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.  Author Unknown

We had a kettle; we let it leak: Our not repairing made it worse. We haven’t had any tea for a week… The bottom is out of the Universe. Rudyard Kipling

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. Japanese Proverb

Tea…is a religion of the art of life. Okakura

Tea seems less aggressive than coffee, which is a nasty person’s drink. The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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4 thoughts on “the ritual of the ‘art’ of tea

  1. I’m a huge fan of the ritual of tea as well.

    I love how the ritual can remain the same, even though the type of tea can change depending on your mood. I pick between green, Earl Grey, chai and peppermint, depending how I feel.

    Tea calms me. My favourite place to drink it is at my desk. When all the chaos of work gets to my head, I can sip a tea and know that everything will be OK.

    Great post xxx

  2. jo, you must meet my gorgeous friend Phillipa Finch! She loves tea too (perhaps you’ve already met her: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/phillipafinch/). In truth, I only really know Phillipa through her brilliant creator, my dear friend Emma Magenta… but Phillipa is a kindred soul for all who love tea! hope you like her x

  3. Pingback: MINXY LINKS | April 28 | No. 10 « Renegade Princess

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