Last Sunday, I visited the Hidden Peak Teahouse in Santa Cruz. I joined an intro session with David Wright who is passionate about tea. In fact, I could learn about passion from David! He has completely immersed himself in his interest, so much so that I can believe tea is his primary interest and profit second. More on this in another post.
During two hours I got to taste White, Green, Oolong, Black, and Pu-erh tea. During the tasting I learned about the rich history of tea, brewing methods, production of tea, mythology and more. Tea, is a lot like wine, with it’s history and the creation being as much art as science.
The two hours was rich with learning. At some point what struck me about the tasting was how much of the experience was ritual and a practice of being. The lesson I learned was captured when David said the statement, “I pour tea.”
How David served tea was a ritual. Each step of tea is a process in itself with not one goal. Drinking tea became about the process of being present to the art of brewing tea, enjoying each taste and noticing the impact on your body and mood. For me, each tea was different- White made me feel light and relaxed. Green- woke me up. Oolong- was speedy and I felt like I had an allergic reaction. Black- woke me up and was grounding. Pu-erh was grounding and soothing.
For two hours- I drank tea. I left Hidden Peak Teahouse grounded and more open to the moment. This got me thinking.
I pour tea at work.
My practice for the week has been to be present and try to focus on one thing at a time, being completely open to it. It’s easy to multi-task at work, especially in meetings on the phone. Instead of catching up on email, I practiced listening. I realized how hard it is to be present with listening. It was too easy to want to silence all my judgments about the meeting and excuse bad habits by multi-tasking. Just listening opened me to be present and make different decisions and to participate in a new way. It made it less easy to check-out and engage in the systems and continue bad practices.
Presence is our Impact.
Recently I heard an interview with Anese Cavanaugh on the Bulletproof Executive. She believes that our presence is our impact. “Your presence consists of your self-care, your mental presence in the moment, your physical presence (all the way down to your facial expressions), your “leader’s presence” (how others experience you), your attitude, and your intention TOWARDS others.” If we operate from a place of intent and are present in the moment we are more available and more flexible. It creates an opportunity for us to see more choices and have the impact we want in the world.
If I am half listening on the phone, texting, and sending emails I am not present, available or flexible. Why do I do this? Usually it’s habit and fear. I know the more I am present, I can learn and make different choices. That is where change lies. That is where joy lies.
When was the last time you poured tea? Try it. Pick one thing today and just do that. Be curious about the experience like you are doing it for the first time. Make it fun and engage each sense.
I hope you find the joy of pouring tea.
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