Musings on Tea

β€œWhen tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” β€• Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

There is a certain magic about the art of ‘taking tea’. He world seems to suddenly slow down as I breathe in the aroma before me in a steaming cup of tea. Tea becomes an elixir to my weary mind, my weary body; and in a few brief moments as I silently sip away, it’s as if each and every care is being washed in comfort and rest.

From the initial preparation, each step carefully calculated and focused upon, tea becomes a living, active meditation. 

Tea brings together friends and family, it welcomes strangers and evokes a certain connection and understanding that this moment in the taking of tea we are living fully in the present.

So complex it’s essence yet such a simple indulgence. Very much like humans. We take the time to indulge and embrace one another in our complexity while basking in a deep appreciation of  the beauty in the simplicity of of not only ourselves, but those around us.

  

Don’t be Afraid-Just Start Creating with what you Have

I’m going to be honest.. I am terrified of paint brushes. While facing a blank canvas, paint all laid out, swirling images and ideas fuled with emotion circling around in my mind, I go to grab a paintbrush and suddenly just freeze.

To overcome this blockage, I started painting with my hands. The feel of the paint on my hands, rubbing up against the canvas acts as a distraction while releasing me from that ever annoying infj perfectionism bs.

Some of my favorite pieces were created this way. However I started becoming a bit frustrated that I couldn’t add as much detail at I’d have liked. So this idea came to me to make my own crude brushes out of materials found out in the woods on my property. 

The search in itself was both inspiring and thrilling. Off I went collecting twigs, evergreen, moss, bark and various grasses. After assembling them the kids and I had at it.

What a lovely experience it was, and very non threatening. I also found it interesting trying out the various brushes while creating woodland pieces. 

Go ahead, give it a try! I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy yourself!

   
    
 

Beauty in the Mundane-On Crafting Soap

Sometimes I feel like an outsider. I so enjoy my quiet, peaceful life here in the mountains. One thing I’ve become much more aware over the past two years of escaping the rat race is this deeper sense of appreciation for the simple things. In my previous life I rushed through everything, trying to cram it all in. Now? I am more mindful of even the most mundane. I take it all in and learn so much much from the seemingly small tasks.

I spent the morning making soap. My son was down for his nap and the house was just so quiet. As I prepared the soap, carefully measuring out all of the ingredients I was mindful of the textures and how each new ingredient reacted upon contact with the other; somewhat resistant initially, and then the merging and flow until each separate ingredient became one, in perfect balance. As I added the essential oils of frankincense, Myrrh and cinnamon I deeply breathed in the aroma, first of each oil, and then the combined essence of the three. With appreciation and a warm smile I thanked Mother Earth for providing the plant based colors I carefully blended to create just the right shade of greens and rusts. Berries of Elder and Juniper strategically placed along the top. 

A complicated process…..yes, yet a choice to be made, labor of love, creating something beautiful that not only reaches within the walls of my home, but countless homes throughout the country, perhaps even the world. 

How we set our eyes on end results and often times miss out on the process.  It’s in the process that we become more aware of each nuance, each subtle change, reaction and flow. We often loathe the moments of process in our lives, rushing through, eyes fixed on the result and often times find ourselves somewhat empty in the end. A sort of anticlimactic conclusion that leads us further along on our search for fulfillment.

 As I set the soap molds atop the worn cherrywood windowsill, beneath the ecru antique lace curtains I paused and with a sweet sigh was once again reminded of the depth of beauty and richness in the seemingly mundane.

And of course, the finished product is always an added bonus πŸ˜‰

   
Cypress, white Tea Elderberry dye made from dried, crushed Alffalfa.

 
Frankincense, Myrrh, Cinnamon white tea, dyed with ground annato.

Fireflies and Wishing Stars

The fireflies made their debut tonight. Couldn’t capture them with my phone, but there were so many all around me I couldn’t help but feel special, priveleged even.

As I rocked in my creaky old rocking chair on the deck I made my wish upon a star. I then quickly realized my wish had already come true as peace and love embraced me.
And a deep, profound awareness of what it truly means to live life one moment at a time.