In the hurried world of all our lives, there is also a deep need to stop. To reflect. To breath. To live. To have our five senses unite as one. That time is now.
Stopping is novel to most of us but not to be feared. Good by nature, it brings health to the bones, quiet alertness to the mind and relaxation to the lungs and spirit. We need it. It’s difficult to get that while chasing the ten-thousand things. This is a great opportunity for us, this… stopping.
Tea has always been a deep well of stop. It invites us into stillness and accentuated attention. Progressively, it enlivens our sense of smell, touch, sight, hearing and listening with the elemental “stuff” of the entire world*. It's somehow deeply good. It rings true.
Tea is a direct participation with nature - the leaves, of course are not separate from the web of life that surrounded the tea bush and and also the chosen process methods of the farmer who picked and roasted it. This goes way beyond taste, smell and flavor. You can actually get a sense of the soil, the sunshine, the mist and the rain. Tea can be a communion with a very specific part and the nod to the whole of nature.
Tea is social. Spending time with those around you, drinking tea is also a deeply good thing. In these trying times, you may consider spreading your gongfu set out for the family, pouring them your best shots telling your kids how you got into tea. It's pretty great. I've heard many stories from our tea friends that they developed a love for tea from an uncle, or a Grandfather or someone who told them stories about the tea acquired from a far-off distant land.
After some time has passed I think we will all be glad we were forced to stop during the Great Quarantine of 2020. I recently heard comedian Adam Carolla’s perspective on this situation. He compared it to prison time. He said to “do the time, and don’t let the time do you”. He pointed out that there are those who come out of isolation with “a great novel” and a good and lasting new perspective. I hope that’s us tea friends because the opposite is possible if we are not vigilant. Stay positive!
I love this poem first published in 1869 and reprinted during the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1919. We've been here before. This is nothing new.
"And people stayed at home
And read books
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed."
- Kathleen O’Mara
I’d like to leave you with a photo of a tea market. I found this on Reddit. I’ve never been to this tea market (in fact I never go to tea markets as our teas are farm direct) but it’s inspirational nonetheless. It’s a picture of the Fuding Tea Market in Fujian, China within the last few days as the Corona Virus isolation is lifting there.
I love the energy. That will be us soon. But for now. Please stop deeply and give balance to the hurry. We need it.
If you are bankrupt or displaced and good tea would help your life, please email me. I have some to spare.
For everyone else, we are now running a very special 15% discount. Use code #thegoodstop at checkout.
*In Chinese philosophy the 5 elements are fire, water, earth, metal and wood (Wood feeds the fire that excites the water contained in the kettle poured into the earthen vessel contain the tea leaves ;)
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