As a child I always loved having tea parties with my dad and sisters. I remember waiting to be old enough to use one of my gran's precious porcelain teacups, and feeling so thrilled when the day finally came. I guess in this way, Tea has always journeyed with me. Growing up in the coffee-saturated Pacific Northwest of America, I can't help but see this as being intentional in my life's path.
It wasn't until three years ago, when I was staying in Vancouver, BC and a friend invited me to go to her favorite tea shop in Chinatown, that my heart really opened up to Tea in a whole new way. We stepped into the shop, and a sense of awe washed over me as my eyes began to take in all the beautiful tea and teaware lining the walls of this narrow shop. Daniel, the shopkeeper, and his wife kindly invited us to sit and enjoy tea with them. I discovered for the first time the magic of the Leaf, as they prepared tea gongfu - the steam rising as water poured over the pot, the small cups waiting to be filled with this enchanting elixir...
Shortly after this visit, my partner at the time, Sam, and I moved to Australia, and began researching Tea and tea ceremonies (admittedly, Sam did most of the research, supported by my curiosity and enthusiasm). We started ordering teaware and experimenting with ceremony on our own, and then eventually came across Global Tea Hut. We both felt like this was 'it' - this was the next step in our adventure with Tea, and so we booked our flights to Taiwan in October 2013. Little did we know how instrumental this trip would be in each of our lives.
It was like coming home. I remember the first tea session we had with Wu De in the large tea room at the center, and tears streaming down my cheeks. My heart filled with a sense of knowing and being known. The last of the Four Virtues of Tea is 'Tranquility', described as a sense of oneness and absence of time. In that moment, nothing else in the world matters, only the experience of 'the Now'. And this is what I experienced in that first session at the Hut. All of my life, travels, experiences and relationships became irrelevant in that moment, and all that I was present to was held in the bowl between my palms. Another beginning...
I visited the Hut again in July 2014, and was blessed to host Wu De and Sam (who has now moved to Taiwan to fully invest in Cha Dao) in February while they were in Melbourne as a part of the Australia/New Zealand tour.
Tea has become a primary part of my life, meeting me each morning in my daily practice, and being shared with friends every Friday evening in Melbourne at a lovely teahouse I was blessed to work at last year, and who now generously hosts us each week (shout out to Impala and Peacock Teahouse!). There's always a bowl here for you, too, should you happen to be Down Under. May a thousand, thousand bowls meet you in your paths....
Love & Light,