I don't know how to find the words that will suffice to say how Tea came into my life, how She welcomed me without judgment, held me in Her arms, rocked me as I cried, filled my broken heart with joy, love and forgiveness and then began to speak through me with a calmness and steadiness I had never known. How do I describe the great emptying that occurred within me? How all that I had grown to know and understand about myself evaporated like the ocean into the sky, then poured down with greater understanding, more love, more forgiveness and then evaporated once more?
She came into my life at just the right time, just as I was ready and more than ever in need of a healer and teacher. She came at a time when I had the time. She came to me through the right woman, in the right living room on exactly the right day and hour. Steam rose up with a curl of aloeswood smoke as the sun peeked through the window and glimmered through the haze. Cup after cup of a grounded calm washed over me - a sense I had searched for, unsuccessfully, for a very long time. The impatient child within wanted all the answers at once. How could I have this? How could I, as quickly as possible, find this tea, this teaware and drink tea like this every day? I asked my host, trying to contain my sense of urgency: how? She gracefully and almost silently handed me a Global Tea Hut card. I wanted to ask, "but where are these cups from? This pot? How about the tea?" I took the card home with me and reflected on the experience I'd just had. A message came: "Go slow. If this is for you, you'll know in time." And against my habitual and impatient self, I did.
Almost two years later I am here now, with so much gratitude to be connected to you all through this incredible medicine. I know there are so many ways that Her magic affects us all. Whether it's how She unfurls our hearts as She does Her leaves or allows us to be more grateful for the moon or fresh water in which to swim, She is a bearer of beauty and allows us all to be more present to Great Nature and the bounty of gifts our Mother Earth provides.
I'm grateful for the profound silence I've shared with so many brothers and sisters over Tea. As Master Tsai said during my recent journey to Tea Sage Hut, "I speak too much. I must let the Tea speak now." There is a wild truth to this and it has taught me the power and importance of being present and allowing Tea to speak between souls. Suddenly, the first words you share become something far deeper than a usual first meeting.
In a way Tea has become a place, like a photo book, for beautiful memories in my life. I love to reflect on a welcoming smile from a host or tears in the eyes of a guest. I love remembering how, after serving tea to my family last summer, my aunt was inspired to move through her Tai Qi form at the edge of the lake, after many months of stagnant practice. Songs have been written and stories told, myself as a vessel for Her to express. Her inspiration is endless and the greatest lesson I have learned is that there is no end nor arrival of any kind. She has humbled me to understand that this practice is a process, as am I and all beings and that to be full is only an opportunity to empty once more and begin again.
I could go on and on. But I will leave in saying thank you to Wu De and the whole family at Global Tea Hut for working so tirelessly to keep the fountain of Tea knowledge flowing for us all. Thank you to all of you for sharing your love for the Leaf on the crazy platform of cyberspace we have. If you ever make your way to Toronto, Canada, my door is wide open and a bowl will be waiting for you.