Before 2003, I was like most Westerners, especially those raised in the City of Angels, land of movie sound stages, and had never before seen loose leaf tea. To me, tea was merely a bag you haphazardly threw into a mug of hot water (the process redeemed only slightly when said mug was adorned with a cute kitten pawing at a ball of yarn). My dear friend Rachel and her family observed Shabbat every week, and every Friday night I was welcomed to a delicious free meal and a plentitude of Moroccan glasses of tea. Rachel and I would delve into the process of picking a tea pot, selecting a tea, and creating a space to serve. I was blown away by the fact that tea leaves could be steeped more than once. 'You mean to tell me this awesome plant keeps on giving!?' Needless to say, all the Friday nights of my teenage years were spent drinking tea, laughing, and playing monopoly with my best friend and her family!
Years later, Tea came pouring gracefully back into my life at the first annual Spirit Weavers Gathering, by way of Tien Wu. My job at the gathering was to create a playful, engaging and mystical environment for all the little kids there. By the end of my first day, I was coated in red paint, spattered in a colorful sprinkle of yarn and glue, and completely out-numbered by over a dozen energetic kids. Perhaps it was the hidden dashes of terror in my eyes or my zombie-like stance at the following morning's breakfast, but Tien thankfully read my body language. She took my hand and guided me into her Lotus Tea Tent. what happened next is Tea history...
"Where were you when great Mother Earth called?" And with my first bowl of tea, I finally answered. She was hot and direct, carrying with her centuries of wisdom and healing. I could sense she already knew me and suspected this was what love at first sight felt like - love at first sip!! It wasn't until a few months later that an opportunity to study Kundalini yoga and drink tea in Bali emerged, that I really began to proactively seek and follow my new direction. I was itching to get to the East! Tien had spoken to me many times before about the Tea Sage Hut in Taiwan, imploring me to visit the center and meet Wu De and drink tea with him. I booked the yoga retreat with a three-week-layover in Taipei the next day.
When I stepped through the center's doors, I immediately felt at home. I felt my spirit dance, hugging all the empty space between the jars of tea, like old friends embracing after time apart and reeling in the palpable flow of energy in the main teaching and drinking area. Tea spirit lives in all the teaware, the wood tables, and even in the seat cushions! There are two main rules while living in the center, which are painted on the wall above a portrait of the Buddha: "Hug everyone in this house everyday," and "Be in love".
Loving and hugging everyone here has been the easiest rule I've ever had to abide by. My tea brothers here are the most helpful, kind, and honorable men I have ever had the pleasure to be around.
Our journey has just begun, and I will happily uncover Her depths and await Her offerings for the rest of my life. Tea is the root connection, my new friend, and counterpart in life. I suspect She will be the voice that answers back when I ask "Is anyone out there?"
I'd love to share some tea if you live in LA or are visiting. You can contact me at: