It was a camping trip around two years ago that changed how I took my tea. One of our cooking utensils is a camping kettle which you fill through the spout and has a whistle that lets you know when the water is ready. As our camping trips use gas for all cooking and boiling of water it’s an old fashioned kettle – no electric! So on the trip I’d put the kettle on, pop a tea bag in the mug and then take a seat and wait for the shrill noise to alert me. During the time of waiting I’d enjoy the view, breathe in the clear air or do a puzzle book or read and generally have some mindfulness time. Spotting various butterflies, birds and bees tripping past. Bliss.
On our return it was back to that quick boil of the electric kettle, throw a tea bag in, chuck the water in, stir and squeeze the bag, grab the milk, remove the bag, add milk…..done phew! And I realised that I was no longer taking the time to “smell the roses”. It was “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” tea.
It was adding to my “bad” health, my general feelings of always being on fast forward, always switched on.
I made a change that has affected a lot of things in my life – I decided to return to an older more relaxed time, a time when tea was savoured. Taking tea was a ritual to be cherished. I went out and bought a whistling kettle that was heated on the hob – Asda if you’re interested – and I’ve not looked back. I now put the kettle on and have time to potter. I can sit and watch the wildlife in the garden, read, write, tidy up some of the bits and pieces that get left when you’re running a household of teenagers! It’s amazing where they leave things around the house – but that’s a blog for another day.
Don’t get me wrong I still use teabags but it’s that slowing of the “rush” of life. It’s similar to when you see a film where the main character is going at normal speed but they have sped everything else up around them. The mayhem of modern life in my tea world is reduced to 0.5 or less normal speed. Bliss.
And I have also returned to the tea ritual of a pot of loose leaf tea. The tea caddy, the tea pot, the tea cosy (always worn on your head after the tea is brewed). Making tea stops the world and I don’t even have to concentrate on mindfulness – I’m in it. Brain in neutral gear, pause button fully depressed and a feeling of time suspended.
And how has that changed other things in my life?
It has just lead to a better understanding of the speed I live my life. I look for the pause button or the slow speed buttons. Where some cameras and DVD players use a picture of a hare and a tortoise to depict fast forward or super-fast forward, I look for the tortoise in activities that can be done in a more relaxed and refined way. It allows my head not to get overwhelmed, not to feel guilty. I’m doing the task and doing it properly but not juggling three other tasks or rushing this one to get to the next one. It’s about smelling the roses in life – we are but here once and it’s those quieter, slower memories that will give us the most bang for our bucks! If someone asks what you’ve done in the last year, you never talk about your work projects but rather your time with family and friends or holidays or weekends. So make the most of that time and saviour the tea ritual.
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