Sunday, January 13, 2013

Taking Time for Tea

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” 

I don't usually take time to sit and sip tea.  I gulp down coffee at my desk and work or stride purposefully down the hallway with my "sippee cup" of hot water and lemon on my way back to the classroom.  Just sitting to sip and savor, however, is something I've not done in a long time.

Tea is becoming a ritual for me now that I have gone into hibernation mode after my surgery.  Frankly, there's not much I can do but station myself somewhere either sitting or lying down and read or write or  just be.  I've been doing all three a great deal more than I have in years.

Having a pot of tea steaming beside me, having my hands curled around a hot ceramic mug, letting the sweet heat touch my lips and feeling the gentle glide down my throat, so unlike coffee, all makes me happy and grateful.

So many simple things to be grateful for.  My big picture has faded so much in this last month and I am just working on being grateful for each small mercy: my bed is warm, my students love and miss me, my wounds have nearly healed, my children's laughter, Neil Young or Handel or Ella Fitzgerald filtering through the sound system giving spirit to long hours of solitude.

And, of course, the mercy of people helping me.  My pride and my ambition has to all be set aside as I ask for drinks, for sandwiches, for help picking things up off the floor I dropped, for changing wounds, for helping me put on socks.  It's an endless list and a constant stream of "please" and "thank yous" that spill out of my mouth, sincerely meant, but, oh, so constant and pedantic, almost.

I've become so insulated in this small bubble of taking care of myself  - everything takes at least three times as long and is so painstakingly done, with acute attention to detail.  Yet through these small, mundane tasks I've become so opened up.  The universe has expanded for me as I have sequestered myself, and I see more and more the essence of each moment and less and less the ambition and need to grasp at what I can't have, at least not in this moment.

There are small things I want to do - sort through files, clear a chest of drawers, organize my bedside table, and I can't do them yet.  They seem so simple and it's easy to be frustrated by my dependence.

But a cup of tea dissolves that frustration and brings me back to where I am.  Right here.  Messy or disorganized, neat or tidy, it doesn't matter much.  Just here sipping tea.

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