Did you have a mother or grandmother who always offered everyone a cup of tea in times of trouble? “Here dear, sit down and have a cup of tea, it will make things better.”
I often accepted the cup of tea, not thinking for a minute that it would make any difference to how I felt, but doing it instead because it was going to make my grandmother feel better, not me!
sinceri-tea n. the quality of being open and truthful while drinking tea
It started me reflecting on the value of having a cup of tea when there was something bothering me. Only now do I realise that those cups of tea with my grandmother had nothing to do with the cup of tea itself – it had to do with the company, with the conversation that took place over the cup of tea.
In the fast paced 21st century, we don’t often feel like we can make the time to sit down and have a cup of tea, let alone brew a proper pot of tea. But I’ve been pondering on how this might affect our health and wellbeing. Just the act of slowing down enough to partake in the ritual of making tea – and taking the time to connect with a friend or family member in a sincere conversation can provide us with an opportunity for more meaningful relationships.
Preparing tea is a ritual. It starts with filling the kettle and bringing it to a boil while you add the tea leaves to the teapot and get the cups and saucers out of the cupboard. Then you fill the teapot and wait patiently while the tea leaves steep. Depending on the season, you may have added a tea cozy to keep the pot warm. Then there is the gentle tipping of the teapot so that only the perfectly brewed tea comes out the spout, not the leaves. By now, you’ve had a good opportunity to become very present in your body, some people call this conscious presence – when the mind is totally focused on what the body is doing and not wandering off into the past or the future. Time seems to expand when I am consciously present.
Making tea is a beautiful way to set our self up for what is to follow – time with another, or perhaps just our self if we are home alone. In either case, we can still embrace the quality of being open and truthful while we sip the cup of tea.
How might our sense of wellbeing improve if we reclaimed the importance of making a pot of tea and having an open and truthful conversation with someone, or even our self?
Perhaps we shouldn’t save those cups of tea for times of trouble, but instead engage in the art of sinceri-tea as part of our Wellness Program.
Gayle C, Australia