Monday, January 7, 2013

A Moment to Savor & Focus

Tea is an easy thing to take for granted - especially when most days I brew a cup in my trusty travel mug and race out the door to work, barely tasting it as I sip it while focused on whatever project I happen to be working on that day. Interestingly, if it's a tea I'm not overly fond of, it takes me longer to finish, but I still really never notice the flavor unless I consciously stop and make a point to take note.

And then there are the lovely late nights when I brew a cup before going to my desk to write. It's a completely different experience - my writing is a job too of course, but it's one that leaves room for taking note of flavors and nuances that don't often reveal themselves in my rushed daytime cups. Interesting how that works, really. I could brew the same tea at six in the morning and again at eleven at night, and it would taste and affect me in completely different ways due to my mood and environment.

The other day, I was trying to make room in my tea cabinet for a new pot my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas, and thinking about how rarely I use any teapot at all. Teacups occasionally come out for those evening and weekend cups, but I honestly can't remember the last time I brewed tea in a pot. Which is sad, considering all of the lovely pots and gaiwans I have to brew in. I normally use a stainless steel steeping basket of some sort, whether brewing in my travel mug or in a teacup, and it's only for ease of use and clean-up.

Again with the rush, rush, hurry, hurry. 

Last year, I carved out a weekly tea time for myself, and promptly let it go as quickly as it came. Why? Plenty of reasons, none of them "good". It's not that I don't drink tea daily anyways - I do, faithfully. It's just the dedicated time for mindful sipping that's been left in the fannings, so to speak. And when I look at my schedule and try to slip it in somewhere, I find myself...unwilling.

Some would think it might be time to just give up and consider tea another mundane part of the daily ritual at this point, and I suppose that's a valid option, but I simply don't want to. Tea, in my opinion, is a beverage uniquely suited to making us step back and pause for a moment during even the busiest of days. And that's what I plan to experiment with beginning this week.

The task is simple. With each cup of tea I drink during the day, I'm going to jot down at least one word to describe the flavor in the very first sip I take. More words are fine if I have the time, but one solitary word is the minimum. At the end of the week, I'll post my thoughts along with the teas I've been drinking - it will be either very dull or interesting, considering I tend to drink the same tea for several days in a row before switching.

It is my hope that these momentary pauses to savor and focus will infuse the average day with something...more, and that it will be a calming influence on an otherwise rush rush lifestyle.  

If not, no harm done, right?

When you brew your next cup, take a moment and consider the one word you would use to describe it. Feel free to post it here in the comments if you'd like - I'd be interested to know.

If you aren't brewing a cuppa today...why not?


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