I’m back from India, readjusting to the work-life juggling act and very happy to be home. More about my trip will be coming soon!
Every morning, I follow the same ritual: I take a mug from the cabinet, place a tea bag inside, and fill it with hot water from the instant hot water faucet next to my kitchen sink (adding that faucet during our kitchen renovation changed my life). I wrap the string of the tea bag around my finger, twirling the bag around inside the mug, watching the water go dark as the tea seeps out. After some time, I pull out the tea bag and rip off its tag. I hold the tag up to my blurred-with-the-morning eyes and read its message carefully. I place the tag in the small bowl on the windowsill above the sink, and take a sip of my tea. My day has begun.
I started drinking tea about six months ago, after I gave up coffee during a food detox. My coffee-less state has been great; I don’t miss it at all, though the smell of just ground coffee beans makes me pause and inhale deeply. I’ve replaced my daily cup of jo with tea, which results in fewer caffeine headaches and fewer complaints (I was a very picky coffee drinker).
When I gave up coffee, I went on a tea tasting campaign that had me purchasing box after box of tea. I tried different flavors and several brands. I lucked upon one tea brand that had interesting flavors and inspirational sayings on its tags, words of wisdom that I look forward to, and I’ve been purchasing the tea ever since.
The message of the tea bag is different from the day before, though, occasionally, I have found duplicates. Each message is concise and full of meaning, and they help me begin my day with a bit of inner reflection, a profound wake up, if you will. I look forward to those bits of wisdom each morning, and I carry the words with me throughout the day. Sometimes, I even carry the tea bag tag in my pocket or wallet–a talisman of sorts.
I had never thought much about the rituals of my day until I started drinking tea each morning and found myself looking forward to the wisdom on those tea bag tags. Those rituals are the moments that make each day unique and special, that ground us, that strengthen us against the waves of responsibility and stress that occur all too frequently in modern-day life. Perhaps it’s listening to the same radio program on the drive to work, getting up early to sit in a quiet room to read the newspaper, or going for a run. Or it could be meditating, taking the dog for a walk, or sitting in the same seat in the subway car. I find myself craving those small spaces of ritual, as they provide comfort and open doorways to connection and, maybe, peace of mind.
Being away on my recent trip, when my schedule was so different, so out of my ordinary, made me appreciate my rituals even more. I missed my familiar moments, my wisdom from a box of tea.