Tea Tour 2009

1. First impressions

FInally, a few written observations from the tour’s tea parties. They’re going great with lots of interest, comments and enthusiasm from guests. When asked about the pace of their lives, people seem to be on one side of the fence or the other. Either people are so overwhelmed with their schedules and have no idea how to change it, or they have deliberately decided to make room in their days for de-stressing, usually following an epiphany of sorts (death in the family, dealing with terminal disease, or just got so sick and tired of being stressed).

I’ve noticed a thread is being woven between tea parties. One man in Mankato, MN commented, “I just stopped caring what other people thought about what I did with my life. I began living how I wanted to live. That’s when my time freed up and I felt less stressed.” A woman at Portland, Oregon’s Rose Garden excitedly reported that as soon as she stopped trying to please her incorrigible mother-in-law, she began to have more time for herself. She also wished it hadn’t taken her until age 50 to figure that out. To be sure, the perception of one’s surroundings and accompanying thoughts weigh in on our stress and what we spend time worrying about.

Interestingly, dealing with one’s STUFF (my current favorite topic) as a time-stress factor is coming up as well. A gentleman from New York who deals with sustainability issues in his line of work remarked that our time is far too preoccupied with our belongings, straining our time and our resources. I couldn’t agree more. Another woman from Madison, WI felt like an enormous amount of her time was swallowed up by contending with her possessions. It seemed like an endless battle for her.

Some folks who stop for tea are wanting solutions for alleviating their stress. I don’t have answers per se in any form other than being able offer them a moment to sit and drink a cup of tea. Relaxing seems obvious when put in such simplistic terms, but it can be a difficult practice to maintain. Perhaps just having that moment to reflect on one’s pace of life may put things into a different perspective for some people. I don’t know. Ironically, I myself have difficulty applying these daily rituals of relaxation, but am learning from my more enlightened guests that you needn’t live in the future or in the past, but rather in the present, enjoying the moment for what it is. It may be cliche, but it seems to be one of the more difficult, yet important, lessons to learn in life.

I’ll follow up in due course with some quotes I’m hearing from people. I just wanted to get a few words down to add to the growing number of photographs. I’m off to have my first night-time tea party at TBA in Portland. Goodnight!

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