Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


tea, best friends, and beginner’s heart ~

A couple of times a year, I get to see my best friend. She lives in Oregon, I’m in Oklahoma. It’s a long time between visits. But each time we get together, it’s kind of a refresher course in Buddhism (really — bear with me here).

What’s important in our lives? Is it what we do at work? Sometimes — certainly teaching is important in mine. And Buddhism tells us that right livelihood is part of the Eightfold Path. So it’s important enough to merit specific mention.

But in my life, my work is no longer what defines me. Remember me? I’m separating amicably :). Increasingly, what’s important to me is the moment — whatever that may hold. I’m trying to build a more mindful presence

When I visit my best friend, we sit. Like good Buddhists do :) We sit in front of her living room window, looking out over the valley. We practice tonglen both together and apart, breathing for each other’s dark places.

And we have tea ~ sharing the bliss of absolutely-in-the-moment mindfulness. Choosing that day’s tea, watching as it steeps I don’t change much, choosing Keemun. She tries something new every time, today something with fruit. There is the ritual so many women (and men) have found comfort in these many many years: scones and layered sandwiches and a tiny shepherd’s pie. Then tarts and lemon curd and the privileged decadence of decadence of macarons. But it only works if you’re mindful — if you allow the dy’s disappointments, the week’s fatigue, to ride the tea’s steam elsewhere. If you take residence in this moment, pouring amber tea into flowered cups, biting through the sugar crystals on the crust of a scone. Laughing at your best friend (who might be your own sweet self…).

There is history in each of the tiers of plates. As there is history in the contemplation of tea, in the raking of white sand, in the several ways we marry life and practice. It’s what I remember when I swim in the immediacy of being with those I love. What I take with me instead of goodbye. It’s a good lesson — each time I re-learn it — for this beginner’s heart.



Previous Posts

day #20 of Thanksgiving month
 It's an older picture, but still appropriate for today's post. Because here's my gratitude today: my grandson recognizes me! Before you think I've totally lost my marbles, let me explain. My grandson is only 18 months old next week. I haven't seen him f2f for the past 4 months. And despite grea

posted 7:04:57pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

day #17 of Thanksgiving: drive, she said
Americans take our ability to drive ourselves wherever for granted. I'm probably the only person I know who didn't drive until in my 20s. Yes, I 'learned' to drive. Took the test at 16 (the legal age when I was

posted 5:32:53pm Nov. 17, 2014 | read full post »

day of Thanksgiving #16: tech support (and privilege)
My computer has been wonky for weeks. By wonky, read: slooow, hanging, programs crashing. A pain, in other words. Enter tech support, AKA my beloved. Who often can merely walk into the room and broken electroni

posted 4:14:28pm Nov. 16, 2014 | read full post »

day of Thanksgiving #15
Central heat. That's today's gratitude. Now, some folks may think that's NOT an everyday kind of thing to be grateful for. But that's my point -- we use it every day in winter (those of us who are lucky enough to

posted 7:29:28pm Nov. 15, 2014 | read full post »

day of Thanksgiving lucky number 13: broccoli (and Aunt Bonnie)
I owe today to my Great-Aunt Bonnie. While she didn't exactly teach me to cook, she certainly had a big part in teaching me to love food. I can't remember a single meal she prepared (and there were many) that I di

posted 9:55:17pm Nov. 13, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.