Tea makes me happier. It brings me back to “happy moments” in childhood when I would prepare a cup of tea for my mother. Somehow this simple act made her smile, and she would brighten up no matter what was happening (health challenges, job loss, financial difficulty). Sharing a pot of tea also gave us a few moments of real connection that I think we each long for in our daily loves – validation perhaps, encouragement, love and maybe just a warm of sip of tea.
But going a little deeper, I really believe that taking time for tea:
* Soothes my Soul. It helps me slow down (after all you can’t drink hot tea really fast) and take a “sacred” pause in life. Since I have the capacity to do “lots” in a short period of time it’s helpful for me to just enjoy being still and savoring a moment of fresh air (windows open, birds chirping) and a nice cup of tea before I am called forward to “solve” some problem or meet some looming deadline.
* Lifts my Heart. So many times in my life, I have served someone tea whether it was my mother or Buddhist Lama because I knew a “cup of tea” is never really just a cup of tea. It was always given in gratitude for what was being learned and how both of these people gave so selflessly to me.
* Lightens my Load. Tea helps us see God in each other. I am not talking about reading the tea leaves but stopping, communing with each other and sharing a moment in time that can never be gotten again. For example, I was in New Delhi wanting to buy a souvenir for my grandmother — perhaps a handmade bedspread with bright colors and I couldn’t because first it was customary to have a cup of tea. Like the bestselling book, 3 Cups of Tea, your first cup of tea is where you are a stranger, the 2nd cup indicates you become a friend and by the third cup, you are family.
Slowing down to have your proverbial “cup of tea” adds happiness, calmness and peace to our lives when we need it the most. I prefer a really wonderful Darjeeling or peppermint but your “cup of tea” may not even be tea. You may reboot with a few deep breaths, closed eyes, songs of loss or love streaming through Adele or yoga moves that open your heart to our most precious resource – this very moment – where we can always begin again.
By Maureen Healy
Maureen Healy is a happiness expert with more than 20 years of global experience. Her new book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness (HCI Books) comes out April 3, 2012. This book was written over many cups of tea and from a place where she wants everyone who reads it to become just a wee bit happier. More info: www.growinghappykids.com and @mdhealy