Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Green Tea and Habit Versus Ritual



I have been trying to incorporate a cup of green tea into my daily routine and it has proven harder than I imagined. It certainly doesn't come as naturally as that first cup of coffee in the morning. I have thought about swapping my morning coffee for green tea but can't imagine that it would suit me or get me going. My morning coffee is a habit bordering on an addiction and not subject to tampering. Also, I think that a cup of tea is more suited to ritual than habit.

My Grandmother used to have a cup of tea every evening after she finished cleaning up after supper. It was her evening ritual. She took her tea black. It was just a Liptons tea bag and water boiled in her whistling teapot. Nothing fancy, but she always sat at her dining room table to enjoy her tea. I say it was a ritual because, I imagine it was her way of marking the end of her chores and savoring the little bit of personal time she allowed herself each day.

That's how I envision my daily cup of green tea being, a pause from busyness. My cup of coffee is the beginning of busyness each day. It's a crutch and a jolt into a day of doing. I want my cup of green tea to be about the opposite, a few minutes of not doing or worrying about what needs to be done next. I think that may be why it has been so hard to get to each day. It requires I step out of my routine and into a ritual where I take some time to just sit and be in the moment. I am going to take a lesson from my grandmother and make the time and place for my daily cup of tea.

The lovely teahouse pictured above are by the architect Terunobu Fujimori. I love their quirkiness and very human size. They look like the perfect structures for the ritual of tea and just being present. You can read more about Terunobu Fujimori here.

1 comment:

ep said...

I've never been much of a coffee drinker - don't know how I escaped that - but have always loved tea. What I have been doing lately is after dinner, when we are watching some TV and winding down, I fix my self some decaf chai w/ soy milk - sort of a special latte at the end of the day, very soothing.

I used to make little pots of tea - either green or chammomile - I have a few teapots - one is in the shape of an elephant (!) - but I find a hot pot of tea and a rambunctious five-year-old a dangerous combo. She really can't help herself, if she can spill it, she will.

I'll be interested to hear what sort of ritual you create for yourself.