A few days ago, I spoke to a wise friend about how I always seem to be rushing just to keep up with this frenzied paced of life. I asked her for advice on what to drop, as I’d been feeling overstretched of late.
“Should I cut back on the tea stuff?” I asked her. “It’s just a hobby anyway.”
She gave an incredulous look. “Why stop when it’s one of the few things that relaxes you?”
Good point. Besides that, I’ve also realised that tea has taught me a lot about myself.
So the whole point of this story? Don’t let something valuable go, even if there are other things and people that get in the way sometimes.
At a tea lesson with Ms Ong, she told me to stop trying to si(3) bei(4) – loosely translated as trying to memorise everything right – about the tea ceremony. It’s ok to forget steps, get a bit crooked and spill a little bit of tea here and there. “It will come to you naturally when your head and heart is clear.” (ohmmmmm…)
While I am not a perfectionist (have you seen the way I draw margins in an exercise book?), I know that I have much to learn about being flexible and making mistakes in life.
I also spent an evening talking to some hospitality students from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Singapore campus) about tea. It was fun to hear their variety of views (“It’s just like hot water, just with different smells.”) and questions (“What’s the best type of tea to cure a hangover?) and as introverted as I am, I always enjoy chatting about tea with other people. I realise how in these few months, this little tea blog has actually been a social catalyst of sorts, and I’ve met many interesting, lovely people as a result. Tea, while a deeply personal thing, has helped me open up in ways which I never thought were possible.
How about you? How has tea been your teacher?