Last Friday a couple of very stressful events confronted me. After the first I actually experienced blackening around the edges of my vision and a deep sense of despair. Being a migraine sufferer since childhood I have experienced similar things before. I decided to apply my mum's remedy of a hot cup of tea. I did feel a little better.
Later in the day yet another awful incident occurred and in my fragile state I was close to hyperventilating. I was out at the time so I just sat quietly for a time before returning home for a hot shower and an early night with a book. A cup of tea would have been nice but I couldn't face the bright kitchen.
Now they say when the student is ready the master shall appear. At some point on Friday afternoon I followed a link to this book: The Republic of Tea, How an Idea becomes a Business
It was available for Kindle so I was able to start reading straight away. As tea is to the soul this book has been to my bruised psyche. And it has led me on a small path of discovery about new ways of thinking, seeing the world and living.
Don't worry I won't go all new age on you! At its essence this book is a business book, not a how-to, more of a fly on the wall and a peek inside some masterful brains and business visionaries. Yet the passion for tea and the 'tea way of life' of the founders of the successful two-decade old business The Republic of Tea was evident on every page. Coincidentally I had received a tin of divine Marco Polo loose leaf tea just last week. I spent yesterday reading and sipping. Slowly recovering.
At various points one of the authors touches lightly on the zen aspect of tea and its historical roots in China and indeed Japan. He mentions the The Book of Tea by Okakura Kazuzo. I already owned this book but despite my best efforts had never really gotten into it. Today I am seeing it in a newfound light. Will we see more of a respect towards tea and the sacred rites in my cafe classes? That remains to be seen. But for today I have adopted the zen mantra "without pain and suffering there can be no joy and happiness". I enjoyed this article on Zen Habits.
And I sip my tea.