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Cuppa Comfort

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A cup of Sencha tea is projecting swirly steam patterns in the low winter sunshine on my desk while I settle down on my sheepskin covered stool. There is something very homely and grounding about brewing a hot drink before a new beginning.

And it doesn’t even stop at beginnings. I will also gravitate towards our stove-top kettle whenever I feel the need to take myself away from a situation, a thinking pattern or an activity. A cuppa to mark an ending or at least a break.

My husband is surprised by the amount of tea I manage to drink in a day, and equally by the number of half-empty tea cups he finds around our home. So I thought I would try and find out why exactly I brew so much tea (green or herbal depending on the time of day), by drawing up a list of circumstances in which I find myself drawn to the kettle on our hob:

  • First thing upon waking
  • Before I sit down to write
  • As a planned pause
  • To think things over
  • At a writing impasse
  • After lunch with a square of dark chocolate
  • Walking in from the cold after running errands
  • When a friend visits for a chat
  • Before I plan my yoga classes
  • After school pickup to share a pot with the kids
  • When the kids are safely tucked in bed and I’ve kissed them goodnight

The list is by no means exhaustive, but it does show that in its essence my personal tea ceremony is not so much about the tea as about the occasion. Waiting for the water to boil. Opening the scented tea caddie. Spooning loose petals or flowers in the strainer. Pouring freshly boiled water in the mug or pot. Allowing the tea enough time to work its magic.

They are all ceremonial acts in an occasion to remove myself from the fast pace of life. Each cup that I brew throughout the day represents a punctuation mark that offers me a mindful pause in which to focus on the moment and come home within myself.

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