Acquiring Tea ware is such a journey, and a welcomed one at that. I receive so many questions from others asking where a large tea pot can be purchased or where the set of bowls I am using came from. It took some time and patience for these wonderful tools to enter into my life. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I have the blessed gift of being left handed. What this means in relation to tea and my practice, is that not only do I have to switch everything over to the opposite side, but also left handed pots are harder to come by. Over the past 6 years, this has changed a bit, though it is still a big stroke of luck to walk into a potter's shop and see a sweet little pot waiting there under a spotlight, glowing, with a handle poking out the left. So back then, there was even less to a zero percent chance of that happening. I had no choice but to just be patient. It might have taken me almost a whole year to get a left side handle pot. I had to order one from a japanese potter, who at that time was the only potter my teacher knew of that would have one. So, leaves straight into the bowl it was. Happily! Swirling around on the bottom of the bowl, they unfurled and danced for me with every pour. I learned so much during those first precious months of discovering tea in this way. Alone I sat by my fire place, watching these sweet leaves, not wanting for anything to be different. As they say, ignorance is such bliss. And at the beginning of any wonderful journey, when a path is being traversed for this first time, the innocent wonder of a child is found there, present in each sip. Exclaiming joy and astonishment at the vast capacity just one leaf has to offer.
Soon my tea pot came and with it many other friends to drink and explore inside it. Kettles came, rice bowls came and rice bowls went, proper bowls came and more tea and more pots in different shapes and sizes, and more and more. As my teacher would say, the more space is made for tea, the more tea shows up... in every way. The information that I was able to receive from the perceived "upgrades" to my tea ware were much more obvious because of the simple start of the journey. Chances are, if you have been wearing finely made silk clothes your whole life without a moment to experience cheaply made acrylic ones, then you will never understand and appreciate fully what the silk is providing for you, in quality or texture. If all you have is an electric kettle, use it. Then you'll find that a clay kettle comes into your life and you get to observe what a difference it makes to the quality of the heat in your water. Oh joy! You then understand personally why it would be your preference to use the clay kettle. But, if you find yourself again without the clay kettle, maybe in a hotel room, with just an electric kettle present, you can then rejoice that is it there in that moment to heat your water so you can have tea. When you return home, you can rejoice that you have your clay kettle back and can improve your tea once again.
The point maybe is... There is to need to grasp or judge. No-thing to be attached to. There is no need to go out consuming. There is then a balance that is struck in the space of your intent, reverent heart and these sacred tools revealing themselves to you in their right timing to be consumed just in the right moment when you are empty and have space to be filled. We then can rest with open palms and allow that which is placed into them to be fully received. To start your tea journey all you really need is one empty bowl. An empty bowl, waiting and willing to be filled and then emptied again. Probably if you are reading this, someone has already placed that bowl into your hands with some little leaves dancing in it and hot steam rising up to meet your mouth. So there you are, that was the hard part, but you made space and look what showed up...
"Again I resume the long lesson:
how small a thing can be pleasing,
how little in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind and bring it to
Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
unnaturally still. Through stalled air,
unshadowed high, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.
is gray. It begins in mist almost
at the ground and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite, almost eternal,
but not quite.
What more did I think i wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling, and is pleased."
"This Day" -Wendell Berry
This was my second year returning to Tulum to serve Tea for the Dreamcraft Retreat. My first morning back at Uno, I see Katarina - the resident goddess, healer, priestess/mother of the land - She embraces me deeply, looks into my eyes and says, "Welcome home." That is exactly what it felt like. Seeing so many familiar faces, smelling familiar smells and feeling- yes- here is another home for me on this planet earth. I arrived a few days prior to the retreat, so had plenty of time to acclimate to the flow. The wind was howling, the moon was full, and the energy was thick. I had missed this place and it was good to be back.
Once the retreat started, I spent my early mornings with the sunrise and then moved into serving our Tea meditations. On previous retreats, I had dedicated myself to taking Taylor's* mid morning Kundalini teachings, but found so much energy being activated, that I would show up to facilitate Tea and my body would be achey and processing. This time around I decided to spend my afternoons focusing on my personal practices. I did yoga, sang, swam, meditated and had time and space to just BE with myself. It was incredibly nourishing and I felt clearer and more energized for holding space every morning.
It is such a gift to sit for a week with a group of women and watch the blossoming occur, each one slowly unfolding as the mornings pass. With each day the work got deeper and the group more intimate. Once again, I witnessed how profound it is to marry Tea with the Kundalini work Taylor facilitates. They strike a balance between one another. Holding the space of yin and yang. Each afternoon the women would be off with her, journeying through transformation and intense fire - and each morning they would show up to sit for tea - finding a cleansing, grounding, nurturing space to be held and rejuvenated.
As we sat one morning, I began to reflect on this dream I found myself living in. Such a wild and beautiful dream, beyond anything I could have ever imagined for myself. I experienced a profound sense of gratitude. 4 years ago, I would not have been creative enough to envision that I would be sitting in a tree house, over the Mayan jungle in Tulum, serving the medicine of Tea to these beautiful faces that glowed more radiantly everyday. I reflected that the more I have allowed myself to surrender, the more I open myself to infinite possibility! I get to experience ALL the beauty and magic the Universe has planned for me, and not just what my limited "mind" has to offer... With that, I look forward into the mystery that is life, and welcome it with open loving arms.
*I would love to take a moment to express deep gratitude for my dear sister Taylor Eyewalker. She is an amazing Being walking this earth, fully dedicated to her path of self cultivation and her service for others. I am blessed to serve along side her, laugh with her, witness myself through her, and continue diving deeper into love and sisterhood. Thank you for your tireless dedication. Thank you for inspiring fierce courage in me, for loving me, and believing in me.
Until next year!
We love Uno Astro Lodge! If you find yourself in that part of the world please go visit, stay, have breakfast, do yoga, and feel the love!
Stay tuned for information on next year's retreat! Visit: www.dreamcraftretreat.com
In the ancient times of the Matriarch, people drummed, sang, and paraded in celebration of life throughout their villages, for days and sometimes even weeks on end. 'Walk of Life' is a movement paying homage to those times. We walk in peace, in beauty, with open hearts! Singing, drumming, carrying offerings and prayers for the earth and all life on it.
After reading "When the Women were Drummers" by Layne Redmond, I was so inspired, I wanted to go out into the street and sing and drum in celebration! I then thought well... Why not!? Singing has become one of my favorite ways of offering intention, love, and prayer to the earth, the elements, the sun, moon, and everyone. Everything is made of sound vibrations, so when song is offered, it connects with all the surrounding vibrations, seen and unseen. It was time, to take a walk, share our voices and celebrate life!
The Solstice/New Moon was the perfect day. I connected with some of my dearest sisters and shared with them the vision, to which they all expressed enthusiasm and were down to support! So, the call went out via the social media sphere, and on the Solstice we all gathered. So many beautiful souls showed up to join us! After grounding, setting our intentions and sharing the song, we began our walk. I have held song circle space many times before, but this was quite different... We were moving through the streets, sharing with the public and the sound was traveling in waves down the line. I was at the front, leading, and remember hearing echoes of the song catching up from the back. I thought, "hooray, they are all singing!" I realized at one point that due to my excitement, I was walking way too fast and had to make a conscious effort to slow down so that we weren't racing through the streets...
We headed down Abbot Kinney in Venice, wove through the neighborhood and came out onto the the beach where we landed. Along with my sisters, the directions were opened and sacred space was set. Together the whole community created a flower mandala with prayers and intentions; for our ourselves, our loved ones, and this beautiful home we call Mother Earth. As we drummed, sang and made our offerings, the sun descended and just as were closing, the sky answered us, giving us a show of beauty unlike any I had ever seen! Each moment more beautiful than the last. Purples, oranges, and pinks in shades that could never be replicated! I felt a deep sense of gratitude for that moment and affirmed everything that has ever come to pass to lead me to it. Thank you to everyone who came, it brought so much magic.
Until we walk again...
"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but the walk on Earth. Everyday we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle." - Thich Nhat Hanh