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Tea Ware

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...