7 Days of Tea
Photo: Michael Beck
Do you know what life looks like at 5:30am? Do you even know there is a little bit of active life at that hour? The sun is barely up, and I can hardly open my eyes as my alarm goes off. I reach for my iphone, the Marimba ringtone is not exactly calming. I look over at my boyfriend Michael and see that he is already out of bed and ready to meditate. Its three cups of tea day one. Its early, overcast and I’m not really thirsty yet.
Michael met with a tea enthusiast the week before who recommended we do three cups of tea first thing in the morning for 7 days straight. I say enthusiast because this man has an entire room devoted to tea. Anyone can go to his home for a cup or 15. My boyfriend spent 5 hours there one time just drinking tea. This man loves his tea.
So here we are, 7 days, no breaks, together, just us. As fate would have it, 7 days straight with Michael wasn’t exactly on my mind as we just had our first real fight (aww) and I was desperately craving some time away. Was the universe punishing me? Am I bad person? Challenge accepted?
I decided the universe was not punishing me and accepted the tea challenge with opens arms and a semi open heart. But I remained skeptical. Michael is a warlock and meditates two hours a day (hello existentialism) which is the reasoning for our 5:30am wakeup call. Luckily we’re freaks of nature and morning people.
Day one was met with bliss and zen-like comfort, we were both in a positive mind set, ready to take on the world. We remained calm through our three cups enjoying the effortless conversation. Sometimes I would just stare into my cup, examining the leafs. Tea leafs can be so interesting when you have nothing else to do but stare at them. About 45 mins passed for us to finish our three cups and it was quite easy and enjoyable. Six more days of this? No problem here, piece of cake. The ease of day one had me questioning the whole point of this process. Perhaps Michael and I were above the lessons of the tea, I thought.
Day two I felt hyper and talkative. So many thoughts and words, must say them all. Michael suggested we play the “quiet game” for the last cup of tea. I then realized how different our moods were that day. He was very calm and sleepy, his eyes barely able to stay open. I was the exact opposite, and so engulfed in my own emotions I hardly noticed his. The power of being present and aware of my surroundings seeped into my mind.
The next day was the hardest. We went to bed angry the night before over a petty argument. Rule number one folks in the world of relationships, never go to bed mad. We paid the price and then some. I was struggling to wake up that day, must had been that emotional weight hanging on my shoulders, and had no desire to even talk to Michael, let alone sit with him and drink tea. I could sense the feeling was mutual. The tension in the air was thick and heavy. It took us to the 3rd cup before we actually said anything to each other. And we we’re drinking those cups pretty fast, both eager to end tea time. But we had made a commitment to the tea and in turn were reminded of our commitment to each other. I wanted to run. Run off to work or go to yoga, anything but sit with him. We were both angry, but for the sake of this 7 day challenge, we sat there and we talked. Fears were faced and the tension finally grew lighter. It was then that I realized the purpose of the tea. Everyday we did the same thing for 7 days straight, and each day was different. The tea didn’t change, nor the room or even where we sat each time. But it became very obvious how different we would be each and everyday. The power of that self awareness is so important and not just within a relationship.
The next few days of tea sessions continued, some days we were rushed, some days sleepy, some days really happy and positive. Each day was different but we stayed committed to our three cups. We remained present and open. The last day was a hurried one, I had to get to work. We sipped all three cups fairly quickly, kissed goodbye and off I went. As I drove away I realized how much how I was going to miss my tea sessions with Michael. I read somewhere that when you miss someone, you’re actually missing the person you are when you’re with them. How you feel, how you act. Maybe I was going to miss who Michael and I were with the tea. Maybe I was going to miss the tea days because I knew for those 7 days we would see each other no matter what. That we would talk and interact and be present without the weight of the outside world. The power and lessons of presence is what stuck with me the most. Being present in my relationship is one of the best gifts I can offer. Allowing that presence to overflow into life is the best gift I can offer to myself. Because when you are present, ultimately, you are grateful.