This morning I woke up frozen. Not literally frozen, although it is pretty frosty here on Martha's Vineyard this week- but frozen with panic about the impending storm threatening to attack the east coast. Immediately the phone next to my bed (the one I resolved in the new year not to keep by my bed) began offering alerts and forecasts and what "might' happen if this storm hit as hard as forecasted. The reports were overwhelmingly varied.. .1-3 inches perhaps, 1 foot maybe, possibly only icy rain.. I was instantly inundated with the usual frantic media storm that seems to pervade our every waking hour these days if we let it - I certainly seem to be making a habit of letting it (along with all my other worries and crazy insecurities) get the best of me lately.
Feeling overwhelmed by potential forecasts and frostbite, I sat up and reminded myself that just like life, noone really knows what is going to happen in the future. I turned off my phone and buried it in a pile of laundry, called to my dog Magnolia to come join me and slowly we made our way downstairs to the tea pot. I grabbed a strong, earthy pu-erh tea, spooned a teaspoon of leaves into my glass mug and while the water began to heat I let Magnolia out into the bitter morning cold.
Next (as I do every morning) I went in to check on my 87 year old dad in his bedroom next to the kitchen before making his breakfast. Lately he has been reminding me of the grandparents in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" who live in their bed (all four of them) under layers of covers and quilts. My dad was bundled up under blankets up to his chin, with his face peeking out. "morning dad" I said quietly, " breakfast will be ready soon" waiting a little bit for him to respond..."ok sweetin'" he calls to me and begins to stir.
Back in the kitchen the water is now boiling and I take it from the heat and let it sit a minute before pouring. Pu-erh can be a little sensitive so I wait until it feels right and pour the water over the brownish red leaves into cup and strainer. I watch as the leaves infuse a dark, rich and steaming cup of beautiful tea and as always I am amazed by it's beauty, aroma and taste.
As my tea steeps, my mind wanders. I start thinking of the Tea Talk coming this weekend. I have been on a mission with my Cup of Karma project lately- I am hosting monthly tea parties where story tellers come and tell of one person who has changed their life. In different venues around the island, I am recording and collecting these stories because i really believe it matters, and that people (me included) need to look away from the over stimulating world we live in and remember to look around their own lives to the people we love and learn from.
Only two days away the event is now set- flower crowns have been ordered (see photos) venue confirmed, story tellers prepared, ads in the newspapers, scones and cupcakes ready to be baked.
As I strain my tea leaves, let the dog in, begin to boil the egg, toast the english muffin and pour
the juice for my dad's breakfast I start in with the worry again- what about all that preparation?
What if it's a horrible storm and noone is able to come out to hear these amazing stories that will
come from the four incredible women scheduled to speak?
I hop in the shower and get dressed for work, all the while consumed with the question "to cancel or not to cancel?" On my way out I grab my now lukewarm tea off the kitchen counter and give my dad and my dog a hug goodbye, both busy eating their breakfast. Once at work I ask my friends at work if
I should or shouldn't and then I text my best friend Molly-yearning for someone to tell me what to do. Molly tells me she may be more likely to be able to come next week so that would be good- even one of my co workers sits down and really helps me weight pros and cons and I am humbled by his willingness to help. By 10 am I am yet again, completely overwhelmed with what might happen.
Sitting at my desk I look down at my cold yet beautiful cup of tea and I realize that I missed drinking this tea while I was preoccupied with all this other ridiculousness- the worry, the projecting, the angst.
Yet somehow the tea also reminds me instantly as it always seems to do, that everything in front of me this morning is my lesson. My life, my job, my family, my project. At 51 I am just learning to sit and focus on what feels right to me, to listen to myself. No forecast or coworker can tell me what will happen or what I should do next. I guess that's why I love listening to the stories at my Tea Talks, and why I want so desperately to share them with others. The stories remind us that we dont' have it all figured out, buttoned up and perfect and that's ok. That's not what this life is about. The stories and my tea remind me again and again to refocus on the important stuff, because in the end we have each other and we are all going through the same trials and tribulations, none of us are immune.
As I stare into the cup at the dark amber tea leaves, in a flash I decide to postpone the event until next week, when the promise of better weather is more likely and the craziness of the forecasts have subsided. I make the calls and cancel, move and shift it all to next Saturday, January 30th at 3:00pm in the church next to my house. Everyone is flexible, the plans change easily and it's done.
Getting ready for bed tonight I will put my phone in another room, and will work on being mindful
of this day. Tomorrow I will wake up and make my tea again and maybe I will drink it hot and maybe it will be cold. I will look around my life and try my best to honor the people that I love and learn from- and together we will remind each other that with all our flaws and mistakes, we share a common bond of being human and none of us are even remotely close to being perfect.
I have no idea what the weather will be like next week, but if I had to conjure up a forecast I would say I'm pretty certain of the outcome; time will pass and all the amazing souls that are meant to come together will gather on the 30th to share and to celebrate the path we are all on. We will listen, tell stories and collectively remind each other that just like my pu-erh tea this morning we are strong, grounded and hot or cold we hold up pretty well in the face of any storm that may or may not come our way.