Using tea as a part of your meditation practice is a beautiful way to embrace the stillness and just be. The simple act of making and drinking tea in and of itself can be turned into a moment of meditation. Not only does this mean a more enjoyable tea time, but there are other benefits to incorporating tea into your practice as well. That’s why today I’ve invited my friend Francina to share her story of using tea as a part of her practice to be more still.
Journey to Self Using Tea and Stillness
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and I have lived in the United States for over 23 years. With my husband of over 21 years we have 5 children through birth and adoption. About 8 years ago a very challenging life experience led to a very dark place in my life. Through that difficult experience I was confronted with the reality that I had spent most of my life running from anything that would require me to sit and feel. When I was at rock bottom, I learned I couldn’t change what was going on around me. I only had influence over myself and how I was responding to the circumstances in my life. For the first time in my life I was forced to be STILL. And the greatest gift of stillness was that I met myself.
I started realizing that I had never really showed up for myself. I was allowing what other people think of me to stand in the way of taking care of myself. I learned that taking care of myself begins with listening first. I needed to make time to listen.
Be Still and Listen
So I began the daily practice to “Be Still and Listen.” I did this by brewing a cup of tea, disconnecting myself from everything to be fully present in the preparation of tea. This process allowed me to refocus myself and brought to light the areas that needed my attention. It allowed me to prioritize myself, focusing on what was most important. From this practice Be Still Tea was born.
View this post on Instagram
My exploration with tea and the messages I gleaned about myself and what I needed for myself were like the opening of Pandora’s box. Learning to listen to my life required that I really listen.
Here is my process to using tea as a tool for meditation:
To use tea as a tool for meditation, reflection and introspection, it begins with the tea selection. Before you can steep tea you must ask yourself what you want to drink, which means you must inquire into what you need. This process is so enlightening and empowering because it puts you in a posture of self-exploration.
Once you have selected the tea you desire, you start heating up your water. This is an opportunity to connect with gratitude for the gift that the tea leaves carry for you. Explore the leaves, hold them in your palm, smell them, pay attention to the sound they make as you move them about in your hand and as you place them in the steeping vessel. Allow the hissing of the tea kettle to drown out everything else as you allow yourself to be present in the moment with your tea leaves.
Once your water is heated to the appropriate temperature for your selected tea, begin pouring the water over your tea leaves. As the water pours, pay attention to the smell of the tea leaves as the steam whips up the aroma of the tea. Feel the warmth of the steam as it floats up into the room. As your tea steeps for the allotted time this is an opportunity to reflect on the things you are grateful for. I find it beneficial to have a journal to write things down as they come up. This process grounds and connect you to your present life and all the goodness you have.
When your tea is done steeping, find a cozy spot for yourself with your tea, bring your journal and a candle. Light your candle and sip away. With each sip remember this is a reminder to breathe. Be present as you sip your tea. As you sip, this is an opportunity to write anything that has come up for you in the steeping process. If you notice constriction or anxiety coming up don’t judge it, just get curious about it. Write it down. Notice if there is anything else coming up for you. Write it down. With all of this you are creating space to connect with yourself. As you connect with yourself you have the ability to take action in your life with intention and care.
Awakening Your Senses
This entire steeping process awakens all your senses. The sense of smell (smelling the tea), touch (touching the tea and the warmth of the tea cup), taste (the taste of the tea), sound (the sound of the water heating and the sound of the water hitting the tea leaves), and sight (exploring the tea leaves and watching the water transform as it pours over the tea leaves).
For people who have difficulty with meditation, the process of steeping tea awakens and connects you to all your senses and allows you to be fully present. Present in the moment and present in your life. This practice of pausing to notice, the practice of stillness is an important tool of self-care. No one else can take care of you or know what you need most besides you! This stillness practice with tea gives you a tool to listen and pay attention. Start steeping today and pay attention to your life and what you need. Your life is worthy of your complete attention.
Francina Kahl, is a physical therapist, a wellness consultant, a speaker, an educator, a writer, and a tea ceremonialist. She is a facilitator of healing and connection, helping people connect deeply with themselves, their stories and facilitate their connection to their purpose and passions. She was brought to this work through her own life and story. She can be found at Bestilltea.com and @bestilltea on Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok.