Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Tao of Tea?

It's funny how sometimes when I'm at work, my green efforts are somewhat lackluster. It seems like when I'm at work, where my activities are so different from at home, that I forget to do the green things I would do automatically at home. I am reasonably good about bringing my lunch to work, so I don't buy pre-packaged stuff from the cafeteria, and I do bring home my baggies and containers to wash and reuse. But my weakness had been my teacup warmer.

I'm sure you've seen these little hotplate-like devices, that keep your hot beverage relatively hot for hours on end. I got mine for Christmas from a co-worker several years ago when we still did an office present exchange. I used it every day, sometimes even burning my tongue because of how hot it kept my tea! There were even times when I would accidentally leave it on overnight, coming to work the next day to a well-cooked cup of tea-goo.

I've been feeling more and more guilty using this thing lately, thinking that I really don't need my tea to be kept at a certain temperature. Surely I could do better at remembering to drink it while it is hot, and just dealing with drinking some of it cold, if I left it too long. So last week I unplugged the thing, and it sits on my desk now as a slightly elevated cup holder. I may just put it away and bring out my little cup pillow instead, that has herbs in it that smell nice when warmed by the teacup resting upon it.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like one of the lessons of tea is that there is a time for everything. That just as it takes time to make a good cup of tea, there comes a point when the tea cools down and tea-time is over. And that the in between time is made for enjoying and savoring the tea while it lasts. In the bustle of the day, it is good to take time for tea, and good to get back to work afterwards.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a neat post! The whole time I'm reading it I'm thinking "so what's wrong with wanting a hot cuppa tea all day?" and then you summed it up so nicely at the end. Btw, never heard of those cup pillows that smell nice...gotta link for them?

Theresa said...

Hi R.A.! In re-reading the post I probably should've put in there something about how much electricity this little thing uses (23 W), which isn't much I suppose, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it wasn't the best use of electricity. But ya, the main reason was because it also seemed to go against what having a cup of tea is all about in my mind: a break from routine, the beginning, middle and end of which are to be appreciated. And I wanted to change my actions to be in tune with that, rather than force the tea to conform to me. It's a general principle I'm trying to bring into my life more often - being more attuned to natural, cyclical things and acting in accordance with them.

About the little tea cup pillow - I don't have a link for that and I couldn't even find a picture of one to post. The one I have was also a gift from a coworker -- she got it at the gift shop in Yellowstone National Park.

kale for sale said...

I've never heard of a tea pillow either but it sounds lovely. I still have an adding machine at my desk that I've left on for years and not thought a thing of it. Now it's turned off like your cup warmer. Which also makes me think I should be shutting my computer off each night instead of keeping it on hold at the restart mode. Thanks!

BOOKWORM said...

thanks theresa for such a thought-provoking post. i am happy to discover your blog while googling to find a link between sustainability and yogic life. i agree with you, its true somehow, i dont know why, our efforts to leave a smaller carbon footprint of our activities at home just dont replicate at our workplaces. though i recently realized that given the vast amount of energy being wasted at workplaces, we can do more to save energy and cut emissions by innovating ways to do the same jobs in more sustainable ways in our offices. btw, i started printing drafts on the backside of rough papers and i now make sure that my pc is switched off in the evening. though it makes a very small change in the emissions worldwide, these small steps go a long way in inculcating a habit of sustainable living in us in general. one more thing that i want to share here is about wastage of water in our homes. we are wasting too much of water just to make our lives a little more comfortable. i am sure we can come up with a host of ideas to save water and energy in performing our daily tasks. you are spreading awareness through such blogs which can be a good beginning. my compliments. pranams. Monk-in- Meditation

Theresa said...

Hello bookworm, I'm happy you came by and took time to say hello :) I started this blog as a way to verbalize the changing way I was thinking and acting as I pondered the oneness and inter-being of the myriad things. I see connection where I never noticed it before, even in such things as my tea-drinking habits!