We all play the part of being helpers to one another, even to the extent that we profess about things which we ourselves have absolutely no idea on how to achieve. As the story goes one friend inspires another who is down on their luck, to reach great heights and live for something greater than themselves. Without hesitation the friend who was originally down takes their words to heart. A year later the two friends meet and the one who gave the advice see’s the other shining with success, new job, new relationship and new sense of purpose. So what’s left? In comparison the friend who was originally a little down has risen to such a great height that the original comparison seems minute when put into perspective. What changed?
Our words have as much power as we would give them. If we do not often keep our word or carelessly arrive late with no factors worthy of excuse, than the power that might have infused our words has all but flown, our words then are more like a love letter used to catch kindling in a bonfire. When we keep our word and try our hardest and even admit our failures, our words eventually become like those written in stone, whose legacy has survived many a century, many a moon. When inspiration is combined with dynamic will power, it is like turning the ignition key, the more combustable fuel added to the project or situation the smoother and faster it goes. Friend A had the inspiration, but friend B had the purpose to put it into action. This same principal is also true for those who aspire to become sports players or movie stars, though many can buy their way to the top, the ones who have clearly struggled to get where they are, are all the much richer for the life and soul experience that they have gained through the process. Those with a reason to rise above their present situation can use their dissatisfaction as fuel to reach great heights, no one will change you from the outside-in, the work must be done from the inside-out.
Ok, Ok, but what does this have to do with tea, well, nothing per se but let’s contemplate together, shall we? First of all, their are many types of tea and many ways that tea is produced packed and sold. No matter how high our aspirations are in life, if our motivation is like tea bag tea, than we may only get the proverbial car out of the garage and decide otherwise once the weather changes. Most people these days consider themselves to be coffee-seurs or purveyors of fine and distinct coffee’s from around the world, yet the tea bag remains the standard issue for restaurants, grocery stores and just about any venue where beverages are sold. Ok, imagine this. You take your partner’s family out for a surprise engagement dinner at a posh hot spot in your favorite city. The food looks amazing, you haven’t even ordered yet and your watching artisan plates drop down all around you. Your excited, the Fam is excited and then you ask to see the wine list. Instead of a bottle list you get a postcard that says White, Red and Blush. Amused you smile and catch the attention of your nearest waiter and ask, “Can I see a bottle list?” He is now smiling also and tells you that they conveniently serve 3 types of FranziaÂź box wine. Wow, you didn’t think that your imagination of expectancy for fine wines could possibly relate to how a tea lover feels when they walk into their favorite restaurant and are shot down. The maitre de will surely try and calm you by saying, “well, this is what we carry and no one has ever complained.”
I’ve got another one, for the coffee lovers. Dinner is over, fine steaks and seafood, with local farms listed, amazing in-house cellar aged Pinot Noir, directly from a winery within an hours’ drive, great appetizers, time for dessert. Luscious black and white molten chocolate cake with white chocolate drizzle and 80% dark chocolate flakes. Ordering this is no problem, you take the time to ask, “which coffee roaster do you work with to get your beans?” Your host who has been amazingly knowledgeable all night draws a complete blank, they say, “let me check” and run off. Looks across the table, is this person new? They seemed to know so much about the menu. When they return they tell you, “It’s a BunnÂź, that’s the roaster we use”. You say, “Isn’t that a coffee maker?” they say, “Yeah, roaster/maker isn’t that the same thing?” The person who you’ve invited to this Wonderful-up-until-this-moment evening asks, “What kind of coffee do you brew here?” “Millstone”.
Not so funny. Welcome to the reality of every card carrying tea lover in America. Yes high demand for finer wines and coffee’s has driven the market to an insatiable thirst. A time machine would show a different story, a story of what beverages were like before we ‘Knew too much’. If we drink coffee in the morning and wine at night to ‘balance’ ourselves, what takes us out of the rat-race? No matter how you ‘cut it’ Tea is a beverage for transcendence! The higher quality the leaves the higher the high. Tea in silk sachets are merely paying lip service to those who crave high quality loose leaf tea. Is the world awake yet? Or do we just lie down and accept the fate of a great beer, wine and coffee selection at the expense of tea bag tea? Watch the restaurants who have already opened their ‘sails’ to the wind of change, the wind of high quality tea. They are like the movie makers who put their movies into Blu-RayÂź format when they went to sell them, long before we knew which format was going to edge the other out, these in other words will be the survivors. As the world wakes up, it requires better fuel, it demands high quality tea!
I have been personally appalled at the restaurants that I would have figured to have the best tea, yet it was less available there, than the restaurants that have showed me no love by giving me a selection of TetleyÂź, Chinese restaurants. Serving poor tea is one issue, but denying something that is so engrained into ones’ culture, quite another; no one in Texas turns down a steak, expect for the owner of Whole FoodsÂź, a self-titled vegan. I would be thrilled to know if there was a secret code character for really good tea, that only those within the culture knew to ask for and everyone else, myself included, was served lousy tea. Sure it may exist, but on a whole that is not the case. Even within the district of internationality it is every man for himself. No restaurant owner walks a block to his favorite teahouse and pays for a pound of choice tea, that he could potentially turn profit on, for his place. [excuse blatant but not mal-intentioned racism] People are still given a small cup after dim sum and told, “this-a dark tea, very good for digestion”. Dark what? where did this come from?
If no one is educated about the possibility of choices that exist, than no one will ever think to make them, or at least that is the model that has worked thus far. When we educate we share living ideas that they may be passed on, when we reserve information for a limited few, we deny the progress of the human race and inevitably, ourselves. If you are a restaurant owner, look into buying high quality teas, you’ll educate your market, end tea-lover suffering and yes, even turn a decent profit! If you are a restaurant goer, and love tea, grill them about their tea selection, ask them if they carry loose leaf, ask them if they think FolgersÂź is a good choice for their coffee, ask them to call me, on my day off, start a riot! The more momentum, the bigger the wave, Surf’s Up!
Watch as the world changes beneath your feet, do you ebb and flow with it or resist hard it’s unpredictable nature. What begins as excusable static later becomes a gong, ringing ever-louder, and finally a drum that beats steady, your heart is either in-tune with this drum or it is not, your choice.
Walking your talk and drinking your Tao are one in the same. What you put in your body eventually comes out, in more than one way. What we fuel our body with affects our physical form, yes, and though we may not always pay attention to it, our energy body can as clear be as a Montana sky or be clouded to the point of trying to spot a small schooner across the lake on an otherwise foggy morning. You wanna be the supermarket Shaman? Keep telling others how to run their lives, whilst ignoring your own. If you wish to ride the legally-sold upper and downer roller coaster, be my guest. But if you’ve just purchased your last ticket on the Puker, than let me know I have a Way off of the ‘ride’.
When we walk our talk, our words become carvings etched into massive stone walls held in place by our will to carry things out. Don’t we need an elixir that is in alignment with these principals, one that has withstood the test of time, one that is completely natural, one that will wont fill you up and never let’s you down, for real. If we are to walk our talk, we must drink our Tao, our truth, our transcendence, otherwise talk is cheap.
by Steve Bonnell