Friday, November 14, 2014

so much in a cup of tea

I have been a major tea addict for many years. I usually have 3-4 cups of caffeinated black tea a day, and then several cups of green tea on top of that. I thought I was addicted to the caffeine in the tea, but now I am not sure.

For the last month, I have been caffeine-free. Because the doctor thought I had gastric reflux, she prescribed a new diet -- no caffeine, no booze, no spicy food, no citrus. My heartburn symptoms have gone away, and I have started drinking a beer or two (or shots when my trivia team is playing) during the week. Other than that, I have kept to the diet. I had crushing headaches for the first three days, but those went away as I got used to not having the caffeine.

What surprised me is that I still drink as much tea as before. I have caffeine-free black and green tea, as well as some herbals. I suppose I wasn't as addicted to the caffeine as I was to the whole process of tea.

It's the warm cup in my hands. It's the reciprocity of it -- the teacup warms my hands, and then the warmth of my hands keeps the teacup warm. It's the colors, the white cup, and the beautiful amber or black or green liquid. How each type of tea has its own beautiful shade. It's the steam and the heat rising off. It's the aroma, and how each cup is different. It's the time that it takes, the process. I have to walk to the coffee room or the kitchen. I have to make the tea. I have to take the mug or the cup back with me, holding it's warmth in my hands as I anticipate that first sip.

For the time it takes me to drink my tea, it is all that I am doing. It isn't something I can gulp down while I read that article, or work on that software issue. I can't enter numbers in a spreadsheet while mindlessly sipping. Hot tea demands attention, a certain level of care, if just to avoid spills and burns.

Tea is meditation.

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