“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
I discover in my moments of motherhood the pure and limitless magic that can float free within seconds laid aside for the sweet rituals of life, with the intent for nothing and the flowing forth of a spontaneous everything.
In a world of structure and deadlines and to-dos and should-bes, one can quickly get lost in it all. If you look to a child, who deals in none of this, only that which we as parents and mentors impose on them, they thrive on the ‘break between’ it all and beam at the prospect of a time to flow in presence.
This is our call isn’t friends? To wake up and notice that life is truly NOT about what we are striving for, but rather is what happens to us while we are making our way through the day, the moments in between the moments, the sacred space between the melodic notes. If we do not grasp and make magic of it, then the living will be lost and the jewel of infinity buried in the deluded busy of it all.
When life gets crazy, we have tea. This is our ritual, our conscious process by which we become fully present. Okay, let’s face it, my kids are already there, it is ME who needs to release the hither thither head-space and come to table and sip.
Rituals are a part of our history, our heritage, our culture, and quite often our upbringing. These are those memories we can recount with ease, the times when we felt like the world made just a little more sense. For many it may come in the form of holiday rites, such as hanging stockings by the ‘chimney with glee’, or Hallowe’en outings or Easter Egg hunts, but what of the day-to-day traditions that ground us?
As part gypsy-in-heart, I’ve been privy to some of the rituals around the globe, and as such our family delights in a mish-mash, or best-of-the-best traditions, with a few of our own sprinkled in for good measure.
I mean come now, the Brits really do have it spot-on, with the whole ‘stop each and everyday and engage in a little sip n’ conversation time’ with treasured friends, family and even strangers. And scones with Devonshire cream and homemade jam, really…does it get any better than this?
We may not roll n’ bake our own scones day-to-day, but tea has its warm-buttery place in our hearts. As you can see in the picture, the boys take great care in laying it all out. Their china tea-cups are those I used as a child, a green cat and an orange tiger. My tea-cup was my Nana’s. The napkins they laid out are, well, a fave, Winnie the Pooh, inscribed with “Together is the Bestest Way to Play”. And of course, there are cookies for dipping (I apologize to the proper English teetotalers, as this simply would not do:)
We find the bliss of it in: the anticipation of the treat (we don’t have honey or cookies often in our home so this is gigglelicious-decadence), the chatter as we lay it all out, the lighting of the candle, the wait for the boil, the pouring, the stirring, the sipping (sometimes slurping), the dipping, the savoring and, above all, the conversations of life that flow. Today, we spoke of candle flames and Nathaniel told us the most extraordinary story of his ‘past life’ experience when he was dancing in the fire. Liam and I listened (we love the stories he calls ‘oh the life before I was borned to you Mommy’). Liam turns to me and says, “Mommy, he’s so precious isn’t he? I love to listen to him talk in that cutie voice.”
Yes, oh yes, the sparkling jewels of ritual that call us to the moment, the times we set aside to BE and flow, the traditions we can count on to ground us, connect us, relieve us, engage us in the love we know we feel, but now have presence enough to not only experience but share aloud.
What are the rituals that you cherish within your own family? Would you like to create one anew? I would love to hear what you do within your own realm, those of you with children or without:). What one ritual might you incorporate into your week? And if you do add one, please do share how it felt and flowed.
Wishing you a life of spontaneous sparkle and rituals to revel in.