• joe@jhanderson.biz   
    (206) 351-5607   

  • I wrote recently about the abundant mindfulness opportunities present in a can of sparkling water. It may be that caffeinated beverages have a slightly non-mindful vibe to them – but you know, tea was brought to Japan in the first place by Zen monks seeking to stay awake during meditation. I’m not sure how many cans of Red Bull would fuel a 10-day meditation retreat…but that cup of tea: even prepared on the formica countertop of a workplace kitchen, it’s a pretty good way to keep the craziness of your day at bay.

    1. Choose mug from cupboard.
      This may be a personal mug, or a branded mug from your company (or a conference from 5 years ago). Feel the weight of the mug as you lift it, and its distinctive bell-like sound if you happen to knock the shelf as you remove it.
    2. Fill mug with hot water.
      Notice the slowly rising pitch as the water nears the top. Feel the steam rising from the cup with the hand operating the hot water tap.
    3. Set mug on the counter, inspect row of available tea boxes and make selection.
      Reflect for just a moment on why you made your choice: habit? color of tea box? quick calculation as to whether caffeine is warranted?
    4. Gently free individual foil pouch of tea from box.
      This can be a bit of an awkward maneuver. Take your time and breathe into the experience of pinching and extracting.
    5. Carefully tear open pouch and remove delicate bag of tea.
      Also requires a bit of concentration to execute properly. The foil or paper pouch has its own sensory properties, different from the woven fabric of the bag itself.
    6. Ease bag into hot water.
      Notice how the water immediately makes the tea bag transparent. After a moment the aroma of the tea leaves or herbs permeates the air. A bit more slowly, the clear water in the mug begins to take on the rosy or russet color of the tea.
    7. Pick up mug by handle, being careful to avoid over-heated ceramic.
    8. Return to desk. Bonus: each sip can return you to calmness. Even while reading your email.