Red Lotus Society San DiegoMany of us appreciate tea daily – some of us several times a day – but on Sunday, May 8, we have the opportunity to celebrate tea in a whole new way – an entire day dedicated to hallowing tea!  Dianna Harbin, the founder and organizer of what is graciously called Tea Appreciation Day, has solicited the help of several people, including me, to assist in Southern California to gather folks together to socialize, meditate, listen to peaceful music, shake hands, hug, laugh, and appreciate tea.

Our San Diego Tea Meetup Group has been experiencing growing success meeting in downtown San Diego at the Red Lotus Society in their Ideal Tea Room to sip tea.  It has become the perfect place to gather and will, of course, be the perfect spot to host Tea Appreciation Day.  We anticipate close to 100 people will sign up and show up to sip up.

As usual, with tea, nothing is really ever really “new.”  International tea appreciation days have been going on all over the world on various dates for years.  Ms. Harbin organized our local Tea Meetup Group for folks to learn about tea, teach about tea, and support California-based tea companies and tea shops.  We are reaching out beyond California with this event.  The 2011 Tea Appreciation Day will be an Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fundraiser for Japan.  Portions from the door fees, retail tea sales, and book sales will be sent to the Red Cross in Japan in a unified effort to provide funds for their relief needs.

Red Lotus Society San DiegoAppropriately, Eugene Sukhorukov will, once again, play the Japanese Shakuhachi flute.  His transformative music has accompanied us at other tea gatherings at the Red Lotus Society.  As we are appreciating tea on this day, it is also our goal to appreciate each other.  This gathering will include an informal tea service, with less focus on teaching or demonstrating than in the past.  In the spirit of the Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony shared with us by Steven R. Jones of Tea Arts, each participant will serve several others in the group at their table rather than a single tea master serving everyone from a central position.

We are grateful to our tea suppliers and friends who have contributed their tea and tea products for free to help out with the relief effort.  Many have asked to remain anonymous with their contributions, although we will be enjoying some First Flush Darjeeling being sent from two tea companies in India just for this event.

How does one truly appreciate tea?  By enjoying it in the company of others.

Ami-Tea

This is my prayer for peace and friendship,
for a world in divine harmony and kinship;
a world that knows no war.
To a place we have all been before.
To do this, I bring myself to a peaceful place.
I go within and know that God is all there is
and I am one with this divine tranquility.
I pray that everyone joins me in this
sacred space of amity where it is as
simple as gathering to sip tea and simply be.
Deep within is the true place where peace begins;
this powerful, productive and potent place inside us all.
From here we see only our similarities and parity
and know only our good.
We accept good, embody good,
live for good, and do only good.
As I know peace, I know it begins with me.
I give thanks and abide by the Golden Rule,
the code of amity and know no enemy.
I put aside and I go inside. I release and I relent.
I forgive and I repent. I let go and I let God.
I give in and I get God. And so it is, and so I am
and so we have peace.
Amen.?