The Artist’s Way and the Way of Tea are most definitely related. Allow me to explain. For most of us in the world of tea, the phrase, the “way of tea,” is a familiar one.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony (Chanoyu) is considered an art form – one of many art forms studied in Japan. It is through the tea ceremony that the way of tea, or Chado, is learned and perfected. The ritual of the way of tea has been taught, studied, and performed for centuries. It could also be called the “art of tea.”
The way of tea focuses on four basic principles that are believed to be essential to life – harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. The tea ceremony is the vehicle through which these principles are conveyed.
Much is involved in the way of tea and attempting to describe all the aspects of the ceremony here would be unwieldy. What is most significant about the ritual is that it teaches us to live in the moment and to be aware of everything – aesthetically, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.
There is an artist within all of us. The various ways in which it surfaces are endless, as are the variety of ways we suppress and smother our very own creative energy. In The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Author Julia Cameron says:
“In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the Morning Pages. Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages – they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only.”
Have you put two and two together yet? Let me help you. I have done this exercise many times myself; however, I combine my Morning Pages with cup of tea! Yes, what a perfect pairing! This exercise in unleashing your creativity is best done right out of bed – while your mind is still in that wonderfully CREATIVE space between both worlds and before you get bogged down with your to-do list. My suggestion is that you get your tea preparations laid out the night before. I choose my tea, my cup, and my strainer beforehand. I even pour the water into my kettle before going to bed – this way, when I wake up I flip the switch on the kettle and sit down to begin writing – yes, it’s also a good idea to have your pen, pad / notebook, and other writing supplies set out the night before. As the water boils, I write, I pour, the tea steeps, I get back to writing, I remove the infuser or tea bag, the tea cools, and I get back to writing. Soon I am sipping and writing like a totally creative artist – having a complete mind, body, and soul experience.
It takes me anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to fill three pages with whatever needs to flow. My morning writing is usually poetry, but do not concern yourself with sentence structure and grammar – just write! You can rant, you can ask questions, you can plan your perfect day, you can journal your feelings, or simply write words – they don’t even have to be in sentences. This is also a very powerful time for gratitude, but the sky is the limit. Do not question yourself, edit yourself, or limit yourself in anyway – just write – and sip, of course.
The other suggestion Julie Cameron offers to artists is to “date yourself” once a week for two hours. How about taking yourself out for tea? What a great date that will be and your date will be most happy! There are so many little tea shops, tea houses, and tea bars that need your support. So, please, once a week plan yourself an outing, a date, special time for you – and visit a local tea establishment. You will be surprised at what you find. Can you do this for yourself? Will you do this for yourself? If you can’t be kind to yourself, how can we expect others to? This is all about loving yourself, unleashing yourself, and nurturing yourself – all with tea! Your new way of tea is also the artist’s way of respecting yourself, being in harmony with yourself, finding the purity of inner tranquility, and releasing your inner artist. It’s there!
Knowing the power of the Original Creator is in me,
I realize my creativity.
I am a unique creation – an individual expression of God.
Inside of me, and innate to me, is the power of divine creativity.
This power is God and I am one with It, one with all there is.
I allow the Power to create through me.
I offer myself to the process completely.
New, creative and productive thoughts
come directly to me, and in endless form through me.
All ideas are good, all ideas are God.
Ready and willing, open and able; perfectly fit to sit at God’s table.
Competent and capable, proficient and profound.
I create without fear; the world I astound.
I surrender inhibition – no repression, no restriction.
The Source is limitless, I create with conviction.
I take pride, I give thanks.
I let go and I let God work my mind,
my hands and my thoughts.
And it is all good.