One of the most important services Essencha offers both inside and outside our teahouse is a unique, memorable experience involving tea. This often takes the place of tea seminars (both on- and offsite), dinners, tastings, specific pairings (tea + younameit!), music, tea ceremonies, cooking lessons, and demonstrations.
For whatever reason, the constant din of commercialism this recent holiday season really annoyed me. I can usually tune it out, but this season it seemed longer and louder than last year. As a result, I carefully avoided malls and large Christmas shopping areas because it just put me in a grinchy mood. Often, when I listen to music, it’s Pandora radio or something similar and this year, the Christmas commercials that kept creeping into my playlists were especially obnoxious and grating, as were the other commercials on TV, in movie theaters, and in print ads.
With this in mind, we really tried to cultivate a festive environment at the teahouse that focused more on getting together with friends and loved ones over the holidays, because really, for many of us, that’s what makes the holidays so fun (and yes, often stressful).
Each year, I look forward to the winter solstice to escape from the holiday din and retreat within myself, forcing me to take a few hours out of each winter day to meditate on and feel gratitude for the previous year, as well as to envision goals, hopes, and wishes for the upcoming year. Born out of this activity was the solstice celebration that we hosted on the winter solstice (December 12) that featured traditional Tibetan singing bowls by local musician Ron Esposito, a nourishing vegan dinner, and, of course, tea. I was surprised that we actually sold out this quiet, somber Friday night event, because I figured everyone would just want to be enjoying holiday merriment. It seemed that other people wanted to escape and retreat from the holiday din too and lose themselves in the beautifully mesmerizing singing bowls.
This was one of the coolest and most successful events we’ve ever had, fulfilling in just about every way. It really helped us to create new connections with ourselves and others and offered an opportunity for us to focus on and still our inner being. Perhaps what I loved the most was how beautifully tea fit into this scenario; tea was the perfect bridge between the healthy food and singing bowls as it provided a traditional way to help us center ourselves and live in the moment while nourishing our body and mind.
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a very healthy, joyful, and prosperous 2013!
Credit for both photos goes to Michael Wilson.
I love your idea of pairing Tibetan singing bowls with tea and a healthy meal. I’ve never been to a concert, so to speak, of singing bowls but the idea is fabulous. My father had purchased a singing bowl in Greenwich Village decades ago. I’ve always coveted it and upon his passing, had hoped it would come to me. My daughter retrieved it first and I didn’t have the heart to ask for it. I’m going to see her later today and I know I will enjoy the bowl while I’m there. I’ll be sure to sit with a cup of tea as well.
Thanks, Michelle! You should try the bowl and drink some tea–it’s really a nice centering activity. We’re having Ron back in March for a similar celebration, this time to usher in Spring.