My tea journey has already gone through lifetimes, and I’ve only been on this ride for a little over three years.
I am a reluctant “tea guy” here in Los Angeles. I do not share that with shame, but rather with humility and vulnerability. Being that I do live in LA, I am sure of myself when I say that I am not a healer or shaman. At most, I playfully would refer to myself as an ambassador of tea. At one point, I created a weekly circuit of locations where I could set up tea and pour for patrons and passers-by at galleries, parties, and events, as Bisao once did, and rarely did I sell tea or teaware. Instead, I focused on creating a social sphere, which I always seek when going out into LA’s nighttime scene. As a musician, I played all kinds of venues for years, relishing in my own shy, humble, and subtle nature. I never smoked cigarettes or hung out at bars to meet people. Even as a student in junior college, I chose to distance myself from the undergrad system because I wasn’t passionate about any particular subject that couldn’t be intuitively experiential. So my teachers weren’t really teachers.
Music was the first teacher I chose to experience. I remember making that decision at 14 and observed how it kept altering the course of my life throughout distinct phases, guiding me through high school, out of junior college, into a contemporary music institute, and almost immediately abandoning that institute to simply embrace the life of a musician. Tea is my recent tea-cher in life – guiding me to share and connect with people in my community, be adventurous, be calm, be centered, and be subtle. A year ago, it even led me to a chance encounter at an event where I met my current partner. I am constantly humbled by tea, as I am by music. Every time I approach tea or playing music, it is almost always with a beginner’s mind. I never know whether that is a safety net of mine, a grounded approach, or a fear of commitment to being an expert at something.
As always, transparency and focus shift with time and experience. Out of the humility of not claiming “Mr. Tea” social status in LA, I am now drafting the vision for a budding tea company and building a brand of my own to share with the greater community. As I seek deeper lessons with this tea-cher, I naturally crave more commitment to my art and life with tea. Travels and new relationships are on the horizon, no matter how close or far they seem right now.
When distilled down to the most basic examples, rhythm and music start with the heartbeat. A life of tea is all of you, a bowl / cup, water, and leaves.
Editor’s note: this post was first published August 22, 2012