Tea life has taught me a lesson…again! This time, the lesson is about beauty.
In this post, I share how my tea practice helped me realize the source of my reluctance to use a very practical tea accessory that is also beautiful.
A Beautiful Birthday Gift
I carry teaware around with me a lot–to take on walks and hikes, when I travel for work, and when we go on vacation. It can be tricky finding safe ways to transport teapots, teacups, fairness pitchers, etc.
For over a year I had been admiring handmade tea travel bags made by Care for Teaware. So, when my spouse asked me what I might like for my birthday, one of their tea travel bags was at the top of my list. I was delighted to receive it. Little did I know that I was inviting in yet another lesson from tea life!
The tea travel bag is even more beautiful in person than can be captured in the photos. And, a close examination reveals how beautifully and lovingly it is constructed. So much skill went into designing and creating this bag to transport fragile teaware!
I Avoid the Birthday Gift for Months
So, given how much I wanted this tea travel bag, how beautiful and practical it is, and how often I transport teaware, you might be surprised to learn that I didn’t use it for over two months! I know! My avoidance surprised me, too.
I sat this beauty in a place where I could admire it every day. And, I did, indeed admire it. At the same time, I was transporting teaware regularly but not using the travel bag made expressly for this purpose!
Slowing down and being more mindful has taught me that when I start avoiding something, I will usually learn a lesson if I investigate why. Another lesson from tea life, it appears, was ready for me…again.
The Source of My Reluctance
I asked myself why I wasn’t using this long-wanted, deeply appreciated, and very practical travel bag. I realized I was afraid of marring its beauty. The fact that this beautiful cloth bag with its decorative ribbon could be stained was keeping me for using it.
Lots of ways I might “ruin” the travel bag were running around my mind.
- It might get dusty when I sat in on the floor of my car.
- The trails, logs, and mossy rocks on my hikes might get it dirty.
- Wet teaware that needed to go back into the bag might stain the cloth.
My worrying brain was thinking of more ways, too! But, I’ll end that list of possible calamities there. 😉
Tea Life Lesson Delivered…Again
Just like I had to come to terms with the fact that I could accidentally crack beloved teacups, I had to accept that this beautiful item could get dirty or stained. Was I not going to use it to protect it from wear? Would I keep using something I liked less so that I wouldn’t be sad if the more beautiful object were damaged?
Life is messy. There’s no use pretending it isn’t. Avoiding to use something practical because it also happens to be lovely is nonsensical. My fear was keeping me from the pleasure (and practicality!) of using the tea travel bag.
Carefully packing my teaware in it brings joy. Carrying the travel bag by the tied handle is so satisfying. The bag’s proximity during traveling tea sessions brings comfort from home. And, it’s SUCH a pleasure to admire!
Although I will treat it with care, I will use this travel bag regularly. Indeed, I have used it often in the months since I asked that question and learned this tea life lesson. After all, a little dirt and a few tea stains will only be a testament to tea travels and tea time on the trail. It will show how it was lovingly used.
Tea Life Goes On
In case you were wondering, this bag is really practical. It is very well cushioned. A gongfu teapot (or even a small western-style teapot) can fit in the center. Up to four small cups (or a small fairness pitcher instead of a cup) can slide in the padded pockets that surround the teapot space, too.
Have you ever struggle with a reluctance to drink special teas or use special tea things? How did you overcome it? I’d love to hear from you!
If you are interested in reading about other lessons that tea life has taught me, here are a couple of others:
“Lessons about Authenticity from the Online Tea Community”
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