Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 6: A Tea Meditation Moment

The first sip of tea.

This morning, I choose A Li Shan Oolong from Naivetea. It's a high altitude oolong from Taiwan, and it's a tea that you can and "should" infuse multiple times. The same basket of leaves can keep me company throughout an entire morning. With each infusion, the flavors change and develop. It's the equivalent of a musical theme and variation - the foundation of the tea remains the same, but there are subtle elements of change.

Life is change. Some changes are wanted and needed, some are completely unexpected or unwelcome. Either way, it can feel daunting to be facing a change of any kind. I feel like as time has gone by, I've become more rigid in how I approach changes. I used to be (and people would actually comment on it) very go-with-the-flow. I used to say, "I never have any expectations of what this will be like. That way, it's always a pleasant surprise!" And it was!

Now I plan, I create structure, I develop processes. There are contingencies for every contingency. I don't know how it happened. (It seems to have coincided with having kids, and I developed a fear of everything going wrong and not having what I might need to keep my baby alive - dramatic, I know.) So now, even a small change rattles my cage more than I would like to admit. Deviate from the plan? Change course? Are you mad, sir?

I go back to my basic training of discernment, and learning about the gifts we have been given to, in turn, give to those around us. In order to understand our gifts, we have to be willing to use them. Be willing to say, "Yes" to the request for them. Often, that boils down to doing the next obvious thing.

And so it is with all change. We see it in front of us, we know it's going to happen, so rather than sit in fear and dread, do the next obvious thing. And when you've survived that moment, do the next obvious thing after that. Sometimes, the worst thing about change is that very first acknowledgement of it, and the first action that begins to make it a reality.

Today, I intend to stop procrastinating against the changes that I encounter, and instead take ownership of them by doing the first obvious thing. I will do this with eyes wide open to see who or what is brought into my life as a result, and remove the focus from how I feel about it all, to how I can make a difference for that "who" or "what."