an invitation for tea (a singular ceremony)

My mentor muse in Seattle mailed me a box, full of breaths. Full of meditative motivations.

This box sits on top of my record player/tape player/cd player/radio. This box watches me watch a television program or movie. This box watches as I read a sliced open section of the NY Times. This box watches me kiss my mate. This box watches as I cry without tears, wondering where I am going and why I feel as though my wheels have been removed.

My mentor muse in Seattle writes to me about Murata Jukō and the ritual of serving, drinking, and sharing tea.

I place loose tea leaves in  french press, and drown with hot water. I watch the swirl of coconut green tea branches lift up and then swirl like leaves in a storm. Then, I wait until its color grows rusty.

My friend who I used to share a home with gave me a fancy tea cup with saucer for my birthday. It reminds me of something too dainty and delicate for my rough, scarred skin. For almost a month, it sat unused on a shelf. I greeted this cup and saucer everyday, wanting to be the kind of person that could drink out of such a refined object.

I place fingers around porcelain. I am just far too big and clumsy to clutch the handle. After tea is poured in, I bring cup to my mouth and gulp (because once again, I am just not the kind of person to sip or move with a slow ease). After gulp came swallow.

What I want is for this tea to purify me. (Are there enough tea leaves in the world to do such a thing?)

What I want is for this tea to remind me of the necessity of waiting. Being slow. Taking the time to acknowledge all of the flavors slapped against my tongue: nutty. tart. coconut. slight hint of coffee from all the days before this moment.

I want to meditate. I want to leave all the ghosts that scream me awake, to vacate my soul for the day. Or the afternoon. Or how about until I finish this swallow? I want to empty my pockets of things which ring and vibrate. I want to walk into rooms where other people’s pockets are empty too.

Next time, I will invite another to gulp tea with me. Or sip, if they are the kind of person who does such a thing. Because the point of all this is to remember how to remain. Or if not remember, learn how to.

How to sip sometimes. To taste. To be alive. In silence. With all the flavors of a moment sitting like a meditative monk on your tongue.