In the past 18 months, my boyfriend -who is from New Zealand- has had two sets of family members visit. The first time, I was thrown by a number of familial, cultural, and language differences. For example, when his dear sister asked my 8-year-old son at his relatively early bedtime if he’d had his tea, I was perplexed: What? She gives young children caffeine, and in the evening, no less? My boyfriend quickly translated for me: she was asking my son if he’d had supper. Oh!
But sometimes when my boyfriend’s family says “tea”, they mean the hot liquid drink. And they say it many times each day. Again, I was bewildered when every couple of hours my boyfriend’s sister would propose we stop whatever we were doing and have tea. Even though my own mother is British, this habit was new to me. I didn’t really know how to stop what I was doing. I function on momentum, and at the time I was working ridiculously hard revamping the GAPS Guide book. But stop I did.
And I found I loved it!
This simple ritual offered so much. It wasn’t about the caffeine -because it didn’t necessarily involve that; herbal (including from the mint plant in our own garden that spring) was just as fine.
My boyfriend and his family are incredibly hard working people. He and his family value momentum, they value productivity, they value getting things done. And they also value connecting. So several times a day they all stop what they are doing and put on the kettle. When we were all together, each tea time would last at least half an hour. We’d sip, chat, laugh, explore new plans, rest. And then we’d pick up where we left off and resume our activities.
When my boyfriend’s mother visited with her partner more recently, again the tea. Again the lovely rests and connections, again the ebbs so critical to ensuring flow.
Since then, I have been aiming to incorporate this ritual -these little rests, these little moments of tranquility, of centering, of grounding, of connecting- into my life. It’s easier to practice when my beloved Kiwi is hanging out at my place, but I’ve been doing it more and more when he’s not, too, because even alone or with my son the ritual truly feeds my soul.
It reminds me very much of when, on GAPS’ early Intro, we would stop every hour or so to sip broth, at the very least, and usually enjoy a small or large amount of fatty protein, too. A deeply healing practice, to be sure. And the visits from my beloved’s family remind me that this healthy habit can extend long beyond the days of early Intro.
Today, take a moment -or twelve- to rest, or to connect with yourself, with a loved one, with a page of visual art or poetry, or with nature. Let all that hard work you’ve been doing with research, learning curves, and cooking sink in. Breathe. Remember your intrinsic goodness that is the case regardless of your state of health, and enjoy the healing that comes through elements such as friendship, art, and nature. If it takes pouring a cup of tea to remind you to do so…please…put the kettle on now.
p.s. The title of this post references a quirky British show I find hilarious. In an early episode of Spaced, the characters have tea time and again within a short period until, at one point, when the roommate is offered one more round, he deadpans, “No, thanks – twelve cups is my limit.”