Heart to heart connection

Nichi nichi kore kojitsu

I have been little discouraged lately. After years of study, teaching, and writing about Chado, I feel like I am making little headway in sharing the way of tea. Teaching cultural concepts that seem to be at odds with modern American life sometimes is an uphill battle. Because American life has become so casual, semi-formal and formal occasions are almost foreign to people. Comfort and inward focus on what affects people personally seem to be more important than thinking about others or how actions and words affect other people.

That was how I was feeling the other day, but today is another day because something happened to me yesterday. I was invited to a spontaneous chaji by a Japanese friend of mine. It was to honor the new Emperor of Japan and the beginning of the new Reiwa era.

There was only me and one other guest. There was nothing fancy for the meal: simple miso and rice, a bit of fish, some vegetables and pickles. My host knows I like sake so served some from our local brewery. We then had sweets and tea and I could taste the love that went into them. The utensils were nothing special, but oh my gosh, I felt like a princess the way that she treated me.

The chaji was warm, intimate and caring. I think she could sense that I was a little downcast at the beginning, and she did her best to make me feel important, loved, and that I matter. At the end she thanked me for coming saying that she was sure that I could appreciate her chaji without judgment of the food or the utensils because of my tea heart.

It is special moments like this that make me commit all over again to the way of tea. True heart to heart connection and being truly seen straight through to my heart makes it all worthwhile. The way of tea has transformed my life and made me a better person. I am so grateful that I discovered this path.

So I am back and ready to share tea with as many people as I can. Thank you everyone who has encouraged and helped me with my journey.

Permanent link to this article: http://issoantea.com/heart-to-heart-connection/

8 comments

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    • Admin on May 8, 2019 at 3:12 pm
      Author

    Dear Philip,
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I am fortunate enough to know some very good people with wonderful tea heart. It really makes everything worthwhile to experience true human connection in the tea room. I am looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Margie

    • Philip Hafferty on May 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    I’m so glad you were able to have this positive tea experience. I’m sure you’ve had these thoughts yourself, but in many ways I think the humanity is lost in a lot of tea these days. When I was in Midorikai, Iemoto talked about the second character of the word 茶会. The second character means to meet, but is also used (at least in modern Japanese) in the same context as to see someone. He said that many chakai don’t really have a human connection between host and guest. If the guest(s) and the host aren’t able to really communicate with each other, to “meet” or “see” each other, then it won’t be the event that it could have been. He said he would rather see utensils that mean something to the host, and have a story behind them, then be served another Raku lineage bowl at a Kenchashiki. Of course, he is in a position where he is no longer amazed by the utensils that many of us would be wooed by.

    We also have a situation today where demonstrations and serving usucha to large numbers of people has become the main way of sharing tea. We may get comments from guests how fantastic something is, but that again is not really a deep human connection. When people think of chaji, it can feel like a huge overwhelming event where you can’t do it if you don’t have fantastic utensils and Michelin-level food. I’m glad whoever hosted the chaji could tell that you would appreciate her hospitality more than strict adherence to whatever the textbooks tell us a chaji should be. I hope you can meet more people like that during your tea life.

    • Admin on May 6, 2019 at 8:27 am
      Author

    Linda,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Sometimes Chado is lonely, and sometimes we feel like we are the only ones who are trying to spread the way of tea. I hope it helps to read the blog. Thank you for your efforts in they way of tea.

  1. Dear Margie,

    It is wonderful to read your heartfelt posts. We are so fortunate to be able to communicate now with people around the world who are on a similar path. I felt alone for many years and am so grateful to see pictures and read about what others are doing to share Chado in their community. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

    • Admin on May 5, 2019 at 10:55 pm
      Author

    Miranda,
    Thank you for your comment. Even though I do not know you well, I think that like attracts like and we were destined to meet and share some time together. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Please keep in touch.

    • Miranda von Stockhausen on May 5, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. It shows that you are human, and much like me (and perhaps all of us), sometimes struggle to make your way through an ever changing world. For I too- have felt discouragement wondering if what I did made any difference at all,

    but then I realized as long as I did what I do with great love, then that is enough.

    I have been one of the lucky ones to share in your tea teachings, and the quiet contemplative and meaningful way in which you walk in the world is beautiful. Your tea heart is beautiful, and I am happy to know you.

    • Admin on May 5, 2019 at 9:14 pm
      Author

    Bruce,
    Thank you for your comment. I am sure you can relate to this and it means a lot to me that you also see me clearly and what I am trying to do. I also know that you had been teaching under some difficult circumstances for many years. But I also know that you are a beloved teacher for many students around the world. I follow you on facebook and I am so happy that you are enjoying your retirement and traveling a little. Please keep in touch.

    • Bruce Hamana on May 5, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Margie, thanks for the blog entry. I was very touched by your honesty. I know how you feel as I have felt that way many times. Of course, the good times make up sad times, but those can be deceptive, too. You have always focused on serving and sharing tea with a true and honest heart, and have never let ego gratification become your goal, so whatever people think, is in the end, completely irrelevant. It is gratifying to have positive feedback, but I know that is not why you do it. Gratitude for life’s blessings expressed through serving tea to others is tantamount.

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