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.