I would like to suggest something truly unique as a gift for all your mothers this Mother’s Day. For those of you who have read my post Why America Needs a Tea Renaissance, you know that I believe that our lives are too overloaded; we live our lives in overdrive and on cruise control. We rush around most of the time on automatic just trying to get done what we have to; rarely stopping to take notice of how we are doing it.
Buying gifts for loved ones is no different. We often feel a sense of obligation to get something. We run around, in the little time we have free, to find something that we hope the person will like, but find ourselves content with anything that says that at least I took the time out from my busy schedule to get this card or gift for you. It’s often just an appeasement, a way to non-verbally communicate the message that at least you remembered, so now Mom can’t say you didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I know you love your mothers. It doesn’t matter. We get so preoccupied with our lives that even taking time out to do something for a loved one can feel like an imposition. It’s sad, but this is what it has come to for many of us.
For all tea lovers, it would be easy to buy our mothers a gift of a lovely tea pot and/or wonderful tea. I’m sure she would enjoy it. In fact, I could even provide you with a very convenient link to the tchingstore.com store site right here in this article so you wouldn’t even have to leave your house or office to purchase the gift. Before you do that, however, think about what is most important and most appreciated by our mothers when it comes to us – their children: TIME. Our time. It is the most valuable commodity we have to offer. Instead of simply moving your mouse and clicking on a gift, or running out frantically during your lunch hour to pick something up, give her your time. It would be a much appreciated gift and one that would benefit the giver as well as the recipient. For this Mother’s Day, I think it would be wonderful if we all took the time to do some form of tea practice for our moms. It doesn’t have to be formal or elaborate. Give some thought to creating a relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful environment. Be thoughtful about picking some favorite pots from your collection that are simple and elegant to use. A zisha pot with soft, simple lines would be nice. A glass pot where she can see the agony of the leaves as they unfurl in the pot would add an extra visual element. Pick a few teas that would give a good introduction to the range of flavors and aromas. If you have a nice tea tray, you could use that to prepare the tea for her and maybe add a small and simple flower arrangement in the middle of the tray ala Ikebana.
Now comes the most important part of this gift. You have created a wonderful atmosphere with which to do your tea practice and now you want to be fully in the present with her as you engage her with this practice. Do it as a meditation on mom. Engross yourself in the moment and be wholly aware of yourself, your mother and your surroundings. You don’t even have to talk if you don’t want to, but certainly feel free to. Make each movement and each look mean something. This is the woman who endured the pain of bringing you into this wonderful life and who helped shape who you are as a person. Take yourtime in showing her your pots and even sharing why you chose each one; what is special about it for you. Share with her your knowledge and feelings about each tea you chose; where it comes from, how it is produced etc. Be careful not to get lost in your own stories, though. This is about her, not about you. Engage her by having her look at the dry and wet leaves, smell the aroma of the steeped tea and enjoy the color of the liquor. Help her to take the time to savor the flavors of the tea and how to fully engage her tongue with them. Don’t be too rigid about all of this. If you see that she wants to talk and engage you in conversations other than tea, go with it. Be in the moment and be with your mother in a way that lets her know that she is the most important person in this moment. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Remember, this is a meditation on mom. Be fully present for her to help reconnect the two of you – or more if there are other family members – in a way that goes beyond your normal interactions. I guarantee that if you take the time to do this for your mother, it will be the most appreciated Mother’s Day both of you have ever had. Happy Mother’s Day!
Originally posted in May 2008, written by Sandy Bushberg.