So I arrive in this beautiful springtime 2023 embracing my new persona of ‘very very very basic counsellor’! It’s a direction none of my close friends would be at all surprised by. I have always been fascinated by people, what makes each of us tick, what has caused us to cultivate uniquely different instincts, many of them apparently harmful and so dramatically unlike the other millions of species and sentient beings we share the planet with, all of whom seem fairly able to follow their basic blueprint.
I’m not suggesting that we are the only beings born with instincts to adapt and evolve, but rather question why we were so driven to become something almost unrecognisable in terms of ‘true human’ when no other species seems to have followed our lead- let’s face it an acorn always grows into an oak tree, not accidentally a beech tree!
In that blueprint breaking, we also seem to have proved the existence of the universal law of balance, yinyang, where opposing yet interconnected forces govern change. What we have gained in so many ways, most noticeably removing the toughness of survival so we have more ‘luxurious’ lives than many of our ancestors, we must pay for, it seems, with our mental health.
A friend of mine is currently somewhere in Africa cooking on fire and collecting water from the stream. She mentioned the mixed emotions of feeling awe at the beauty and realness of life in the mountains versus longing for a hot shower and warm comfy bed. I think we all know what she means.
I recently read a similar reflection in ‘The Midnight Library’, a novel by Matt Haig. The main character is reflecting on finding herself dropped unexpectedly into a more extreme life in the Arctic circle:
“In most lives, she would have at least been physically comfortable. And yet, she was feeling something new here. Or something old that she had long buried. The glacial landscape reminded her that she was, first and foremost, a human living on a planet. Almost everything she had done in her life, she realised- almost everything she had bought or worked for or consumed- had taken her further away from understanding that she and all humans were really just one of nine million species. The lonely mind in the busy city yearns for connection because it thinks human-to-human connection is the point of everything. But amid pure nature, solitude took on a different character. It became in itself a kind of connection. A connection between herself and the world. And between her and herself.”
Millennia ago when we were intrinsically part of the natural world, we insisted on the guidance of all the sentient beings around us, plants, rocks, weather systems, rivers, not only for our survival but because the animist perspective was what made sense of the inexplicable awe and wonder of being alive.
How did we lose our way? How did we lose the connection between ourselves and the world and thus, the connection to our true selves?
Believe it or not, this really speaks to why we ‘work with’ tea. Because when Ric and I delve deeply into what the tea offers us, it is a benevolent companionship. Through its nutrients it heals us, its guidance (of which we use the tea spirit cards ) counsels us and the warmth and daily presence of a cup of tea stills and comforts us, buffering us from the chaotic world outside of ourselves and inviting connection to the world inside of ourselves.
As the character in the book attests to on finding herself in untamed wilderness, aloneness is healed in the cultivation of connection with Gaia, mother earth, in a deep sense of your unity to the all.
The ATTIC way is to drink pure, unadulterated teas in their purest form as nature intended, with a little reverence and mindfulness and accept that gift of connection back into our lives. Inner peace abides there, in every consciously chosen cup of tea :)
Coming back to my ‘becoming a counsellor’ journey, I see how in the past we would have had the natural guidance and support of our elders but also sought the wisdom and counsel of all the plants, rocks, weather systems and rivers we lived amongst and all of these would have provided an unnamed natural ‘counselling service’ that would have been built into our lives. it would have helped us stay mentally healthier and truer humans.
With the rise of plant medicine ceremonies and the call to re-engage with that ancient knowing that all plants have magic, we hope next month to launch our new website and finally, after 17 years of exploration, share tea as the reconnection practice it was, is and always will be and we are very excited to share the journey :)
Happy Easter and thank you as always for engaging in our Communitea. And we look forward to talking to you again in May.
Anne and Ric x