This month’s teacup of the month has been chosen by Lara. Read below for why she chose it and if you would like a chance to win it, click here.
The Story Behind Our Cup of the Month
(as written by Lara)
I have a confession, this cup was not my first choice for teacup of the month. A few weeks ago I went on eBay and started looking for a cup. I found many beautiful cups but none of them was quite what I was looking for and then suddenly, as I scrolled, one jumped out at me. I bid on it, won the bid, and was eagerly waiting for its arrival. A few days later the package arrived.
I took it out to the backyard and opened the box sitting under the trees. And then as I unwrapped it, everything about that moment took my breath away. Surrounded by the green of the trees and the gold of the late afternoon, I saw in my hands, everything I had ever wanted in a teacup. It was delicate and dainty and purple!
“Noooooo!!!!" I thought, "I can’t possibly give this cup away! I want to keep it! It’s my perfect cup. It feels like it was meant for me!”
"But you must," the voice in my head said, "It was never meant for you. It is the cup of the month, and destined for someone else."
Now, one thing you should know about me is that I am on a spiritual path, which as anyone who is on a spiritual path knows, can sometimes be very challenging.
But we always take those challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow. So when I noticed my attachment to the cup, that part of me that wants to let go of greed and become an ever more refined soul said: “You have to give away this teacup exactly because you don’t want to. It’s a lesson in attachment.”
The only problem was I couldn’t give the cup up and I didn’t want to. There was a little five-year-old in me who had her fingers wrapped around that cup and she just didn’t want to let go. (Can you say "My precioussss")
And so I had to tease apart what was going on inside me. The child wanted the cup. The spiritual seeker wanted the child to give it up. The parent in me had to decide what was going to happen as I walked the tightrope between love for the self and love/duty to the other.
As I thought about myself more deeply, I realized that I usually come down on the side of love for others because I try not to indulge the selfish, greedy part of me. The struggle was real. I kept going back and forth between wanting it for myself and telling myself to let go.
Later I thought about what it is that the words "Tea Is The Way" mean to me. For me, tea is the way to so much, but self-care is an important part of that. Those moments I take to sip and gaze and breathe and just be with myself are tangible ways to care for this body, mind and soul.
And as I reflected, I realized that I do give a lot to others. I was taught to not be selfish, to share, to step back. And I recognize that as an adult, my spiritual path is often the dance I dance with attachment and more often than not, I do let go.
But a loving voice came into me and said that there is a time for everything, and so this time, I decided that it was to let my kid self who fell in love with that purple cup, just go ahead and have it. And so I told myself I could have it. And I was soooo happy.
And so of course, I had to find another cup for September so I started my search. It has to be at least as beautiful and it had to also speak to me.
And that is how I found our September cup of the month. It is hand-painted Niko Niko China made in Occupied Japan between 1945 and 1952. The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped it was the particular color blue around the inner rim and the golden criss-cross pattern around it. That blue is the same color blue that you see in the calligraphy in medieval texts. There is something so solidly beautiful about the juxtaposition of gold and blue.
The cup itself is thin, delicate and hand-painted. It shows a scene of three women in a garden. Are they sisters? Friends? A mother and her daughters? Was it a real garden that inspired this scene? It made me think of how tea has a way of connecting things. It connects people to one another when they share a cup of tea, and it connects us to ourselves when we have a cup of tea.
So, to me, this month’s cup represents two things: firstly, self-love (because I kept the purple cup for myself) and secondly, connection because we are all connected and maybe something in my story will touch you to love yourself too.
I hope that in the month ahead you will remember to put yourself first sometimes, just like I did with my purple cup, and I hope that you will make time to connect in a deep, meaningful and peacefully creative way with yourself and others.
Maybe you can ask a friend to come over for a cup of tea in a few days and see what joy and beauty that sharing brings you.
If you've read all the way to the end of this story then you definitely should enter the drawing. Then maybe that cup is meant for you!
Click here to add your name to the drawing.