Getting to the far side of a quandary is something each of us needs to do from time to time. It seems that Life tosses sticky challenges our way no matter how carefully we plan, no matter how much we propitiate the Gods. Stuff Happens, so one of the sayings goes — and indeed it does Happen, with maddening regularity.
What do you do when you are in a quandary? Do you scale steep hills, or knit a sock, or race cars, or weed your garden, or lose yourself in a book for a few hours? Dustin admits to a desire for weightlifting when he is in a mental pickle — chewing on a philosophical conundrum — I should mention that we have no weights, so he usually goes antiquing instead. The search for a beautiful teacup can often clear the mind marvelously, he assures me (and our growing collection attests to this, for he returns from these sojourns in good humor, nearly always, and with a handsome teacup or three). And then, without fail, we share tea.
If our well-chosen exertions cannot dislodge discontent, pausing for tea with an empathetic friend, at least, brightens the moment and gives us a chance to Talk Things Through. Tea & Empathy, yes…
My frequent source of quandaries is a fear of Letting People Down. I hem and haw, moan and wail, until my insides are knotted and my mouth feels like a dry cotton ball when I believe that I have disappointed, or am about to disappoint, another person. I once fell into a Letting People Down quandary and stayed there for a week… this, of course, was during one of Dustin’s travels abroad when he was still a full-time Tea Maven, in the years before WiFi and Skype and text messaging; there wasn’t even a phone to call him on. So, no reassurance, no quandary-busting teatime friend. I cannot recommend this as a lifestyle choice. Fortunately at the end of that particular week, Dustin returned, we had a bang-up tea feast, I talked, he listened, and Things Got Better in a jiffy.
It’s not just the talking, though talking through a problem is essential — sometimes just saying your fears aloud can shrink them to a manageable size (the verbal equivalent of shining a light under the bed when, as a young’un, you feared there were creatures hiding there) — it’s also the tea itself, whether true Camellia sinensis tea or an herbal tisane, that sends signals to the brain that say Be of good cheer, All will soon be better, We can get through this you’ll see. Often after a few cups (or glasses, if we are drinking a chilled bevvie) we are ready to eat something, too — this is a sign that the good effect has begun, that we are, indeed, on the way out of the quandary. Marvelous, is tea.
I hope that each of you has one, or (better!) more than one, tea friend who appreciates the benefits of sitting quietly with cups or glasses between you, talking, listening, drinking a little, eating a little… so very much good appears, so many problems can be solved, in that magical space between people of compatible minds who drink tea.
If you would like to share any of your quandary-busting remedies, I will be grateful if you share them in a Comment below.
Wishing you a week lacking in quandaries but filled with good tea,