My favourite tea mug-3rd Feb 2022

Morning tea mug

When the idea of doing a daily photo journal of ordinary things for myself occurred to me yesterday I was drinking my morning tea.  For many years now I have been having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning but, of late, I have returned to tea. I will write more of that later but today’s focus is on the mug itself.

Artisan-made Studio pottery. EBay from a few years back when I was in full-on Wabi-Sabi mode.  After a couple of trips to Japan with my work, all types of Japanese aesthetics had captured my imagination at a time when so many of us were asking ourselves the big, existential questions of life:

“Is this it? There must be more to life than this? Why does nothing I have or do make me feel happy? “

You know the drill.

I bought the books, scoured the internet, embraced the life-style as I understood it. HA! We in the West are so good at doing things in a quarter-baked way. The Japanese don’t really recognise or understand the term “Wabi-Sabi”.  It is a mix of two Japanese words but, as with so many Japanese concepts, they would never use just one term or two words to try and describe a feeling or sense that could have hundreds of words not necessarily making up a sentence and very probably drifting off in an incomplete way. A recent book released by Beth Kempton called “Wabi Sabi – Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life” gets closer to my mind than so many I have read. She actually lived in Japan for very many years and learned about the Japanese people in the way that only living alongside anyone can bring. A simple sentence from this book made me smile today-

“Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.”

So, I think my tea mug is beautiful. What makes it special to me? Someone (forever unknown to me) made it with their hands. It is quite chunky, rough pottery but glazed enough to make it pleasant enough to drink from. It fits perfectly into my two hands and the warmth from the tea inside it sinks deeply into my slightly stiff fingers first thing in the morning.  There is a notch or groove in the top of the handle where the thumb naturally nestles when I hold it that way- right or left handed. The slight roughness is very pleasing to the hands and to the lips as I drink from it. This mug  asks to be noticed in a way that smooth pottery never would- “Pay attention. Not a lot. Just enough. Feel the weight of me. Savour the time it takes to drink this cup of tea.”

Or two.

My blue teapot makes two mugs worth of tea. The time it takes me to drink that tea in the morning is my time. Time to read and swear at the news. Time to discover new writers and try on new ideas. Time to sit with my Inner Beingness, that of God within me, and listen.


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