Enjoying a Cup of Gratitude at Tea Time
For the past few months I have been focusing heavily on forgiveness. It has been freeing and transformative. I have learned to let go of pains and incidents that I didn't even know I was holding onto. Learning to let go and remembering differently has opened my eyes to more gratitude.
I became aware of this as I was enjoying a cup of tea one morning. I was flooded with intense and sweet memory of an experience in 4th grade at Agnes Samuelson Elementary School. I cannot remember the teacher’s name, but I remember several “cultural” days in her class. Those days were like internal field trips. It was especially poignant for me because my home life at the time was dominated by my father’s struggle with cancer.
One day our teacher brought a friend in to talk with us about her trip to India. We were each given a cup of aromatic black tea while we watched a slide show or film about India. The tea was amazing! I was fascinated by the slightly spicy scent of the tea and riveted by the images on the screen, getting a glimpse of life on the Ganges River.
With this powerful experience I was transported away from my mundane elementary student’s life in a moment. I can now see that it shaped my life in many ways. I became a lover of tea and I developed a strong interest in India. In fact, when I was old enough to travel and get my own passport, the first place I went was India. That journey was monumental in my personal development and has led to adventures and important relationships. Somehow, I had forgotten this until that recent cup of tea.
I am so grateful for that teacher, her friend and the school for making that magical experience possible. This flash back has given me a new appreciation of life’s small gifts. I realize that there are more unacknowledged experiences that have enriched my life.
Too often in life we focus on our disappointments. Now, I know with greater conviction that our focus prevents us from creating the life we really want. Choosing forgiveness means letting go of disappointments and making space for gratitude, acknowledging the gifts we already have. Shifting my focus to the gifts, means I am seeing more and more gifts. Thanks to a nice cup of tea, I am cultivating more gratitude.