A Nice Hot Cup of Tea

by Sophie on October 30, 2010

I was talking about grief in yesterday’s blog post and it reminded me of a true story:

When I was first living in Oxford, England, in the mid 80s, I overheard a conversation on a bus. The older lady had just lost a dear friend and was clearly very sad about it. The younger lady, her daughter maybe? listen attentively and silently. Finally she said: “Let’s go home and have a nice hot cup of tea” and her mother seemed to calm down immediately at the idea.

At the time I thought that was not much of a response to so much pain. I later discovered that it was quite a common remedy to all sorts of physical and emotional ailments in England in those days. (maybe still is? enlighten me!) Now I think it was a great response:

  1. the younger lady did not buy into all the drama or whip it up or make it worse in any way
  2. she offered a remedy that would warm the body at a time when grief tends to shut it off and make it feel cold
  3. we can all use a little sweetness at a time of bitter sadness
  4. she was offering to do something practical TOGETHER with the older lady
  5. she was engaging her Mom to do something physical in the future, to take a step out of the stuckness of her pain.

Brilliant all around me thinks. Anyone need a cuppa? Clients sometimes say that having a session with me feels like we just had tea together except they feel so much better and lighter after! So come on over! I even have a beautiful picture of a tea lady with a hot cup of tea in her hand hanging on the wall of my office. ;o)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker October 30, 2010 at 8:02 pm

What a beautiful story of shared compassion and listening without reacting. It is reacting that creates drama. This interaction was very loving. I am glad that you shared it. Thank you.

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2 Sophie November 1, 2010 at 10:27 am

“It is reacting that creates drama.” I agree with you Patricia! Thank you for the reminder. I really need to practice that today! :o)

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3 LunaJune October 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm

A cup of tea softens, heals, warms and allows us to go on.

I am of Irish background… O”Reilly ..who would have guessed LOL
from earliest memory….. it’s the same… “come, have some tea, everything will get better”
and it was…in the warm vapour, I steamed my face, blowing waves. In the swirling milk, I saw the disruption disappear into a caramel colour. To this day, even at work… on a hard day….. “lets go have a cup of tea, and let it all slip away”
I have learned to just let the world unfold as it will… and in a cup….wonders shared, when words are hard to find…the act of making it for someone in need…priceless

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4 Sophie November 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

You are right June: making tea for someone in need is comforting as well. It gives us something to do. I really associate that with supporting someone. I learned it from my mother in law who was Irish and I miss the shared ritual of the cup of tea now I am in the USA.

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5 kimberly December 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm

As I was reading the blog and comments, I was thinking…it’s actually hard to put into words what is actually happening in the simple act of offering and having tea together. Maybe because it is a communion of sorts, a ceremony of union, compassion and love, a spiritual connection that defies definition. The simple gift of offering to make tea for the grieving woman implies that, I want to spend time with you, I want to hear what you have to say, how you feel matters to me. And for that short time together, time stands still…there is unwritten permission to set down our burdens and just be, and in that moment, everything is ok.

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6 Sophie December 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I completely agree Kimberly. That is so well said. Yes, the ritual and communion of sharing tea. I like that! i will have to show you the Tea Lady painting a client of mine made for my office when I was in England. I am going to bet that you would like her and find her inviting.

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