it is no secret that i love tea. i am kind of a tea snob. and by “kind of” i mean “really really am”...
and i for YEARS/DECADES i have taken my tea with cream and sugar. and by “cream” i mean real cream. or half and half. skim milk in my tea makes me hate someone. and by sugar i mean turbinado cane sugar. splenda in my tea makes me want to punch out the someone that i hate.
BUT, this year for lent i decided to give up two of my favorite things and see if i could get by without being arrested for punching out someone that i hate. so i said a “see in after a while” to cream and sugar in my tea.
and something really strange happened.
while i was in jail for punching out a total stranger... (just kidding about that part)
i learned to really love tea. in its natural state. in all its nuditea.
because i realized that i wasn’t really loving tea as much as i was loving cream and sugar. i mean who doesn’t love fat combined with sugar? and if you don’t love fat combined with sugar you might have been the target of my fists swinging because that just ain’t normal behavior.
but then i started really tasting the tea. the subtle flavors. the fullness. the body of it. really knowing it. and enjoying tea for tea. not for the cream and sugar.
i ordered this tea kettle, the ulitiTEA from adagio tea. so i could brew my tea at the correct temperature. and it makes 4 cups. 3 for me and one for millie for breakfast. it makes her like me more in the morning if i make her a cup of tea with her breakfast. so she won’t punch me out for me waking her up to go to school.
and eventually i settled on my favorite tea. hot cinnamon spice by harney and sons. loose leaf because i can really taste the tea bag now and the loose leaf brews up stronger. and to be fair this tea does have a sort-of sweet taste to it somehow even though there is no sugar. which i never would have noticed if i had still been sweetening my tea.
so i never went back to cream and sugar in my tea. every now and then for a special occasion i spluge and add a splash of half and half. but no sugar, i like it better unsweet. i have stopped sweetening my iced tea too. i am naked hot and cold (referring to tea only).
which of course made me think. because i had plenty of time to think while waiting on the water to boil and the tea to seep and no sugar or cream to add...
what else in my life am i missing the FULL flavor of because i add things? to make it sweeter. to fatten it up.
and the answer is “almost everything”. there is very little “nudity” in my life.
so many things in my life would be better left “naked”. i am always “dressing things up” that should be in their natural state. (and do not worry, i am not considering a visit to a nudist colony anytime soon. this is a metaphorical “nudity” that i am speaking of here). i would learn to appreciate many things more without those additional elements hiding what is truly valuable. i am missing out on experiences that might be richer, fuller, and healthier without the things i think i HAVE to add...
some examples of nudity that i am experimenting with include...
taking part of my daily walk without any music or podcasts of anything other than the “naked” sounds around me with my own thoughts and prayers.
talking with my kids without checking my cell phone, thinking about what to make for dinner, or thinking about my next response to them. just naked listening. no agenda. no lecture series planned. no three point salvation plan added in at the end.
raw vegetables and fruit without frying, adding sugar, hiding in a pie. naked food.
giving a gift just because without a reason and not even telling someone who it is from to get credit or love or appreciation. giving for the purity of giving.
not wearing clothes while i go and get the mail.... just kidding on that one. that would enhance no one’s experience of life. and would land me in jail. naked.
and i am learning that at first it is hard to strip down to the basics. it feels, well in a word “naked”. but over time i might just acquire a taste for it and taste something REAL for the first time. and like it. and realize the wheat is better than the chaff.
so practice some “nudity” of your own today. and if you are arrested... don’t call me. i am busy sipping my naked tea.