As I am making myself some tea, with rose petals and buds from the beautiful Rose Valley of my native land Bulgaria, I thought that today we can talk about what tea knows about love. I’ve always loved drinking tea, ever since I was a little girl. I love drinking it in its purest form – no sugar, no honey, no milk – just waterflowers and love.

And this is what relationships are.

When two souls meet and kiss, of their love a new soul is born: the soul of the relationship. It has its own unique physical, emotional and spiritual wildland, upon which we walk each day shaping and forming and growing things. We walk in togetherness, not as you not as I – we walk as us. We nurture the lands, and we pave our paths forward hopefully making it into a home we can live in with fulfillment.

These lands of the united heart have their own nutritive cycles, needs, desires, rhythm and natural timing. There are various climates and environments, wildlife and flora that exist there too; sometimes it is quiet, some things are seen while others not yet on the surface, sometimes it is a cave within which treasures can be found, sometimes there is a lot of movement in the winds, and sometimes in the drought and deserts we need to shift our eyes towards the skies and just cuddle up. Rainlife comes to freshen up the rivers so that they are not stagnant and polluted, and the ebbs and flows move through us to awaken up into trust and natural flow also.

Relationships need water, for it is life, movement, trust and intention. With the waters of tenderness and compassion we learn the way of life, the way of love, and we nourish the soils of our lands, and the land of the relationship. We tend to the seeds and all the other little things, with the waters and our loving caring hands, so that a rose blossoms, and all other flowers blossom in the way they are and the way they need to be. There are many tiny things to be fed, nourished and nurtured along the lands, not just when we are in the mood or feel like it, but continuously. Love is a kingdom for the brave, generous and giving; the selfish cannot enter.

Love is a seed of God, our beloved is a seed of God, a gift given to us so that we nourish it to being from the church of our heart. Love is not air, though dreams make beautiful stories, love needs to be embodied through our lips, hands and every day seemingly ordinary gestures.

Drinking tea as a sacred practice

In many parts of the world drinking tea is a sacred practice. And there is a reason why monks drink their tea in very small cups. It’s small because we need to take our time. Nowadays in most places tea is served in large cups and there are many fancy names for it: Stormy Night, Magic Potion, White Peach Moringa. But people have forgotten how to drink it. And if we don’t know how to drink it, then it is only a commodity.

A tea is a movement, an inner experience, just like love is an inner experience, just like God is an inner experience. Tea is a living teaching about life and how we can experience life through our body. Water doesn’t care if it’s vapour or ice, if it’s enclosed within a lake, or poured into a glass. Water is water, but it is also an inner experience. 

Love is about paying attention to one another. It is about intentional listening, and patience is the mark of truest love.

Love desires to know and be known, to see and be seen, it is a knowing not just of flesh but through the flesh.

In our modern world we rarely stop to pay attention, but we can only love what we appreciate – and we can’t appreciate something nor emotionally invest if we have a five minute attention span or are just stingy and closed-off. Society has become good at scrolling things, deleting and blocking, swiping faces on screens dehumanizing one another, and I can’t even tell you the last time I saw a couple sitting in a restaurant who instead of laughing and talking were just staring at their phones in some robotic way. People have become a bit too inadequate in or incapable of actually connecting to a human heart, and a bit too empty and self-centered. It’s spiritual poverty, and love cannot exist nor thrive on such poor lands. 

Unfortunately I’ve noticed that most people nowadays approach one another through an exploitative mindset – as in, “what can I get from you?” – rather than through an appreciative mindset, being grateful for the interaction and having an openness to learn more about one another in a genuine way. Naturally this exploitative way of relating cannot result in a deepening of intimacy and being able to establish a real connection, because relationships are based on appreciation, respect, generosity and sincerity. Selfishness cannot ever create love.  

Within relationships, years go by, routines set in, and we assume we know it all – but we always change within and even after many years of living together under the same roof there is always something new to explore – a new shade, which is why love is an art of loving. It is a painting yet ever shaping with water colours, and light shows various nuances. We can learn and re-learn about one another. Sometimes we need to just stop and ask what we need and what we desire; and to kiss and hold and care for each other not in the way we always did but in the way we need to right now.

Tea knows that love is based upon clarity of mind, purity of heart and sincerity in action.

Tea knows we need to listen, and to move with a kindness of rhythm.

Tea knows that patience opens the soul of matter.

And there is grace within tea, as the waters of tenderness soften our skins and relax us, and we open ourselves, and we deepen into love.

Tea also knows that as rivers flow to sea what is will always be, because it is water, because it’s life, because it’s love, and lovers always find their way to one another.

And tea knows,

that love is a seed of God, a gift that we are given to carry within the church of our heart. And when we nurture it with kindness, love and warmth, it will become a beautiful rose – the fragrance of which will scent the hands of all we’ve held and touched throughout our life.

Love has many shapes and forms, and different speeds and movements. It is found in joy, kindness, generosity, patience, grace, forgiveness, humility, discernment, compassion and sweetness. We build love, contain love, nurture love and emit love. We embody love through our lips, hands and every day ordinary gestures along the circling staircases of our life. Because if we don’t, it only stays as a beautiful idea in the sky – to be admired but not experienced and shaped. And dreams are surely beautiful, and dreams surely make beautiful stories, but what matter happens when we are awake. Love is not a stone, it doesn’t just sit there, love is like bread, made and remade each morning, made anew.

And love is like tea, and love is like water.

Flowers stirring in water, circling staircases, cuddles in bed,

skin against skin.

Love is everything.

And patience opens the soul of matter, entering us into the lands of the heart.

Because these are the lands that only truly matter.

For more of my writings, browse through my Art of Love.

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Cover art by Claude Monet, 1872, via Wikimedia Commons.

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