Friday, December 24, 2010

Making tea

Tuesday, I was mired in an energetic nadir.

Wednesday, I got treated, and felt better.

Thursday I was already back in the nadir. It's just a treatment reaction, I thought. Things will be better Friday.

Nope. Attitude was better, but energy was low. Very low.

So, what do I do now?

It came to me this morning, around 4:00. Something that's central to the practice of kyudo:


A lot of the mechanics of how your arms work as you draw the bow is the same as the action of spreading your arms wide (the right arm is bent only because your thumb is attached to the bow string). My teacher said, "Nobody will give you anything if your hands aren't open. You can't give anyone anything if your hands aren't open." Open and give, and only then are you able to receive.

So if I want energy, peace, creativity, and joy... I need to open my hands. Stop clutching what little I have, and instead, give what I have, no matter what it is.

First principle of the tea ceremony: Make the best cup of tea you can. Not the best cup that has ever been made, the best cup that could ever be made, but the best cup that you can make, right here, right now.

Another principle of the quieter martial arts: If you want to do a big thing well, first learn how to do a small thing well.

So that's how I get out of the energetic nadir. Embrace myself, in the state that I'm in, here and now; and offer what I have, no matter what it may be. Low energy, expectation of crappy creativity, whatever: doesn't matter.

Make the best cup of tea you can.

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