From Michael Busby, the Tea Peddler
I was introduced to tea culture during my travels through Japan when I was in highschool and college. The tasty tea served at most restaurants and the cup to warm my hands when I got home was a charm that I wasn’t familiar with. I also experienced Japanese tea ceremony, but it was the everyday tea that I had an affinity for.
Years later, at a qigong retreat in the Rocky Mountains, my friend served me Puerh out of a tiny teapot. Steep after steep, I was being drawn into the marvel of chaqi, the energetic quality of drinking tea, and as we laughed and got to know one another I was hooked on this drink and this way of spending time with a friend. And, I have to admit, finding a ritual where spilling water and tea is part of the fun was really a great fit for my style!
As time went by, my own tea practice developed, and I saw how the aesthetic of tea that I had always been drawn to was an affirmation of my values—simplicity, time in contemplation, time being with friends without agenda, and connection to the natural world.
These days tea is my companion wherever I go, and it fits nicely with my practice of Daoism and qigong, supporting me energetically as well as tethering me to a world of magic and appreciation. My Daoist teacher had encouraged me to start a tea business.
I feel really good about creating relationships with people over a cup of tea. And now I’m finding it very satisfying to share my tea practice with others through the subscription (a.k.a. appreciation cooperative) which lets me support and supply their own tea practice. It’s a good world to live in when we can slow down and appreciate it alone or with a friend. Slowing down is such a gift to give someone. And slowing down leads to more gifts like being able to listen deeply, to be reflective, creative, and to make meaning of life.
I also really value my relationships with artisans of tea and teaware. Together, we’re all supporting meaningful living, in connection to the natural world and each other, a cooperative of appreciation—and there’s plenty of room for me to have fun and be me as the tea peddler in that world.
Wherever I wander, I bring my tea with me, enough to keep me connected to the world of tea, enough to share that world with another, and enough for them to take some and share that world in turn. With each sharing that world drifts and changes, just as the seasons turn and rain clouds give way to clear skies, mist rises in the valley, and clouds form again. Going through this journey with more and more tea friends, clients and collaborators alike, my own life and tea practice is enlivened again and again.