“When you have flowers, books, and tea, you are never alone.” —Alexandra Stoddard
The rituals we create and savor throughout days and thus throughout lives create a quality of life that only comes from intentional living. Which is to say, when we live thoughtfully and invest in that which we have control, the time we have in our own company, every day is elevated, and along with so many other rituals we can welcome into our lives, whether they are daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally or yearly, enjoying tea for one is most definitely a ritual to savor.
Not too long ago, on a Sunday morning after our regular long walk through the trees, the pups and I returned home and enjoyed our first al fresco croissant breakfast on the garden porch. And while served with a meal, tea was of course served as well, and it is a weekly ritual I savor every Sunday when the weather allows – outdoors, a petite table cloth on my Fermob café table, a bud vase with a single stem of a bloom pulled from a bouquet in the house or a small bouquet brought outside, a cloth napkin and KDFC’s Sunday morning program that plays Baroque music for two hours.
C’est idealée pour moi.
Enjoying a small pot of tea in our own company is no doubt something most if not all TSLL readers do I have a feeling, and it is when we make sure we give it thoughtful care and pay attention to the details that we elevate it to the point of ensuring we slow down, sit down and become still which makes a powerful difference. Even if for only 15 minutes in the afternoon as our work days may not allow much more, when we cultivate a cozy area either with the furniture or the table setting or simply a gorgeous tea cup & saucer, similar to the one my recent guest Anna Murphy discussed as her Petit Plaisir in episode #358, we create a ritual that nourishes us, brings us back down to ourselves, to the present, and gives us time to becomes settled or settle more deeply.
As I was preparing for my interview with Alexandra Stoddard (which will air in June on The Simple Sophisticate podcast), I was reading more than a few of her 28 books, and one book that is my favorite is her Tea Celebrations: The Way to Serenity and one of the chapters that share ideas for enjoying tea is a chapter dedicated to “Tea for One”. I would like to share with you a few of her ideas and thoughts to ponder on this subject.
Sharing that her need for tea enjoyed solely in her own company is something that “makes me more a more content, tranquil person”. She goes on to say that by intentionally carving out regular time throughout our day, perhaps multiple times a day, we begin to exercise the muscle that helps us live more deliberately throughout our entire day, and thus our lives. Here are a few more:
Tea for one is . . .
- . . . a time-out
- . . . a preamble
- . . . time to learn about ourselves
- . . . time to honor yourself.
- . . . involves caring for ourselves.
- . . . a signal to our soul that our life has value.
- . . . time to hear our inner voice.
- . . . tap into our inner yearnings and clear away whatever doesn’t ring true or feel right.
- . . . time for you to savor and not hurry.
- . . . an opportunity to get back to ourselves.
- . . . helps us seek and maintain openness, inner calm, tranquility, elegance, beauty, joy, grace and serenity
- . . . eases our fears rather than fuels them.
- . . . can gently guide us on our path.
- . . . deepens our awareness as a result of serenity and contentment gained in this moment of time with ourselves.
“Until we can learn to do something beautiful only for ourselves, we will always be in a state of anxiety, frustration and even anger, since we sill not be fulfilling our unique needs.” —Alexandra Stoddard
Ideas for creating a ritual of Tea for One, as suggested by Alexandra Stoddard:
- Establish a sacrosanct time that best suits your mood – a time of day based on who is in the house (if you live with others), the weather. Tune in to how you feel at different times of the day.
- Find a tray you prefer
- Select a beautiful teacup & saucer or mug that has special meaning for you.
- Select reading material, a journal to write in or anything that will relax your mind.
- Prepare a favorite tea varietal, maybe this is the only time of day when you enjoy this particular tea because it is special to you for whatever reason
- Pair a small snack or gôuter – sweet or savory, healthy (slices of fruit or berries) or a treat
- Tend to your breath – slow down, breathe and exhale more deeply, this will physically begin to calm your entire body and mind.
For me, the early afternoon is a wonderful time to sit in my reading nook chair or in the Sunshine garden that is sheltered and private from the neighbors, surrounded by cherry trees and birds dining at the café. I set up a small tray of a 2-cup teapot of black tea, sometimes a biscuit or a piece of chocolate, often a light-reading book, magazine or section of the newspaper, choose a favorite teacup or mug and lose track of time. With Norman and Nelle napping nearby on the grass or in the chair with me or next to me as this time of day is usually the time of day they both nap (before dinner), the entire house and mood at home is calm, settling and reenergizing for the latter part of the day whether that involves not much at all or evening plans or more work at the computer.
However your Tea for One comes together, I hope you have many wonderful moments savored during this ritual that is yours alone. For more inspiration, I have included a couple of photos I have recently captured during this tea ritual I so enjoy, and you can also find more visual inspiration following the IG Tag #tsllsimpleluxuries as well as following the woman who created many of the illustrations for TSLL, Sarah Lœcker on her instagram account @tea_in_the_studio.