Hishaku, water ladleI made tea for a number of guests last night using one of the Japanese Tea Ceremony procedures I'm learning. I made lots of mistakes. LOTS. I put utensils in the wrong place, I handled the hishaku all wrong - oh my!, I forgot the procedure, I used the wrong words. In short, I bumbled along. And it was wonderful!
I have excuses, of course, but they don't matter. I made many mistakes and it was fine! As a recovering Type A, living through this is profound. I loved the experience even though my hands were shaking and I made a "mess" for myself. The sky didn't fall, I didn't get in trouble, and most importantly, the guests enjoyed their bowls of tea.
Handling the hishaku has been one of the most difficult things for me to learnHere's the irony: I am so motivated to try again, in a child-like gleeful way. Please, please, please let me do it again! I know where at least some of my mistakes were and I bet I'll avoid them next time. It was a breakthrough moment because it allowed me to live through fears of my making. The mistakes didn't hurt. Learning chanoyou is partly about learning the procedures and partly about learning to trust.
In fact, many of the guests thanked me for the beautiful demonstration. They weren't criticizing my every move, but rather being present in the moment with me. Isn't that a wonderful gift!?! I am honored to have shared my less-than-perfect making of tea with these generous guests. Through it all, I kept reminding myself to focus on the big picture, a good bowl of tea.
"The Way of Tea is naught but this: first you boil water, then you make the tea and drink it."
~Se no Rikyu
~Se no Rikyu