Unplugged: Coloringbooks as Meditation

It is no surprise that this medium made it into this series. Who doesn’t love a good coloring book session? I love just releasing the inner child in me and working on a page (or more). There is a meditative trance we get into as we color in each page. I clearly remember being this way as a child and nothing has changed since then. Let me introduce two that I have at my disposal which I just love, and a few ideas for types of materials to try out (why not try something new?).

After coloring books were used to calm children is there any surprise that as adults we have turned to the same activity to reduce stress? What a great way to reduce stress through a simple "meditative" practice which anyone can do.

The first book is called Mandala Magic which is packed full of different kinds of mandalas. Mandals are great as they use repeating patterns to make up the space it is within, which usually is a circle.
  The second book is called Secret Tokyo which is full of different sorts of imagery from Japan. With the kimono pages and even the tea page I could not pass this up. This same company does other places such as New York City.
 Now let’s look at some different types of materials. There are so many out there but here are a few that I suggest you give a try with your coloring books.

Pencil Crayons

 When we were kids this was the upgrade we longed for once we were a bit older. They are great as you can layer different colors on top of each other lightly to (create more dimension or) just broaden out the colors you have.

Watercolors

It is quick to use but you can really get more dimension put into each page you work on. The other great thing about this material is that you can also find portable palette with all the colors with it. Just add a collapsible brush with a water barrel and you can paint any where you may be.

Chalk Pastels

  Now for this one you will need some kind of fixative to keep your coloring in place which you can pick up at your local craft or art supply store for under $15 (or use hair spray as a last resort). This one it super fun as you can really build up layers to get the depth you want.  It would be a great choice even as a base which you use another material over top (pencil crayons for example).

Markers

There are so many other types of materials out there that you can try. If you are worried about bleeding through (which happens with markers) either get the picture copied and printed on a thicker paper or place some papers under the page you are working on. The last point will still allow for bleed but the second page will not be affected.

Have a favorite coloring book your would like to share? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Unplugged: 6 Self-help Books for Spiritually Present Life

Unplugged: 6 Self-help Books for Spiritually Present Life ||  Books to get you spiritually focused on the present today. Be present for your tea, life, or just because you are the Spirit Junkie that you are. Rock your world. || Gabrielle Bernstein - May Cause Miracles, Marie Forleo - Make Every Man Want You, Rebecca Campbell - Light is the New Black, Elizabeth Gilbert - Big Magic, A Course in Miracles, Danielle LaPorte - The Desire Map ||

   

   Sometimes we really need that push to dig deep at what lies beneath the surface. There is so many things that get swept aside as we progress through life that the come back at us as stress which can lead to  anxiety, fear, depression or even an illness.  To work through this jumble of things that have built up the best solution you can do is consult a thought provoking read.
      Who dosen’t like a book that provokes change? I have curated a selection of ones that I keep going back to. They are ordered from a read, guide, slight workbook right down to full on out long term spiritual work.
These six books are a great selection of varying types ; from super-deep spiritual life change , then right down to inspiring read.  No matter what your preference there is something for everyone no matter where you are in this moment.

Light is the  New Black by Rebbecca Campbell

  If you are looking for something lightly woo woo (spiritual with no preset religious views) this is a great read. Each section is only about 2-5 pages, great for a just before bed (or before you start your day) read. There is a little bit of suggested thinking, meditation or journaling but not that heavy. You can make it as deep or as light as you need to in the moment ( you can always go back to it latter). If you have ever wondered where the #lightworker tag came from, it is this book.

Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

   Part book and part workbook; this is the real deal for changing how you go about your day. Danielle makes you focus on what you want to feel and plan your life around them. If you want to be energized, perhaps you take up a cardio class or make changes to your diet to feel that way. These little changes help you filter out those things that just don’t make you feel good. This one is great for any planner girls out there. Create the life you feel amazing in, that way down days (or moments) do not overwhelm you.

May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein

  I adore this guide, there is a small task each day for 40 days. Sometimes its journaling other times its a short meditation ( which can always be as long or short as YOU want). It really opens you up to understanding who you really are and make small changes which can drastically change your life. These little changes range from how you speak to yourself, how you go about your day, your relationship with money, or even those around you. No worries if you miss a day you can just pick back up where you left off. It’s a no stress little guide. 

A Course in Miracles

    If you are a fan of either Light is the New Black or any of Gabrielle Bernstein’s books, this may be one for you. This is where they got some of their ideas from for their book but elevated to a teacher by  writing their own books. The best way to start is slowly progressing through the student workbook. One lesson a day to make it really simple, latter on progress to reading the “book” and perhaps even progress to reading the teachers guide. It really is a well rounded package for the super Spirit Junkie.

Make Every Man Love You by Marie Forleo

   I have to say this is the best book for anyone looking for a fresh start or “figurine things out”. With an open mind it can work for both women and men. The book is a no nonsense guide to a better more present version of you. Marie Forleo is my girl and I love her personality in her videos, which comes through SO well in this book. Try it out and rock out as the goddess you are.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

  This has to be the biggest book out there at this moment with so much buzz. Creativity is something that is in every aspect of our lives whether we realize it or not.  If you have a passion this is a book for you (this being a must for bloggers)!  Elizabeth Gilbert really helps you along through in a tone that makes it feel like she is there with you helping you along. While this is not truly a self-help book for most people, it still is a must read for everyone.

Have any other suggestions or views on these books? Share them in the comments below or tweet it out over twitter. 

Think Beyond your tea: Using a Mala for meditation

Using a Mala as part of your meditation before brewing tea could change how you look at your process. Take a note from Sen Genshitsu and take a moment to center yourself before you start to prepare your tea. Mala Collective is located in British Columbia Canada, and they have curated a selection of Bali created malas with an array of intentions. Online Global Mediation for Wold Peace Saturday September 19th with Unify.Org

 It is strange the little things that make our lives that little bit better. Getting a mala helped my life, I find it impossible but it’s the same feeling I get from a tea. When you have you when things seem impossible and all things make sense after that last sip (sometimes after a few cups even).  This is the subtle power that this little gen has.

    I have talked before about doing things intentionally (such as planning and living), but you can also have that intention with you in the form of a mala (or gem stone). This mala has green aventurine which Mala Collective says  “The stone is known to protect, activate and clear the heart chakra. Those with heart problems often turn to the stone’s healing qualities of strength and stability. Green Aventurine not only encourages regeneration, but is also thought to be a stone of comfort and balance. “

My belief for this that it works in the background, a subtle energy that assists if you let it, but you have to have some faith in it. When I wear this mala , Prana Mala, I feel like there is a little push to get things done. Anything that will push me to achieve something for my greater dream or (at times) pushes me to go seek a friend to talk to. These little things add up over time.

Using a Mala as part of your meditation before brewing tea could change how you look at your process. Take a note from Sen Genshitsu and take a moment to center yourself before you start to prepare your tea. Mala Collective is located in British Columbia Canada, and they have curated a selection of Bali created malas with an array of intentions. Online Global Mediation for Wold Peace Saturday September 19th with Unify.Org

  
  You may be asking what I use this for other than jewelry. When I have a mantra I want to focus on I use the mala very similarly to how a rosary is used. Each bead is used as a counter, with there being 108 in total. If you have trouble with concentration I find 1-2 rounds of a mala and using “I am calm” helps clear it up.

Taking a simple moment to meditate, such as while your water is boiling, will help you focus on the act you are about to do. It saddens me that this tradition is not part of many tea practices. While reading “Tea Life, Tea Mind” I was reminded by Sen Genshitsu the importance of the importance of taking a moment to center yourself before brewing any tea. It can be by breathing , visualization or even by using a mala.  It’s so simple to add to your current routine.

 If you have never meditated before there is a great chance to try it out in the comfort of your own home. Unify has a free Online Global Meditation for World Peace that is happening this weekend.  Starting at 4PM PST/ 7PM EST on Saturday September 19th , the evening will begin with a Premier of a film called “Inner Peace to Global Peace”. Then an hour latter will begin the meditation.  It is a great chance to try it out.

 What tools do you use to assist your meditation or tea time?  Share in the comments below.

Digital Table: Global Tea Hut May 2015

 Welcome to the Digital Table where you are part of a global conversation with tea. Global Tea Hut is a Non-Profit Organization that sends out a sampling of tea, a gift and a special magazine. Everything is brought together by the community to spread the love of tea, Dao and Zen. Join us the last week of every month to discuss the current packet from Global Tea Hut.


      This series was created because the message from Global Tea Hut touched me. It is of my own creation and I receive nothing from them ,but good karma of spreading their message and cause . All past posts can be found under “Digital Table” here


Spring 2011 Wild Purple Tea De Hong, Yunnan

This months packet came with a tea created from an older tree picked by De’Ang Women, an aboriginal group in De Hong. This varietal has been around the market for few years now and has gained some popularity. If you are new to it , purple tea is created from tea leaves that are purple in colour, which occurs from a mutation in the plant itself. It has been mainly made into Pu-erh tea but there are some oolongs out there.
   This tea is a lovely Sheng Pu-erh with a refreshingly sweet aroma from the dry leaf. It gives a smooth soothing feeling in the body. It is suggested as a meditative tea which it truly is suitable for. The taste is like drinking tea in nature. I am describing it this way as it is the best way to do it. It is very much a  living tea picked in its natural surroundings as any plant should be.

Kettle In the off-hand by Wu De

Have you ever tried a day using both hands with everything you do? If you haven’t then I highly suggest you try it out. By balancing the way you do things with both your hands, you will see how we rely on one hand for most things we do (unless you are blessed with being ambidextrous, in which case I am jealous of your gift).
   When you apply this idea to your tea brewing it helps your session flow. The first thing that you can change is by handling your kettle in your off hand. When you do this it allows your dominant hand to be free to help with the pot lid or lid of a gaiwan. This protects your tea ware when you balance how you brew during your tea session. You will no longer have to worry about knocking over teaware during your sessions (I have been close a few times before I made the change). Test it out and you will love how smooth your tea session becomes with practice over time.

Gift: Photograph of Global Tea Hut’s Main Hall Altar

   This months gift touched me, I went the extra mile to laminate it to keep it safe. Seeing the altar which resides at Global Tea Huts Main Hall reminded me of my spiritual practice with tea and the desire to create my own space for such practice in my own home down the road.
   After laminating it I placed the photo in my planner so it is always with me. A reminder of why I continue to write for Tea Journey and the spiritual practice I have with the leaf. In its new home in my Spirituality Journal section in my planner I am reminded each time of why I am on this path when I write a new entry. It is my goal to visit the center in the near future to deepen my practice along side fellow Tea Brothers and Sisters, a moment I can not wait for.

Global Tea Hut is a digital community where tea drinkers enjoy the same tea(s) every month across the world. It is subscription based where all the proceeds go towards a non-profit tea center (Tea Sage Hut) in Taiwan that is open to all. For more information on Global Tea Hut and the center please visit them at:

Global Tea Hut

Tea Sage Hut


**All opinions are my own and subscription is paid by me, as a donation to the tea center


What thoughts and/or feelings come up for you when looking at this months gift? Share in the comments below.

Digital Table: Global Tea Hut April 2015

Welcome to the Digital Table where you are part of a global conversation with tea. Global Tea Hut is a Non-Profit Organization that sends out a sampling of tea, a gift and a special magazine. Everything is brought together by the community to spread the love of tea, Dao and Zen. Join us to discuss the current packet from Global Tea Hut.
  This series was created because the message from Global Tea Hut touched me. It is of my own creation and I receive nothing from them ,but good karma of spreading their message and cause . All past posts can be found under “Digital Table” here

Autumn 2014 “Temple Mist” Green Tea  Wu Liang, Yunnan

    After a little hiatus Digital Table is back with a new set up, let’s jump into this packets tea! This time around Global Tea Hut sent the most lovely green tea I have had in a while. It just begged to be brewed but I let the tea rest for two weeks so it could get over its “jet-lag”. This lets it get accustomed to its new home and the altitude change.
     After the enough time passed it was finally the wait was over, it was time to brew. The curly leaves offered a light yellow-green liquor with a refreshing minty touch. The smooth vegetal taste had a note that reminded me of cooked broccoli. This tea was relaxing and perfect for a late evening tea before bed or after a morning meditation (or yoga session).

Circle Towards the center by Wu De

 Fluidity while brewing can be a struggle for anyone. As part of the second installment (we are going to revisit the others over the summer) of the five basics of tea brewing series. In the series Wu De covers the 5 pillars of tea brewing are applicable to all tea practices and methods. Wu de mentions that they are the foundation to build on for most practices but bowl tea they are all you need to know.
    Going back to this issues installment, “circle towards the center”. This brewing basic seems so simple in writing but it takes a little hand-eye coordination and prior practice.  This brewing tip can be broken down to two motions. First “all movements of the left hand are clock wise and” second,  “all movements of the right hand are counter-clock wise”.
  Think of it like the Karate kid who used one hand to “wax on” and “wax off”, going in the same pattern as this tip. The reason for using this method is to ensure nothing gets knocked over and so you can have a smooth tea session.
   Everything you have placed on the left side of your tea space will only be held by your left hand. Which the movement flows towards yourself in a clock-wise motion. Then everything on the right side will only be held by your right hand with a movement that flows in a counter-clock wise motion.
   Try this out with objects that are unbreakable to practice this movement. That way if you need more practice or something slips your favorite pot is safe.

Gift: Gaba Baba Chocolate with BABA Tea

 This months gift was this lovely chocolate (which I ate most of before taking photos). I’ll admit I was unsure what I was going to get myself into when I noticed that turmeric was an ingredient. After getting over my prior thoughts, I tried it. The turmeric was subtle within the chocolate. Overall the chocolate was just what I needed to sweeten up the end of my day.

Global Tea Hut is a digital community where tea drinkers enjoy the same tea(s) every month across the world. It is subscription based where all the proceeds go towards a non-profit tea center (Tea Sage Hut) in Taiwan that is open to all. For more information on Global Tea Hut and the center please visit them at:

Global Tea Hut

Tea Sage Hut


**All opinions are my own and subscription is paid by me, as a donation to the tea center