The Mindful Path – Celebrate the Year of the Tiger

By Marilyn Halpern MSW, LSW ~

There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation. – Lin Yutang

The Lunar New Year celebration begins on February 1st and the festival will end on February 15th. The Year of the Tiger promises to bring energy and enthusiasm to the coming year. The Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival, and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about adjusting and accepting our new world reality of living in the midst of a Pandemic. The Year of the Tiger is a dynamic year of action. What adventures and goals would you like to pursue? Reflecting on 2022, so far, how have your resolutions been realized or thwarted? February offers a chance to make a fresh go of it.

A wonderful way to create a time for reflection of our plans and purpose for the year ahead is incorporating a daily teatime. Tea’s history is thought to date back 5000 years when the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung discovered delicious and fragrant leaves. Depending on your preference, tea can energize your morning, revitalize your afternoon, or calm your evening routine. There are more than 3,000 varieties of tea in the world, so there’s something to appeal to almost any palate. In the morning, you might consider a caffeinated tea, such as Green, Black, White, Oolong, or Breakfast Tea. The afternoon is a great time to try refreshing fruit and herbal tea blends. In the evening, many drink naturally caffeine-free teas like Peppermint, Chamomile and Rooibos Tea. Local grocery stores feature a wide selection of tea including organic choices. Celestial Seasoning, a Boulder-based company, offers 105 varieties of teas including Bengal Tiger Spice Tea. This caffeine-free herbal tea would be a fun one to try to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Drinking tea helps reduce stress, improve digestion and when paired with meditation can promote calmness.  A tea meditation involves being aware, relaxed, and present during all aspects of drinking tea. Taking a short break to enjoy hot or iced tea, can provide a window of opportunity to clarify our intentions and clear our thoughts. The process allows us to enjoy the quietness and stillness of the experience. If you would like to learn more about tea meditation, Diana Rosen has written: “Meditation with Tea, Paths to Inner Peace.” You can also try a short, relaxing meditation by watching the YouTube Tea Meditation created by The University of Hong Kong:   https://youtu.be/DiY7CEJK1R4 

As we ponder our plans and purpose for 2022, savor your tea and enjoy the vibrant year ahead. A common New Year greeting in Cantonese is “gong hei fat choy” and translates to “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.

Marilyn Halpern is the founder and executive director of Aspen Care Services. This locally owned business provides medical power of attorney, care management and professional guardianship services in the Denver Metro area. For more information visit – www.aspencareservices.com. Photo credit: Blake Meyer of Battlecreek Photography in Fort Collins, CO.

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