Mindfully making a cup of tea

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

Each morning I make tea. Sounds like an easy task—boil the water, pour it into a cup, soak the teabag, remove it, let it cool and drink. But I am not a teabag-in-a-cup tea drinker. I like steeped tea, so I have a tea ritual each morning interlaced with other morning tasks. This requires practicing a major tenet of mindful eating—paying attention.

The first mindful step is to remember to switch on the electric kettle before doing other things. Sometimes I forget, so now I pause before starting anything in the morning—just like I do before eating.

Next I place a small teapot beside the kettle, open the tea cupboard and ponder which tea is my fancy this morning. I intuitively ask my mind what it desires and my body what it needs. Sometimes they want different things so I kindly negotiate with them and pick a tea most likely to please both. This, too, is a vital practice in mindful eating, because it is so important to satisfy both your mind and body.

Now my aromatic senses are perked as I place two tea bags into the teapot and notice its light bouquet. With the water still heating, I do a few more tasks intending to notice the kettle shutting off. I am reminded of paying attention while eating to spot my hunger dissolving into that wonderful satisfied feeling.

The water is hot so I pour it over the teabags in the teapot. I savor the aroma escaping from under the teapot’s lid and set the microwave’s timer to the perfect steeping time for my tastes.

Beep! Beep! Beep! Ahhh—there it is. I am practicing hearing the timer by paying attention to the present moment. I often miss it and tea steeped too long tastes bitter. Noticing the beep reminds me of noticing when I’m full from eating.

I remove the drippy teabags and the vibrant, fully bloomed bouquet wafts through the air and into my nostrils. It aromatically dances around the back of my throat. With my teacup filled, I overflow with anticipation of the first sip. I am reminded of the first bite of a meal when I am really hungry. It is always the best.

I sit down in my comfy morning chair and take my first savoring sip. Ahhh—the pleasure of morning tea! Ahhh—the pleasure of eating mindfully.

See all of Dr. Cullman’s columns at http://www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman. Email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com or call 419-494-7699 to schedule an individual session or to learn about the Mindful Eating Group Workshops as well as mindful eating presentations, seminars and personalized retreats.