Thursday, October 21, 2010

my tea blog

This is what we call in the museum world a "soft opening," which happen to be words I really love and could write about 10 different poems about. Hmmm, maybe more on that later. 

This soft opening reveals my new tea blog, inspired by of course my beloved relationship with the amazing combination of hot water and various plants and imbibing, the catalystic effect of blog-writing (this one), and Dr. Jeanine's amazing and simple reminder that I can always work on the things I love and am moved to right now (I guess that's why Simply Divine Solutions is a name so fitting to her business). Although I'm doing other conscious and subconscious work on my dream tea house, this is another place for that bricolage - for me to collect and arrange bits and pieces and things that move me. This blog's friends (readers) feel like a safe space for this soft opening, so here it is:

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's my hearth

What's hard for me ... I've been reflecting on this lately. I laughed recently when I told an old friend I was doing "self-study" - for me meaning my studies in herbalism and midwifery - and he said he did that too, but he thought it was just narcissism. I'm highly sensitive to narcissism in others and highly insensitive to noticing it in myself - thankfully I'm finally learning in this life to laugh at myself, sometimes. Still, my digression is a reflection of both my aversion to and call to notice these subtle branches within myself, and notice them with an intent to learn something.

On Myers Briggs personality tests, I land squarely between introvert and extrovert. What I'm noticing is when those two paths of mine occur. I was recently introduced to the Enneagram by my wonderful friend and encourager Dr. Jeanine, who thought I might be a 7. I think I might be a 2 "the helper" with a 3 wing "the hostess." I love to exude the warmth of a hostess, but recently realized that I hardly ever initiate parties or gatherings, especially at my own home. I can trace this back to the home where I grew up, but there's more there. 

In my extrovert path, I emanate what my grandma Shirley said was my best skill - as a people person. I intuitively (and sometimes subconsciously) pick up on what will soothe or inspire someone, and become or present that. It's not quite like acting, and there can be an element of the pleaser in it. When it's going on in a good way,  I am a helper - I want people to feel good. I love to social-butterfly around at gatherings, though I sometimes feel like Dory from Finding Nemo, renowned and hilarious for her short-term memory, as I flitter about. When I speak, I can be loud, outspoken, blunt even.

Yet I have an inner witness who feels shy. And I love to host and feed, but there's a line there - at my hearth. I noticed this at Sundance a few years ago. Camping near me, with a big camp kitchen set up, was a friend from ceremonies, and her mom and sister and a gaggle of kids. I cooked simply for myself and the boys that year, rather than joining them at their kitchen. I had curiosity turning into introversion - their family is from a northern native people, deep, intelligent and funny, though less forthcoming than some peoples, understated especially in emotions. I wanted to get to know them better, but instead I chose to witness them from a distance. There was some level of distrust there - a process where I project my insecurities onto someone else's view of me - that I worked through in a big way at this year's Sundance. I nursed a little wound from when they accidentally came into my home to use our bathroom after a long journey - at that moment when I was in labor and felt a very yin and very strong animal protectiveness of my space. But there's even more here...

Although I can be overly "love all, serve all" like the Hard Rock Cafe, or more poetically in Ani DiFranco's 'Pixie,' there's a line I draw around what I can only call my hearth. When family and food and fire especially come together, I feel protective. It's not quite a fear or a focus on scarcity - although maybe it is, as it feels like that line around my hearth is a wall. I am much more likely to engage and find common ground and chat for hours effusively with all kinds of revealings - if it's at someone else's campground where I'm visiting. At my campground, I focus on the hearth tasks - the cooking, cleaning, the 'sweeping' of the energetics - and am so focused in that zone that I don't want to be distracted, to be social. I want to be sanctuary, rhythm, purpose. It's not always quiet, of course not - there's a one year old and four year old in my hearth! But it's simple, it's the inner ring.

So, reflecting on this to see the lessons - open up, loosen up and talk with people! - as well as the good that's there, I've come upon a variation of my tea house dream that intertwines with this very way. My tea house will be inside a yurt shaped like a turtle. Inside will be all warmth and tent hanging fabrics and big pillows and low tables. Outside it may be very cold, or maybe not. But the structure of the place will be a yurt, like the yurt I spent time in during a very early memory - a trip to Inner Mongolia with my parents where I can remember the cross-hatching along the walls inside and the clearest sky on a cold open landscape outside. And the yurt will be a turtle, but a friendly one.