Updated: May 21, 2019
Multi-Sensory and Connection Practices
A simple cup of tea has the potential to infuse a sense of warmth and comfort. While it’s entirely to possible to quickly guzzle down a cup of tea without paying much attention to your sensory experience, with some reflection, it can also serve as an opportunity to practice mindfulness of all your senses as you connect, compassionately to others. Drink up and warm your heart!
Begin by selecting a non-caffeine tea that is suitable for children. If you have one available, it can be fun to make a pot of tea, which can then be carefully poured into individual drinking cups, but ordinary mugs with a tea bag and hot water will also work just fine. Once your tea is properly steeped (usually 1-5 minutes), you may use a spoon to remove the tea bag from the pot or mug. Take a look and focus your flashlight of attention on the color of the tea and the tea cup. What do you notice as you gaze with your eyes? Do you see any steam rising off the warm liquid? Place you face near the top of the cup and notice if your tea has a particular scent? Can you guess the flavor based on how it smells? You may like to close your eyes as you move your anchor of awareness to the scent of the tea. Once you’ve had a chance to guess the scent, you may notice if the air near the tea feels warm on your face. Does the steam hit your cheeks and condense, leaving your skin a bit wet? If it’s not too hot, you may like to wrap your hands around the cup and feel the warmth of the tea. Slowly all your senses are beginning to awaken. Before you take a sip of the tea, bring your attention to any other people who might be joining your mindful tea party. You may like to offer each person a friendly wish. You may know of something particular they might need in the moment such as, “may you feel confident and strong at soccer tryouts this afternoon,” or it could be a general wish that they be happy and well. If you happen to be enjoying your tea alone, you can feel free to extend a friendly wish to yourself. After much anticipation, it’s now time to taste the tea. While many people are tempted to sweeten their tea immediately, it can be interesting to take the first sip without honey or sugar. Take a tiny sip and notice the temperature. If the tea is too hot, wait a moment and notice any feelings of impatience, frustration, or anxiety that might arise during the waiting period. When you are able to sip the tea, bring your curious attitude to your assessment of the taste. Do you notice any particular flavors? Can you pinpoint the ingredients? Is there a minty flavor, or some type of fruit? Maybe you notice that the tea seems bitter. If you like, you may add a bit of honey or sugar. Using your mindful mouth, go ahead and take another sip. What do you notice now?
After you've had a chance to explore the tea with all your senses, you might choose to chat with any tea party guests. See if you can make an effort to practice mindful speech and mindful listening during this experience. As your tea party draws to a close, notice how it felt to share food in this intentional way. What would it be like if you tried to participate in one mindful eating experience each week?