I grew up on Indian tea– dark black grounds nesting in a stainless steel sifter, resting in a black skillet. The hot water boils around it, the stovefire simmers, and the heavy milk sprawls on top like a sheen of plastic. teaEverything about it looks dirty and it probably is– you’re not supposed to wash a black skillet, you know.

But when the tea pours, it is pure. My mom lifts the skillet in one hand, balancing the strainer in the other, and tips the heavy weight of the pan to the side. The strainer catches stray pieces of cardamon, loose grounds, and clumps of milk. The tea itself is a solid, heavy consistency. Some of it spills, always. It is spicy, scented, hot, and sweet– an introduction to a million sensory experiences at once.

 

Good morning, chai says. Here’s a sampling of all the things you could experience today.

Coffee is different, a sharp contrast. My first sip of made me cringe. Its aromatic bitterness wipes all sensory experiences away.

Good morning, coffee says. I’ve wiped the blackboard clean for you. Now there’s plenty of space to make today whatever you want it to be.

It’s an acquired taste, but the wonderful thing about taste is that you can acquire as much as you want. There’s no limit to the sensory experiences you can endure.

coffee

Milk separates. Raw tea surrenders entirely to hot water. Fire rattles the spices, but doesn’t break them down. Life shifts. Things change.

We sift what we can, we wash what we want, and morning happens whether or not we greet it with a warm mug of softly simmered liquid.

The only difference is the one thing that stays the same:
The power of our intent.

When we wake up, what sort of flavors are we hoping to find from life? What senses do we plan to stimulate? What experiences are we going to digest?

tea2No matter our surroundings, those things are always up to us. We find what we seek, so our intent makes the morning.

I grew up on Indian tea.
I started each morning, balancing a million tastes on the tip of my tongue, sipping on the warm prospect of a billion possibilities. The tea was heavy, but life was light, and I zoomed past it all.

I became a coffee drinker– a coffee lover– in my late teens. I’d open my eyes, overwhelmed by the twists and turns of my dreams. I’d roll out of bed, slowed by the smells and sights of my missions and goals. I’d groggily watch as the coffee dripped itself into existence.

The dark grounds hidden in the plastic machine. The water is heated by invisible currents of heat, and the magic of the contraption seeps it through a filter of paper, into a glass carafe. Everything about it looks dirty and it probably is– you’re not supposed to wash a coffee pot, you know.

But when the coffee pours, it is pure. I lift the glass in one hand, artfully pouring the liquid into a big mug. A little drips down the side and sizzles on the hotpot when I set the pot down, always. It smells like burn, coffee, and fire.

I drink it hot and black.
The black is welcome. It clears the senses. It scrubs the blackboard clean and I think– I can dream anything I want into existence today.

I am as powerful as my intent.

The coffee is dark as night, and light in substance, but life has become heavy.

Life has become something I never consciously created. I second-guess my thoughts now, terrified they may manifest into a reality of flavors I cannot enjoy.
The black is a little less welcoming now.
A little more frightening.

I write on the dark– let me be love.
But I think of the grief that exploded in me when I lost my love. My heart separates itself like the milk, a thin layer of protection rests on top, hardening to covering the rest– and I quickly erase.

I write on the dark — let me be great.
But I think of the small pieces of the world, broken on the way to anyone’s greatness. I think of Good, surrendering like the raw tea– and I quickly erase.

I write on the dark — let me see possibility.
But I remember how crushing it was to see the potential of the universe from the smallness of a box. I remember the fire, and how it rattled the spice of me, how it rattled my cage, and I am afraid, so I quickly erase.

I write on the dark — let me be kind. but you can barely read the claim, over the smudges in my intent and the thick consistency of my fear.

My life looks dirty, and it probably is. You’re not supposed to wash away the things that happen to you, you know. They spill whenever I move. My experiences drip down the side of me. It sizzles where I stand and I smell like bitter and sweet, always.

But when I live, it is pure.
It is kind.

And for right now, that is enough intent to greet the morning.

 

 

Written for Walking With Intention.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: Walking With Intention.  But first leave a comment and let Ra know how you feel about what she said, and be sure to visit her over at Rarasaur where frightfully wondrous things happen.

 

 

Featured image via http://www.wikihow.com

76 Comments

  1. Thank you so much Ra, for kicking off our Walking With Intention series. Your words and the flow of your creativity never cease to amaze me. And you always share in such a way that you leave all of yourself there for us on the page – raw emotion, and passion. Thank you for blessing us with it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much for having me, Sreejit. I can’t imagine a better start to this month, or a better way to ground myself to the idea that direction never matters as much as heart. Yours is a place of magical things and I’m honored to have found a space for my words here once again. Thanks again, sweet-jit. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love what you said in this comment as much as what you said in the entire post – direction never matters as much as heart. A very good thought to hold on to while you are walking with intention.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. This is so moving and evocative. Intention is so often tempered by first moments, and daily intentions are what build our lifetime purposes. Thank you for your beautiful language and sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Karuna– I am so glad you enjoyed it. When Sreejit said he was starting off the series with it, I second-guessed it entirely, haha, 😀 I’m looking forward to this month of intention! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ra,
    This is pure magic boiling over and screaming out into the cosmos ” Read me!”
    I love coffee and tea, and have my rituals and preferences. But after reading this burst of brewed genius, I may never look at my morning fix the same way again. And I welcome this possibility warmly.

    Can I reblog? Don’t know the walking with intention rules 😉 We are as powerful as out intent.

    Namaste

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m not certain on the reblog rules for the whole month, but I’m sure you can reblog this one. Sreejit will not mind, and of course neither will I. Thank you so much for your kind words… and for reading, LiteBeing. You are wonderful! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. thanks. My readers ( I know, many already are yours, but not all!) will love this because I love this and my rule on reblogs is if it suits my mission and I cannot say it better, its a reblog!

        Here’s to more chai and pumpkin lattes, and black coffee no sugar, and honey green honest tea…. I could go on and on, but you get it ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I appreciate it, chica. I know that when you reblog something, I listen closely because you curate the internet as well as you write it– so I am honored, and humbled. And, now, thanks to you– also really craving a myriad of hot beverages… what a delicious list!

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice is as mighty as kind! Thank you, Charles, for reading and for sharing your thoughts. Yep, we are the sum of our experiences– but our experiences are what we make of them– so we are, in fact, the sum of the thoughts we think. Oh goodness, I’ll need another cup of chai to let that one settle in… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Pick up a pen… or a type on a keyboard… maybe for another 30 days in a row of spicy NaBloPoMo NanoPoblano time?? 😀 #subtleNag 😉 Thank you for reading, Rose. I appreciate you!

      Like

  4. I love how you wrote about tea and coffee, for I also love both, but for very different reasons. I find it’s really hard to describe chai. I love to read about you processing your experiences. Blessings to you, Ra, this NaNo and always.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ra! I think this is the most honest and raw piece I have ever read from you. Or maybe just true to your here and now, to the struggle you’ve had between what was and what is. It’s perfect, it’s YOU, it’s your magic and love and grace. Mind blown.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, A. “what was” vs “what is” is my showdown challenge, for sure. 🙂 I am glad there’s magic in it– I’ve always found a good deal of magic in a cup of warm deliciousness. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nat– I see strength and courage everywhere I look, including in you– so thanks to you, and thanks to the Universe. And also, thank you for popping over to read. I appreciate it. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy the rest of the series here, too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love, love, love this post so much!! I read it on the bus coming home and again just now. Sreejit chose the right person to open up his November walking with intention. Creative as always but real…so darn real! Being a tea and coffee drinker, I love how you blended these into your post…acquired tastes can change as many times throughout life and that blackboard scrubbed clean…hmmm, so much to think about here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh good, I am glad it didn’t seem too off the wall. Oftentimes, the analogies that I play through in my head to make sense of things lose their translation when I try to explain them to someone else. 😀 This series fascinates me and I look forward to seeing all the different ways people walk it. Thank you for reading, and — yes, for reading twice! 😀

      Like

  7. I can taste the cardamon and feel the clumpy milk. And the chai is hot, piping hot, my bottom lip burnt on the edge of a small stainless steel cup. The loose grounds hopefully behaving and staying at the bottom of the cup! And yes it was probably poured from a blackened container because like you say they are not supposed to be washed and that’s what makes a good cup of chai. The kind they serve in the chai shops all over India. Yummy! There is nothing like it.
    Thank you Rara for this delicious brew of tastes, images and vulnerability.
    And as i take in your words i echo what others have commented…. A wonderful opener for this month of Walking with Intentions!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Arati! Goodness, your comment made me crave a hot cup of chai. There’s something delicious in its grit… and maybe that’s what point I was making. Life is pretty delicious, grit and all. Thank you for reading. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. I am rather “new” to you Rarasaur, though on occasion, I have seen Sreejit rave about you for this reason or that. Besides the fact that your comparisons and imagery are brilliant, I am sitting here on my lunch break wiping tears from my cheeks. We may be worlds apart, but I understand so deeply your perspective and how everything transitions as we age and experience life. Particularly, when you shared what you “write on the dark” and how you quickly erase each declaration after you consider where you’ve been, what you’ve felt, and how things have panned out over the years… man, I just melted into your heart because I know… boy, do I know! We want so much for ourselves to be bold, daring, loving, caring and free-spirited, but life just laughs at us, wagging its finger, haunting our desires with its eerie “no-no-no… remember when…” Anyway… all I really planned to say was “wow” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so sorry for my late reply… that’s the problem with guest posts and notifications. There is a poem that your comment made me think of… it’s by Hafiz. He talks about how God and him have become like two giant fat men in a boat. They keep running into each other and laughing.

      Yes, life wobbles, and we run into left and right… but the laughing, that’s the important bit. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughts, and empathy, and your addition to the story I started here. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry for the lateness of my reply, but please know that your readership and words had impact. They were met with gratitude, and made it seem as if you’ve been part of this big family the whole time. 😀 ❤

      Like

  9. This is absolutely powerful. As a coffee lover and someone who has tasted the bitter AND sweet taste of what life has had to offer, I must admit to not wanting to recognize the blackness of the pot. I eventually realized that without the residue left behind from past experience the coffee will never taste as rich. And with each pot brewed and life lesson experienced the coffee only becomes that much richer and more enjoyable. Thank you for reminding me of this and putting it into such an eloquent and relatable write.

    Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, ♡ unfortunately I didn’t mean to link to it, ha! I wrote a new post about life and death… the 2nd link worked, the first led here. 🙂 oops! It’s all fixed now.

      And aside from that ramble, thanks for reading. 🙂

      Like

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