IMG_1011The morning of my flight to New York from Tokyo my daughter, Danielle and I had a reservation to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Much to our surprise we found ourselves at the Kooman Cultural Center, for a private lesson on the traditions and expected behaviors for the formal tea ceremony. This ritual is a social event and a time to clear one’s mind of the outside world. The objective is to create a moment in time for peace, harmony and calm for the guests. It is a meditation of being and an appreciation of the tea, the host and the environment. This includes admiring the room, artwork, and tea cups. The powdered green tea is used for medicinal purposes as well as enjoyment.

As the honored guest, it was my privilege to open the sliding Shoji doors and be the first to place my naked feet upon the matted floor. Centered on the wall before me (which would be considered the “Red Bird” in Feng Shui) was a work of art. It was an elongated rectangle of fabric in the shape of a Chinese talisman. Painted on the fabric were beautiful Chinese characters.  Our cultural guide for that morning, explained its significance. The top figures represented the season. July is the rainy season in Japan. The characters represented thick clouds, grey skies and rain. The next set of characters represented the blue sky-the season to follow. An unexpected tear rolled down my cheek as I welled up with emotion. Our guide proceeded to explain, the current season has incredible beauty for although it is filled with cloudy and rainy days, it gives birth to the next season of blue skies. Each season depends on the one before it and creates the season to come. This is the core principal of the 5 Element Theory: Water to Wood, Wood to Fire, Fire to Earth, Earth to Metal, Metal to Water. In its simplicity, is a profound wisdom.

In the summer of 2009 many of us find ourselves in a season of thick heavy clouds in our business, financial and personal lives. It is difficult to see its beauty because as far as our eyes can see, there is an endless ceiling of grey hanging over us. The Yin and Yang energies are constantly in motion. Soon we will wake up to blue skies which will be the seeds for our next season. Enjoy the cycles of life as you would enjoy the Tea Ceremony, with peace, harmony and calm.

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