No. 18 - On acts

Welcome summer! I hope you were as fortunate as I to bask in the beautiful moonrise on the Summer Solstice this past Thursday. I am loving the long evenings when the sunset lasts forever as we enter the third quarter of the year, the third act if you will. As I pause to reflect on the year to date and project forward to where I would like to be come fall, I share a few tidbits on reflecting on the acts of life and the year as it makes its way into summer, season of strawberries. I hope you will find today's thoughts 'berry' useful :)


Spending the Summer Solstice at the beach this year, I was reminded of all the fantastic outcomes from our move to Vancouver Island in 2007 under what I affectionately refer to as our "throw caution to the wind" plan. Great friendships, closeness to family, opportunities to live a life of serenity. The latter especially includes the ease of access to Mother Nature in all her splendour. She was on particularly fine display this week as I watched the nearly full moon rise over the sea on the Summer Solstice. It was true to its name - the Strawberry Moon - luminescent in light pink against the slowly darkening sky. Every one around seemed to pause in unified awe as the moon rose and the evening held a true sense of serenity as the moon's reflection on the tranquil ocean water intensified. It was the perfect end to a day of quiet connection and reflection - the kind that seems only possible in the presence of awe-inspiring nature. Be it beach, lake, forest, mountain, even just the cloud-littered sky, staring into the distance with a beautiful cup of tea quiets the mind and opens oneself up to reflection.

The first full moon of summer is said to be perfect for introspection. Interestingly, on my drive up to the beach for the Solstice, I happened across a fascinating conversation between Julia Louis Dryfus and Jane Fonda wherein the latter reflected how she set about preparing for her "third act". She observed: "You don't know how to go forward if you don't know where you've been" and went on to talk briefly about the advantages of undertaking a life review to discover and reflect on one's life events. Although she looked at it to support and bring perspective to her "third act", her third 30 years, there is no set time to do this. It seems reasonably, if not likely that undertaking this at any number of years will provide a benefit each and every time. Looking back may allow us to move forward with greater purpose, confidence or even just awareness. But it sounds likely to need many, many, cups of tea.


If a full life review is overwhelming, try taking the approach of any public company - a quarterly review. I love seasonal goal setting. As the year turns, the seasonal markers make excellent points at which to look backward and forward, examining the various aspects of life. For me, I divide things into tea, home, family, me and identify the most essential result in each category for the season at hand. It gives me a longer view than weekly or monthly timescales and feels more naturally connected to all the other cycles around me - Earth, school (for the kids), garden, moon, etc.. I once heard that we try to do too much in a day and get too little done in a week. Without orientation and planning I believe the same applies to months and quarters. Focusing on an essential result is my way of aligning my perseverance with my intention through to the next season. I turn back to my 'essential result' goals at every full moon and take a look backward and forward, cup of tea in hand.


Summer is here and so are the strawberries! Those small but mighty packages of vitamins and antioxidants are perfect for a summer iced tea and pair so lovely with a toasty oolong. Coming online this week is our new Amber Oolong. A lovely Taiwanese tea from Taoyuan County with classic notes of baked stone fruit, it is perfect for cold infusing and turning into a lovely strawberry slushie! Infuse 6 g oolong (about 4.5 tsp) into 500 ml water in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. Strain off and put into ice cube trays or any plastic container for 1 to 2 hours until the tea becomes 'slushy'. Transfer into a blender with 1 cup of fresh strawberries and basil to taste and whirl. Pour into a stemless wineglass, garnish with a little basil and enjoy as you gaze into the beauty of nature around you.

One more thing...

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. "
- T.S. Elliott, Little Gidding

Until next time,
Steep Calm.

No. 18 - On acts
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