Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flying with dragons: my road to creative freedom

The pattern of dragons in clouds of this (new) Cha Bu reminds me of the cover of 'The Artist's Way at Work'. I read this book 8 years ago, as I was struggling to decide my next career move. I had been very successful as a financial controller at Siemens Telecommunications in Taiwan. But the industry was cutting back and the job started to be boring. So, for 12 weeks, I worked my way through these pages to make the right change.

It became clear that I didn't want this kind of international management career. My wife was pregnant and I felt so good in Taiwan. As I was mid way through the book, my wife enrolled me in a weekly 'gongfu cha' class taught by Teaparker. And when our baby arrived, I quit my job to take care of him. I continued attending the tea classes and a little later started this blog...
"Often one of the first signals of a successful creative emergence is the implulse to introduce some touch of personal beauty or color into the workplace." page 61 .

Time-outs are one of the first creative tools. They help us to find what are our interests. Playtime allows the mind to take itself lightly and take us where we want to go most. Interests differ from person to person, but tea time does for many what this time-out is all about: relaxation and happiness through the pleasure of the senses.
"Creativity is the imagination at play with the things it loves", Carl Jung (page 117).
After these years, I have discovered the obvious: I love tea and try my best to create unique experiences for each Cha Xi (tea play).

One of my favorite tea genre is the Hung Shui Oolong, a medium roasted Taiwanese Oolong. The slow charcoal roasting adds depth, warmth and character to this kind of tea. Where fresh teas are best young, Hung Shui Oolong improves and gets more mellow with time (when well stored). In this sense, this Oolong ('black dragon') can be a metaphor of the creative journey.

Today, fittingly, I chose to brew my spring 2009 Ali Shan Hung Shui Oolong (see also here). After over one year of rest, the roasting flavors have receded. The fragrance is like sweet brown sugar in a dark forest. Something is tickling my taste buds...

Honesty and simplicity are two further creativity tools to set you on the right track. In tea, the simple gaiwan will give us an honest assessment of the quality of a tea. The porcelain gaiwan won't hide its defects like an absorbing clay teapot could. So, if the tea performs well in a gaiwan, it is a good choice for our appreciation.

I find amazing how smooth, and yet still powerful, this tea has become. It has a full body and a masculine character, but also a lot of grace. A sweet, dark fruity aftertaste lingers on. It feels so alive and pure.

Before flying, the dragon dances in my mouth and under my eyes.

The sun shines also in this tea.
Beauty and strength,
Sun and earth,
Water and leaves.
Let your creativity come out.
Make tea and fly with dragons!

No comments:

Post a Comment