Turn a hot cup of Masala Chai Tea into your personal space of peace this holiday season.
[Strategic withdrawal for healing, reflection and recharging.]
Thanksgiving can be hard. It is the time of the year to show gratitude and reconnect with family, but this may not always be easy. We all have some drama in our families and holidays like Thanksgiving can bring back childhood traumas. You may feel stressed and confused around your family. For example, being with your dad, who was not emotionally available for you when you were growing up, may cause you to feel distressed. Or just simply being around your older 3rd cousin who used to date the girl you liked can bring back some unwanted emotions. These reminders from your childhood can lead you back to the same emotional pattern. When you start feeling stressed and confused you can identify with your inner child. You may have a tendency for frustration or shut down in your heart. Your inner child may not be capable of accepting responsibility and blame others for his/her own unhappiness and suffering.
Although you are surrounded by loved ones, who care about your happiness and wellbeing, your inner child may get the best of you and you may find yourself in a reactive response mode. Instead of identifying with the inner child it’s more constructive to identify with the inner adult. Maybe then we can shut down the reactive response and be compassionate with ourselves. When we have self-compassion it becomes easier to accept and let go.
In Tibetan tradition, as Joe Loizzo explains, a mandala is a safe place for healing and learning. Almost anything can work as a mandala. It can be a physical space, like an office, or it can be an imaginary space that gives you a sense of safety and peace. A walk in the park may help you to get to that space in your mind. I expand the idea of mandala- and maybe your masala chai tea and meditation can serve as a reminder and escape that helps you to find openness and bliss.
Chai Meditation for self-preservation:
Sit on the floor or on a chair, close your eyes.
Keep your back straight yet at ease,
release any tension in your shoulders.
Feel the earth underneath your feet. Stay connected to that support the whole time.
Anchor to your breath.
As you inhale follow the rhythm of your breath,
going through your nostrils, the back of your throat, chest, side ribs, belly.
Stay with your breath for the exhale.
Repeat for 5 times.
Hold your Chai close to your face,
Move slowly, very slow.
Smell your Chai.
Focus on the scents you are smelling.
Feel the warmth coming from your cup.
Take a tiny sip; stop, keep it in your mouth.
Really taste the herbs, try to notice each one separately.
Slowly swallow, feel the warmth in your mouth and at the back of your throat.
Can you go deeper with this observation and notice the warmth in your belly?
Repeat couple times.
Place your hand on your heart.
“Calm down, everything is safe. You are okay”
“it is okay to feel fear, alone, anger”
First with openness and courage see and accept what is in your heart.
Then tell yourself:
“It is okay” “You are okay”
“It is okay to be at peace”
Once your inner child is calm, your adult self can take the driver’s seat again.
Stay in your mandala for peace and relaxation.
Get back to this moment any time during the day by just imagining yourself sipping that Chai.
When you need a little support use your masala chai as your mandala!
Make your own cup of delicious Masala Chai!
½ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp clove powder
1 tsp ginger powder
Mix all the spices together. You will use only ¼ tsp for 1 cup, so you can use the rest later.
Put ¼ of the spice mix in a cup and add 8 oz boiling water. Let steep a few minutes and sweeten.
Written by Dilek Edwards