Tea is a way of connecting. Drinking tea is one of my favorite rituals.
You might call me a “tea snob” because I have come to love tea and am pretty picky about it too. It wasn’t always this way. Years ago I attended a tea event at my friend’s chic tea import store on La Brea in Los Angeles. Owner Gail Baral was my guide to all-things tea. How to make it, what to eat with it, and which countries did it come from. I got hooked. Drinking tea all day works for me because the buzz from tea is a smooth uplifting constant as opposed to coffee which can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. At least, that was how Gail explained it to me many years ago.
I learned to brew loose leaf tea. I studied different tea regions like Darjeeling in India and Ceylon in Sri Lanka. I enjoy a strong black Aasam tea during the day and calming Chinese green tea in the evening. More importantly I experienced tea rituals through global travels.
In Europe, it is common to add milk. This came about because in the early days of tea arriving from the East India Trading Company it was low quality so milk made it taste better. The highest quality was super expensive and saved only for the rich. Today in India adding milk is the norm. Usually it is a hot steamed milk or even ground spices are added calling it masala tea. BTW did you know that the word chai means tea, so when you ask for a chai tea, you are asking for tea tea?
What really took me over the edge understanding tea was when my friend in London, Pete Hendricks, suggested I read one of his favorite books, “For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History” by Sarah Rose. Based on journal notes and historic events of Scottish botanist Robert Fortune who was sent to steal the crop from deep within China and bring it back to British plantations in India, it reads like adventure fiction. The odyssey of this tall Scottish man who went undercover in 1848 pretending to be from Northern China (because Northern Chinese are taller) is a fascinating read. One of my favorite books.
The art of negotiating always takes on a tea component throughout Asia, especially in Bali. Traveling to the small craft town Tenganan in East Bali with my friend Robert in 2000 I witnessed a master class. Tenganan is famous for beautiful baskets handmade according to ancient techniques with a smokey scent. They are said to be so sturdy they last a hundred years. Robert was there to purchase baskets for a client in Sweden. When we reached the village I stood back to watch him work his magic. Like the ancient art of tea, the ancient art of shopping has important lessons too. Don’t talk business before making friends and sharing a cup of tea. Bicker about the price then have another cup of tea. Finally, meet in the middle so everybody walks away happy. And then of course there’s a final cup of tea to seal the deal.
If you are already a tea drinker, enjoy. If not, maybe you will give it a try. I have found tea to be so much more than a hot drink and it’s always “tea time!” My favorite new find is Steven Smith Tea from Portland. Their flavor combinations is superb whether loose leaf or sachets. Try Mao Feng Shui or Portland Breakfast! Cheers!
Seeing the world through “Feng Shui Eyes” is not about moving your couch (although sometimes it’s helpful) or spending a lot of money. Feng Shui fairy dust cannot be sprinkled to make you instantly successful, popular or rich. What Classical Chinese Feng Shui can do is tap into positive and auspicious Qi or life-force energy in your environment so you live and work in a place that is supportive. Life is better with great Feng Shui.
TOP 10 FENG SHUI TIPS:
It Takes Two To Tango
Spice up your love life with the duality of pairs
Cover Televisions when not in use
Televisions and computers emit unhealthy energy
Bring out the Welcome Mat
Opportunity knocks at the front door
Light my Fire
Balance the fireplace with a mirror over the mantel
Always sit in the Power Position
No one wants their back to the door
Art that Inspires
Lift your spirits with positive artwork
Romance the Bedroom
Bedrooms are private sanctuaries and passionate playgrounds
Treat yourself to Flowers
Fresh flowers bring prosperity
Hang art Feng Shui Style
Break the heaven and earth line
Family Wall of Fame
Qi gets stuck in long hallways, stir it up with a family wall of fame
For more information or to schedule your personal Feng Shui consultation contact Anita at www.AnitaRosenberg.com
Spirit begins with prayer and what better way to speed up that communication then lighting incense. Smoke is the vehicle that dispatches your wishes and dreams to the universe,
Incense is a powerful tool dating back 6000 to 8500 years to ancient Hindu texts or Vedas. The trend took off spreading to Greece and Rome when Babylonians wafted incense sticks during prayers. Did you know that peddlers along the Silk Route turned incense sales into big business when various techniques, multiple flavors, and a variety of styles became accessible?
The famous trade route changed its name to the Incense Route.
It was at the mysterious overgrown temple of Ta Prohm where I received my first Ganesh statue. I met the wizend monk who sweeps the steps to ensure the gods will have safe passage up the steep and narrow stairways. I bought a bamboo cowbell from him and he posed for a photo.
“He protects travelers and will help you find your way,” he told me as my guide translated. A sort of golden light washed over me in that moment,and then the monk was gone and I began to wonder…
I have opened the portal to a more spiritual way of being in the world and there’s no going back only forward.
This past year I chased meridian spots all over Taiwan. A meridian spot is a Feng Shui portal of energy that directly links to the universe. They are quite difficult to find. Only a Feng Shui master can locate such powerful energy. So, my Feng Shui teacher and mentor Joey Yap led a spiritual excursion to Taiwan so we could all experience this powerful energy and shift our Qi. It truly changed me and I had no clue it would happen.
The idea of finding your own quiet space in time in the midst of city noise and people chatter is so important. You can find it in a remote mountain village outside Taipei or you can even create it within your own home. I suggest a focal point of energy in your home with a shrine or altar. It doesn’t have to have religious or cultural, it just has to be your personal space of meaning and empowerment. Start a morning ritual of prayer and focus. I like to light incense, sit with my back to the Qi Men Dun Jia direction of the day (you can get this information from my Google Calendar I created) and do a brief meditation to set your intentions of the day. For an added boost I surround myself with highly charged sentient quartz crystals for protection. Then I seal this energy in with a finger snap and go on with my day.
After my week in Taiwan I continued temple hopping in Laos which was on my bucket list. I had gotten the hang of lighting incense (my hair smelled like sandalwood for months) and saying prayers and Laos offered some of the most magical spots although not meridian spots. One of my favorite temples was actually a large cave along the Mekong River. The sacred Pak Ou Cave (above) is home to a thousand Buddha statues and it is here where fishermen have placed all sizes of statues made from wood, metal, plaster and even plastic over many decades for good fortune. The shrine pictured above is only the small altar, the cave is amazing and a must-see if you are in Laos.
What I have learned from trips to China, Southeast Asia and India is that they have an innate understanding that everything is connected. Life is full of spirit. Sacred objects, ritual and meditation are their daily routine. Everyone has at least one shrine or altar and possibly more. Buddha and Quan Yin greet their guests in China. Lakshmi and Ganesh remove obstacles in India. Incense is wafted everywhere. Dragons are power symbols and Lucky Cats bring good fortune to businesses. To me, it’s about living every day in a spiritual way.
Here I am above at the famous Jain Temple in India. I had been sporting a bindi dot on my forehead since I arrived and it was not easy keeping it on. I tended to forget I had it and smeared it across my face hourly as sweat dripped down my face from the extreme heat of the desert. One of my favorite rituals throughout India was getting a red string tied around my wrist that came along with a priest blessing and a red dot on my forehead that I got from anyone willing to give me one. I also bought a packet of decorative bindi dots. And a lady at lunch one day gave me her packet of glittery bindi dots, seeing as I was so into them. Some folks can pull them off. I am not sure I am one of those. But I loved them anyway.
BaZi Chinese Astrology is not fortune telling or a psychic reading. It is an ancient practice based on a person’s birth chart. Originally it was used to personalize your Feng Shui. We still work with it like that today, only now it is also a stand-alone tool for movers and shakers throughout Asia and now in the West. BaZi Destiny Consultations are one of my specialties. Successful people have coaches, spiritual people have Cosmic Coaches.
When I was in India I just had to have my fortune told. They have different methods based on their traditions and this master above did palm reading as well as looked at my Vedic Astrology. I booked an appointment with him at my hotel in Agra, right after my sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal and before glam dinner at the Oberoi Agra. I love the magnifying glass on the table that he used to view the lines on my hand. He was lovely, but I don’t remember what he told me. I just remember it was an experience!
When you book a consultation with me on your BaZI be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get to work on yourself. Set goals. Focus on plans. Get real with who you are, why you are here, and what you want to accomplish. This is not airy fairy fortune telling! Namaste.
A ritual of initiating every grand trans-global adventure with a purchase is my secret to shopping for nirvana. You have to make an investment otherwise you’ve got nothing at stake. At the famous Gem Palace in Jaipur, 7th generation jeweler to Moghul Emperors Sanjay Kasliwal held up a pair of sparkling diamond earrings and said to me, “If these don’t bring you nirvana I have bigger ones!”
I did not purchase the diamonds, but I did come away with gorgeous citrine drop earrings that I treasure to this day. Later that evening Sanjay took me to a Durga Festival and invited me to dine at his ‘private’ table in the uber chic Rambagh Palace. After a yummy Indian meal, bottles of champagne where shared on the veranda with a young couple from London who flew over to have Sanjay design their engagement and weddings rings. You must stop in at the famous Gem Palace when in Jaipur, because it’s a museum of history. See the sign-in book from Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ visit. Ogle at the priceless gem stones. Watch the jewelers cutting semi-precious stones. It is a very special experience in the pink city.
Our goddess tour goes to Tibet and China where we find Tara, whose name means “star” in sanskrit. The other meaning is “she who carries us across the waters.” Tara is our spiritual cruise director. She is the Hindu and Buddhist starlet who helps us travel smoothly and safely to our destination. She is complex with multiple personalities depicted by many different colors. Within Tibetan Buddhism,she has twenty-one forms. When Yellow, Blue or Red she is a temperamental diva. When White or Green, Tara is a loving lady.
How to recognize White Tara?
White Tara is gentle, peaceful, patient and nurturing. She expresses maternal compassion and offers healing to those who are hurt or wounded. She focuses on longevity and approaches problems with prayer. Easiest to recognize because she is – well – white. More difficult to recognize in statuary so you have to look for those freakish seven eyes on top of her head, palms of her hands and soles of her feet. This way she can see anyone who needs help in any direction. White Tara holds an open white lotus as a symbol of purity and is said to be as white and radiant as the moon. She clears away harsh relationships, environments and chemicals. She also protects from loud noise, crowds and violence. She is the goddess for those with an open mind and receptive heart. White Tara spreads joy and happiness.
How to recognize Green Tara?
Green Tara is a no-nonsense gal. She is intense with a loving warrior spirit, a true diva with a reputation for being proactive and making things happen. Green Tara reminds you to delegate and ask for help. She works fast and is excellent in emergencies. She helps you understand situations and relationships. Recognized because she is – green. Green is considered the color that contains all other colors. In statues you must look more closely to see the half open lotus in her hand representing night. Sometimes there are two lotus blossoms. She does not have any extra eyes. Green Tara rescues us by empowering us to save ourselves.
Lotus Blossoms bring balance and moderation in all things. They are an important component to the Buddha statue. Buddha is either seated upon a lotus in full bloom or holding a blossom in his hand. Some images portray him with each foot resting on a separate petal. When Siddhartha declared his Enlightenment and took seven steps it is said that under each step sprang a lotus blossom.
Did you know that the lotus blossom grows in murky swamps? It’s true. With roots buried deep in the mud, the lotus flower rises to the surface. It’s not easy pushing through the muck, which is why the lotus symbolizes that beauty is born from hardship. In Sanskrit and Tibetan, the lotus is called padma and represents purity, joy and perfection. Lotus is cool and Buddha is hot – so it is said to cool Buddha’s fire.
White Lotus – spiritual perfection and total mental purity Pink Lotus – supreme lotus reserved for the Great Buddha Red Lotus – love, compassion and other qualities of the heart Blue Lotus – victory of the spirit over the senses and signifies wisdom