Teahouse Practice

Teahouse practice

Teahouse practice means that you don’t explicitly talk about Zen. (or any other spiritual practice) It refers to leading your life as if you were an old woman who has a teahouse on the side of the road. Nobody knows why they like to go there; they just feel good drinking her tea. She’s not known as a Buddhist teacher, she doesn’t say, “This is the Zen teahouse.” All she does is simply serve tea – but still, her decades of attentiveness are part of the way she does it. No one knows about her faithful attention to the practice, it’s just there, in the serving of the tea and the way she cleans the counters and washes the cups.  (Excerpted from an interview with the poet Jane Hirschfield, and Bill Moyers.)

From the time I first read this interview, many years ago, it has stayed with me. I suppose because I wish I were more like that and I’m not, and because when I meet that rare person who is like this I am so deeply touched and enlivened by their presence.

Remembering my Mother on Her Birthday

Yesterday was my Mother’s 101st birth date and I hosted a zoom gathering for my extended family, in her memory. I put together a slideshow of memories including our 13 days together last July, before her death. As I looked around at all the zoom windows I felt my Mother’s spirit in all those loving faces.  Her qualities of  acceptance, appreciation, kindness, good humour, forward motion, and  wholehearted love for the world, her family and friends, kind of made her irresistible. Rather like the old woman who served tea by the side of the road, we all liked to just hang out with her. It is a beautiful legacy.

I miss her and I see her everywhere.

Here are two tiny poems for Poetry month and I dedicate these to my one-in-a-million Mother.

Separation by W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

The Window by Rumi

Your body is away from me
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.

From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.


1:) It is worth the effort to create family gatherings. We need each other and in the end our friends and family are truly what matter the most.

2:) “Love is the answer to most of the questions in our life.” Jack Johnson. Listen to the song here – Better Together

3:) Thank you for stopping by once again. Warmest and best wishes to you all, Trudy


6 replies
  1. janice
    janice says:

    I can think of no better legacy than being remembered as someone whom others just wanted to hang out with for the joy of her presence. Beautiful choice of poems and Better Together is one of my most favourite songs – perfect tributes to your one-in-a-million Mother. big hugs Trudy, love Jan

  2. Sabine
    Sabine says:

    Thank you so much, Trudy, for your post:-) This part: “…because I wish I were more like that and I’m not…” touched me so much. So very often I do wish, I’d been a better mom, a better wife, a better friend – just more like this teahouse-lady. But I am not and have not been. Only thing I can do is try and try and try;-) And this, I will…

  3. yoshie
    yoshie says:

    Awesome post. Mother’s awesome legacy revives on this day with her calendar. Thanks, Trudy.
    Poems are nice, which made me relate to kinship.

  4. Teresa Schwarz
    Teresa Schwarz says:

    Trudy I just loved the poems you shared. You did have a one in a million mom. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.


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