Before every trip, whether traveling in the US or internationally, I scour the guide books and the internet to discover if my destination might have local places that serve tea. At the very least I hope to find for a spot to grab a cup of tea. If luckier, I might discover a quaint little teahouse. If truly blessed and I find nirvana, some place is serving (unsweetened) matcha in a real matcha bowl. Although I knew of many types of farms on the islands of Hawaii, I never Hawaii was home to several tea farms. I never heard of Hawaiian tea. But now I was not only going to go on vacation in the SUN, I was going to tour Mauna Kea Farm, an organic tea farm on the Big Island.
When I arrived I was greeted by Kimberly Ino, who started the farm with her husband, Taka, about 10 years ago. Kimberly walked us through the sloping fields and shared the story of Taka's passion for nature farming and tea. Wandering the crops of camellia sinensis at various stages of growth and development, with the mid-morning sun cascading over the trees, I was in heaven. I realize that being off the mainland and unplugged from my daily life had such a calming effect. Yet the plants were calming as well, and Kimberly had me taste a few of the fresh tender leaves.
Fortunately, that was not the end of the tour. Kimberly took me inside for a proper tasting of their harvest. At Mauna Kea they have several levels of tea, and we tried them all (even the blended teas, which I usually don't like, but more on that in a bit).
Mauna Kea's Premium Green Tea is considered their "queen of teas," where they harvest only the tender bud and top two leaves. Next down in price point is their Island Green, which also has the bud, but also the top three leaves. And finally, they have their Sweet Roast, where the plants are mechanically topped in the final harvest. And I loved them all (I bought some off each, including their blended teas), savoring each for their different flavor profiles.
As I write this now, I am sitting here, on a snowy day in Seattle, sipping their Premium Green. It is clear, light green in color, very smooth, not astringent at all, and delicious. I don't recall tasting a green tea quite like this one, and I immediately calm and and settled.
The Sweet Roast is also very unique. In lieu of my afternoon Dragonwell, I have started drinking this unusual blend. This is the last harvest and the leaves, stems, etc. are mechanically topped off before roasting.
As I mentioned, I tend to not be a fan of blended or flavored teas. Being a bit of a purest, I find mixing green tea with anything is sacrilege, although I will indulge in a matcha latte from time to time. However, Mauna Kea Tea has two amazing blends - one with Coconut (and I am not talking about synthetic coconut flavoring, but real dried coconut) and the other with Turmeric and Ginger. Home timely that I purchased these since a week after returning from Hawaii, the cold I so valiantly was fighting got the better of me. Not want to be completely without green tea, yet craving some warming spices, I found my healing solution right here - their Sweet Roast blend with turmeric, ginger, coconut, cinnamon, and black paper. In my mind, it aided in my healing time.
I remember learning about a Hawaiian reconciliation practice called Ho’Oponopono. This practice was used to heal relationships, whether within a family, a community, between neighbors or with the gods. Ho'Oponopono invites you to make amends, thereby addressing the true cause of dis-ease - fracture relationships. Some believe that all illness stems from the tears in the fabrics of our relationships. By healing these rifts and making amends, we heal.
While often done in the presence of those with whom you are having difficulties, Ho'Oponopono can be practiced as mantra meditation, where you recite four simple phrases repeatedly, much like Metta Meditation.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
- Make a commitment to yourself (and your loved ones) to heal. Ask yourself, if I truly want to improve this relationship, am I willing to put in the time and effort to do what it takes.
- Set your intention. Call to mind the person or persons with whom you wish to create a more fulfilling and positive relationship. However, you can work on creating a more healing and supportive relationship with yourself. How often do we repeat negative comments to ourselves, criticizing and chastising ourselves for not being good enough, productive enough, smart enough, creative enough, etc. If that is the case, you can call to mind a quality you would like to cultivate in yourself, for instance more compassion or kindness.
- Blame less; take responsibility. Release any story of right or wrong, who is at fault, and or what is wrong or right that keep you stuck in the past. To take responsibility means to take action and begin the practice.
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
So after a few sips of my Premium Green Tea, I sit down on my cushion and begin. Breathing out and breathing I say silently to myself:
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Try these steps and see what happens. I would love to hear about your experience.