Let me tell you about the kind of face I have. You see my face, and your reactions to it change. To start, it’s probably a face you’ve cackled with. At work, it’s the kind of face that makes your coffee, which you sure like to flip out about sometimes. At home, it’s the kind of face you want to urge out of its hermitic stance and into the world. You might want to talk to it when it isn’t interested. You might also be surprised when it makes inappropriate jokes in your direction. You might be [insert emotion here] at the words it states when it talks about the girl behind it and her hopes and dreams and next steps.
Maybe this is a long-winded way of stating: I frequently sense the wants and needs of the external world, and this can be a hard thing to internally reconcile. At times, I find myself humming the ever-resounding words of The Avett Brothers: “You can’t make everybody happy all of the time.”
And often, there is no right way to handle a situation; I guess this is the part where I express to you how difficult it is for me to be receptive sometimes. I genuinely feel that, often, there are ties to expectations when a gift is given.
If reliving is in retelling, then I recently relived a few experiences in which I encountered kindness from various important figures in the past. Nostalgia might encourage feelings of exquisite sadness at the thought that sometimes, we don’t know where these impactful people are anymore. We lose touch. It becomes that much more selfless an act when we realize that perhaps we cannot return the favor now. It got me to thinking about how we express gratitude in its subtler forms; can we ever be satisfied-as the giver or the receiver-with a single, heartfelt “Thank you?” Being thankful should mean receiving the action in its fullest form. As in, accepting that goodness and, henceforth, feeling…good. In honor of that experience. Think of that kind person, wherever they are, knowing that their one small gesture to make you happy contributed to the vibrant you that you are. Isn’t that better than wishing for another thing you cannot have in the moment?
Comfort can come in many forms. It can be the kindness and warmth you once found in the light-hearted laughter and magical wink of a friend. It can be in the tail-wagging, too-many-toys-in-mouth welcome home from a beloved pet. And sometimes, perhaps subtly, it can be in the twelve ounces of sweet, spicy, homemade chai I am about to share with you. Make a super strong concentrate with loose-leaf tea and raw honey, add warm milk infused with whole spices, sprinkle with more cinnamon. It’s so simple, it makes you wonder if the answer to things might always be staring you right in the face all along.
Homemade Chai Latte
6 oz hot water
1 tbsp raw honey (favorite of all time: White Gold)
6 tsp loose-leaf chai tea (favorites include: this one* and this one)
6 oz milk of choice
whole spices: cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamom pods, peppercorns, star anise
cinnamon powder, for sprinkling
Add honey to hot water, stirring until dissolved. Prepare loose-leaf chai for brewing method (infuser, teapot, etc.), then add hot water with dissolve honey and cover. Allow to steep for recommended time (note: black tea becomes bitter after about three minutes of steeping). Meanwhile, heat milk with whole spices of choice in a small saucepan on medium heat. Once the milk begins to bubble slightly (but not burn or stick to the edges of the saucepan-about five minutes), remove from heat and strain out whole spices. Pour tea into 12 oz mug. Pour in milk. Top with desired amount of cinnamon. Serve immediately.
*Don’t knock Oprah until you’ve tried it. In its loose-leaf form, it’s a spicy mixture of black and rooibos teas and it’s pretty wonderful.