"You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy. If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone."
Thich Nhat Hanh
There is power in stillness; in pausing to see, love, and appreciate each moment and the magic that resides there. In ancient cultures, tea was used to celebrate these sacred pauses during the day....a moment to reflect and enjoy. We spent the day with Alicia Henry of Naked Sage Tea in her beautiful Venice bungalow and talked about love, adventure, and tea.
What does it mean to you to be a Spiritual Gangster?
It’s easy to wear prayer beads, go to a yoga class, and post “sat nam” on your instagram but it’s not easy to live your truth, face your shadow, honor your being through and through with self-love, and extend that love to others unconditionally. A Spiritual Gangster to me is one who shows up with gratitude and does the work. Action, Action, Action.
Tell us about your journey with tea.
My mother put diluted chamomile tea in my bottle as an infant to calm my colic tummy - it worked! Over the past 10+ years tea has been an integral part of my life, my form of meditation, of slowing down and tuning in to the beautiful details of this human existence. I’ve been making my own blends for many years and it serendipitously became my company, Naked Sage Tea, when I moved to Venice two years ago. I create organic tea blends that are healing and flavorful and I get to share them with friends and strangers - yay!
How do you practice being mindful in your daily life?
I live on a flower laden walkstreet in Venice, CA. Everyday that I walk down my little street I make several stops to stick my nose in the flowers that hang over the garden gates. Sometimes I’ll see a beautiful flower out of the corner of my eye and keep hurriedly walking onward, after a step or five after having passed the flower I’ll stop, turn around, and take a moment with the flower as I should have initially. It’s important to not miss out on the gifts that we so often take for granted. People are flowers too.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Maine is one of the most glorious places that I’ve visited. Imagine a fire red sunset over a placid lake while viewing the burning light through hundreds of white birch trees shooting towards the glowing sky. That’s just a tiny sliver of the magic that is Maine.
How do you actively work at being closer to your soul's creative purpose?
Practicing fearlessness of expression. The more authentic I am with my creativity, the more people connect to it. If I worry what others will think then I’m not fulfilling my purpose and I’m not delivering to the audience that my truth is supposed to be delivered to. I recently published an intimate article on The Huffington Post and it felt super vulnerable to do it! Alas, it’s the vulnerable, honest stuff that people want to read. Because we’re all looking to be seen, loved, and not feel like we’re totally alone in this life thing. So when a piece of art or someone’s words come from a place of authenticity, it can inspire the viewer and then a valuable connection is made. After all, we’re in this together.
The art of tea is the art of taking a sacred pause. Describe the power of a sacred pause.
In moments of silence our inner voice is able to be heard. Listening to that voice unveils our truth. Taking a pause is important for our soul to refuel.
Self-love and acceptance are some of the most important things we can learn, especially as women. How do you practice self love daily?
Years ago I was a dedicated actor in New York City. I’d sit in a casting office with 50 other blonde 20-somethings that were going out for the same role as me. People would ask me how I dealt with the competition and I would say that I didn’t feel that I had any. I am the only me. I will always be the only me. If we go around comparing ourselves to how others look or what others have we will never be happy. I love myself. I laugh at myself. It’s all good!
Favorite mantra of the moment.
Surrender to the awesome.
Favorite tea of the moment.
I’m currently sipping on a soothing bedtime lucid dreaming concoction that I just created. It’s a blend of local mountain sage, damiana, and blue lotus. It’s going to make for some pretty lucid (and sensual) dreams!