Updated: Sep 20

Walking, like drinking tea, to me is a form of meditation. It is during this time, that I reflect a lot on life, my choices, values and lifestyle. Today during my walk, I reflected on what living modestly has taught me about life, or, more so about LIVING!

Let me clarify that by modest, I don't necessarily mean without wealth, success or achievement. However, what I'm referring to may require a reexamination and redefinition of what these things really mean.

Note: some of the "wealthiest" people in the world live excessively and are constantly in search of connection and fulfillment, whereas people in some of the most economically disadvantaged countries live modestly, and yet experience very "rich" lives. This may be why we are seeing more people with wealth and status choosing to live "modestly" in return for experiencing true fulfillment. All to say, money and accolades is not the measure here.

Before I go on, let me also make clear that I do not believe in deprivation. To me depriving oneself of the joys of life is in essence the opposite of living. However, I also believe that not subscribing to "excess" is a good life practice.

I don't need to spend excessively, accumulate excessively, or produce excessively to enjoy life, and choosing to live modestly, has taught me the value and joy in simple pleasures and sustainable living.

Living modestly, has created room in my life for creativity and flexibility. Because, I choose not to hoard things (a lesson I learned while moving state to state during my 20s and early 30s), or constrict my time (you know the over-scheduler who has to preplan & fill every hour of each day), I've been able to create SPACE to take life as it comes.

So, if an opportunity comes up to go to a concert for an artist that I love, or if I'm inspired to be of service or even generate income in a new way, I'm not locked in with no room for exploration and discovery. I understand that to some this may seem easier said that done, and admittedly this is a lesson that I've mastered going from having (a little) more to having less, and perhaps in some ways this comes with more ease as a person living a child-free life. But, nevertheless, the lessons that I've learned from living this way, have created a sense of peace, joy and autonomy that are at the center of my wellness.

So, how do you begin to live a modest life, one might ask?! And my answer is not a recipe (as nothing is one size fits all), but more so an opportunity for self-reflection.

Consider your values, what's important to you, what motivates you, and at the end of the day what would have truly mattered to you! Now consider, what might you be willing to sacrifice and what aren't you willing to let go of.
Note: sacrifice is not the same as deprivation, as sacrifice is more so a choice or conscious decision often made with the opportunity for gain in another area, whereas deprivation often comes from an idea of suffering, unworthiness or lack.

For me, what living modestly looks like is choosing to spend money (when I do spend) on Experiences vs Things. I love to travel, I love live music, and I love dining. I realized that all the things that I had accumulated over time didn't really make me happy (well, besides my numerous throw pillows and blankets ;) ), so instead I put my finances towards creating experiences for myself and with my loved ones. And more so, I've discovered lots of ways to do more of what I enjoy without having to use (a lot of) money, such as spending time in nature, creating playlists, cooking for family and sipping tea at home. Living modestly, has made me more creative, more resourceful, in many ways more joyful, and OPEN to receiving!

So, what I've learned is that instead of trying to "keep up with the Joneses" or some other lifestyle standard that we've been conditioned to believe is right for all, discover what Living really looks and feels like for you, and be willing to say "no" to some things and YES to re-writing the script!

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Updated: Sep 19

As I sit listening to Christan Scott aTunde Adjuah and flip the pages of my tea table book "Us & Our Planet" (a gift from my nephew to me & his mom/my sister) I reflect on Inspiration & Sustainability - two concepts that motivate much of how I Live & Work.

To my sister/co-founder and I, living sustainably is a practice in many things, but above all it's about discovering joy & inspiration in nature & everyday life. She, a maximalist at heart turned minimalist, and me, a person who loves finding ways to simplify the complexities of life, recently combined our households (she & her son, me & my husband) as a true practice in sustainability.

Sustainability is about much more than recycling, being vegan, or following the "yellow mellow" toilet flush rule. It's about creating a life that can be LIVED, more easily, more simply, and more supported, with peace & joy.

Despite our somewhat different aesthetics, my sister and I both find inspiration in the tangible & the intangible. It's the plants that fill every room of our home, the rich colors of yellow, rust orange, blue and beige. It's the peppermint & tea tree essential oil in the burner, the hanging porch swing in the front yard, it's sitting in silence, laying in bed until 11am, choosing to go to the beach on a Tuesday (even when there's work to be done), shopping at the local farmer's market that we manage with a friend, and serving our tea to others.

All of these things inspire our living and are how we practice sustainability daily.

Now, think about your own life. What inspires you and brings you joy? How do you currently practice sustainability, and in what ways can you live more sustainably?

Lean into that! Give it more space. More time. More attention. Because, if we are going to do anything in excess we should be doing more of makes our souls happy. And from there, eliminating the excess; the "waste" becomes less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

To us, this is the true key to sustainable living.

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Tea has always been a part of our our lives. Growing up we drank tea regularly, largely thanks to our father who brewed fresh tea daily, but our story with tea traces back to a place, a land.

Our father learned to brew iced tea from his mother, our grandmother. Our grandmother; a fierce, loving woman and community activist, was known for many things ... her love for family and community, her tenacity, her stories, her homemade corn fritters & fruit preserves, and her TEA, which like her was strong and sweet! As youngsters, spending time at grandma (and grandpa's) house surrounded by family, enjoying good "down home" meals, VA peanuts (grown on farms nearby) and sweet tea, was a RiTUAL. We came to expect this as a part of our visits. Grandma's house without sweet tea just didn't exist. The two went hand in hand!

But, grandma's tea wasn't just any ol' sweet tea. There was something special about it. So, what made grandma's tea so special?

To make brewed tea you need a few simple ingredients, water, tea leaves, and in this case (also) plenty of sugar :). But, it wasn't the sugar that made the difference, it was the WATER. The water at grandma's house was special! It was clean, fresh, almost sweet, and sooo smooth. So much so that we nicknamed it "butter water". The water at grandma's house wasn't the same as the water at other places, because the source of the water was different. Her water came from a well. The well was a fixture on the land right next to grandma and grandpa's house. That well was the source of some of the best water in the world, which produced some of the most wonderful brewed tea!

Tea represents so much of what we cherish - family, good meals and time spent together, and the Well symbolizes the source of all that goodness. It was the source of what we knew and still know as LOVE.

Grandma's tea was made with Pure Water and Pure Love! That's what made her tea so special! Grandma's legacy inspired us to keep a long lasting family tradition of tea, ritual and service alive, and now, our "Tea Well" is where we invite you to come "fill your cup" which natural goodness to nourish your soul!

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