Tea, yarning and a dash of gratefulness
Posted on November 16 2017
It's such an Aussie word - yarn. Having a yarn, we had a good yarn. But what actually is a Yarning Circle and why do we love them at Monji Tea?
Yarning Circles are a very important part of Aboriginal culture and Torres Strait Islander culture. They have been used by Indigenous people for centuries to learn from a collective group, build build respectful relationships, and to preserve and pass on cultural knowledge. Sometimes they are simply of gathering of women sitting in a circle observing and learning from their Elders.
Five years ago I was sitting in a shopping centre food hall and witnessed a more disturbing type of gathering. A group of twelve teenagers were sitting at a table. They may have been university students, or they may have made special plans to meet for lunch (I hope not). Every single one of those young adults was interacting in some way with their device. Several were plugged into a movie or music - headphones on. Three of them were having a conversation, but it was one that involved sharing pictures on their devices. NOT ONE OF THEM was having a one to one conversation.
In 2006, the time spent on social and community interaction for women was on average 47 minutes per day (ABS). In 2016, the average user of social media spends more than double that just on Facebook (Sensis).
To steal a tone from Carrie in Sex & the City - "In a world of social networking, how do we learn to speak?"
Well, at Monji Tea we sit in a circle, fold tea labels, drink tea, and have a good yarn. We call it a Tea Yarning Circle.
Our tea tags are all hand folded in Sydney, and we partner with several women's shelters run by Women’s Community Shelters. The residents are employed on a casual basis, and there are many group therapy benefits to the Circles.
The conversations we've had whilst folding tea tags are rich. They feed my belief in the underlying strength of women, especially when grouped together. We keep our conversations light, and we always have music and good tea. I make everyone the best tea that I can brew, and sometimes the gratefulness just for a simple cup of tea makes me cringe. Everyone deserves a mindfully brewed cup of tea just the way they like it.
At the end of each Tea Yarning Circle I pack up my boxes, fill up my car and drive back to my safe, warm house. I'm not afraid to walk through the door. I have food for the table and so much more. Grateful doesn't even begin to explain it.
Each time I choose a Monji Tea teabag, I wonder who folded it. It could well have been me, but I hope that if it was one of those fabulous ladies then they are having a good hour in a good day, and they are taking steps towards living their best lives.
Take time for tea #tealovers