Two years ago, I sat down and tried to plan the perfect vacation. The year before I visited my son in Taiwan and wanted to take my wife with me on another excursion across the sea. I planned out many of the details which included lots more time on the more tropical, Southern part of Taiwan. The itinerary was set – the adventure was planned — and it blew up almost immediately.
Just on the first night, the car did not arrive to pick us up, the hotel was not reserved, and I was beginning to feel like I failed. A missed train led to a side adventure that I would only later appreciate. But, when I wrecked the scooter later in the week, I was sure that the vacation was over because the itinerary was smashed right along with my expectations. I failed to notice the adventure I was having all along until we found ourselves inside the Tea Shop. An hour and a half later, I said, “What just happened?” and only later sorted out everything the Tea Shop taught me.
I wrote it down in my book, The Tea Shop, that comes out Sept. 22nd.
The book is really a processing of the lessons I learned from a man with no name in a Tea Shop somewhere in Zhongli, Taiwan. Since writing the book, I have summarized even those things a little further and I feel like it is a message that I was supposed to share with others, or maybe more specifically I would say this:
What I received from the Tea Shop was the message I was supposed to become.
I think I can summarize it in a few simple statements.
Adventures are unscripted. I was having adventures left and right during my vacation, but I could not see them because I was too busy trying to make the itinerary work. Setting goals and having a plan can be beneficial, but life often colors outside of those lines and the adventurous bliss of the true adventure happens when you least expect it. A time frame that changed my life in the Tea Shop occurred because of cancelled plans and unexpected circumstances. Be open and ready for adventure.
Be where you are (presence). Almost immediately when I entered the Tea Shop, I realized I was learning about presence. It was so unlike anything I usually experience, but I knew I needed to pay attention to it. Being where we are is really the only place we can successfully exist. Occasionally we must stretch forward and plan or reach backward and heal; but we cannot live in either of those places. We must live where we are.
Be who you are (authenticity). When you meet someone who is authentic, it changes you. You almost immediately want to be like them, but that is not what they are calling you to. They are not hoping you will be more like them — they beckoning you to be more like YOU. The wish I have for all my friends is that they would discover who they are and then be as true to themselves as they possibly can.
I always want to say that I got a message from the Tea Shop two years ago. But, truthfully, it was not that I received a message as much as it was that I became a message. So, my goal in the book was not to tell you what I heard, but rather to show you what I have become.
I would like to take you on that journey with me and be your guide toward authenticity and presence so that you would have the adventures you were supposed to have all along. I want you to become the message in the same way I have!
Be who you are, Be where you are, Be at Peace!