season 2 | ep. 17

tea & meditation:
a moment for
yourself

with Sara Gallagher Bloom

Sara Gallagher Bloom

steeping together podcast
- season 2 | Ep. 17

tea & meditation: a moment for yourself

with Sara Gallagher Bloom

Date:
july 2022
Length: 54:35 see all
episodes
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episode transcript

Marika de Vienne 0:18

Welcome, everyone to another episode of Steeping Together, the podcast where we explore the vast world of tea over a cup of tea. With tea enthusiast, I'm your tea-obsessed host Marika, and as usual, so delighted to be with you all here today. Ah meditation, a centuries old practice that seems to be on everyone's lips these days, an exercise that is free for anyone to perform in order to find or maintain a sense of balance in one's life. Sounds easy, right? Please. It seems everywhere you turn there is a new meditation practice, a friend there to tell you that their meditation practice is better than yours, and helpful tips and tricks to a better meditation practice masquerading as beneficial when they are in fact alienating and condescending to the very people they're claiming to want to help. Now, I have tried meditating for years, sometimes with success, and many times, well, not. And like everything else in my life, I have tried to pair my meditation practice with tea, which can be, well a controversial topic. So today, in order to discuss the benefits of meditation, and an approach that is more inclusive for all we have with us Sarah Gallagher Bloom, yoga instructor and tea enthusiast. Welcome, Sarah.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 1:37

Hi, Marika. I'm so happy to be here with you!

Marika de Vienne 1:40

I am so happy that we finally get to chat in a formal way, because we've had so many wonderful informal chats, and for our listeners to discover who you are. So Sarah, could you please introduce yourself the way you'd like to be introduced?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 1:54

Sure! Well, you know, at my heart, I am a human who is fascinated with other humans. I am a mother, a seeker, a wife, a daughter, a friend. I wear many hats. I am fascinated with the tools and techniques that each human uses to be able to manage life. My particular zone of genius, if you will, is in the movement and meditation and breathing practices, my offerings stem from the yogic sciences and technologies. So I'm excited to be here with you today and riff on meditation and tea!

Marika de Vienne 2:40

This is so much fun, because I love how comprehensive your introduction was, you're not just a yoga instructor. You're not just one thing. And I think in modern society, we forget how many labels and hats everyone is wearing all the time.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 2:59

All the time. And, you know, this is the exact demographic time in history that the meditations and the yogic technologies are designed for, they're designed for householders, busy lives, messy houses, doing too many things, under-slept, these are all tools to manage modern life.

Marika de Vienne 3:24

Right. And these tools have been around for thousands of years, it's nothing new. It feels new. Because when you look at Instagram, like everyone's got their yoga studio, yoga practice, meditation routine, it feels like in the past few years, it's really become at the forefront of everyone's mind that like you have to do this. And the thing that irks me to no end, it's kind of like in the tea world, there's so many people in the tea world where it's like, if you don't make your pu’erh tea in this way, you're doing it wrong. And it's the same thing with meditation, if you're not following this particular practice and carving out this particular time to do it, you're doing it wrong.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 4:09

Yeah, I mean, it's just so limiting, right? That kind of thinking, because, you know, I guess my perspective on meditation is, do what you can, when you can, when you need it, and make it a little more regular than not. It's kind of that, you know, I have very deliberate practices, but what I'm saying is that the rise of yoga on Instagram, and meditation on Instagram is because humanity needs it right now. Right there is this surgence of the spiritual tools, how the heck do we manage the material of our minds? How do we manage the overload and the burdens that we are all participating in?

Marika de Vienne 4:53

Yeah, no, it is quite overwhelming. And I think especially in our society, we're told to push through the difficult, keep pushing, give more energy, answer all the emails, answer all the notifications. And at a certain point, you can resource through tea, you can resource through food, you can resource through companionship. But how do you feed that fire within you, call it a soul, call it you know your core, call it whatever you want How in the world are you supposed to give that energy? We've found any number of ways to replenish our cups in a material way. How do you do that for your, for yourself? Your true sense of self, who you are? That's kind of what I want to unpack today. If you're, if you're willing to join me on this.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 5:49

Well, one of my favourite topics! You know, how do you converse with your innermost being? Which is this indivisible energy of your soul. So from my perspective, our soul is infinite, right? We are at first an energetic being that incarnates into the container of a physical body at a certain moment in history. And then it's just, we got to manage living on a polarity planet. So with all of everything that we've just mentioned, the busyness, the emails, the text, the answer, now the push more, how do we get to the place where we can even begin to have the dialogue that we have a soul? That then you can also have a relationship with your innermost self, that then there is a direct line of communication that can be developed, when we create space enough to be able to listen.

Marika de Vienne 6:51

Right, to listen to yourself, to listen to your feelings, to listen–I like the way you present it. Because I think what stops a lot of people from even asking that question is they say, Oh, I don't believe in having a soul. Or I don't believe that this energy is infinite. And the argument I always make is you don't have, you can believe whatever you want. You can look at your soul as a battery. And you can look at your soul as just your emotions, and not your higher consciousness, it kind of doesn't matter. But can we all agree that resourcing is crucial to our survival at this point?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 7:34

Well yes, so whatever you want to call it, I love that–battery.

Marika de Vienne 7:40

It doesn't–pick a word, pick a thing that works for you!

Sara Gallagher Bloom 7:44

Yeah don’t trip over the language, right? Because language can be so triggering. But whatever that relationship with your innermost being, whatever you want to call it, you know, this is what I have found over, particularly over the last accelerated two years, is that the tools that I use to use to resource to replenish, to set myself straight again, to you know, kind of shake off a stressful situation. They're no longer as effective. It's like, my toolkit and then I'll just, you know, broad stroke it, I believe that right now many of us are in great need of sharpening our tools for resourcing ourselves. It's like we need a new current of information to come in, we need a new way. We need to dream another possibility of how to create and carve out this time and space. Because I think that that’s at the essence of all of this, is to find time and space to have an authentic relationship with yourself.

Marika de Vienne 8:55

Yeah. An authentic relationship with yourself is probably the most important relationship you're ever going to have. You know, I'm a mother, I'm a wife, I work, you know, I have all of these different hats. I can't give the things I need to give to the people that I love, if I'm not charged up. I'm doing them a disservice. And it's, you know, like, when you take a plane and you go through the security measures right–

Sarah

Oh my god I’m totally picturing this!

Marika

It’s so counterintuitive. Like when I had kids, it was so counterintuitive to like put your mask on first before you put it on your child. You have to fight every instinct you have as a caregiver, to do that.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 9:40

Yeah. What you just said to me is the key to any sort of healing. And again, change the word if healing isn't your word, but like any sort of reawakening of who you are, what you are, what's your purpose. It is all counterintuitive, because the way that we got to where we are, was through our thinking mind. Or through the experiences of our lives. And the way to something different is not through the same practices. It’s counter intuitive. So for instance, in the physical body, you know, when someone comes to a yoga class, it's like, my right hip hurts. Well, the source of the, the site of the pain is usually not the source of the pain. And that is what is also counterintuitive. So this is like a wonderful moment for us to get really creative about what are going to be the tools. Maybe we've overlooked them in the past. But what are new tools? What is counterintuitive to what we know? Because quite frankly, you already know what you know, And I'm sure you–

Marika de Vienne 10:46

Right. I love the simplicity of that statement. What you know, is what you know.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 10:49

You know it! And where did it get you?

Marika de Vienne 10:54

With a pain in your hip!

Sarah

Right? Patterns!

Marika

Yeah, patterns. Yeah. And you can break a pattern. And I encourage people to do this, if only because, look, whether you like it or not, your physical being is growing. You are, we are currently–

Sarah

What do you mean!

Marika

Right now? Right now, we're ageing, like our body is on this path. And so when you talk about, you know, you're basically talking about growth, having that authentic relationship with yourself is a part of that growth. So you can be in line with your body, your body's doing it anyway. So wouldn't it be fun if like your mind and your inner being did the same thing? Just the thought, I’m putting it out there.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 11:40

Amen. You know, one of my teachers talks about how you know, in the energetic realms, your energetic being negotiates the body that you're going to come into, just like you would negotiate buying or leasing a car. And so it's really fun to think about it in this way, right? That your body is the vehicle. Who's the driver? Is there a passenger? What is counterintuitive, is that we need to make the breath the driver and the mind the passenger. That is counterintuitive.

Marika de Vienne 12:16

Oh wow. Oh I need my mind. I always thought my mind was the driver. I'm a Gemini, so–

Sarah

Your two minds are the driver!

Marika

My two minds are the driver. Okay, I want to be able to understand how to make the benefits of meditation open to all. And as with most things in my life, Sarah, I have a story to start with that starts with tea. Because in my world, everything starts with tea. So I read this a few years ago, I haven't been able to trace back one of the hundreds of books on tea that I've read in my life where I saw this, but essentially, when tea was introduced to Japan, a few thousandd years ago, it was introduced by a convoy of Chinese monks who were hosting Japanese monks for a you know, exchange of information, they were part of the same spiritual base. And the Chinese monks had a green tea, very similar to matcha, mostly ground, but not as much as we understand it today. And they were like, Hey, you guys, you want to meditate better? Do it on this stuff. This stuff, this is the stuff! And so when the Japanese monks returned to Japan, they brought with them this green tea, and it created a massive divide. I cannot express to you how much contention, this is about 50 years of internal debate within the Japanese spiritual community, whether meditation on tea, meditation with caffeine was valid or not, because could you reach enlightenment or clarity or replenishment whilst under the cloud or fog of this drug? Because lest we forget, tea is a drug. It's got, its caffeine. So this always made me think that there is a right way to meditate and there is a wrong way to meditate. And that has stopped my personal growth for many, many years.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 14:28

Yeah, I mean, this is the essence of being on the planet at this time. And I know I keep saying the planet and humanity, but we are on a polarity planet, right. So there is a right and a left, there is an up and down. And the big question becomes, how do we mediate polarity to create a trinity so that we're not creating more?

Marika de Vienne 14:47

Okay, I was with you for like half of that. So like, explain it to me like I'm five.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 14:55

Yeah so you know, you've got two different opinions. That is a polarizing stance. Where's the middle ground? How do you create a mediating understanding? Because polarizing views create war. Right. So, to me the most spiritual word in the world is “and.”

Marika

Oh, okay.

Sarah

Okay, so the Chinese and their ground matcha-like tea are right, AND so are the Japanese. To me, that is how we're going to bridge it. Now I'm not so interested, like, let me just back it up. Our mind, particularly our subconscious mind, which you can imagine it like your iCloud storage. It's finite. It's massive, but it's finite. The yogic science says that, for every blink of an eye, you have a thousand thought forms.

Marika de Vienne 15:48

Sorry, I literally lost my breath when you said that. That is way too much information for me right now! But okay, yeah.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 15:52

Yeah! So in the blink of an eye, we have a thousand thought forms, we can process one of those thoughts. What happens to the other 999? They get dumped in the storage, right? They get dumped in the subconscious mind. So we have thousands and thousands of entries, if you will, into our subconscious mind, which is again a finite storage unit similar to your iCloud. You pay for monthly, right? Upgrade the storage, it's like a place to hoard stuff.

Marika de Vienne 16:23

Every thought you've ever had.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 16:24

Well and this is a thing. Is that it does store every thought you've ever had. So what thought is leading the show? Is it a current process mediated thought? Is it one of the ones disposed of that you're accessing from the storage? Where's the thought coming from? What I want to say about that is sometimes these polarizing thoughts come from the subconscious mind. So it's not even like we've consciously processed it. It's just that's what's informing a moment.

Marika de Vienne 16:58

Evolutionarily speaking, that's incredibly useful. Because even though you're not consciously aware in every single moment of your day that you've had these thoughts, or that you've received this information, and when you need it you can retrieve it. What we have now, though, is we have more information than our brains are capable of storing, sorting, and comprehending

Sara Gallagher Bloom 17:23

Exactly, you know, and this is our kind of, you know, long way around. Why would you meditate? You would meditate to offload the subconscious mind, you'd meditate to clear out some of the subconscious, of the storage. You know when you do your digital clearing?

Marika de Vienne 17:39

That’s exactly what I was thinking, like you're, you're talking about emptying the trash? On my Macbook.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 17:45

Yeah, exactly! Oh, my gosh, I did a tech week this week, like you know, I am not very tech savvy, although I am learning. And I have a teacher who's a great teacher, and I never thought that I would think tech was so much fun. Like getting all of my digital stuff organised. I was like, Oh my gosh, it produces the same kind of joy in me that working through a difficult cluttered emotion gives me.

Marika de Vienne 18:09

Oh, yeah, no, I feel deep satisfaction in the organisation of my folders. Oh, so nice.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 18:17

Oh yes! So this is the other piece, is we have the subconscious thought forms that are in our storage that determine what we think, what we're going to do. So we have a subconscious thought form that's like, No, don't meditate. Oh, no, they're right, they're wrong, right? Because if you're in a polarity or if you get really like, opinionated about the how-to and the why-to, you're narrowing the possibility. And I understand that that's what some of us need to do. That's how we're oriented. Does it serve you is all that I would say, are you a happier person? Can you sit and enjoy a cup of tea? And tea is such a magnificent metaphor for meditation.

Marika

Go on!

Sarah Gallagher Bloom 19:04

So just like you know, a few minutes ago we said our body is the vehicle well you can imagine that your body is the cup. And our–the resourcing practices are the tea. They're what fill the cup. What are we filling our cup with? You and I are on the same idea that our tools that we've been filling our cup with are no longer serving us in the most effective way, that it's like this time in history to search and seek for something else. Meditation, would be taking a sip of the tea from the cup.

Marika de Vienne 19:37

With the same pensive intention. It sounds so simple when you put it that way. It's like, just take a sip.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 19:46

Yeah, I mean, we want to know who's driving the vehicle. Right? We want to know, or at least I want to know, that's where my personal fascination lies with is in, in the messiness of a householder life like, how can we become more authentically who we are and meant to be in this round?

Marika de Vienne 20:10

Yeah, yeah, I agree. It's interesting that you say that, because why would you want to be more authentic? My answer to that has always been well, it's easier. It's just easier when you're just yourself. It's hard to begin that journey, in the same way that it's hard to begin the journey of meditation or adopting jogging, you know, whatever new thing you're going to do. Those first 10 minutes to 10 days are the worst. They're the worst, you know, I mean, it's such a slog. But when you eventually become who you are, and that can be a lifelong journey. It’s gonna take a whole life to get there. But life feels a little bit less heavy after a while, so.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 21:00

Like you need the energy to pass through the threshold of doubt in those first 10 days. Right? Because it's only once you pass through all of the excuses in your mind, oh, I don't need this, oh this sucks. You find all the reasons not to, which is one of our mental bodies, right? Like it is one of the filters, it's one of the lenses that our thoughts need to pass through. But then what the notion here is then, do we have enough energy to pass through the threshold of what our kind of protective mind, the part of us that sees the obstacles? Do we have enough energy to pass through that lens? To get to the kind of like, Hell, yes, I'm doing this. Yeah. But the car needs the right gas in the system to be able to do that. Our body needs the right fuel, the right energy to be able to make any of these changes.

Marika de Vienne 21:53

Right. And your mind and your habits trick you at every turn. And I say that because for years, I was not effectively meditating. And the reason I say that is because I was gaining nothing from the practice of meditation, but frustration and anger. And ironically, for someone who–I pair every single minute of my day with a tea, like this is where I'm at. I'm about to start a new document at work, what tea am I drinking? I'm gonna walk to the subway, what tea am I drinking? Like this is where I have a problem, something we can unpack in a later episode, but meditation, I swear, is the one thing in my life that I cannot pair with tea. And it was when I got out of that habit. And I broke that thought formation that I started to have effective meditation. Because even though this beverage is my life, this beverages is my love, this beverage is my career, it was not serving me in the moment where I needed to take a minute, carve out a space, and clear out the junk folder in my brain. And that was surprising to say the least. You know what I mean? It took me five years to do that, to realise this thing that has given me everything in my life does not serve me in this particular moment.

Sarah

So interesting.

Marika

So that's kind of my advice to people who want to start meditating, is you really have to look at what helps you to get into the headspace where you feel like your meditation is helping you to evolve. I mean, is that more or less true?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 23:38

I mean, the results of our meditation are in our experiences and how we meet the waves of life. Right? So for sure, that is one of the ways to measure, you know, your, your relationship. Is this working for you? The people around you are going to tell you yes or no. And I just want to say, sometimes when we're like–sometimes when we’re churning up all the material, all the files, all the junk, it's like a muddy water. You know, when you like walk on the bottom of a sandy lake or muddy lake, the mud churns up, so the junk arises. And that's sometimes where we quit. Because it's like, I can't meditate, my brain doesn't stop. Well, your mind isn't supposed to stop. That's the job of your mind.

Marika de Vienne 24:26

We would be concerned if your mind just stopped. You have bigger fish to fry if your brain just stopped.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 24:33

Yeah, but what happens is that when we first tried to meditate, that is often the first time that we really see or feel or experience how kind of chaotic it can be in there. So this like churning up of the muddiness of our stuff can really bring issues to the surface. Then what we need to do is we need to stick with it. But at that moment, there is a subconscious thought form that says, This is no good for you. So I guess what is the new nuance between, is this working for me in my life and do I have the energy to pass through these obstacles? To see what's on the other side. I don't know.

Marika de Vienne 25:12

No one can answer that but yourself.

Sarah

That's right.

Marika

Because you're in full contact sport with yourself when you're doing this.

Sarah

Full contact…! Yes!

Marika de Vienne 25:20

Because you were describing like, your subconscious kind of throwing up these barriers, you're not doing it right. Or you're still thinking or whatever. These are pain points, you are wrestling with yourself in that moment, because your brain is trying to protect you. Your brain is constantly trying to say this is a pain point, ignore it, keep going.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 25:40

Yeah. So can you find another way? And that's where it's counterintuitive. Right? Right. So if we're stuck in a thought form, right, the Chinese can meditate on their tea but the Japanese are saying that's sacrilegious. Right? They’re stuck in a thought form. Is it right, is it wrong? I don't know. Try it on. But like, what gets you to carve out that space for yourself? I mean, that's where we get to be creative.

Marika de Vienne 26:07

That's what I'm interested in. I feel like the more I'm hearing you talk, I am gratified to know that there doesn't seem to be a one size fits all for this because I feel like that's what social media tells us a lot, is that you're supposed to have, first of all an extremely clean home. Everything should be white. You should probably have one potted plant in the corner. And your yoga clothing should be pristine, if not flawless. And then you can really start meditating right?

Sarah

Get the look right.

Marika

Get the look right and everything else will follow. My house is clean, disinfected, but always messy. I have two children under the age of six. There's no way–quiet! When I'm quiet? I work full time. How do I carve out this space? And what you're proposing is you carve out your space, how did you say it, as much as you can, whenever you can!

Sara Gallagher Bloom 27:07

You know, just to begin, we need to remove the obstacles, right? So make it simple. You know, if it is on the metro, on the subway, on the bus, and you close your eyes, and you're gonna take 10 deep breaths, five deep breaths, there's a meditation, right? It's just it's a moment to drop in. It's a moment to become present with your internal weather system, what weather pattern is up for me today, because that's going to give you information on how you approach your day, how you interact with, you know, the person you're buying your tea from, with your coworkers with–it informs your day. So my big like starting point is just start. Don't overthink it, it doesn't have to look a certain way. You don't need a candle, it doesn't, you don't have to have a meditation cushion. You know, you can sit in the driver's seat of your car. You could sit on the bus, you could, you know, you could go anywhere, and just decide to drop in for a minute. And what does drop in mean? Maybe you just follow the inhale and the exhale. Right? You just notice that your breathing. Breath is cool, right? Involuntary and voluntary mechanism. Breath can anchor your mind

Marika de Vienne 28:19

By simply being aware of it, you're doing it.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 28:20

Potent, powerful tool. You know, I've spent the last, you know, 25 years meditating my brains out. I have done every meditation practice you can imagine! I really have.

Marika de Vienne 28:33

Yeah no I believe you! I just liked that thought of you meditating your brains out. I want to put that in my space at home, like a sign in front of the door, like Do Not Disturb: I'm meditating my brains out. That's my new, that's my new mantra for meditation. Okay, please continue.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 28:54

Because it's counterintuitive.

Marika

It's so counterintuitive!

Sarah

Right, we are very invested in our mind leading, driving the vehicle, leading the show. And there's just more information. There's more information out there to be able to navigate life with. But it's just, we're oftentimes removed from a mediated decision based on a certain weather pattern. Does that make sense?

Marika de Vienne 29:17

It does because I feel like you know, especially living in Canada, with you know, we're dealing with sleet, we're dealing with snow, we're dealing–you know, every day is a new adventure. And you have to check the weather, what boots am I wearing today? Am I bringing that extra scarf? Should I wear the mittens or the gloves? Like I look at the weather and I make a thousand decisions based on the external impact it's going to have on my day, but I almost never do that with the weather system within me. Are there clouds approaching? Is it muggy? Is it a clear day? And you shouldn't have any judgement to where you're at within your own weather system, but an acknowledgement that it is there, is the first step to success.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 30:05

That's key because as soon as that kind of judgement comes in, we've polarized ourselves again, right? We're in the shoulds. And it needs to look this way. And we're getting into the basically the stuff that keeps us in old patterns, the stuff that keeps us stuck, you know?

Marika de Vienne 30:21

Yeah. Every time you say polarizing, now I see myself splitting into two. And then if I polarize myself further then I've split into four, and then I'm split into six, and I keep splitting and splitting and splitting, to the point where I can't reach that next step, because I’m not whole anymore.

Sarah

Yeah you're fragmented.

Marika

Completely fragmented, cannot take that next step forward if you're fragmented. So there's also judgement in our society that if you take any kind of time for yourself, you're selfish.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 30:50

Oh, my gosh, you know, we're at this moment in history of the business that we're creating. And one of the discussions in Morpho Bleu is, what is vacation time and what is considered appropriate vacation time. And I'm like, you can have as much vacation as you need.

Marika de Vienne 31:09

Sorry, this is your business?

Sarah

Yeah.

Marika

And you're currently hiring? Just that it's enough for me to be like, I love DAVIDsTEA, but you said what now?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 31:20

I just don't think that we can quantify the time off that we need for vacation or for mental health days, or you know, I believe that if we were to remove that as a restriction, and you didn't have to fit yourself into 50 weeks of a year or two weeks of a year, that we would just be a little happier. Yeah, you'd flow a little better.

Marika de Vienne 31:44

It's something interesting. And you know, not to say, oh, DAVIDsTEA is so amazing, but it happens to be the place that I work. And something that got started two years ago that I rolled my eyes at when it happened, was announced that we were being given “wellness days.” And I remember being so sarcastic about it, like it was announced and I was like, Oh, yay, wellness days!

Sarah

And then…

Marika

And then I'm all about the wellness days! Because there was something about not making it vacation days. And there was something about saying, setting that intention that this is not a sick day, this is not a vacation day. I mean, I can take wellness time on my vacation. But there was something about saying no, I'm taking a wellness day, I'm going for a walk, I'm going for a massage, I'm going to eat a three course decadent meal, whatever you call wellness, whatever is good. So so so important.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 32:45

Well, that feels really liberating.

Marika

It really is.

Sarah

Because you don't have to like, I mean, I'm thinking of like the old world models, where it's like sick days. And it's like, it's not that you're sick, but you just can't–you can’t do it another day. And so it's like this shame of a sick day, when really, it's just like, I just need a minute. You know, I just need to resource myself somehow. So I, you know, I'm really interested, again, my experience is that our tools and our ways for resourcing ourself, are no longer as effective as they used to be, because of the ever changing landscape of a global pandemic, of you know, what it is to be a full time working mom and have kids at home and to you know, four people in 100 square foot apartment.

Marika

Yeah I told you about my–!

Sarah

How do you show up as your best self, day after day, you know? So there's a wear and tear that I believe that the kind of the emotional fallout of the pandemic is yet to come. And that we need actual places to gather, we need actual, you know, moments to share together like you and I are sitting and having a cup of tea and we sat before we pressed record and we enjoyed each other and it was a moment that we were both dialled into, that we dropped into. And something like tea, something like breath, something like meditation, help us be in a moment.

Marika de Vienne 34:19

I think that's what I'm realising now is that, you know, like I said, I've meditated on and off for many, many years, but in my mind, meditation has still been closed off in a room–most often my bathroom, but closed off in a room, and just thinking. Or not thinking, just focusing on my breath. But are you in fact proposing that if I start giving myself permission to be mindful during the preparation of my tea that is, in effect, a mini meditation? Because I make tea eight times a day, minimum.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 34:58

And are you on autopilot when you make it or are you dropped into the present moment? Are you feeling the cup, are you smelling the tea? I mean, I watched you make a cup of tea for us. And you were, you seemed very engaged in the moment. But is that true the other seven times in the day?

Marika

Not necessarily.

Sarah

Right okay, so if you were to, you know, there's these wonderful practices that many teachers have proposed over the years, or, you know, offered. It's like, every time you walk through a door, you take a deep breath. So you know, like, maybe it's yours, every time you make a cup of tea, you're going to really feel the material in your hands, you're really going to smell, smell the tea, and where my brain just went is that these are all practices to awaken our senses, right? Meditation is a very sensible practice. It is about absorbing ourselves, through our senses, into the act of our choosing.

Marika de Vienne 35:53

It feels so deep. No but I love it, because it's that you can give yourself such depth many times a day. That seems a little self-indulgent and I'm digging it.

Sarah

Put your mask on first, baby.

Marika

That is exactly it. Oh, my gosh, I could keep talking to you for days.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 36:18

Yeah well, let's do that!

Marika de Vienne 36:19

I mean, where is your studio? I didn't even ask you!

Sara Gallagher Bloom 36:27

That is okay. The last thing that I wanted to do coming out of a pandemic was open a brick and mortar space, like, that’s not so smart.

Marika

I wonder why.

Sarah

And yet, every ounce of my being believes that we need a space to gather in a conscious way. And I believe that in an intentional space, that we can be a catalyst for global change, for change of each one of us, you know, in our own being, by giving people a place to be seen, to connect to themselves, to connect to others, and to be cared for, in a conscious way.

Marika de Vienne 37:05

Everybody deserves to be cared for. I mean it really is a kind of basic human right.

Sarah

It really is.
Yes, you do.

Marika

You have the right to be cared for. And you can't always do that yourself. It's great if you can, but it's nice to also have a safe landing spot.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 37:20

It is and there is a beautiful, there's a beautiful, I don't–I'm trying to find the word like, you know, you're saying like I can't meditate my house, because it's clean, but it's messy. There's something about going to an intentional space, it just gives you, it sets up the parameters for you, and does that work for you. Right? It's like, you know, you arrive and what oftentimes students say is they come to the studio, and they just they say just the smell of it, just walking through the door, their nervous system starts to chill. And then you've got, ideally, very positive interactions, you've got a movement experience in your body. Which, you know, movement is medicine, whether you're moving your body physically, or you're moving your mind or your breath, right, that we are moving energy. So these, you know, anyways, all of these combinations are our little recipes for joy. And I just, I see them, I love that yours is through tea, like I really feel that from you.

Marika de Vienne 38:24

Absolutely. I love how you were looking at me, like should I keep going? And I was like, Yeah, because one of the things that I have to work on actively is listening, and giving people that space to finish their thought. And it’s another thing we're doing to each other, we're constantly overlapping and interrupting and interjecting. And it's just because we want to be seen and cared for. So I could just let you keep going and going because I think you create a really nice space to become your best version of yourself free of judgement. That's really really nice.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 39:04

I thank you for sharing that and you know I really believe in, and you know, my teachers have given me this, is that when you can see the jewel inside of a person. They might not know their worth or their potential but if they can be looked at through the eyes of someone who can, anything is possible.

Marika de Vienne 39:26

I'm going to stop right there because I feel like that's the thought we should definitely end on, so I am going to pour you some more Golden Lily, and I'm gonna raise my glass to the jewels within ourselves.

Sarah

Thank you! The jewels, darling. Thank you.

Marika

All right, we're gonna keep drinking this and we'll be right back.

AD BREAK 39:50

Today's episode of Steeping Together is brought to you by Organic Serenity Now. Breathe in and out. Again. Focus on your breath. No? Not working for you. Well, that's why we created this tea, Organic Serenity Now, for all those moments in life when you need, well, serenity, like now! Because every time I sit down to take a moment for myself or try to meditate because I deserve it, something invariably comes up. But now that I've incorporated Organic Serenity Now into my life, things are going so much more smoothly. Forgot to send that document? Serenity now. Kids spilled full cups of milk on the rug? Serenity now. Keep having to remind that one colleague that they are on mute, in every single meeting? Serenity now. Breathe in and out and make yourself a cup of Serenity Now. Because you can clearly see when you're on mute, Dan!

Marika de Vienne 40:54

Welcome back. It's time to play “What Are You Drinking?” the quiz where we ask our guests three situational questions, some realistic, some completely out there. And they have to use all their experience and expertise to tell us what they would drink in any one of these given situations. Sarah, are you ready to play “What Are You Drinking?”

Sarah

I am.

Marika

All right. Now please don't feel limited to tea. Any infusion, any drink, it’s open season. So question one. It has been a very very long day. You have taught class after class and even though you love connecting with all your students, some have been particularly demanding. Time to shake it off and make the most of this evening in order to get ready for the next day. What are you drinking.

Sara Gallagher Bloom 41:47

Evening, eh? Okay. Afternoon I would have said something very different to evening, so evening I'm drinking a non-caffeinated soothing kind of chai cinnamon cardamom star anise ginger tea. That's what I'm drinking.

de Vienne 42:11

I'm on board. All the spices that you named except for the anise are all in the category of warming spices, heat activation spices, so I'm interested why you chose that. There's no wrong answer. I mean, this is a game without points right, I'm not judging you based on this. But it's interesting that you went there, did you go there for the comfort aspect or did you go there, you know, we think of caffeine as being like the only activator but like these spices when taken in conjunction together hot like you described, there is an activation element that happens within you. So where did you go?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 42:53

They’re gonna move energy right, this is gonna create circulation. So what I, where I didn't go is I probably put honey in some kind of also a like a non dairy milk in it. I would have said mostly for the comfort and if it had been a hard day, it's nice to move that energy.

Marika de Vienne 43:15

Those spices are going to help with that. I mean, a lot of those spices are found in garam masala which is one of you know, India's greatest spice blends. And garam masala literally means like, I can't remember the exact translation but it's a hot blend, heated blend and it's to move that kind of energy. I go to those for comfort. I almost never think about the energy involved. I'm always like, but I love ginger! So good. But um, very interesting choice after a long day. Shake it up. Move that energy around. I like it. Are you ready for question two? It's a beautiful summer day and you're excited to spend the afternoon showing support at this year's Pride Parade. What are you drinking?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 44:05

I'm drinking a hibiscus.

Marika de Vienne 44:08

Cold or hot?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 44:10

I'm thinking cold.

Marika de Vienne 44:12

Okay, why hibiscus–just hibiscus? No sweeteners, nothing else just straight up?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 44:15

Maybe a little bit of something sweet because hibiscus can be pretty tart. You know, little mint, little cane sugar, little sweetened something in there. Hibiscus is really my summer go-to. I find it extremely refreshing and satisfying. I love hibiscus, I really love hibiscus. I love the colour of it! Love the taste.

Marika de Vienne 44:44

There's no–I love how immediately you reacted to that you were like oh hibiscus, like no question in your mind. It's hibiscus, no hesitation, no second answer needed. It makes sense. Especially if you're at a parade, you're outdoors in the sun all day, it's Pride. So it's that explosion of light and colour and excitement. But you're in it for a few hours so that refreshing hydration is gonna be key, is really going to be key. Excellent, excellent answer, I love it. All right, question three. The odds were slim. But you found the golden teacup. And with it won a trip to Billy Bonka's magical tea lab. You get to create your dream tea. Every ingredient and every flavour you could possibly ever imagine is available to you and there are no limitations. What do you drink?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 45:46

Oh my goodness. Well, I feel like I'm drinking it right now with this. With this, the Golden Lily. It feels like a complete, soothing, nourishing party, satisfying. It's like a flavour profile that I love. And it's also exotic so I kind of travel in my mind, you know? The, I know it's not jasmine, why am I forgetting that? Magnolia, like when I think of magnolia, so I guess that's what I would design, I would design a tea that takes me on a creative, imaginative, imaginative vacation. And jasmine, magnolia, that sweet fragrance. That's where I want to go.

Marika de Vienne 46:34

That's really interesting, because I feel like most people when they would have heard that question would have immediately been, and this is not to make fun of anybody who would have answered this way they would just would have been like, I like chocolate. So I'm gonna put chocolate and I like roses so I'm gonna put roses. And it's a completely valid answer. But what you did is my favourite kind of journey with tea, which is the creation of a moment. As much as the flavour components are essential to my enjoyment of a cup. The story that a tea is trying to tell is far more fascinating to me. And the moment where I converge with that story is like, this is the dragon I have been chasing for 20 years! When that happens, I go bananas. I love when that happens. So yeah, you really said that, you know this tea is taking you somewhere. It is, it's a it's a lightly scented green oolong, it is absolutely trying to take you somewhere different and otherworldly, even though it doesn't have a lot of different flavour ingredients or a very complicated flavour profile. But I really like how you–

Sara Gallagher Bloom 47:52

It was a direct flight. It was a direct flight to somewhere lush and warm. There was an ocean and there's sun, that's where I went.

Marika de Vienne 48:03

You could not have captured that better. I love that you said direct flight because these teas are originally from Fujian Province, which is a province that's right across from Taiwan. And when you get off the plane in Taiwan, Sarah, the humidity hits you. But it's a floral humidity, the air smells of humid tea, I have no other way–And it's not just because I think of tea 24/7. That is the smell. So it makes me so happy that that's what you got out of this cup because that's what this cup is. It's getting off a flight into a new world. I'm so happy that's what you got. Oh my gosh, I really am, I really am. I think we've only scratched the surface of what we could have talked about today. I'm so happy that we've taken these first few baby steps in being able to carve out a space for yourself, time for yourself. You can call it a healing journey. You can call it a growth journey. You can call it a recharging of the battery, doesn't matter. It's important to have that space for yourself. I want to say I'm going to go home and start a more regular meditation practice. But let's be real, like I still feel like I don't know how to do that, aside from taking these moments when I'm making my tea, when I'm in the metro or the bus. Concretely, like how do I do that more regularly?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 49:39

Yeah, I mean, there are a million ways to meditate and there are a million traditions to follow. And it's like this giant sea of possibilities. You know, one of the, and I think I mentioned I spent 25 years renovating my brain, so I really, like I've spent years doing different practices. The practices that I've recently been doing for the last three years are exactly like this cup of tea. They were a direct flight somewhere. And they're Kundalini kriyas, mantras, mudras. I focus and those are the practices that I do right now, that was my upgraded tool to meet these times. You know, that was really birthed, you know, a little bit pre-pandemic, but really useful for during what we've, you know, all been living through. So the where do I start? I think you start by dreaming how do you want to show up in life? How do you want to live out this life? What do you want the people you love to experience from you? We start in a sense from the dream state and work backwards, and then it's about okay, you know, for me to show up as my best self, I got to carve out a little time, maybe it's going to be more often, maybe you're going to remember it each time you're making your tea or you're on the bus, because those are going to be little like built-in habits. That’s like the in gate, right? And then in time, we can develop more deliberate, formal practice. But not if it trips you up. You know what I'm saying? You got to work with your weather pattern, you got to work with what's real for you. You know, one of–I've spent the last two years creating this program that like demystifies meditation, it's like, I launch four of them a year. It's like, here's a 22 minute meditation, you know, I call it the imprint because we're imprinting new patterns of possibility, because we literally need to upgrade the circuitry of this vehicle, which is your nervous system, to be able to meet what the requirements are. Our cellphones update automatically overnight when you plug them in, but like, does our mind and body and nervous system?

Marika de Vienne 52:01

You have to, you have to almost force yourself to do it. And it's interesting that you make the parallel with technology, because everybody–not everybody, but I'd say most people have access to a smartphone now. Nobody's still working off rotary, you know what I mean?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 52:15

My kids are like, what’s that!

Marika de Vienne 52:16

Nobody’s still working on like a switchboard. Why wouldn't we do the same for ourselves?

Sara Gallagher Bloom 52:23

Totally! The meditations are ways to upgrade our operating system. There’s a lot of choice out there. So it's hard, I really get that it's really hard to know where to begin, which is why I've created this program, The Imprint, to imprint new patterns of possibility in a really digestible way. So it's like, you know, we do these 40 Day practices, we do them four times a year, it's 22 minutes today. I'm like, and if you can't do 22 minutes, I'll give you an 11 minute recording as well. So like on those days, where you're just like, I can't do it! No, you get a win, there's an 11 minute recording. So we meet live. So there's like, there's a community engagement, there's this level of accountability, because that's the other thing, right? Who's, who are you accountable to? Ultimately, we're trying to be accountable to our innermost being and to ourselves, right, but when we're getting there sometimes being accountable to a group, to a community, to a class, it's why like it's so much easier to go to yoga class than it is to do yoga at home for me.

Marika

For sure, absolutely.

Sarah

You’re held in a space Yeah. So I create these 40 Day containers that hold us in a meditative space. That really demystify and unpack how do I do it? Why am I doing this? What am I doing? And we do it together.

Marika de Vienne 53:38

That sounds so inviting, and just so attainable. I don't know how else to put it doesn't sound like Oh, I'm gonna restructure my whole life to accommodate this that sounds like something you can integrate pretty easily and pretty regularly. And what a wonderful gift. Thank you so much for this conversation, I had too much fun.

Sarah

Amazing!

Marika

I know we're gonna keep talking after the recording but for our listeners, and thank you so much for listening to today's episode. If you would like to reach us with comments, questions or suggestions for the “What Are You Drinking?” game, you can do so at steeping.davidstea.com or through our website, davidstea.com. Have a great week. Happy steeping everyone.

sara gallagher bloom

sara gallagher bloom

about the guest

Sara Gallagher Bloom has been teaching yoga, movement and mindful practices for close to 20 years. Her yoga journey began with hot yoga in Montreal, with a group of friends that eventually formed the studio known today as Modo Yoga. She’s certified in Katonah and Kundalini Yoga, has mentored countless new yoga teachers and has led workshops for many styles of practice around the globe. You may know her from her Montreal studio, Morpho Bleu. Today, not only is she a studio owner, she’s also a yoga teacher, a community leader, a mother, a meditation teacher and a spiritual guide. Her mission is to empower humans to develop their mind and body through yoga and meditation practices—no matter where they are on their journey!

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