Broken Plates and Cups of Tea

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Greece

I had a gorgeous conversation again!

I do not expect to penetrate very far, but I have to see if I can compare the the drama of smashing plates and scattering rose petals with the dear old British Cuppa.

All those broken plates, when authentically and spontaneously smashed are the evidence of heartbreak … In the moment of song, the emotion wells up and the heart opens… an immediate response to music that is known and loved by all, and generations of example, inspire an almost trance-like other state, when the heart is allowed it’s full expression and the dance is led by this. You must watch some of these moments to witness the extraordinarily moving power of such a sight. Same for the scattering of roses and petals and kerchiefs… “I throw my heart before you”
(It is very usual to see boys, young men, grown men, old men walking holding a rose… if you admire it, it is instantly offered as a gift.)

I asked how, when the emotions seem to rule so strongly, does one function in a practical way? Isn’t it just chaos? The answer was a little indirect. “If you have no heart, life is empty. You are like wood. It is better to have a heart. ”
This from both the man and the young woman in the bar.

I was so affected by watching a U-tube extract of a passionate, spontaneous piece of dancing that I was moved to tears…. This happens very easily for me at all sorts of inconvenient moments. It brought a surprising and perceptive remark. I had been describing my journey and the gentleman in the coffee bar was asking lots of questions, then came his reaction to my tears. It really made me stop and consider, as something rang true.

“when you are a little girl, your heart is soft. When you are grown it makes hard like stone.” I immediately thought this must be a rather horrid impression I give as a tough, solitary woman cycling with determination! I protested that surely my tears were a sign that my heart is open. I believe it is. But what came next was so tender and natural. “the heart is like a flower it opens, sure, but at night it closes (hands gently folding over each other) ” “if it stays open it can get hurt, it must do both” hands opening and closing with a graceful rhythm.
Oh how many times have I left an opening and with inexperience, felt small for the lack of defence?!
It is this kind of natural understanding that falls so easily into everyday conversation and that has cropped up in so many various ways that it will be one of my most abiding memories as I try to summarise what Greece has been for me. The intimate connection with the heart and its ways, and the ease of bringing it into the light.

Ok, let’s put the ‘cuppa’ on the stand now. It stands for so much. Offered as a gesture of care at times of shock… Sweet tea for a nasty accident. Sweet tea on learning of the death of a loved one. Invitation to tea as a prelude to romance, tea as a social and companionable event. Tea to help get you through exams. Tea shared on a hot motorway when traffic is jammed for hours! We do tea very very well! And please, please, let’s have it made with HOT water!!!
Tea is a short hand for “I care” “I love you” ” I want to to get to know you better” “I want to help”. It is comforting and subtle. Our cultures and traditions are very different. We don’t lack heart, we just express ourselves differently and if only we could give each other time and space to look beyond the surface, wouldn’t we find behind all these words and things and ideas a simple common denominator? The desire for connection and all the many faces of humanity?

Well I think heart lies beneath both.

An ongoing conversation with one of the philosophers puts it so beautifully. I quote you Gerd… I hope you won’t mind.

“Yes, heart conversation is a privilege. Experience, development and love help us to go beyond language and to feel the real thing. Philosophy is always true, but partial, words are often true but partial, my perspective is sometimes true, but partial. The paradox shows us we are part AND the whole, we are humans AND the world, we are body AND soul. In every moment. What a wonderful life.”

(here are the details of the U-tube extract “To Zeimpekiko Ths Eudokias – Το Ζεϊμπέκικο Της Ευδοκίας ” .. If you copy and paste it into google, you can see it for yourselves! The young soldier is on leave and this was his moment! )

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4 Responses to Broken Plates and Cups of Tea

  1. Kay says:

    I shall treasure these wonderful words, thank you Jenny! Love Kayx

  2. beverley says:

    More tea, vicar?

  3. Henrietta says:

    I think I may take to the streets of Totnes holding a rose……or maybe a thermos of tea! Lovely Jenny!

    • jennyquick says:

      Both, Both!!! Let’s scatter petals in the market and then hand out cups of tea!!! We could also rip up napkins into shreds and shower passers by…. oh and then diligently sweep them up again…. Not to get completely carried away! :)))

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