You know that woman who doesn’t seem to get flustered? That person you know who seems to calmly take on life’s challenges, from the demanding work life to the diffident husband, the out-there kids, the 405 traffic? (Well, maybe the traffic gets to her sometimes.) Chances are she’s meeting life with aplomb due to a meditation practice, the quiet sitting with self that builds calm and resiliency. As a now-and-again meditator myself, I’ve struggled with developing a more consistent practice, even if all it takes is 20 minutes of quiet breathing each morning. That’s why, when I heard about a tea ceremony held alternately in a small room in Playa del Rey and outside in Topanga, I was intrigued, because it sounded like meditation—but with caffeine. And since it was a group activity, I thought at least I’d sit through a whole session because I’d be too embarrassed to leave in the middle.
A cherry on top: The New York Times wrote a story about the ceremony that was an eye-roll emoji about kooky Angelenos, and I was curious to see if the $22-per-seat event was really that silly. So in the interest of investigative journalism, with a not-so-secret hope I’d actually get some spiritual succor, I attended a tea ceremony at Ay Am. And, um, I choked.