Imagine a bubbling pot of water, the earthy aroma of tea leaves, and a set of ceramic bowls poised along a woven chabu (cloth runner). This is the setting that Boulder local, Rachel Bare, calls home.
But this wasn’t always home. Previously, Rachel was a stylist immersed in the rushed pace of New York City’s fashion industry, but she was seeking a lifestyle more in alignment with her values: living in harmony with the environment through a zero-waste lifestyle. With the aid of meditation and guidance from spiritual teachers, she was introduced to tea, and from her very first time being served, she realized her most honest vocation. Rachel would go on to study at the tea center in Taiwan and then relocate to Boulder, a state well-steeped in wildness, and the place where she began hosting ceremonies and serving tea to the community.
Rachel says, “Sitting for tea allows people a sense of presence that we often struggle to find. My goal and purpose in this life is to help people discover their inner knowing that they are nature and invite them to be in rhythm with it.”
The beauty of Boulder and the Wild West has led her to take her tea ceremonies outdoors. These include a guided silent hike, or even a short walk, to a natural landscape where the ritual unfolds. Sometimes it’s an aspen grove or a flowering field where guests are invited to take tea for about an hour. Think of this as a moving meditation; a tranquil space to watch Rachel brew the tea, pouring each bowl with practiced hands, then drinking in the aromatic beverage together.
“When sitting for tea, we use all of the elements: water, fire, air, and earth. This allows us an opportunity to appreciate the simplicity of things, and within that, the complexity of all things; acknowledging how life itself moves and functions,” says Rachel.
Her ceremonies conclude with an open dialogue for shared reflections.
“These always come from a heart-centered place because we have held the space without any words being said,” Rachel says.
Walking out of the woods is done in silence, giving each attendee the opportunity to maintain the mindful state created.
During the Covid-19 crisis, Rachel is serving tea virtually to a global audience as a modality for healing and for stillness. A teaching that encourages us to awaken what is already within us.
“When we are able to gather again, maybe we can maintain this slow and mindful energy, continuing this through our month, our year, our lives.”
Contact Rachel Bare via her website LivingSimplyBare.com, or on Instagram @Rachel_Baree.
Seed to Cup: Sourcing Your Own Tea
“Tea is medicine, so we must drink clean and chemical-free tea or what we call living tea,” says Rachel.
She recommends a large leaf tea as they are easier to drink and allow you to watch the leaves unfold in your bowl. When purchasing tea, she loves the Colorado-based brand, Living Tea (LivingTea.net), offering high-quality teas sourced from China. Try their ‘Panacea’ or ‘Ruby Red.’ Global Tea Hut (GlobalTeaHut.org) is a Taiwanese organization that honors the ancient traditions of tea and employs local farmers. Rachel’s favorites teas are their ‘Elevation’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’—ideal for an evening sit.
Tea as a way of life.
Rachel is offering virtual tea experiences via Zoom to guide guests through tea preparation and serving. For $125 you will receive two, one-hour calls, and a bowl with tea leaves shipped to your home.