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Tea with Graham Hill – Masala Chai, Nishi Sencha

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Knowledge is power, and Graham Hill channels knowledge into inspiration and action through the green news site TreeHugger.com. As a serial “designpreneur,” Graham shares about the challenges of entrepreneurship, and how to make a difference through your work.

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How To Identify Good Fear And Kill Bad Fear On Sight

There are two kinds of fear: good fear and bad fear.

Good fear is when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The kind of fear that tells you to cross the street for “some strange reason.” The kind of fear that gives you superhuman strength in dealing with sudden danger. The kind of fear that immediately threatens your physical survival and that prepares you for dealing in the short term.

That’s the good kind. It’s rooted in our animal instinct of pure and absolute protection of ourself and our clan. Good fear that we only want to experience a few times in life if possible.

Then there’s bad fear. The fear that creates the same kind of physical sensation you get from good fear: increased heart rate. Blood flow to the extremities. Rapid short breath. Bad fear is rooted in all the “What if blahblahblah happens?” What if? What if? What if? Bad fear keeps us on the treadmill of mediocrity. Bad fear keeps blood out of the brain, where we need it the most in order to make effective decisions.

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Just for Men: 10 Steps To Savoring Your Shave

There’s something delightful and dangerous about sliding a thin blade of cold steel across your face. And although it has the potential for instilling a truly rapturous experience for a man, today the act has been relegated to something merely mundane, sterile, and more of a nuisance. Yes, this simple act of shaving.

The act of shaving has been desecrated even in terms of names. The “Bic” razor?! Who wants to live a short, quick, and plastic life? A commodity just like a bic ball point pen, shaving has become mass market, quick and disconnected from the essence of manhood. “Mach III?!” Even worse. Go “mach 3,” rush and hurry up, so you can get through the chore? To what end? To rush to work? And then? To rush home for the weekend? Why go Mach 3, when you can go slow, steady, and live fully. Welcome to the art of “Wet Shaving.” Aka, Slow Shaving.

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Tea with Erica Sandberg: Samovar Breakfast Blend, Ancient Gold

Your money is your life, and good financial management is really, really important. Erica joins me for a pot of Earl Grey tea at Samovar where she speaks candidly on passion and money.

Note: this video is edited to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 40-minute audio interview on iTunes.

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Tea and the Art of Distraction – 4 Easy Steps

I’ve wrote earlier on the ritual preparing and drinking of tea can be used as a training ground for getting present. And that the more present and “awake” we are, the better things get. Whether it’s tea or anything else you can find to wake up, I believe that we need all the weapons available to fight distraction.

Whenever you’re doing something, anything, notice when the pull happens that nags on your attention.

 

Freedom and productivity arise by waking up to the pull of distraction. And let’s be honest, distraction is addictive because it feels good and pulls us away from the real  challenges we have in life. But distraction also keeps us from living fully, doing great things with our time, and making a real difference in the world.

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Tea with Jeff Mendelsohn: Ocean of Wisdom

“Green paper products” isn’t a contradiction of terms, especially where Jeff Mendelsohn is involved! As founder of New Leaf Paper, Jeff has been a visionary leader in the evolution of the green business community. We met over a pot of tea to discuss business as a force for good, the dirty side of the paper industry, and creating lasting change.

Note: this video is edited to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 40-minute audio interview on iTunes.

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How to Taste Tea the Samovar Way

One of the great things about tea is that it taps into something very basic, human, and elemental. Good tea stimulates all of the senses. All of them.

Perhaps tea is so profound because, let’s face it, everything boils down to sex. 

Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Tea is in fact very sensual. It touches our senses and allows us to experience them more fully. Tea as a training ground for sensory stimulation, we can take the experience to every little thing in life. Learn to let the senses flourish with tea, and they’ll be blooming in other areas too. Perhaps tea is so profound because, let’s face it, everything boils down to sex.

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Autumn Tea & Food Pairings

Autumn. The season of colorful leaves, crisp, cool air, and warming comfort foods. Here are some of our autumn picks for tea and food pairings:

Grapes
Chicken salad finger sandwiches with sliced grapes and Earl Grey
Fresh grapes with assorted cheeses, buttered toast and Samovar Breakfast Blend
Fresh grapes with white chocolate and Hawaii-Grown Oolong Tea

Heirloom Tomatoes
Plain and raw small, sweet varieties of heirloom tomatoes with Nishi First Flush Green Tea
Larger, chopped heirloom tomatoes in fresh salsa with corn and peppers (which are also being harvested in much of the U.S. around now) with a spicy, flavorful Southwestern-style meal and a pot of Russian Blend

Plums
Plum pastries (such as Danishes or tarts) with Bai Mudan White Tea
Plum-and-chile-preserves-topped, buttery, homemade biscuits with Ancient Gold
Sliced, fresh plums drizzled with fresh cream and served alongside Golden Phoenix Oolong

Potato
Homemade latkes (potato pancakes) with organic applesauce, sour cream and Samovar Russian Blend

Squash
Roasted spaghetti or butternut squash with Ocean of Wisdom

What are your favorite foods for autumn? How do you pair them with tea?

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Why Rituals Matter Part 1: My Daily Tea Ritual

It seems that as life has gotten faster and faster, we humans have managed pretty well to keep up with the speed. But I I believe Gandhi: “That there is more to life than increasing its speed.” In fact, I’d suffice to say that things get better by decreasing their speed. Slow is good.

Rituals slow us down and connect us to this moment here and now.

Enter rituals. Rituals slow us down and connect us to this moment here and now. I’m not talking about big, ornate cultural or religious  rituals. Instead I’m referring to simple actions that connect us to ourselves, our place, and the present moment.

These kind of rituals allow us to both forget ourselves and our worries, and to escape into the present moment. They allow us to enter flow – the state of being where we’re actually not thinking, not aware of any single thing other than the act of what we are doing.

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Jobs, Slow Tea, and The Future of America

I believe that the purpose of life is to live a meaningful life. And considering that for most of our waking lives we work, our jobs are therefore quite influential on whether or not we are living with meaning.

A society without jobs is a society without meaning.

The biggest challenge I see with the current economy and the “job crisis” is that without jobs, we have a society without meaning. And legions of people without meaning is both sad and scary.

In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, no jobs and no meaning stresses both the top of the pyramid, where people are looking to make a difference with their lives, and the bottom of the pyramid,where survival needs go challenged with food and shelter. The whole “needs” pyramid starts to get pretty wobbly.

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Tea with Jeff Riddle: Downy Sprout, Bai Hao Oolong

Because of his unique take on why and how to build relationships, I believe Jeff Riddle is soon to be a household name in business and social media.

In this episode Jeff and I sip some Downy Sprout at Samovar Sanchez and talk about why (and how) to build really deep relationships – for improved life, work, and even spirituality. After all, life is really just a series of relationships, those we’ve created, those we’re creating, and those we will create. A valuable life is one in which we leave in our wake countless positive relationships.

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