My dear hippie son, Patrick, suggested that I come to this tea house in Downtown Asheville. “Mom, you are gonna love it! It is Asian-Oriental style and you have cushions on the floor and little tables. They have WIFI and you can have whatever tea you want. They have an extensive tea menu. It is super cool. The music is soothing. Just go when you can.” Now my version of the place:
It isn’t Asian. It is Bohemian-eclectic with some Asian ornaments. Hippies everywhere equal no deodorant. Even as cold as it is outside I can distinctively smell the “natural ways” of this lifestyle. I am by myself in a small corner in the dark observing and listening to a group of 20 something folks sitting and talking about the world. One just introduced his “lady friend” as she walked in with such softness that I almost began to cry. This sensitivity and awareness is rare in today’s world. Shoes off equal stinky feet. Yes, I’m loving the atmosphere…area rugs upon rugs and cushions on the floor too small for my ass. My laptop is larger than the table it sits on. But, here is the thing: I kinda like the feeling of being in another world around these intellectual love children. I was hoping to work on my book but the eavesdropping of universal transitions and conversations is much more poignant and enticing. Their laughter is even in a Bohemian-free-love quiet fashion of “dude, that’s so radical and so constitutionally awesome.”
What is it about self-perception? How did my son think I would fit here among these young people? Have I really moved to the other side of free love? I must be the oldest person in the place. With their beards, long hairs, and touchy-touchy chillax attitudes I wonder what my son thinks of me. Do others think of me just as far-off as these folks who have absolutely nothing to do in the middle of a week day? One expresses how he’s been sleeping at the Buddhist temple down the street after traveling through the Appalachian Trails. It’s too cold to continue on his journey. The other shares his “desire to motivate the world to be more of vagabonds because the economy would finally collapse and we can get to the root of living which is to love every second of the experiences.” This materialistic world is too much for such easy nature loving souls.
They speak by petitioning each other like there is a known method of speaking in a group. I was hoping to see a rock or something passed from person to person but it seems that just a glance and a smile lets the person know it is their turn. Oh yeah, what does my son think of me to send me here? I have a hard time keeping space or silence between conversations. No such petitioning coming from me in a gathering of friends. I could learn this. I would love to. Perhaps I can enter into their group and they can teach me to “chillax” and embrace every moment without worrying about paying bills. I could learn not to stress on how the electric bill will be paid this month. I am all up on these fantastic world ideals.
I asked for a Chai tea latte and the young man looked at me as if my amateur ways needed some refining into the tea world. How dare I ruin a perfectly expensive tea with soy milk? And then I asked for a gluten free cookie that almost busted my two front teeth when biting into it. Yum…tastes like cardboard but it is worth the ambiance! I have paid for a small fraction of what it would cost to be in therapy right now and probably not be as inspiring.
Oh, let’s not forget the little bells you get to call for assistance. Yes, these are tiny chrome bells that sound like the Dalai Lama has been summon to start a speech. Ah…the hippiness of it all! The smell of past due showers, athlete feet, and dirty hair is masqueraded by the smell of funky tea in the air.
One gentleman tries to quote from a Tibetan book on Buddhism, “If you seek material worth for yourself the world will not support you but if you seek material worth for others the universe will support you in every way.” I know the quote and that’s not completely right but he comes back with beautiful words, “Dude, you get feedback from the cosmic world. It is plentiful. We just have to stop the madness of what society has created….”
Mind you a part of me agrees with parts of this quote that he has recited as the other five people nod in agreement. But, on further research from studies of religions (yes, the middle aged lady sitting in the dark decides to search for substantial information) the Dalai Lama has written about Buddhism:
“We feel money and power can bring happiness and solve problems, but they are not definite causes of those desired states. If that were so, it would follow that those who have wealth would necessarily have happiness, and those who do not have wealth would always experience suffering. Money and power facilitate, but it is clear that they are not the primary causes of, happiness and solving our problems.”
The sweet bearded young Charles continues, “If we can see people as they are and stop the chatter that is killing the spirit, wow, it would be the demise of the world as we know it. I have so much judgment for the evolution of these techie times….” Okay I had to stop listening.
I believe in the preciousness of every spirit. I live in the outskirts of a wonderful city. Asheville has a vibe that is full of pure love. These young people are magnetically attracted to this area because of the air of acceptance. They are happy. The amount of tea and other “natural” substances allows them to see the world in a beautiful way.
Once again, I ask myself, how does my child see me? He sends me into this cave and all I can do is truly admire the scenery. I am constantly questioning how much I have evolved. But, dude, I don’t think it will ever be as freely expressed as the love these young folks have taught me through their conversations as I sit exploring the voyeurism of middle age curiosity.
If you ever have some time and want to experience life outside of your comfort zone allow yourself the gift of sitting in a coffee house, tea bar, or book store and witness the way our youth sees the world. This is the next generation of truth and love. You might be shocked at what you hear with an open mind and heart. Whatever judgment I entered with has been replaced by love. The differences in perception have been replaced with humility. Universal humanitarianism is the secret to solving all problems. Compassion is the pillar column of world peace. These young hippies have opened me up to the depth of empathy and the crumbling of stereotype denigration. I must be a hippie at heart!