My Favorite Ritual: Yerba Mate
We all have rituals. We do them without even thinking about them. Whether it is laying out towels before stepping into the shower, preparing coffee beans the night before you go to bed, Sunday morning walk with your dogs…. these habits and series of steps allow us to bring a specialness to the day and sense of familiarity that calms the stress of how unpredictable life can be.
One of the reasons I love Yerba mate is because it gives me a delicious ritual that I have come to depend on. On most days, I drink mate twice. I have it in the morning, along with my warm lemon water, when I first wake up, and then again in the afternoon, while talking to clients and doing work at my desk. Both of these "sittings" are done alone and I have grown accustomed to that. It is something that I do for myself, that falls into the category of self-love and self-care.
So, imagine how special and magical it is, to walk into someone's home, and have a mate prepared for them. I am down in Argentina and have now experienced this many times. I think I am going to stay here for good!!!
What usually happens when you drink mate with someone is that there is one person who does that pouring and serving. That person will ask if you want the mate "amargo" meaning without being sweetened or with a particular sweetener; sugar, honey or stevia. In other words, if you and I were drinking a mate together, I would heat the water, sweeten the tea and hand you a "poured" mate.
The difference between drinking mate alone and drinking it with others is huge! Neither one is particularly better than the other, but drinking it with others is such a treat. When one is the owner of the home, you are usually the one preparing the Yerba mate and pouring the water. That is considered to be a way to "care" for another. Because Yerba mate is filled with nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, prebiotics) when you give someone a mate, it is considered that you are giving them life, or sustenance. What a beautiful concept right? So, the pourer of the water is basically loving you up by giving you the best mate that they can prepare.
Having someone make a mate for me feels incredible. I can't cry when they do this, it would seem a bit strange, but I am always moved. Imagine having a secret handshake that only you knew and then, all of a sudden, someone does it with you. Quite incredible! Well, that is the feeling I get. I am almost "overly" grateful in a kind of odd way. In fact, yesterday I was told to stop saying "thank you" each time I was handed the mate as it is considered to mean that you don't want anymore. Wow… what a difference between cultures!!