Skip to content

It’s Always Tea Time

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week, we let the wind take us away for several minutes of creative play. Did what it stirred around you inspire poetry or art or just a breath or two for introspection? I spent several minutes trading “carried away” puns with ChatGPT Plus! Partnering up to be creative is strongly encouraged and can even help you establish a creative habit

Did a stiff breeze bring with it reflections upon trees we’ve lost to Santa Ana’s of years gone by? Did you try to start a hurricane by training butterflies to flap their wings in unison? Even if all you did was make your voice sound funny by talking into an electric fan, I hope it provided a little lift to your creative endeavors. 

This week we will move away from the ephemeral and transitory to something ever steady and always ready. Our creative nudge this week is your first cup of the day. Mine’s filled with coffee and sitting on my desk…unless I’ve left it in the microwave, or my closet, or any random flat surface. It’s my constant companion.

In our fast-paced lives, the cup is more than a mobile hydration station. It's a warm smile to combat cold mornings. Sometimes, getting the color of my coffee just right feels like the day's singular victory. No matter if your first cup of the day is poured over ice or with enough heat to scald your tongue, these handy containers go everywhere the day takes you. 

Take a moment to contemplate the cup at hand. Is it ceramic or plastic? Do you recycle or reuse? Sippy straw or straight up? Any full or empty cup works great with the following creative activities:


  1. Cuptemplation (my made up word): Hold your cup, feeling its weight and texture. Is it smooth or textured? Warm from a recent pour or cool to the touch? What does it smell like and where is it worn?
  2. A Symphony of Sips: Listen to your beverage being poured into the cup. Did you know hot and cold drinks sound different? Does the sound remind you of other things? Record various sounds and notice how those sounds activate other senses.
  3. Savor the Flavor: Sip slowly. Let the flavors unfold on your palate. Is it bitter, sweet, creamy, or sharp? Think of the journey of the coffee beans, or tea leaves, or how the water made it’s way from the San Bernardino Mountains to your cup.
  4. Cup and Dish: It’s always more fun to be creative with a partner, so slack off and linger by the water cooler and talk about anything but the weather. Pass judgement on all you observe!

Cups contain way more than our favorite concoctions. They also provide moments of reflection, bursts of inspiration, and excuses to meet others. They can support our creative habits with a daily sensory experience that sustains. As you contemplate your cup this week, let it be a reminder that what you need to be creative anytime is just a refill away.  You cup is an invitation to pause, reflect, and embrace the creative spirit within. Collectively, let’s raise our cups to many more moments of ‘cuptionary’ inspiration (ChatGPT4 made up word)!

Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.