Category Archives: Blue Lotus Journal

The warrior-Blue Lotus Journal 03

©2010 Photo by Genevieve Violette

What do you do when you have an enemy? Do you passively retreat or defiantly confront? And what do you do when the enemy is found within your own being? Most of us live in a state of constant inner conflict, while others allow themselves to be governed by their self-hatred. But a true warrior chooses his battles wisely, and will often resort to combat as a last solution. Because being peaceful demands more honor and dignity than the willingness to fight. So then, how do you surrender to peace within yourself? Sages and mystics have always prescribe meditation as the pathway to finding inner harmony. The spirit of mindfulness applied to a physical task often helps achieve this sense of balance. Because, honestly, who can stay in the Lotus position for 5 hours until they reach enlightenment?!

In Japan, the tea ceremony is a form of meditation. Every gesture is a reminder to stay focused on the present moment. The japanese term Ichi-go, Ichi-e translated as“ one chance in a lifetime” reminds us that each passing encounter can never be duplicated again. Therefore, the tea ceremony is more than the act of drinking a cup of matcha, it is a ritual focused on the devotion of the present.

In fact, zen monks cultivated and prepared matcha tea as a part of their daily monastic life. They drank it in order to remain mentally alert during extensive periods of introspection.

Through meditative solitude one may begin the process of unification within themselves. Unfortunately, for most people, the thought of being alone makes them cringe! It’s like putting someone in the same room with their foe. No one knows if they’ll come out alive! Although it may be challenging, it’s worth facing the parts of yourself you fear the most without wanting to annihilate them. Enter this loneliness with a spirit of grace, and if you find you’re easily distracted, use the tea ceremony as a means to concentrate. By occupying your senses in the physical world, your mind may feel safer wandering the unknown parameters of your psyche.

So what do you do when you face your worst enemy? You lay your weapons down and have a cup of matcha instead.

©2010 Text by Genevieve Violette

Purposeless Bean-Blue Lotus Journal 02

© 2010 Photo by Genevieve Violette

I have a vice, like most people, I love coffee. I mean, it’s more than mere affection for a hot beverage, it’s an adoration that borders on obsession. Inside my romantic notions, I’ve elevated coffee to the rank of elixir for artists, intellectuals, “busy important” people, and those of us who just need to get things done. It’s the brew of productivity, and don’t we love this sense of being useful? Doesn’t it strengthened the belief that the more we DO, the more we ARE as human beings. I mean, Dolly Parton couldn’t have said it better in her song 9 to 5, “it’s a cup of ambition!” But do we ever pay attention to where it comes from, the journey it undertakes, and the process of transformation it undergoes in order to fill our cups. Also, what is it about such a tiny thing that can make us feel so alive?

The coffee bean is a delicate little treasure. It begins as a seed in a fruit tree, and is tremendously sensitive to soil and climate change. Who knew such a tiny cluster could hold within itself an ingredient so coveted? Ironically, this fragile little berry hides the potency to wake up the whole world and make it want to conquer itself.

My ambition never was to become a barista, let alone a waitress, (we’ll get to that one some other time) but never say never. I’ve always perceived espresso-making as an elaborate and complex task nearly impossible to master. It’s by accident that I learned how to pretend to know how to make a coffee, but it’s here, at the Blue Lotus, that I am learning the delicate process of extracting the “mojo” out of a coffee bean.

One day, as me and D were doing dishes, she blatantly pointed out: “You know, you’re lucky Lou even let’s you alone with Aurelia! (that’s how our espresso machine is called) I mean, she watches that machine like a hawk. I guess you must have done something right for her to let you alone at the coffee station!” I keep my eyes open, when Lou is brewing those caffeinated drinks, in order to capture every detail to mimic later on. I must say I ask a lot of stupid questions, and she always patiently points out what I could improve. But I must confess, there are certain aspects of the process that I still struggle with, like the dreaded decaffeinated bean. The sight of a shot being poured into a cup is nothing short of sensual. The smoothness of the espresso is a characteristic attributed to the caffeine contained within the bean. Once that is removed it’s like robbing the bean of its essence. I understand some people might need their fix without actually wanting the inevitable coffee buzz but there’s nothing as bland as extracting a decaf shot of espresso. Because a decaf bean is a bean that’s lost its purpose and there’s nothing romantic about that!

A Flower in the Mud ( Blue Lotus Journal 01)

©Photo by Genevieve Violette

On my way to the elusive mountains, I ended up home or what I refer to as the Valley of Nothingness. I’ve always described this place as the black hole that pulls me in until I become a walking void myself. So let’s just say, on my way to the greatest heights, I’ve taken a stumble and fell face down in the mud. (Although, I must admit I willingly took that fall.)

I barely noticed the bright yellow ad on the glass door, of the cafe, as I slammed it open with a push of determination. No surprises here. I always become blind to the obvious when in pursuit of a goal. My mind, sharpened by one single focus, blurs the big picture. But the goal came down to one simple detail: a summer job. Gratefully, I’ve ended up at the Blue Lotus Cafe as a waitress/barista.

This little piece of heaven ( or Nirvana), tucked discreetly within the folds of tiny mountains, became my redemption. For I did not know how lost I was or the severity of it until I crossed its threshold. The Blue Lotus is more than another international/hippie cafe. It’s a cocoon, a place to be in-between lives. A safe transitional space to occupy until you lick your wounds and move on…or simply a quiet/uplifting spot to pass the time.One of the owners couldn’t have said it better: “It’s our niche. It’s not much but it’s ours.” Everything about the cafe breathes authenticity, you feel it as you walk in the door. This place gives you more than food, it nourishes your spirit. It ignites your senses through visual and auditory means and it envelops you in the passion of the girls that run it. They don’t know this ( they do now) but I’ve baptized them The Sisterhood of the Blue Lotus.

Each and every single one of them embodies, to me, a trait I wished I possessed. First, there’s Lou with a sense of integrity so strong it could knock down any walls, Stellou and her ability to meticulously materialize any idea and the unending devotion of D. I believe this is the reason for the cafe’s success and tremendous support from the locals.

One day, I asked Lou, “Why did you call it the Blue Lotus?”

She looked me right in the eye and said : “Because it’s the only flower that can thrive in the mud.”

I stood there  and wondered if a flower, as divine as the Lotus, could bloom in the mud surely I could too. I came in this town for a closure but I found an opening instead.

© Text by Genevieve Violette