Tea with Strangers

Long Spoons

My first year of college I went to see Coretta Scott King give a talk about activism, love and human kindness. I sat captivated for over an hour while she told story after story. She was the type of storyteller that moves you to place yourself in all of the tales being woven; blurring the lines between hearing the story and being in the story.  At one point she spoke of the Allegory of the Long Spoons. It was the first time I’d ever heard it and I was mesmerized. Every week since that talk I’ve thought about it; about her and about the feast in that story. And every day in recent months it’s obvious to me that we’re still trying to feed ourselves.

Have you seen Tom Shadyac’s documentary I Am? At one point Tom voices a story over a series of animations. He begins by saying there was a tribe that used to share its bounty with everyone. Everyone who could would hunt and gather so that everyone could live. Then one day the best hunter said, “I am the most skilled. Why should I share?” and he began to store all of his meat in a high mountain cave just for himself. Others took notice and began thinking the same way. “I too am a skilled hunter. Why should he get to keep his bounty and not have to share it?” and they began doing the same thing-hoarding their hunt for themselves while the weak, the sick and the elderly went without. He goes on to narrate that for the first time people were visibly hurting; visibly starving while others had more than their share and yet it wasn’t seen as unacceptable. Moreover the children were being taught to emulate these principles. Then he gets you with three sentences: “That story isn’t true because it happened. That story is true because it’s happening. We are that tribe.” And that’s when you throw up in your mouth a little.

So why are we taking so much? Why has the degradation of our planet become something to make money off of? Why do we think that human life is the only life worth respecting? Why are we connecting so little? Why do we think that someone else’s lifestyle is somehow a war on ours? Why the war on women and girls seeking equality? What the hell is happening? I think the only way to know is to listen. So in addition to financially supporting awesome people doing awesome things in the 5 cause areas that we think need the most attention right now: fighting for human rights, helping our environment, working to make poverty and homelessness history, protecting our animal friends and supporting women and girls on their path to be whatever they want to be, we’re going to use our tea as a springboard for what it’s been used for for centuries: connecting people. Watch this space for our weekly Tea with Strangers. We’re going to listen and we’re going to learn. And we’re going to give credit to those fighting the fight. There are so many kind humans. Let’s emulate those principles.


Chief Conversationalist, Double Mission