I sat down in the tea room this morning and contemplated what I would drink to begin a new day... a day that had already begun before my head left the pillow. It had begun with messages from an old abuser i've been hiding from for years, with sore muscle-memories, and with headbutts from a loving dog that was once left to suffer. But still I sat down for tea, to clean the air, to breathe deeply into another chance brought in by the sun. An old, dusty, red gaiwan caught my eye and I picked it up in the palm of my hand and held it in the morning light. She was the first piece of teaware I had ever purchased... a cheap little thing, made in mounds of many in some Chinese factory... and it was this very cheapness that lead to the adventures it would eventually see, and the encounters it would survive. This Gaiwan backpacked all throughout India, Nepal and Ireland for nearly a year. It survived the monsoon floods and the fruit hungry monkeys that broke into my room. It survived the many bumpy roads and motorbike rides and checked luggage. It brewed Indian tea leaf with the body of the Ganga river. It shared tea with Chai Wallahs and Sadhus and Babas and Pujaris. It eventually became a tattoo. It was my porcelain companion on a bumpy road less traveled. And it survived with minor scratches and far more than $8 worth of memories. And so, I dusted her off and I set her on the tea table. I began to think about survival in general and all of the things I myself had survived, and about all of the people and animals I knew that were survivors. And this morning, the morning of Lord Krishnas birthday, ChaXi became about that. Survival and compassion and strength and surrender and Saturn. I chose to drink Phoenix Bird because the symbol of a phoenix seemed so relevant to this morning, and because whenever I choose to celebrate or treat myself, Phoenix is always the leaf I turn to. This particular choice was a 2013 Mi Lan Xiang from Camellia Sinensis in Montreal, Quebec. My favorite tea that I've ever had the privlege to enjoy. As I sat, sipping on this honey-touched apricot elixer, my heart grew big and I wanted to hug everyone and celebrate the fact that we are all here, alive, pulsating still, despite the dark trails we've walked. So to all of you - the survivors, We have survived great danger, abuse, rape, abandonment, heart break, addiction, cancer, loss, deceit, disillusionment... and we may have scars that show on our surface or hide in our shadows, and triggers that surprise us at times and sleepless nights haunted by the ghosts of our scared selves... but we are stronger, this morning, you and I that have survived, and we should celebrate that. So to ALL of you... humans and beings alike... congratulations for surviving this crazy thing we call life, and remember that if you're reading this, you're probably more fortunate than a lot of others, those that haven't (and may not) come out on the other side. If you can - be the plow that softens the path for someone or something else. Be compassionate to others that are still struggling to get through the thickness of it all... give a hand, a coffee or a bagel... offer a smile, a "hello" and a "how are you?"... feed a biscuit, give a pet... show respect and honor to the basic thing that exists in all of us. Let your lessons be a light.