If people ask me, “Why do you drink mate?” I would immediately answer with, “Because I love it, it powers me up and, best of all, it helps me to create excellent moments. Every single time I start the process of drinking mate, I connect with myself…”
Whenever I think about Yerba Mate, three things come to mind: family, tradition and present.
Yerba Mate & Family
I think about family because drinking mate allows me to feel closer and more “familiarly” with the people I share it with. When I say “family,” I have in mind all those who I feel close to; they can be blood relatives or not. And that’s one of the reasons that I like mate even more. My family is more than my parents and two sisters. My family is my friends, my neighbors, the people I’ve met in different situations throughout my life; sharing moments that make me feel comfortable with them. My family is made up of people from all over the world with whom I feel comfortable and familiar, which is much more than a matter of blood. It’s a matter of connection, and of the belief that I can count on them whenever I need them.
Here in Argentina, no one will ever reject a request to share mate. When someone tells you that she/he wants to share some mate with you, she/he is telling you that they want to share their time with you, which is a precious gift. They want to share their moments with you without any of the pressure and rush of everyday life. A seemingly significant or pointless conversation may arise, but what’s most important is that you’re sharing. Sharing changes life; seriously. If we all try to share more, we will immediately notice the results. I’ve shared mate with people I’ve never seen before; on the train, subway, in the streets, at night, at noon. Anytime is a good time to share, which means that anytime is a good time for mate.
Yerba Mate & Tradition
Drinking mate is something you inherit. My father was the one who passed down this tradition to me. I saw him drinking mate every single morning, and once I turned fifteen, I started to drink it on my own. I remember my sisters giving me a matera (the bag where you keep all of your mate stuff), and since that moment, I’ve always had it with me. Drinking mate marked a significant milestone in my life. At first, it gave me a feeling of being more mature, older and bigger. I felt wiser drinking mate on my own. Then, little by little, I started to notice the real effect that mate had on me. Not only did it make my mornings easier (especially with the struggle of waking up), by giving me “fuel” for the day, but it also became an important part of my day due to how critical it is for one to take time, without rushing, to prepare mate. If you’re in a rush, it doesn’t make sense to try and prepare a mate. This whole process of “slowing down” made me wiser, by teaching me that the preparation of anything is important, and that we have to both accept and deal with the various preparations, or “processes,” that life demands. Mate helped me to listen to people in the ways they deserved to be listened to, and it also helped me to choose my words better.
Yerba Mate & The Present
Why does drinking mate make me think about the present? Well, because we live in a nonstop world, where routine makes us forget about the important things in life, and mate is a way of becoming a salmon against the world’s tide; it changes the flow of our lives from fast and quick to slower, chiller and more rooted in enjoying the present moment; just being in the here and now.
Drinking mate and becoming conscious of how relevant it is to live in the present is what helps people to become less stressed and less anxious. We are constantly surrounded by tons of stimulation, and always “engaged” with cellphones and laptops. I firmly believe that mate has made me breathe and relax more; it has helped me to be more awake and responsive in the present moment that is both constantly unfolding and passing. Enjoying mate has made me less worried about the past and the future. I’m now more attentive to the present moment, so why worry about something that has happened or hasn’t happened yet? Being in touch with this has made me aware of how I can properly use my energy; to use it in a constructive rather than negative way.
The true gratuity of Yerba Mate
Wow! Looking back on all of this has made me even more grateful for all mate has taught me throughout the years; how to have deeper conversations, meet new people, become closer to my family and truly appreciate the opportunity to be alive and enjoy this life we all have.
Many more adventures to have and share. Blessings to all.