Through war, displacement, battles to survive and a search for a place to call home, both in Asia and Europe, tea meditation has been the only constant in a family history that has been turbulent.
It has provided calm in a story that has its roots in the Hubei province of China, where generations of Julian’s family practised the technique to relax.
Perhaps the ironic part of the story, then, is that JR Stodt was ultimately borne from a harrowing situation, the polar opposite to the company’s philosophy of peace – and this is the horrors of conflict.
The civil war broke out in China in 1927 and Julian’s grandfather fought with the Kuomintang (KMT) and also against the Japanese during World War Two.
After the cilvil war, the whole family fled to Taiwan in 1949, where they managed to carve out a new life.
And even though…
he had experienced terrible horrors in his homeland, Julian’s grandfather always appeared calm and relaxed – and this was because he brought the positives of his life in China not the negatives and got up early every morning, drank his tea and meditated for a number of hours during his tea ceremony before going into the rice fields to do Tai Chi exercises.
Despite the poverty, he was able to feed and educate his children, with Julian’s mother – the fourth of his children – moving to Germany in the early 1980s.
This is the country where Julian grew up. Like many of his generation his high ambition enabled him to achieve his goals but left him restless and sleepless at night, always thinking about how to achieve the next milestone.
He tried a number of meditation apps…