Our Roots

 

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…

 

 

but these never worked for him as he found it difficult to focus on his breathing.

Julian’s health suffered before he realized that the answer didn’t lie in any new technique he could learn, but inside, literally, in his family history, in the story of his grandfather, and a method used for centuries by generations of his family to ensure life didn’t get on top of them.

While the company is named after Julian’s dad, who always encouraged him to follow his dreams, it is also molded around the image of his grandfather, of his deep generosity, kindness and the calmness he always maintained despite the turmoil he experienced in life.

But there was one calm that even tea meditation couldn’t bring him –

Julian’s grandfather waited his entire life for peace to come, so that he could return to his beloved hometown – sadly, his biggest wish couldn’t be fulfilled before he passed away at the age of 95.