Arta: I will start with my usual question – can you introduce with yourself? Who is Līva?
Līva: We could probably talk an hour about this…
I still choose to call myself a girl, even though in December I will turn 35.
I am a girl who grew up in the countryside and has lived in big cities. And now I am trying to find a balance between living in the city and in nature, between meditation, spiritual practice and everyday life.
Arta: - In the first PIXIE blog post you wrote:
Do you still think that? Taking into account the Covid-19 crisis and the times we are living in right now.
Līva: This sentence can certainly be understood at least in three different ways. It depends on how you perceive it. However, what I meant is that after the interaction with people, if something resonates and the person starts to act differently, that is a huge win. But if I were to live very ecologically in a forest by myself and not see anyone, it would just stop there. By sharing your experience or
even by being together with people in silence, mindfully drinking tea, you can change a lot in the other person.
Arta: I wanted to talk with you about the topic of climate crisis, as I know it is important to you. How did you become aware of how bad the situation is with the climate issues?
Līva: I was lucky enough to grow up very close to nature. Since childhood together with my mother I picked up herbal teas, slept in the meadows and worked in the garden. When I was 26 years old, I moved to Mexico and there I helped to manage artists residence. Its aim was to create social environmental protection projects together with artists. At that moment, I began to take climate crisis much more consciously and seriously. By living next to the Caribbean Sea, I picked up plastic from the beach sand every other day.
I saw the chain of plastics – from fast-food waste to medicine waste – because if you use the first one, eventually you will need the other one as well. My experience in Mexico taught me that I am able to help and change something for better.
Arta: Have you changed any of your future plans based on the knowledge of the climate change?
Līva: Not specific plans, but I have thought about it. For example
by spending two summers in Paris where the temperature reaches +40 Celsius, I had to fly my dog back to Latvia as I could not let him go outside in bare paws.
Arta: Tea ceremony – can you tell me more about it? What is it, how did you come to it?
Līva: 10 years ago, I started to search for my own spiritual practice, which would help me to quiet down my always running mind. Since my teen years I was aware that life is something more than what was taught at school. However,
every time when I started to practice something, for example a specific type of meditation, approximately three weeks later I found myself not doing it anymore.
It never lasted long enough.
For the first time I met tea ceremony in 2013, in Joshua Desert, in a Spirit Weavers Gathering – a gathering where women come together from all around the world. It was magical – I had a feeling that I had come home – like a kid crawling into mother’s lap. As I cried from happiness, I promised myself to practice exactly this.
Tea ceremony is an ancient practise that comes from Asia and it is much more than only tea drinking.
Buddhist monks had them in between meditation sessions and it was a way to receive guests. Although the monks used it as a way of rest, at the same time they continued to be in the meditative state of mind.
Arta: Do I understand correctly – the tea drinking itself is a type of meditation?
Līva: Yes. During the ceremony everything happens in silence and each movement of the host has its own meaning. It took me quite a while before I felt that I am ready to lead the ceremony myself.
A year ago I had an opportunity to live in Taiwan in a tea monastery, school – Tea Sage Hut. That was a big turning point for me. I learned a lot about each step of leading a ceremony and what it means. It changed my life – as
I thought I am going to learn a lot about tea, but actually I was learning a lot about life itself,
as everything is connected. There is a name for it –
“the way of tea“.
The tea ceremony is not something that happens only for 40 minutes in a day, it is so much more. For me to be able to host a ceremony I have to have a great inner peace, otherwise a meditation for others won’t be fruitful. If I am stressed, I will spread the stress to other participants of the ceremony.
Arta: How important are the guests in the ceremony? Can anyone attend the ceremony, or you invite specific people?
Līva: It differs. There are people who want to come themselves and then there are people who are brought by someone else.
For people who do not have experience in meditation, this is a good first experience of the meditative state.
A number of tools are used in the ceremony to help one attain this state.
I have noticed that people are more willingly to come to a tea ceremony then accept the invitation of a joint meditation.
They think that they won’t be able to meditate, but they are ready to try and sit in silence and drink tea for 40 minutes. That is a miraculous experience for people to just sit with themselves.