"If you organize a collective beach clean, you feel more powerful knowing that 10 more people will show up. Community is an undervalued power right now. It comes from the past but definitely is our future."
Liva, you are a person with many exciting things going on at the same time. What is your daily life like? Are any two days the same?
Well, my daily schedule (and location) really depends on the season. I spend my winters in double layers of thermal underwear, traveling around mountains and creating videos about winter sports.
On TV we see competitions of people in helmets speeding down the track. My job is to showcase what’s underneath these helmets, to reveal the athletes amazing personalities. I love to be in the mountains and I love to support athletes in their hard work towards their goals.
The rest of the year I surround myself with more gentle energy and in lighter clothes. Appart from being a sports video journalist am also a model and a freelance writer. I write about sustainability and mindfulness for magazines, blogs and brands. But no matter where I am, my day starts with meditation.
Where is home to you?
I grew up in a small countryside town in Latvia with wild flower fields outside my window. I left when I was 15 to live in Riga, later Mexico City and then the Tulum jungle. I came to Paris just for a visit, but I never really left. I fell in love with an amazing man but it took me a while to truly love the city.
I had this idea that I needed to live closer to nature in order to live consciously, more mindfully and with a smaller footprint on this planet. But love had other plans for me. I moved to Paris and the whole big city life and fashion scene just punched me in the face. Seeing trash on the streets and the immense consumption of fast fashion made me take radical life-changing decisions.
"I decided to only work with companies that do good and support a healthy planet and lifestyle."
I promised myself to only purchase vintage, second hand or sustainably made clothing, I started to recycle more than ever and even made compost in the heart of Paris. I decided to only work with companies that do good and support a healthy planet and lifestyle.
People I have met in Paris have helped me to realize that hiding in the forest may not be the most effective way to help the world become a better place. They allowed me to understand that the power lies in the interaction between people. Now I let Paris and her people inspire me with art and beauty, without changing my love for nature.
Is your love for nature something that you've always had or did it develope over time?
Growing up in the countryside, I didn't realize that I had a passion for nature until I moved away from it. Moving away had me searching for my daily practice that would ground me and calm me like nature does, that would help me to look deeper into myself and realize the big picture where we all stand together.
Tea meditation made me realize that my most important mission everyday is to work on myself, to become a more peaceful, more understanding and more loving version of myself. To save myself before I try to save others.
With this mindset, I start my day by allowing myself time for meditation before I open my emails. I really hope I will never stop expanding, never stop looking deeper into myself for things I can better. I dream of serving tea for others as a way of meditating more frequently to creating time and space to calm down in this very fast world.
I hope to find more possibilities and channels to write about things that really matter. Even if my writing resonates only with one person, or solely sparks a thought in one person, it’s a reason for celebration to me!
We often ask the members of this community what, in their mind, is society’s greatest challenge right now and what can we as individuals do to address it. What are your thoughts on this?
I think our biggest barrier is separation. We think about ourselves as individuals, we see ourselves separated from each other and from nature. Therefore we don’t realize that through our actions we harm others and the planet, nor do we see how our small improvements can make enormous positive changes.
This separation also causes physical and emotional pain and doesn’t allow us to see how much we can achieve if we come together. If only we could deeply realize that WE ALL ARE ONE. If only we could realize that this burning forest is a part of us, not something beyond us.
If only we would realize that the hunger of someone in another continent is our collective hunger. I truly believe in the butterfly effect and the fact that energy doesn’t disappear. Our emotions, thoughts and words have energy that affect others. In these times of consumerism, our money is our voice and more than ever we have a choice regarding what we support with our money.
"We can choose to strengthen good business ideas by sending supportive energy in the form of money."
We have a choice to support brands and people that do good for the planet and human kind instead of supporting child slavery and nature pollution. We can choose to strengthen good business ideas by sending supportive energy in the form of money.
What in your mind signifies A Good Community?
I used to live in Tulum in an artist residency where we worked with environmental and social projects. There I had a real tribe of friends who supported each other through spiritual and sustainable activities. Being surrounded by the right people really helps you to grow into a better person. You uplift each other and push each other past your imaginary limits.
When we had sunrise meditations on the beach we would all show up, because we knew that others would be waiting. If you organize a collective beach clean, you feel more powerful knowing that 10 more people will show up. Community is an undervalued power right now. It comes from the past but definitely is our future.
Why have you chosen to be part of A Good Community?
Moving from Mexico back to Europe made me miss my tribe. For a while I was feeling lonely and empty. Then one day I just decided to do everything possible to have my tribe and community with me here.
I’m very open to get involved in movements where people come together to do good for others, to be in service for humanity and the planet. My door is always open for people who want to connect over tea.
Have you seen any climate-related impacts on nature where you live?
As I have lived in different parts of the world, I have seen different impacts and outcomes of climate change. In Latvia we don’t see it yet aside from winters that have become warmer and less snowy than in my childhood.
In Paris we experience record-breaking heats during the summers, but the Caribbean coast of Mexico with rising amounts of seaweed and plastic in the ocean has been quite a reality check to say the least.
It has made me feel very sad and helpless, and makes me question whether I want to raise kids in a world like this. I have cried a lot, I have been angry and anxious about climate change. But you can’t fight darkness with darkness. So now every time I read something bad I try to find good news on this topic. Because there ARE good things happening that give hope!
What are your thoughts on our global consumption habits and do you think there is a way in which we can work together to better these habits?
We have developed all these technologies and machines to have more free time, yet our lives are becoming faster and faster. The collective idea held by society, it seems, is to do everything faster, achieve more and have more.
"I encourage you to ask: who is receiving my money at the end of the chain when I buy something?"
It takes a lot to realise that it is ok to spend time for yourself, to slow down and enjoy the present moment. I know it from myself, there is nothing more frustrating than putting on a kettle with water for tea and wanting it to boil faster. It doesn’t work like that. Things take time and thank God for that.
We should all slow down and take time for ourselves. It would make us more mindful; allow us to feel happier and more content with what we have which in turn would make us consume less.
I would like to invite you to make an effort with your money. Your money is a form of energy and through it you can send to support someone else.
I encourage you to ask: who is receiving my money at the end of the chain when I buy something? Is it a big corporation or is it a local farmer that I am supporting? Is it fast fashion brands that support kid slavery in Asia or a small brand that empowers and supports a local female community?
Your money is your voice. Choose wisely who you stand for. Be proud of all your purchases. Buy them only if you are ready to wear your clothes with the tags outside so everyone can see your choices.
If you want to keep up with Liva Olina's exciting journey as a combined sports journalist, tea-lover and ethical fashion supporter you can follow her instagram!