January 1st, 2016. I wake up in my room in Ribadavia village in Galicia, Spain. It is an early morning, and I can still feel the spirit of the New Year’s Eve pulsating in the tiny village streets. People have gone out partying and some are just now returning home. The village takes a deep breath, but I want to rise early; start a new day, and a New Year.
I am very fortunate to live in this room: it has a balcony, and as I step on it, I see a magnificent view with beautiful mountain peaks stretching far, far away, sometimes hidden in the morning mist, but always standing graciously in front of me, mighty and powerful like the village guards. Wasn’t it always my dream to live in such a tiny, cute village surrounded by mountains? What do I want from this year? I casually ask them. I never really plan my next year. Never know where it would take me. I just allow it to come and see the opportunities that it gives to me. Then, by the end of the year, it somehow feels to have been another incredible year. And so was this one – as if I were climbing from a peak to peak until these mountains actually took me home.
I like to wake up early – to start my day with a personal time for myself doing meditation, observing my mind, understanding some inner feelings, looking at the mountains while sipping the morning coffee. Though Spanish culture was completely opposite, it made me so proud each day when I could wake up between 5 and 6. Only later, I got to know that in a small village like Ribadavia, even the policeman whose office was in front of my building would notice that there was only one window with the light at 6 in the morning; so early and regular, that whenever I was not in the village, he would ask my mentor: what happened to the girl?
As I left my room and and went out on a street, there was one important mission that I carried with me – I had become a meditation instructor at World Peace Initiative Foundation, and that allowed me to bring meditation and mindfulness to everyone. My Spanish was not good enough to teach meditation in Spain though. But what do you do when something is your passion? You don’t use only words to express it, right? You just go out there and teach, I said to myself. That’s what I did. I wrote a script for a meditation guide, learned the vocabulary and invited the local people to my first meditation session. I never understood everything they said to me, I struggled, I made mistakes, but session by session, I got better. After 9 months of teaching meditation, I did not notice how I had also improved my Spanish.
Teaching meditation in my village was certainly not enough. Meditation became the beauty that I wanted to take everywhere I went in 2016. This is how I gave meditation workshops in other cities in Spain: Carral where I was invited, EVS Mid-term Training in Molina, Ourense University, Rototom festival in Benicassim. Moreover, I gave meditation workshops in Cyprus, Portugal and Latvia. I guided more than 20 online meditation sessions to the groups of people in Austria, UK, Lebanon, Denmark, Sweden, Moldova, Chile, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Nigeria and other countries. I talked about meditation to everyone I met, no matter if I went to a bank, to a dentist or to the European Peace Summit in Budapest.
My First Book
One day, I got an email from a publisher that my novel “Bruno” which I had submitted long time ago – was to be published in May. The dream that I had been cherishing for many years was coming true in the moment, when I was physically far away and mentally least expecting it. I guess, this is how the Universe works. I was still happy though. Moreover, I felt that the mountains were slowly showing me a new direction. Home. Though I could not be there, it was a good feeling to know that I had given a birth to something that can continue living on its own.
Creativity became my personal quest since the Peace Architect training in 2015. I was eager to explore this benefit of meditation and share it with others. I gave my first workshop about creativity in Nicosia, Cyprus in February. I read many books about creativity. And on the top of that, the youth exchange “Empty Your Mind To Fill it With Creativity” that I submitted together with my EVS colleague Elisa got approved by Spanish National Agency. This gave me an opportunity to organize workshops about mindfulness, creativity, and develop an entire 6-day meditation program for 25 young people from Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Portugal and Latvia. Though exploring creativity is limitless, I am now more confident to speak about it, and hopefully getting closer to making it a habit.
From Barcelona to Galicia
Almost home, but one last mission left. Together with a Spanish Peace Architect Alejandra and a Peace Coach Ana we organized a meditation Mini-PIPO tour from Barcelona to Galicia to share the benefits of meditation and mindfulness to people from 10 cities: Barcelona, Hospitalet, Figueres, Madrid, Oviedo, A Coruña, Santiago, Vigo, Ourense, Amoeiro, Ribadavia. In total, there were 16 sessions bringing together 250 participants. Through a journey of inner and outer challenges, this became a rewarding experience to meet so many people on the road, to stay in their homes, to feel welcomed from a session to session while introducing meditation, mindfulness, self-development, creativity, healthy relationships, as well as sharing the light on the International Peace Day in Hospitalet.
Was it my wish since I ever started meditating? Was it the homesick feeling that visited me while living in Spain? Was it the realization that I had done so many meditation activities in other countries but never a single one home? Whatever it was, PIPO Latvia meditation tour that I organized together with a Peace Rebel+ Liene came as a natural step in the right time. It gave me so much energy that I couldn’t sleep at night imagining how we would bring peace to Latvia. Though it also meant dedication, hard work and overcoming obstacles, it was all totally worth it when a dream came true: our dear Teaching Monk LP John Paramai from Thailand arrived in Latvia to lead 17 sessions bringing together around 730 people. We visited 7 different places: Riga, Zaļenieki, Jaunpils, Lielvārde, Ogre, Cēsis, Vaive village. In addition to bringing something new to others, this became an opportunity to see my own country and its people in a new light: meditating, spreading peace and loving kindness, and sharing the positive intention with everyone. It was the best gift that I could give to myself and to others on Christmas; the highest peak that I climbed on the mountains that lastly took me home.
What about 2017? No more mountain peaks to contemplate outside my window. In Latvia, we don’t really have mountains, only plains and fields. I still don’t know where 2017 would take me, but no matter where I will be and what I will do, I will keep on spreading peace, and I will do it with love and passion, I will put my heart into it so that the mountains from Ribadavia shiver from afar.