Meet the Experts: Lera of T-Lovers
We’re delighted to be welcoming Lera from T-Lovers to Gazelli House on 2 July for a New Moon Tea Ceremony and Circle – a ceremony that invites you to slow down and connect with yourself, others and nature at the start of the new lunar cycle, a time that’s associated with setting new intentions and visions.
Lera struggled for find purpose in her City job in investment banking, which despite offering security left her feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. She knew she needed to discover her passion and tried embroidery, fashion, jewellery-making, kickboxing, bodywork, astrology, trapeze and corporeal mime. But it was after meeting a ‘magic woman’ that Lera found her true calling. We were intrigued to find out more…
Tell us more about the moment you were told that tea was your calling?
After searching for thirty-three years for my perfect vocation, I found a blog about this woman, and decided she was my last chance. I really surrendered. I thought, whatever she tells me, I will do it. If she tells me that the financial industry is what I’m going to be best at, I’ll go back to the office. But thankfully she didn’t. She told me many things, among which was tea – and as soon as she said tea, I had a strong resonant feeling in my heart, which I knew I needed to delve deeper into. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
What does living a slow life mean to you?
Living slow to me means really taking my time to enjoy and savour what I’m doing. Taking time to appreciate things, to feel them – not on autopilot, but mindfully, with awareness. It also means being in tune with our needs at any point in time – feeling when we need to sleep, when we need to take a pause and when we need to work. It means making space in our days to fulfil our needs, and making them our priority.
Tell us more about the tea ceremony you are going to be hosting at Gazelli House.
It will be a New Moon Tea Ceremony and Circle. The new moon marks the beginning of the new lunar cycle and with that comes new intentions and new visions. For the Tea Ceremony, we’ll sit in silence together – so we can be still and really listen to our own inner wisdom. This is the only wisdom that is true for us, but we can only hear it when we take our attention within and really listen. We’ll then share whatever comes from the heart. The tea will be a blend of tea and rose – rose is an incredible heart medicine. Everything in the Tea Ceremony is designed for us to connect with our senses, our body, to go within and trust our own inner teachings.
Why do you think tea is so sacred in British culture?
It’s an interesting question, and one that’s not easy to answer. It’s something of a mystery. Tea as a plant has certain qualities: whenever we drink it, whenever we hold it in our hands, it creates a sense of a much-needed break, a “me time”, a feeling of exhalation and relaxation. It slows us down, whether that is our intention or not. A lot of people who come to my events – whether a sacred tea ceremony or a touristic tea tour – say “tea is a highlight of my day”. Perhaps because it’s the only time they stop, really stop – it’s an excuse to pause from daily duties and just be. In that, it’s priceless and very sacred.
As well as making time for tea, what are your essentials for maintaining balance and a sense of wellbeing in your life?
It can sound very basic, but SLEEP is the foundation of my wellbeing. Being a single parent, for many years I was sleep-deprived: even when my son was sleeping well, after putting him to bed at 8pm or 9pm I wanted just to be and do the things I wanted to do – and not go to bed at 10pm! Big mistake, and one I only recognised recently. So now I go to bed very early and whenever I cannot sleep at night, I really feel the effect on my emotional state – lack of proper sleep puts me close to the edge. This is the
foundation. I also try to eat well – whatever my body craves at any given moment – to drink lots of water and to cycle all over London. I do things that give me pleasure: meditating or just sitting doing nothing, being in nature, drinking wine when it feels right, not drinking it when it doesn’t. Very simple. All of these can be summed up as loving myself and doing things that bring me joy.
How do you take your tea?
Every morning I sit for one hour with tea, in a very simple way – just a bowl, tealeaves and hot water. It’s my necessary daily practice, a must before I can start interacting with the world outside. In the afternoon, depending on time and who I am with, it’s Japanese green tea (matcha or kabusecha from Chikitea – she is the best). Or puerh or oolong tea. If I have more time, I can sit and do a proper tea ceremony. In the evening I try not to drink tea and just have hot water with lemon, because, as I mentioned, sleep is extremely important to me.
Tell us about your typical day before 9am.
I wake up at about 5.45am and take my temperature so I can do a graph of my cycle and know where I am in my cycle at that moment. Then it’s oil-pulling time for 20 minutes (while still lying in bed), a practice I started three or four years ago – it might seem like too much time but it’s just a matter of discipline. It’s great for the teeth and general wellbeing. After that I brush my teeth, have warm water with lemon, do fifteen minutes of stretching and sit for tea and meditation for an hour. If I ever wake up late, I can give up all the other parts of my morning routine except the tea and meditation. It’s not very Zen, I know, but I am attached to the ritual.
What mantra do you live by?
It changes all the time, but at the moment it’s one my friend mentioned in conversation: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but about learning how to dance in the rain.”
Lera’s New Moon Tea Ceremony and Circle are to be held at Gazelli House, our house of wellbeing in South Kensington, which is a short walk from Knightsbridge, King’s Road and South Kensington. You can find more details here.