Inti Šraj: "My grandmother taught me how to be fair."
"There is just one rule: We can't deliberately hurt anyone." (Inti Šraj)
For our first Woman 2 Woman session, we talked to Inti Šraj. Mom, partner, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, actress and so much more who enchanted us with her grace, warmth, and happiness. Inti Šraj is a Slovene/French actress and performer. She studied art restoration at the academy of art in Ljubljana and acting in an audiovisual school EICAR in Paris. In her need for expression she successfully alternates between visual arts, popular films, and performances.
How are you today, and what is different than ten years ago?
In this time (I will be 40 next year), I am accepting ageing with open hands. Indeed, I don't yet feel the harmful effect of ageing. I am more at peace now. I have learned that the feeling of fatality is not real, and everything passes. In difficult and tense moments, I try to calm myself and wait for the storm to fade away. I can easily get around the world because I have a pretty good idea of how it works. I can easier live with myself because I know myself a bit better. In the last ten years, I became a mother and, besides all the other gifts of motherhood, I accepted knowledge of how wonderfully our bodies work. I don't pay so much attention to my looks. I think women should cherish our bodies not only by the looks but also by the capabilities. After a year and a half of breastfeeding, I don't care how my breasts look. I adore them because of their abilities. Because I love them, I find them beautiful no matter how they look.
Do you have your spirit animal?
In different periods I saw different spirit animals. For quite some time, my spirit animal was a hedgehog, who knew how to form a ball and show spines to the others. Sometimes, when it was necessary, a rooster appeared. I think I am now in transition because animals don't come to me. I want to identify with eagle or puma, but this is not the case. I see the spiritual animal as a reflection of my feelings and relationship with my environment. I have identified myself with the dodo, an animal which has been extinct for a long time.
How well do you know your darker side?
I wish to learn and accept my darker side, but I have powerful defence mechanisms, which make this process difficult for me, so it's not always easy. Sometimes I don't recognise this side of me, especially when it hides in a feeling of righteousness, fight for survival or some justified fear. My brain (it's funny that I talk about it in the third person) can very easily trick me. Sometimes it feels it's good for me, but I have to remind it that I am ready to accept some things. I find Indian goddess Kali very interesting. I see her as a goddess of destruction and creation at the same time. Through her, I understand how devastating energy can be sometimes useful. It's essential from what state it comes. When I defend my loved ones, I am thrilled to be able to be such a dragon. Kali can help me to understand that we are the ones who give the dark side negative meaning. In our dark side, there lies significant power which can be used for good purposes. Devastation is necessary to give space to new things. There is just one rule: We can't deliberately hurt anyone.
Who do you let in your home?
People who can enter my personal space are always welcome at my home. Others don't have the opportunity to come to me.
Who do you let come near you?
I can function among people and socialize, but I am a very introverted person. I have difficulties to open up and talk about my deepest thoughts and feelings. A few of my good friends are by my side because they don't judge, and we similarly feel the world and have similar values. I think very highly of them and am very grateful to them when they are mercilessly sincere.
Where and what is your happy place? How do you calm down?
I adore the forest. My dark thoughts vanish and come to peace. Embraced by treetops and roots, I feel safe and at home. With the giant old trees, I share myself in silence, and they share themselves with me. They show me the way to my core and feel my lungs and soul.
How important it is for you to be in touch with nature?
We are nature. We can't take ourselves out of it. We depend entirely on it. Every little change in the environment (change temperature for a few degrees, for example) influences us greatly. We must be aware of that. I am thrilled when I lie naked at the seaside. I have a feeling that all my receptors are alert and I feel awake, alive and energetic.
How do you take care of your body, mind, and soul?
Luckily all three things are connected. If you take good care of one thing, the other two also profit. For body and mind, I will use very often used answer: food and recreation. For a long time, I didn't understand that you need to pay close attention to diet, not just occasionally eat vegetables and fruit. Motherhood brought this knowledge to me. I didn't pay attention to food before having a baby. I often even forgot to eat. I see now how my bad physical condition was connected with my mental power or weakness. I incorporated my habits into broader principles. I try to shop locally, organic, and create as little waste as possible. My understanding of diet is at the very beginning. I still learn how to have a balanced diet. I am learning what is right for me. I am not the type of person who would happily spend time in the kitchen reading the recipes. The knowledge of how our thoughts are connected with physical state encouraged me to spend more time and energy to eat healthier.
I take care with the help of a good company, culture of all kinds, lots of laughter, and spending time in nature.
Which is your daily, weekly, or monthly ritual?
My daily ritual happens in the bathroom. After I take a shower, I apply oil and creme on my skin. I take time to pamper myself, look at my body and touch every piece of it. I am often grateful my engine is so perfect it works by itself. My monthly ritual is connected with menstruation. Every other month I have very painful PMS. All the things that bothered me and were left unsaid come to light. Luckily my partner is very understanding, and he knows my pattern very well. He doesn't feel hurt because of my untactful way of saying things, but we try to talk things through. I need a push to start cleaning my attic. This process can be very painful but can be useful. When I learn to communicate my thoughts peacefully and at the right time, I will be able to cancel this monthly ritual.
What piece of wisdom of your grandparents or parents do you carry with you?
My grandmother taught me how to be fair, especially where other people are concerned. She taught me how to be loyal to your beliefs. My parents gave me broad-mindedness through traveling. They are very much involved in spirituality. They gave me an enormous amount of knowledge for understanding the world. The main thing is they gave me so much love I can pass it on.
Which wisdom will you pass to your children?
Probably it's not wisdom, but I wish to give my son some foundations. I want to provide him with the feeling that I am always there for him, regardless of what he will do in his life. My love towards him it's not conditional. That he belongs somewhere and someone guides him. My parents gave this gift to me, and I feel as if I were the wealthiest person in the world.
Woman to woman. What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?
I think youngsters at 15 years of age are not capable of listening to our pieces of advice. Everyone must come to this knowledge by himself. All mistakes built me, and all the difficulties formed me. I am such a person. I have to stick my hand into the fire to understand it burns.
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