– Shalini was interviewed by Kaia Gil
We meet Shalini on a day when there is a slight hint of spring in the air, although looking at the calendar it should be the culmination of winter. We don’t know each other and have never met before, but Shalini accepted me like her own in no time. He is warm and real. With its simplicity, honesty and hope.
At the very beginning of the conversation, we dive into topics that are painful without any longer introduction. About death and the pain of loss. Shalini describes her parents’ passing with an open heart. But in every passing away there is a piece of a new beginning, which is why Shalini says she wants to keep everything her parents have created alive and talk about it.
“Today, I advise everyone in the same situation to take your time. Take all the time in the world and heal yourself. You need to be alone. Otherwise, suppressed anxiety can come at moments when you can’t expect it at all,” says Shalini about one of the most difficult periods in her life and the recognition that helped to make peace with her loss.
Decisions and Choices
When her mother and father passed away, she felt as if she no longer had any roots: “I feel it especially strongly when I want to call my mother or father. Such a terribly sad change in life forces you to review all previous decisions and choices, and directs you to live a more simple or straightforward life. The more noise and drama, the more anxiety. At first you hate the phrase that time changes and helps. But in fact it really is.”
The reason why we are talking to Shalini is her cooperation with Shroomwell, former Chaga. “I don’t usually do any collaborations. But, for some reason, I said “yes” to them. I have been using medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane capsules and tincture and it has worked very well. I just love the Shroomwell tinctures. My partner says that Lion’s Mane tincture has an intense alcohol taste for him, but I am ok with that. Lately I’ve also been using Reishi and have noticed that I don’t wake up as easily at nights anymore. People behind Shroomwell are real, and their products represent Estonian nature in all of its authenticity. Different companies write to me a lot, and if the first letter says to just start sharing information on social media, then it’s not me at all. I need to feel and experience that the product resonates with me.”
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Growing into Nature
Some time ago, Shalini asked her followers (aka semolinas), as she affectionately and motherly calls the women who have joined the GraceFit community, what makes them tick. “I thought the answers would be massage or exercise. But most of all, probably 90% of the women mentioned nature. Whether it’s being in your garden, in nature or visiting your special place,” Shalini describes people’s feedback about what really gives them strength, both physical and mental.
Shalini herself has grown into and with nature over time. Coming from a small town of Tartu, where he spent a happy and well-cared-for childhood and adolescence, she reminisces: “I have never had a family, who would go to the countryside to visit grandfather or grandmother. I had one father who worked and one mother who gave us everything else. Everything I know about nature comes from my mother, who was a believer of simple things. On the one hand, my mother was extremely extravagant and sparkling, but on the other hand, she was an ordinary “potatoes-and-meat-sauce-type” of person. That’s the balance.”
For the first time in her life, Shalini lives in the city. “At first it was very difficult for me as I couldn’t make sense of such an environment. I have this relationship with nature that comes from within, extremely intuitively. I would like to learn a lot more about it. When I lived in the country a few years ago, I planned to start gardening with my mother. Then she died. I thought I would start the garden project next year, but mentally I just didn’t have the energy for it at the time. In addition, it was followed by a breakup and the sale of the house. Here I am now. Ready for a new start with my urban garden. For the last six months I really want to plant. There is a super sweet woman in my life who knows everything about this field, and my wish is that she would guide me into the world of gardening and I would just start creating according to her teachings.”
Away from Extremes
Some things related to nature and being are so natural for Shalini today that she doesn’t think about them: “I don’t represent the generation that is far from nature, and at the same time I haven’t yet reached the one that is completely new-age and eco as well. I don’t go to extremes. I come from the generation that studied and went to university when I was young. We didn’t think about eco. I think some things should remain basic.”
Shalini honestly admits that she is not an idealist who believes only in big words and the ideality of everywhere and everything. “In good peace, you have to live according to your ethics. You can be ready for some things and then they just come to life with ease. I have also strived for ideality and believe this to be the one stage of one human life development, but today it doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I think that this period has guided me towards a natural rhythm. Now I base my training and beliefs on the fact that women have a monthly cycle. This way of thinking also brings me closer to nature.”
Harmony with the Rhythm of Nature
Shalini used to hate Novembers. But last November she noticed that there is really nothing wrong with it. “You have to adapt and take care of yourself. People should live in harmony with the cycles of nature. As Estonians, we do have strange rhythms though. We rest in the summer when we have the most energy. Children go to school because mommy and daddy go to work. Let’s be honest, even though we drive to the office every morning at 9, we’re not always in for it. If we could have an opportunity to live by our cycles and rhythm it would be much more natural. The mood may fluctuate, but we should follow the rhythm. I believe we would be happier then.”
Shalini admits that, for example, the day before the interview, she finished work at 3 in the afternoon and started watching a movie under the covers. “I lived a long time by making a long list, very long and ambitious goals, but I couldn’t fulfill them. Today, I have a nice rhythm of the days I chose to be with for myself. I know what and how I will be doing today or tomorrow. I want to feel good and I also want to not feel good. People have to find their own way of living and their own way of going.”
Let’s listen to our own thoughts
Shalini likes spirituality, but most of all she admires Kaplinski, Mikita and Jüssi, who talk about life and its simplicity. At the same time, from the complexity and common progress in harmony with nature and what surrounds us.
“People should communicate less. I feel like people are communicating so much that they can’t really listen to their own thoughts anymore. Fred Jüssi wrote that birds do not finish their song. This is such an accurate description of it! We talk about completely trivial things like how our day went. I’ll be honest, I talked about it with my mom. There is a huge amount of such noise and unnecessary communication around us. A lot of drama and trauma happens in life anyway, most don’t escape it. You have to be with people who don’t add to it. The world is very turbulent right now, and the people of Shroomwell are working in a field that helps to balance it out.”
Shalini was very sick all previous year. More sick than healthy. “Then, at some point, I started taking Chaga shots. When at the end of the year I went to Levi with my partner, I had a completely different feeling. This year of being sick made it clear that I had to change the pace. So much has happened in my life in a short time. Loss of parents, collapse of personal life. Then suddenly Chaga came with these bottles. I now start the day with a chaga elixir shot. For me, chaga is like nature that came into my life at just the right time. If I use something and share it very sincerely with my 10,000 followers, then I really do believe in it.”
When Shalini leaves, I feel that I have just met a person who is absolutely extraordinary in her simplicity and convictions. Both as a person, as a lover and as a role model.
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