You’re rolling along with your life, busy with work, the family, your special interests, but before you know it, you’re reaching your “golden years,” so you begin to reflect. What has my life meant? But before you reach that stage, what can you do to make sure you are happy with the answer?
That's where Shana Francesca comes in. She is a much-in-demand speaker, writer, and entrepreneur whose goal is to help people live more joyful and connected lives through the principles of life design.
Shana says our present and future are transformed when we “infuse our lives with intention and accept ourselves as the author of our own story.” She’s the founder and lead designer at Concinnate, a multi-discipline interior design and life design firm that helps people achieve what is possible in their own lives so when they approach those golden years that I mentioned they can be satisfied with what they’ve accomplished.
Shana does this through speaking engagements, podcast appearances, and workshops, and we’re happy to have her with us today.
Here are some questions we discussed with Shana:
- Your story is a powerful one of healing from abuse, trauma and PTSD. Tell us about that.
- You grew up in and around the performing arts, tell us what you did and how it prepared you for the work you do today.
- What did you do professionally before launching Concinnate?
- Tell us about Life Design. What is that?
- You talk about the power of “intention.” What is that? Why is that so powerful?
- On your website, you talk about the importance of curiosity. How has that led you to where you are today?
- Our world seems so divided today, with people on the right and the left at each other’s throats, it seems, especially on social media. Tolerance and empathy seem to have been lost. What’s needed to overcome this? What can we as individuals do to make it better?
- Is your message meant for young people who are just embarking on their life journey? Or, is your target audience adults who are struggling with work, family, the responsibilities of daily life?
- What about the rest of us…seniors who may not have that many years left…is it too late?
- How can people connect with you and learn more about your work?
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Note: To reach Shana Francesca, visit her website at www.concinnate.world. She would love to hear from you.
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Designing Your Life for Joy
[00:00:00] Bob Gatty: You are rolling along with your life, busy with work, the family, your special interests, but before you know it, you're reaching your golden years. You begin to reflect, what's my life been? Before you reach that stage, what can you do to make sure you are happy with the answer? Stay with us.
[00:00:20] Shana Francisca is a much in demand speaker, writer, and entrepreneur whose goal is to help people live more joyful and connected lives through the principle of life design. She says, our present and future are transformed when we infuse our lives with intention and accept ourselves as the author of our own story.
[00:00:47] She's the founder and lead designer at Concinnate, a multi-discipline, interior design and life design firm that helps people achieve what's possible in their own lives so when they approach those golden years that I mentioned, they can be satisfied with what they've accomplished. Shannon does this through speaking engagements, podcast appearances and workshops, and we're happy to have her with us today.
[00:01:15] Welcome Shannon to the Lean to the Left podcast.
[00:01:18] Shana Francesca: Thanks for having me, Bob. I'm glad to be here.
[00:01:21] Bob Gatty: I'm glad that you're glad to be here 'cause I'm glad that you're... alright. Your story is a powerful one of healing from abuse trauma and PTSD. Can you tell us about that so that we can put all of this into perspective a little bit?
[00:01:38] Shana Francesca: Yeah. Okay. So let's zoom back a lot of years. Okay. My very first memory. Before we dive into anything though, I wanna give a trigger warning to anyone listening.
[00:01:47] We're gonna talk about some sensitive subjects, including abuse like domestic abuse, violence, and sexual assault. So I just wanna make sure if anybody's not comfortable with proceeding and listening, just take care. My very first memory, I was three years old and I was raped by my babysitter's son.
[00:02:06] When your parents are deeply unhealthy people, they don't surround themselves with healthy people either. And so I grew up in an severely abusive household. And the people that my parents surrounded themselves with were also not healthy people. And then my parents ended up joining the Evangelical Christian Church and diving into evermore fundamentalist belief systems.
[00:02:33] And There was no one I was safe with in my life. I was deeply unsafe. And this, I'm laughing, but its not funny. And this was on from how, from the time I was born. So I later found out my father's actually a licensed minister. And late in my teen years, he preached a sermon at the church that I grew up in and told the entire church that he actually suffocated me to death as an infant and then revived me.
[00:03:05] So this was abuse from the time that I was born, right? So that kind of panic was showing up inside of my body as an infant.
[00:03:15] Wait a minute.
[00:03:16] Bob Gatty: Wait a minute. I have to get this clear. Yeah. Your father was a minister? Yeah, he is. A minister. Is a minister. And he preached a sermon when you were a little kid.
[00:03:27] Shana Francesca: Teenager. Yeah. Teenager.
[00:03:30] Bob Gatty: In which he said what?
[00:03:32] Shana Francesca: He admitted to the entire church. It was guest preaching at the church we went to. Yeah. He was not the lead pastor Understood. Or any paid pastor that he That he suffocated me to death as an infant.
[00:03:44] Bob Gatty: Suffocated you to death as an infant?
[00:03:46] Shana Francesca: Yeah. I wouldn't stop crying because he was in some kind of drunken or drug induced stupor and he had been passed out for many hours. And so I woke up I woke him up. I wouldn't stop crying, and so he suffocated me to death.
[00:03:58] Bob Gatty: So your father was a minister,
[00:04:01] Shana Francesca: but he was het back then.
[00:04:02] Bob Gatty: He wasn't back. Oh, he wasn't back then.
[00:04:04] Shana Francesca: Yeah. Yeah. However, the story doesn't get better from here. Oh, okay. And and so probably around, looking back, I could see probably from the age of five or six, my father started grooming me and showing preferential treatment, making me keep secrets, so on and so forth. That kind of initial grooming behavior And so at the age of 15, my father sexually assaulted me.
[00:04:29] He was a minister at that time. He was a minister at that time. And so when I say that the environment I grew up in, it was deeply unsafe. And that when I made the church aware of what my father did, they did absolutely nothing except to tell my mother that it wouldn't have happened if she was properly satisfying my father sexually.
[00:04:50] I'm I mean that every aspect of my life I was unsafe. And that's where Complex P T S D develops. When you are, when your life is, there's many ways that it can happen, but for me, the way that it developed is because my life was saturated with abuse and there was no one safe around me. And when that happens for me, I knew that I had to become my own safe place.
[00:05:13] And my imagination became the only place where I could be seen and heard and understood and feel valued. I could create anything inside of my head, I could create any place, and I would go to those places. I would go on long walks in the woods when I was a, when I was a kid before we bought the house, that before my parents bought the house that I mostly grew up in we lived in a townhouse and there was woods that backed up right to it.
[00:05:38] And. And I would just venture into the woods because they could see pretty far. And I could just go for a walk in the woods and I. And I would just create these little, grape hyacinths, the little flowers that look like little blue bells.
[00:05:52] Bob Gatty: Oh, sure.
[00:05:52] Shana Francesca: I would take those and I would make little blue bell villages and I would grab ladybugs and I would make like a ladybug village and I would imagine myself in this ladybug village.
[00:06:03] And there were all these places that I would go in my head and use my own creativity to be able to create safe spaces. Then what? What started to happen was I started to read and I started to use the stories that the authors were telling as a way of understanding that there was more outside of the world than I was being allowed to be exposed to.
[00:06:22] Right? There was, I thought, at least from the words on the page, it seemed that there were good people and healthy people in this world, and so I I began once I could write, I began writing quotes on index cards and posting them all up over my wall. When my parents would bring me the doctor's office, I would take the magazines and I would slowly tear out like the pages of pretty pictures of like houses or far away places or beautiful flowers or like a great outfit that someone was wearing.
[00:06:51] And I would. Create this view of this life that I wanted. And I would post them all up over my bedroom wall, and anytime things got really difficult or tense, there was a big blowup or something, I would reorganize something in my room. I would change around the furniture, or I would organize something.
[00:07:08] I would reorganize all my drawers, like some way of taking control over the environment around me and really resetting that stage. I look back and it feels like I was breaking my association with what was and crafting the stage. You know this new place to tell my story from. And eventually I started to realize that interior design was a thing.
[00:07:33] And I went to school for it. But in my head it was always something much more deeply important than just beautifying a space. Because us creating space and having space where we feel seen and heard and understood and really truly represented is deeply important for our mental health.
[00:07:52] And I saw that and knew that inside of my own body which is an understanding of physical space that I don't think most people experience. Most people take for granted their home space as them being safe inside of it, right? And so because there was this deep aspect in my work, there was always this place that I started with every client of once I became an interior designer.
[00:08:12] 'cause that's what I went to school for and graduated with a BS in interior design. Once I started working as an interior designer, I would always start with a place of I. Who are you? What do you wanna accomplish in this world? Whether I'm working with someone on their business, whether I'm working with them, on a restaurant or their home.
[00:08:28] Who are you? What do you wanna accomplish? What story do you want your life to tell? And how do you wanna feel as you move through your life? How do you want this space to support you? How can it support you? And that's where I come in to create that space. I became this mirror, this way of reflecting how I saw my clients, right?
[00:08:47] How I saw them wanting to show up in the world and being able to reflect back to them how incredible I saw them to be. And it was such an honor and is I still work with people as an interior designer sometimes. It's still such an incredible honor. But there was this really important conversation happening of who are you?
[00:09:05] How do you wanna show up in the world? How do you wanna feel as you move through the world? Who do you wanna be? And these conversations were similar whether I was talking to a business owner or a homeowner. It was like we were creating a business plan for their life. Okay. And so I started actually doing group coaching about five years ago on these understandings, which I now call life design.
[00:09:25] And the foundation of life design is just intentional living and leadership, right? Life design is not about doing more, it's about being more intentional with what we're already doing. It's about living in community with one another. It's about supporting ourselves and supporting one another.
[00:09:41] The more intentional we are, the more connected we are to ourselves, the more joy we experience in this world, and the better we can be connected to one another.
[00:09:50] Bob Gatty: Shana, this life design, is this something that you created or is this a common thing.
[00:09:58] Shana Francesca: Oh, I created it because I had, I made it up.
[00:10:01] Bob Gatty: I hadn't heard about it before.
[00:10:03] That's the reason why.
[00:10:05] Shana Francesca: No, I made it up. There are people who, I think there are people who have started I noticed calling themselves life designers and I'm curious where they came, you know how they got to that iteration, but there's not very many people using that term. It's something that... the realization came that I was combining this conversation about designing our interior environment as far as home, business, wherever we are as an interior environment.
[00:10:29] And then also in designing our interior environment inside of ourselves. So it's this connection of really you can handle those things in very similar ways.
[00:10:39] Bob Gatty: Okay. Now your background information on your website says that you grew up in and around the performing arts.
[00:10:47] Tell us about that. What did you do and how did that prepare you for what you're doing today?
[00:10:53] Shana Francesca: Yeah. It really did prepare me in ways that I didn't really notice or expect or understand. From the time that I was a kid, dancing became something that, Martha Graham said the body says what words cannot, right?
[00:11:10] And when you grow up in an abusive environment, you're not allowed to talk about what happens inside of your home. And that pain lives inside of your body. And it has to go somewhere. And so dance has this beautiful way of saying everything and yet saying absolutely nothing.
[00:11:25] And so dance became a part of my life from the time I was 18 months old and still is a significant part of my life. I don't dance on the stage anymore. I gave that up eight years ago. But But it's stayed a part of my life and something that I turn to when I need to move emotions through my body.
[00:11:42] But growing up I started out dancing, tap, jazz, ballet, all of that. And then and was a part of that until I was about 10 or 11. By the time I was 10, I was five foot 10. I'm really tall. I'm six foot one. Oh, wow. So I knew I wasn't going to be a ballerina, even though that's what I wanted to be.
[00:11:57] And I gave that up.
[00:11:59] Bob Gatty: Six one ballerinas around?
[00:12:01] Shana Francesca: No not female ones. At least not back then. Okay. And and so I started looking for other things to do. And I went into, a couple years later, went into cheerleading, but we went to this really big East coast mega church, an Assemblies of God church.
[00:12:16] The sanctuary whole held 2,500 people. And would put on four plays a year for religious plays obviously. And, 30,000 people would come to see the Easter play every year. Oh wow. And there was like, 15 or 15 shows and like 30,000 people got, it was like a lot.
[00:12:34] I was dancing and singing. I also started leading worship for the youth group when I was a youth myself. I was probably 11 or 12. And then I transferred and started doing singing in, adult, the adult church. And so yeah and I was part of the drama team.
[00:12:49] I became a drama teacher. I directed a play at one point in time, so I was very much on the stage pretty regularly throughout my life. Okay. And so there became this Comfortability. Yeah. Even though there's always nervousness, right? I, there's still this thing that says, girl, you've been on the stage your whole life, you'll be fine.
[00:13:10] You'll be fine. You'll figure it out. And the first time that I walked, so the first time someone asked me to be a speaker outside of the church, right? Outside of the church scenario. I was, it was a couple years after college and it was one of my professors and she asked me to come and guest speak in her class, and I was like, you want me to do what?
[00:13:27] And then I was like, ah, I got this right. From then on it's just been a thing where whenever people asked me to speak, I said yes, and then it became something that was really valuable. I recognize that having this conversation about life design, Is truly valuable and changes people's lives.
[00:13:43] Sure. And became something I could do on the stage for money. Yeah.
[00:13:48] Bob Gatty: Organizations or whatever do you speak?
[00:13:50] Shana Francesca: Yeah. So I'm sometimes hired by private companies to come in and speak to their people. Or I've been hired by companies who've put together an event, right? A private event. Okay. Where they're inviting, a number of guests from different backgrounds or conferences.
[00:14:06] I'm speaking at a couple conferences this year. I'm speaking at the, I'm on a panel for the Boys and Girls Club in a couple of days, just panels, speeches, different types of things, different types of venues. But really I'm open to Speaking to all different kinds of people in all different ways.
[00:14:23] . As long as it feels like it aligns with what I talk about.
[00:14:26] Bob Gatty: There's a couple of things that you've said that I wanted to follow up on. I hate to break your train of thought, but you're talking about growing up in such a strict religious household. I, I did too.
[00:14:39] Yeah. My dad was a preacher too. We were not allowed to dance. You were allowed to dance?
[00:14:47] Shana Francesca: I was, so this was a sticking point in my parents' marriage. I thought so. Yeah. Yeah. So I was allowed to, so in the church we danced, but you were fully covered head to toe and in long skirts. Okay.
[00:15:00] When I was a cheerleader, That was less so because it was like sports things, but you were as covered as possible. We had like long sleeve shirts and longer skirts. So yes, I was allowed to dance, but my dad protested big time. Okay. He Yeah. So yes, I was allowed to dance, but it was definitely something where okay, for example, I was asked to, in one of the Easter plays, represent a demon in hell.
[00:15:25] So I was like dancing in flames. And I was then pulled, I wasn't allowed to be a demon dancing in hell because the pastors said, and I quote, it's clear that you're a woman through the screen. 'cause people couldn't see me. I was dancing behind a screen and I was supposed to be moving like a flame, like I'm being tortured in flames.
[00:15:46] Okay. But the pastor said it was clear that I was a woman. I could no longer be behind that because it was too provocative.
[00:15:55] Bob Gatty: Oh my Lord. Okay.
[00:15:57] Shana Francesca: Yeah. So when I say, yeah, dance was a part of my life, but then there was this other side of the token in which my body was constantly objectified and then I was blamed for it.
[00:16:06] Bob Gatty: Yeah. So your father didn't want you to dance because it was provocative, but he was raping you.
[00:16:16] Shana Francesca: No, my father never succeeded in raping me. He tried to sexually assault me when I was 15 and he had forced me to take a chastity pledge in front of our church at 12. So it was a double edged sword there. Yeah, that's not uncommon. What's a chass? Chastity? Yeah. A chastity pledges that I will be a virgin till I'm married. Okay. Which already felt yucky to me because I was raped at three. And I, and so what, yeah, so I was raped at three by my babysitter's son. That's my very first memory.
[00:16:47] And so that already felt bizarre to me because technically, according to the church, I wasn't a virgin. And so him forcing me to take this chastity pledge in front of 2000 people had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with him claiming owner ownership over my body. And so when he tried to sexually assault me at 15, luckily I ran away. I lied and I ran away and I locked myself away. And my mom came home I think later that night or something, and I hid myself away. I didn't tell anyone for three years, I, I I found ways to keep myself safe away from him somehow .
[00:17:23] Bob Gatty: Do you have a relationship with him today?
[00:17:26] Shana Francesca: No. No. I do not. Okay.
[00:17:29] Bob Gatty: Yeah. All right. But all of this combined to bring you to the point where you're now speaking about it, consulting, working with people, trying to help them Achieve what it is they want to achieve. Can achieve, right?
[00:17:50] Shana Francesca: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:17:50] I think because here's the reality, no matter who we are in this world, we have all faced terrible things. I've never met a single human being who hasn't faced some kind of trauma. Not, you don't. Not every human being has P T S D, right? But I've never met a single human being who has made it through life without some kind of trauma, whether it be the trauma of.
[00:18:09] Having to move right? Moving is deeply traumatic for us because there's such a sense of belonging inside of our home, right? It's a very personal space. It's an extension of who we are, right? Or it be losing a loved one, or it'd be the end of a romantic relationship, or, everyone has been through something, right?
[00:18:30] And regardless of any of that, Designing our lives is not just about moving through trauma, right? There's an aspect of that because we're human beings, designing our lives is about being more intentional, and the reality is that once we are more intentional, we give who we are authentically more space in this world, right?
[00:18:49] We allow that to take up space. We're not judging our own selves against what other people expect us or who other people expect us to be. We're just allowing ourselves to be ourselves. Dance in the rain if we want to, do what it is that brings us joy, no matter what other people think.
[00:19:04] The more we give permission for other people to do the same and the more that we then can live in community with one another and truly be connected because until we're truly connected to ourselves, we can't truly be connected to one another.
[00:19:17] Bob Gatty: Shana, what did you do professionally before you started your business?
[00:19:22] Shana Francesca: I was an interior designer. Oh, okay. And I was an interior designer. So you worked, so I did that. Other companies or something? Yeah. Yeah, I worked for other companies for 12. 12 years. Yeah.
[00:19:32] Bob Gatty: Oh, okay. Yeah. So at what point did you decide, hey, I'm gonna do this on my own and and then you brought in the life design aspect of it as well.
[00:19:41] Shana Francesca: Yeah. So in 2016 is when I started taking on projects on the side, and it was before the business was even something, right? Somebody asked me they were redesigning their entire home and they're like, Hey, can you help us with this? And I was like, sure. Absolutely. I barely charged them.
[00:19:58] Okay. Okay. And and went ahead and designed this home. It was like $115,000 renovation. Wow. To their home. And after moving through that, we literally redesigned all but one room in the house. I was like, why am I not doing this for myself? Yeah. So I, I started doing it and charging people more considerable amounts of money.
[00:20:20] And did that on the side. And then around 2018, I started taking a little bit more seriously and realizing that hey, I could probably start my own company soon. But I kept working my full-time job till I paid off my paid off all my debt. And right around the time I paid off my debt, I was like, all right, I'm gonna work for six more months, save up money, and then I'm gonna take my business full time.
[00:20:43] But I got laid off. They knew about my side business, and they were in considerable amounts of debt. So every office around the world had to lay off one person, so they chose me. Oh. Because they knew about my business on the side. They're like, you're gonna be gone in six months anyway. And I was like, but I'm not.
[00:21:01] Oh, okay. I'm a single woman. I'm the only unmarried woman in this office. That's a sales person and you're just letting me go. Thanks. That's economically. Great. Honestly. Wonderful. And so I took my business full. I cashed out my 4 0 1 k and took my business full-time. Okay. And that was in 2019.
[00:21:23] Bob Gatty: Are you glad you did?
[00:21:26] Shana Francesca: Yeah, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done for sure. But yeah.
[00:21:30] Bob Gatty: Okay. Are you making a go of it financially?
[00:21:34] Shana Francesca: Yeah. Yeah. I guess two years ago is when I hit a place where it's okay, this is what, an a nice, this is a nice income coming in. Okay, we can do this.
[00:21:47] And I think, even it doesn't even five, 10 years into a business, I'm not 10 years in yet. I'm five in. Sure. Income is inconsistent sometimes. Yeah. And that's just part of it, right? And that's when it gets hard. But but I have an amazing network of people around me and I've been able to, make those slower times count, right?
[00:22:08] And been able to have beautiful outreach to companies and connect with different people for different opportunities. And so the slow times aren't as frequent as they used to be.
[00:22:17] Bob Gatty: Okay. That's good. Alright. Yeah. If you were to put into just a few sentences your description of life design, what would that be?
[00:22:28] Shana Francesca: The briefest description is life design is about intentional living and leadership.
[00:22:34] Bob Gatty: Intentional living and leadership. Okay. And I'll take that apart and tell me what you mean.
[00:22:41] Shana Francesca: What I mean is that we make a couple hundred choices every single day. And I think when we can get more intentional about them, we can start to recognize whether or not we're making those choices based on what we want from the world and who we are and how we wanna show up and what we wanna contribute to the world, or what other people expect or want or desire or need from us.
[00:23:06] And that's not to say that other people. We need, we di we desperately need one another, but we can't live our lives for other people, right? We need to live authentically, according to who we are, meant to be in this world. Okay? And. For example, I tell people to, to dive into this if we're talking about just practicing being more intentional in our lives, there are, at any given time, probably a dozen scents on our body.
[00:23:33] What I mean by that is there's a different scent for our shampoo, our conditioner, our face wash, our body wash, our laundry detergent, our fabric softener, our dryer sheets, right? Maybe cologne or aftershave or all of these things, deodorant, we don't think about. How often do we stop and say, wait, all these scents are living on my body every single day.
[00:23:54] I wonder if I could coordinate them. Okay. So being intentional is not about doing more. It's stopping and taking a moment to be more intentional with what we're already doing. I. And at sometimes it can help us to eliminate some steps, eliminate some things that are no longer applicable to us, or maybe never were.
[00:24:12] So if we were to think about all the scents on our body, we could say, Hey, you know what? Maybe this month or for the next three months, however you choose to buy your allotments of soaps, or the things are on your body, you know how often you go to Target or wherever you buy your things. Sure. That you were to say, Hey, I'm gonna think about how all these things smell.
[00:24:31] I'm going to coordinate them. They're all gonna be based around lavender this month, or around citrus or around, so that they all smell good together because we're the first person to experience the scent of our own bodies. And if it's coordinated, wouldn't it be an even more beautiful experience, right?
[00:24:51] And that's just a small example, but it's something really doable. And the point about it is that anything we wanna be good at, we have to practice. And the smaller we can make that practice right, the easier we can make that practice, the more likely we are to do it. We're already gonna be buying all those things, right?
[00:25:08] If we wanna practice being more intentional just by taking that step and thinking about how those senses work together, we're starting to get our brain used to taking a second before we make decisions and seeing how it aligns with the other things in our life.
[00:25:23] Bob Gatty: When you're talking about scents, body smells, scents.
[00:25:28] Soap and things like that puts me in mind of a TV commercial that cracks me up every time I see it. It's for what commercial? It's for some kinda laundry soap. Okay. And the and the woman is in the store. And this this frumpy looking guy that works in the supermarket, he's got this ugly tie.
[00:25:51] Shana Francesca: Are you talking about Gain scent, beads
[00:25:53] Bob Gatty: Gain, that's what I'm talking about. Cracks me up every time I see that.
[00:25:58] Shana Francesca: Yeah. Yeah. Most people don't know that scent is our strongest connection to memory and emotion. Okay. Another step of intentionality that we could add to this is, for instance, I think it was Andy Warhol who changed the scent of his perfume, his cologne every three months.
[00:26:14] He never wore the same cologne for more than three months, and then he moved on. Oh, really? The interesting thing about that is that if we think about who we are as human beings, we're constantly changing. Yeah. And so if we are trying to spur ourself and our brain on to recognize, oh, who I am is changed, right?
[00:26:32] We could change that scent of our cologne to help signify to our brain, Hey, I've changed. I'm a different person. I'm a, I'm I've moved forward in my life's journey. I've learned something new. My, my perspective on the world has changed. Okay. And when I to drive that home, that scent us our strongest connection to memory and emotion, I usually say to people, think about your favorite aunt or your grandmother or your grandfather, or that favorite person.
[00:26:58] And how they smelled when you hugged them and what, or when you walked into their house on a Sunday. When you're visiting. And the minute, see, you're smiling. The minute we do that, typically what happens is we smile because there's a positive association between them, how they smell or their house smells and our memory of them.
[00:27:19] Bob Gatty: Oh, sure. That's absolutely true.
[00:27:22] Shana Francesca: Right. And so the same thing is true in our own lives, right? Yeah. We can create this scent, memory and trick our brains into living inside of an emotion based on using that scent to trigger that emotion within ourselves.
[00:27:36] Bob Gatty: Okay. On your website you also talk about the importance of curiosity.
[00:27:41] Yeah. Alright. I want you to tell me How that's led you to where you are today?
[00:27:46] Shana Francesca: I wouldn't be, I would still be inside of evangelical Christianity if I wasn't curious. The thing about fundamentalist religions and about cults is that they try to, Delete to eliminate, to oppress your curiosity, or they try to appease it by always directing you back to the same information.
[00:28:09] The Bible is God's holy word, and that's where you're supposed to get all of your information from. There's nothing that's truly important outside of it, right? Everything you need for living is inside of it, and what happens with that is then you have no exposure to the world outside of it.
[00:28:27] There's no way to get curious. There's no way to question it, right? Because it is everything inside of your life. The minute you start educating yourself. The minute you start learning about the world outside of your understanding, your brain like is oh, what about this? What about this? What about that?
[00:28:45] And so you start looking for this information and it pulls you outside of your specific frame of reference in this world and pulls you into a much deeper and broader understanding of the world. And so for me, education is what pulled me out of fundamentalist religion, right? I got to a place where I could no longer rectify what I knew of the world and what I knew of the religion that I was forced to serve.
[00:29:13] And so curiosity not only led me out of abuse and led me out of, traumatic situations, but it led me into wondering what could I do if I share my story with the world? What could I do if I use my story to connect to people? What if I use my story to empower people to live more intentional, more beautiful, more joyful lives?
[00:29:34] What if the whole purpose of my life could be to help people find joy? And how could I do that? How do I do that? How do I use who I am to help improve other people's lives? So if I didn't relate back to curiosity and everything that I do I wouldn't be where I am. I wouldn't be who I am and I wouldn't be able to help anyone.
[00:29:55] Bob Gatty: Okay. The fundamentalist background that you talk about brings to mind the fact that in this country today there's so much division and hate among people. Yeah. And I hate to say this, but in many cases it's the. Fundamentalist religious types Yeah.
[00:30:16] That are fostering a lot of this. Yeah. Although I have to say too that some of us, like myself, are probably a little bit less tolerant of that than maybe we should be, but at any rate I just wonder what you think. If anything people can do to make the situation better?
[00:30:38] Shana Francesca: I think we can get curious. I think we can start asking each other questions.
[00:30:42] We can dive in even when it's painful. Even when it feels as long as you know yourself to be safe. In a situation, as long as you know that someone's not actively trying to harm you. I think that asking a question is a truly powerful thing. And I have to remind myself of this sometimes because sometimes I get, defensive when people say certain things and I'm like, no, it's not about you, Shana.
[00:31:07] If we remind ourselves that it's not about us, their beliefs have nothing to do with us, and yet their beliefs can harm us, right? But if we can ask them questions and we can get them curious about their own beliefs, right? If we can show them what curiosity can do, right? And help them to better connect to themselves.
[00:31:26] No one ever changed their mind by being attacked. No one ever changed their mind by being made fun of or by being talked down to. And it's easy to do those things because standing from the outside, we can see that, that their religious beliefs are harmful. And not just to themselves, but to the people around them.
[00:31:45] And that's not to say that everyone who believes in God is harmful. That's not what I mean. Fundamentalist beliefs, right? Unwavering, unchecked, un unexplored beliefs, right? Because for many fundamentalist people, their beliefs are not actually explored. Yeah, they haven't actually reconciled with what the Bible actually says, and actually let themselves believe what it says and let themselves feel the weight of what it actually says.
[00:32:12] And I don't mean that in a good way. It was actually the Bible that helped me to walk away from religion and away from Christianity because I read it and I allowed myself to believe what it actually said. Okay. But I think there's I think it's a matter of, I. Pushing through and when we can, taking a breath and not making whatever somebody says about us and getting curious with them.
[00:32:36] Bob Gatty: I Do you think that a conscious effort to be more empathetic Would be a good thing.
[00:32:42] Shana Francesca: Yes. And there was a study that came out, I don't know exactly when, but there was a study that showed that people who have fundamentalist very conservative Christian, very conservative Republican beliefs, their beliefs are stored in the fear part of their brain.
[00:32:58] Not in the logic part of their brain, in the fear part of their brain. Okay. And so I think it's really important to understand that especially people drawn into cults or into harmful ideology or into conspiracy theories or into fundamentalist religions, they're being controlled by fear.
[00:33:18] Their brain is overtaken by fear. And so there's very little room for empathy on their part, but there could be room for empathy on our part. But again, I go back to having those discussions with people. You have to make sure you feel safe to be able, both emotionally and spiritually and in the right place to be able to have those conversations.
[00:33:40] You don't have to, right? But I think we could perhaps be more empathetic and understand that many cases they've been denied real education about the world and have been simply manipulated by fear for most, if not all of their life.
[00:33:56] Bob Gatty: Lemme ask you this question, Shana. Is your message meant for Young people who are just embarking on their life journey or is your target audience, adults who are struggling with work, family, the responsibilities of daily life.
[00:34:10] Who is your target audience?
[00:34:13] Shana Francesca: Everyone who's alive. Okay.
[00:34:16] Bob Gatty: So even the geezer like me, we've got time to Yeah. To redesign that. You've got,
[00:34:21] Shana Francesca: yeah, you've got time. You, as long as you're still breathing, you have time and as long as you're still breathing, you can be more intentional about that next breath.
[00:34:30] Bob Gatty: Okay. Alright. How can people connect with you and learn more about your work?
[00:34:36] Shana Francesca: Yeah, absolutely. The best place is my website. There's my contact information. Is there my information about myself as a speaker. There's some nice reviews that people have given me on there as well. There's links to podcasts I've been on.
[00:34:49] There's also some free information there about what is life design, some practical tools. You could also subscribe to the website. If you're interested in getting a little bit more detailed information about what's going on, what's the next event? More, again, I'm as intentional as I ask people to be okay.
[00:35:06] When I send out a, an email, it's very intentional. So you can head to the website, it's www.concinate.world, and I'm sure it'll be tagged in the show notes.
[00:35:15] Bob Gatty: It will be. But in the meantime concinnated is C O N.
[00:35:20] Shana Francesca: C I N N A T E. World. Okay.
[00:35:24] Bob Gatty: Alright. Very good. Alright, anything else you wanna share with us?
[00:35:29] Shana Francesca: No. No, I think that's it.
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