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Meet Shanna Forrestall of Forrestall Consulting in Granada Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanna Forrestall.

Shanna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been a storyteller my entire life. Even as a young girl, this translated into playing pretend (acting), creative writing and the arts in various forms.

I was in my 30s when I discovered my love of professional acting in film and television and I spent the next ten years acting and producing. When the COVID crisis hit, I was just finishing up two short films that I wrote/produced and starred in, and I had begun working on a series of original children’s bedtime stories and a meditation series. These things are very intimate creative projects that mean a lot to me.

After losing my beautiful husband unexpectedly earlier this year, I have spent my time since then using those projects to heal my own heart. I absolutely believe in the power of art to help us process and recover from abuse, trauma and loss, so I’ve been able to use my own work to move forward in this trying time and I hope that the pieces I’m creating will help others during this difficult time. I’ve been able to partner with Jeff Gold of MyCalmWorld.com and we’ve been a great team – he writes original music and produces my children’s products and meditations.

I’ve also written ten original songs since losing my husband and best friend, and Jeff Gold & Free the Unicorn will be releasing a few of those songs later this year on their first LP project together.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think anyone would describe my journey as “smooth”. I was the victim of sexual abuse at a very young age, followed by emotional, mental, physical and spiritual abuse that continued for years until I finally learned how to take care of myself.

I’ve also gone through two separate car accidents in my life (both rear-ends that were not my fault) that both left me in debilitating pain for years, and I had to spend extensive time and energy healing myself.

Add to that losing my “perfect” life partner unexpectedly during the COVID crisis, and well… there you’ve got it … it hasn’t been simple or painless.

But, here’s what I’ve learned about struggles. They are literally what defines us. There is a beautiful quote from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper the sorrow carved into your being the more joy you can contain.”

This quote speaks to me so deeply because I know that pretty much every time I stand in the studio and record a story or a poem or a meditation, I will weep. But it’s not always pain or sadness, it’s often from joy… because I am experiencing all of the colors of life. From a life of pain, I have discovered unspeakable joy and awe and gratitude, and they are especially precious to me now because I know the darkness well.

I am very grateful to be using my creative gifts to heal myself and others.

Please tell us about Forrestall Consulting.
Right now, I’m focused on creating healing products for children and adults. I am so excited about the original children’s stories and my partnership with Jeff Gold of MyCalmWorld.com. He has made it possible for my stories to live and to get to all of the digital outlets so that they are accessible to anyone. I am speaking to my own child as I write, telling her all of the things I wish I’d heard as a young girl. It’s extremely therapeutic for me, and also I hope helpful to others.

I know that so many parents are currently dealing with high levels of anxiety due to the turmoil in our country and the COVID crisis, plus they have their children at home more than usual without their usual support/resources. I was happy that Jeff Gold agreed to move up the release dates for the stories from the first LP so we could get them out there for these parents. I am directly connected to the autism community as well, and Jeff’s instrumental music is especially therapeutic for young people on the autism spectrum, so that’s also an added bonus.

I’m also working on a meditation series called Butterfly Kisses for the mind and these are focused on things like settling the mind and dealing with anxiety, as well as self-healing and dealing with chronic pain. The next one we’re set to record is a gratitude meditation to focus on the gifts that are around us, but that are easy to miss when we’re in trying times.

I’m proud of the work we’re doing together, and I believe it’s only going to get better and better.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
What’s interesting is that because I come from so much trauma, I actually have a limited amount of memories that are clear. But two things that were repetitive happy memories in my life were climbing trees in our yard and sitting up high feeling safe and protected, and hours of laughing with my cousins. Those memories are valuable to me because I know that I was always innately a creative, gentle and happy child.

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