An interview with Shanna Morgaine of Truth and Tools | by Ellen Coule

Shanna Morgaine is the kind of person that finds the beauty and magic in everything – whether it’s a person, a shadow, a song, or a leaf – and she’ll naturally see and point out everything that’s beautiful about you, too. And if you’re lucky enough to hang around her for a bit or have her take your photograph, you’ll start seeing that beauty in yourself as well.

By day, Shanna does Personal Branding and Photography for Witches, Wellness and Conscious Brands. By night, she’s sipping tea and reading tarot. Reg

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Shanna Morgaine and capturing her perspective on living a creative life and running Truth and Tools: Branded Photography and Visual Magic, a business based on her passion for helping her clients honor and see the magic that’s already within. Her answers struck me as so deeply intuitive and grounded in her truth. You might want to grab a journal for this one!

Grab a hot cup of tea, get comfy, and enjoy Shanna’s interview.

Welcome, Shanna! Please tell our readers a bit about who you are and what you do.

My name is Shanna (like banana!) and I make photographs for people who love what they do. I get the amazing opportunity to dream with entrepreneurs and personal brands to craft imagery that aligns with the magic of each person’s unique truth and creative process.

What is your favorite way to help people?

I adore the moment when my friends see themselves in their images, and they really SEE how they show up in this world. Knowing that a photograph can serve as that little nudge to transform how a person regards the value of their work – and the divinity that they exude while doing that work – completely energizes me.

What inspired you to create your business?

A whole bunch of things all culminated together to inspire Truth and Tools. It began as a personal project to illustrate the images of an entrepreneur with their tools side by side. I have always been fascinated with the creative process and the unique approach that we each bring to our craft.

How can two painters study a scene and conjure wildly different renditions of the same harbor using the same tools? Same brushes and canvas and paints. Both scenes feature sunshine and sailboats, yet they are vastly different in tone and technique.

I feel that as business owners, we each bring a distinctive point of view that is why we do what we do.

Most of our Truths are seeds planted in early life that become pretty second nature. We all have these Tools that we use to craft our product or service that we then set out to offer it up to the world. The whole process from beginning to end is remarkably personal and yet.

So to have an image of the person next to a sort of portrait of their tools seemed like a fun idea and a break from all the wedding photography that I was doing. It was also the most challenging thing that I could think to do. Quick portraits in a studio setting, with no pretty background to rely on was really outside of my norm. In addition, flat lays and still life work was something that I had never consciously done before.

With that in mind, I threw myself into the process. I had no idea that this journey would take me so far from a cheeky “what’s in your bag?” type project. It took on this whole air of discovery and community. As I would photograph people for the series – and what I thought would be challenged – I started to recognize the simplicity allowed for this deep conversation that we would have just prior to shooting.

We would chat about our Truths, and the dreams that we carry with us for our businesses and for the World.

I would feel this defining moment in the conversations where it was almost like our energies would harmonize and I could feel this swell of meaning bubble up in their story, whether it be the mission, a goal or a memory – it would glitter with pure magic. We would sit with that feeling and make this really intimate portrait – while most of the time teetering on the edge of tears! And it became pretty clear that this is the story that I need to share.

What has been your biggest learning lesson so far?

My biggest recurring lesson is around my inclination to seek perfection at any cost. For me it shows up as this anxiety around control, comparing myself to others, or I will totally get sucked into the planning phase of things, never fully committing to the launch. It is time to step back and go for a walk when I catch myself making lists of all my lists.

I have been doing a lot of work around strengthening my relationship with Self and having acceptance for the various ways that this fear shows up.

Every morning I lean into my ravishing intuition to hear her whisper “Surrender, babe. You have exactly what you need. You are exactly where you need to be. Find the love. Trust.” I imagine my heart filling up, like a dried sponge placed in water, softly expanding bigger and warmer. It never ceases to amaze me the clarity that comes when I silence myself enough to remember that the only real expectation placed on us by the Universe (or as I lovingly refer to her, the ‘Verse) is to express love in this very moment.

What’s one thing you want people to know about you that they might not know by following you on social media?

One thing that few people know is that I am a collector of collections. I collect bundt cake pans, books on mythology, and Begonias to name a few.

Also, I collect ambient sound memos of places that I visit, like a subway ride in NYC, the sounds of the street shuffling below my window in San Fransisco, or the courtyard in Rome – where you can hear an Italian opera singer warming up his vocals in one of the apartments across the way. I even recorded the creak of the door in my childhood home and many strange sounding elevators.

It is actually pretty amazing how often music will appear once I start recording a place. Sometimes it will be a person passing by singing or someone getting on the train while playing the accordion. I simply love how often music shows up for me and I love it even more when the ‘Verse hands me evidence that I am where I am supposed to be.

What’s one thing that you’re most proud of creating?

I am most proud of creating my own definition of success. It’s beautiful and freeing and challenging and empowering, and the hardest deepest work I will ever do. It is constantly evolving as I move through each wheel of the year and grow into who I will be.

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On the day that I met you, I thought that Love was the stuff of movies. Not like the happy fairy tale endings of children's stories, no no, not according to my research. I had honestly convinced myself that love would have to be tragic and hard and met with resistance. Love must end with a result for a need of memory wipes or sinking ships, a million bee stings, or a scuffle between Capulets and Montagues. I was certain that none of it was for me, that I would always go it alone. Then you came into my life like a flower bursting open, sweet and fragrant with a color unlike anything that I had ever seen before …and everything changed. I had no idea just how much I had to learn, and what a beautiful journey was beginning that day. I can't believe that our friendship began over 10 years ago, and four years ago today, we were wed amongst friends and family, and trees. I think of our vows, those promises made to better ourselves and our life together, as we crawl around waterfalls and mountains, meander a garden path or stand silently in the midst of the ruins of an ancient city. I can almost hear them as a whisper along with the breeze as we relax on the beach, when we work together on projects around the house and when we snuggle up to a Netflix binge. I'm not at all sure why I thought Love had to be tragic, but I'm the luckiest Girl in the world that you prove me wrong every single day. Happy Anniversary my Love. And thank you for making my world so beautiful. . . . . . . @focalmark #eternalsunshineofthespotlessmind #titanic #mygirl #romeoandjuliet #anniversary #engaged #amore #floridawedding #bohowedding #weddingseason #smpweddings #focalmarked #styleblogger #streetphotographer #HypeBeast #lensculture #exploremore #nikonphotography #nikontop #nikon_photography_ #nikon_photography #nikkor

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We’re always learning about something – what has life and business been teaching you lately?

Oooh yeah: Surrender. Definitely surrender as an action, not to be confused with avoidance or giving up. I have spent a lot of my life dwelling with the internal narration that I should above all else, finish whatever I start, no matter what. In practice, this can actually have some unintended consequences.

For starters, “NO” was not a part of my vocabulary and healthy boundaries may as well have been fairy tales and unicorns.

That one principle allowed me to stay in unsustainable circumstances and caused me to stress over variables that kept me from being present and grateful for a really long time.

Working from a place of trust and compassion allows me to better notice what is happening without judgement.

And from there I can accept my role and embrace what is out of my control. The process of checking in with those uncomfortable feelings of anxiety and getting gentle with my Self is daily work, and I know immediately if I am avoiding or allowing myself to be distracted.

What’s the coolest non-business-related thing that’s happened in your life recently?

All of my begonias are blooming, most of them for the first time!

What’s one goal you have for your future (whether personal or in business)?

I want to publish a Book of Days that is a planner for intuitive creatives that has recipes, rituals and moon work with space for self-discovery through guided meditation and tarot spreads for the seasons. There’s a Botanical Oracle deck and Tarot deck in the works as well! Lots and lots of magic bubbling in my cauldron.

If you could assign our readers some homework today, what would that be?

  • Give yourself a break.
  • Catch a nap but leave the guilt.
  • Get dressed up and take yourself out on a solo date.
  • Say thank you when someone compliments you.
  • Send a thank you note to the kitchen when you have a really nourishing meal.
  • Pack a lunch and go sit at the park.
  • Read a book about healthy boundaries.
  • Find something in your home that you find beautiful.
  • Write someone a love letter.
  • Write yourself a love letter then stash it where you keep your cold medicine.
  • Dance.
  • Touch the earth.
  • Call someone you love just to tell them that.
  • Sing.
  • Tell your own reflection that you are pure and sheer divinity worthy of love.
  • Thank the tree that became page in your notebook the next time you tear out your shopping list.
  • Learn about your local indigenous peoples and whose land you are on.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode for an hour.
  • Wear headphones and people watch, looking for people who are in love and note how they show it.
  • Call your local and state representatives and tell them how they are doing.
  • Ask your grocery store clerk what they are passionate about, then listen.
  • Give a meal to someone on the street.
  • Tell a child that you believe in them.
  • Check on your elderly neighbor.
  • Fucking cry.

Thank you for blessing us with your truth, Shanna. Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?

To everyone who reads this: You are a gift, and I am super duper grateful. I look forward to our paths crossing – again, if we have already had the pleasure! I am happy to help in any way that I can, so please reach out to me on Instagram @Shanna.Morgaine or kick me an email at Shanna@truthandtools.com.

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Ellen Coule is a business strategist, professional optimist, and founder of LadyBoss Social Club. At this very moment Ellen is most likely helping someone launch a new business, hosting a #LadyBoss meetup, or cuddling with her kitties and bae. She’s also a major word nerd and would gladly spend all day exchanging insights on digital marketing, social events, and creating a stellar customer experience… so if you’re into that sort of thing, feel free to slide into her DMs @LadyBossSocialClub on Instagram. For more inspiration, check out her blog at www.ladybosssocial.club where she and other female entrepreneurs share their experience, tips, and advice for designing a business that changes the world.

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