17: Continuing Education and Expanding Offerings with The Heart Temple

17: Continuing Education and Expanding Offerings with The Heart Temple

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

Melissa Elizabeth of The Heart Temple dives deep into the practice of building a business around nurture, vulnerability, and honesty.  

You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

A Conversation with The Heart Temple

Chain Assembly: Today we have on the podcast, Melissa Elizabeth of the Heart Temple. I did Melissa's podcast months ago. We met through a friend of hers who met me at a, I think it was Spirit Fest over at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. And she liked the products I was making, told her friend Melissa about me and then Melissa reached out. We had a chat. We talked about a project that we're now working on together. And I'm sure you've heard all the ads before each episode about the project. And it's really impressive the amount of modalities and services that Melissa has picked up and offers through her business. So I'm very excited to hear about her journey on becoming a small business owner and all the things that she's become an expert in. So Melissa, thank you so much for talking to me.

The Heart Temple: Yeah, Nick, thank you so much for having me. 

CA: All right, so can you just, I guess, start with your journey and how you define yourself now as a business owner, if you were to do that in one sentence? 

HT: In one run-on sentence, you mean? Yeah. So how I define myself as a business owner now is I am the one who wears all the hats. At this current place in my business, which has taken some really direct focus on delineating when and where my hands-on time is with clients, when and where my one-on-one coaching time is with clients, and when and where my behind back-of-house business is with working in my business as well. So, so yeah, it's taken me, I'm in my eighth year and my business has evolved and grown over those years. I have accumulated many different modalities that add to the richness of the work that I do. And it's truly a joy and a pleasure. And I love it because it's an expression of myself as I continue to grow and learn, I continue to serve from that space of death. 

CA: Okay. So like, it's a general sense if I were to say, oh, my friend Melissa, she is, I would say, a massage therapist who does a whole bunch of other cool things. What would you use to describe what your business is? 

HT: So my business is really about embracing the truth of who you are, your fullest expression, who you most desire and aspire to be as yourself. So in many ways we see others where we're just like in awe, you know, we're in wonder of like, wow, that person really inspires me. But the work that I do is really to invoke and inspire that truth within your own heart, that truth within your own body, within your own mind, that feels authentic to you. It's not like you're trying to be someone else. You're just more you than you ever have been. And sometimes that can look like I can support people in the ways of massage therapy, reiki massage, energetic work. And that's what I consider to be the passive form of my work. You come to see me, and I help you feel better. It's like you can just lay on the table and allow yourself to receive. But it's because I build a container of trust. So by building that container of trust, people really can soften and ease into a sense of safety and being fully held by someone else. So that is… is so needed in our culture. We're always constantly doing and getting shit done and like going out there. And it can be tiring sometimes. It can be exhausting and we can feel depleted in many ways. So the passive form of my work can be super restorative for that, for the actual nervous system, the mind, the body to feel energized by itself again. And then on another note, I have the more active form of my service, which is coaching. So whether that's one-on-one, working with couples or groups, coaching is where someone has seen the habits or patterns that keep getting them into the same places they've always been, or maybe not seeing as much growth in their life that they thought, you know, oh, I thought I had gotten through this and here I am again, you know. So really getting those habits or patterns unstuck by actively choosing a new way of being through developing new skills, generally in the form of communication and self-honor, self-trust, and also braving your own expression. 

CA: So to dive into a bit about what you said, one way that I can kind of associate with the terminology of trust that you're diving into. I used to go a lot to St. Pete community acupuncture, amazing, super cheap acupuncture place in town. And there was one person who I really loved being worked on by. And it's not like she picked a better place to put the needle or anything like that. It's just she had this aura of, I just considered it like a maternal instinct, but I think trust is better. And it was like full of Empathy, I feel like she knew like where to like touch me so I would feel less nervous things like that and I I hear what you're saying about your business being diving into that being built into that form of trust and that openness and Trying to get your customers or your clients. What would you refer to them as?

HT: I would say clients.

CA: Okay- to get your clients kind of leaning into that same thing so I understand what you're saying. I appreciate that you're building a brand around that. So talking about these services that you offer, do you call them services, modalities, and how do you decide which ones you're gonna offer, which ones you're gonna promote, which ones you're gonna stop doing? 

HT: So yeah, the kind of umbrella term is services, because that's like my gifts to the world. Now I can delineate that by my holistic bodywork, and under that branch is all of the bodywork modalities that I offer. So that would be Reiki, hands-on massage, Thai stretching, the Dolphin MPS, which is an alternative to acupuncture that I mentioned that I could provide for your mom. It would include sound healing, cupping, acupressure, lomi-lomi massage. So all of these different bodywork modalities that are hands-on. And how you- So that's like bodywork. 

CA: How are you learning and picking those up? 

HT: So that, being a licensed massage therapist, every two years you are required to add some skill set, whether that's repeating a class or a modality that you've already taken or adding something new. And I have always loved learning different ways of healing the body. And what I mean by healing the body is anytime we feel dis-ease. And we kind of make that term, oh, someone has a disease, but it's really just a dis-ease in the body. So how we bring healing to that, and I use that term healing delicately because I don't necessarily consider myself a healer, I just like to invite people into that sense of ease in their own body that is available all the time. But our culture kind of can be distracting from that. So over the years, I have just leaned into the things that I feel jazzed and excited about, things that I have received, that I've seen and experienced transformation from, and also ones that just feel resonant for me. There's some things that...you know, don't get me as jazzed and excited. One of those things related to body work is the term deep tissue massage. A lot of people have an idea of what that means. And that means like, oh, you're gonna be kind of like beat up a little bit and you're gonna feel out, you're gonna feel sore the next day, but then it's gonna be good. And that's one way of deep tissue, absolutely, that can be super effective for people. For me though, It's really how much of your own awareness can we bring in depth into the body awareness? So deep tissue, how much can we draw your own awareness into your body to have it resolve and ease what feels uncomfortable or benefit from support? So with that, that kind of led me into coaching. So I recognized people would come to me, they'd be like, oh my God, I feel so much better. So in many ways, it was beautiful to get that feedback, like, oh my God, I'm making people feel good and feel better. And in some cases, really resolving things for good. But I also recognized… the transformation that can happen when someone is an active participant in their own healing. So when someone is actually building the skills, building the tools to interact with everyday life that had otherwise kept them in some kind of discomfort or pain. So one example would be, I have a lot of people that say, oh, I always just have this shoulder pain. And I'm like, okay, you just said you always have that shoulder pain. Are you committed to that? Are you committed to always having that pain, right? So that is just one little micro change that can happen, which is like speak about your body in a different way. That first of all, honors your experience. So you might shift that into, I'm experiencing some discomfort in my shoulders. So there's an acknowledgement of what is, but the ing keeps it moving, right? It's like a river now. It's not, I have, I have this. It's my homie, my friend. Is it really though? So I'm experiencing this. It gives the language for that experience to keep moving and for you to be present to, okay, and now what? And now what? So to keep asking ourselves, how am I now? How am I now? So that's just one little micro shift that can happen for people in the coaching space, which is like, how do I think about myself? How do I talk about myself? And how do I advocate for myself in my closest relationships, in my workplace, with my family, with my friends? And the more that we can be in alignment, with our own essence, then in my experiences, there is more freedom, more ease, more joy, more pleasure. And it doesn't mean that this, you know, all of your pains, all of your worries will never arise again. It's no, no. Now you have the skills for when you face those circumstances again to navigate them and keep them moving.

CA: OK, that's fascinating. So there's a lot to unpack there. But with the services you offer, do you have just kind of a general, I guess maybe better way to put it would be, when you have a new client, do you do a consultation and then kind of recommend things from there? How also do you price your services? Is it just like based on the hour or based on what you're doing? Maybe some that are more physically taxing, some that are more emotionally taxing. I mean, how do you decide on all that structure? 

HT: Mm hmm. Yeah. So up until this point, I the kind of entry level to work with me is generally up until this point has been massage or bodywork. So people will come to see me. They want some type of either reiki healing or massage. And I have a very thorough intake form. So it's much more in depth than your average massage therapist. That's asking you. 

CA: I can attest to that. 

HT: Because really I want, even in the inquiry, when you're...when you're answering those questions, you can ask yourself, why is my massage therapist asking these kinds of questions? Because when you answer the questions of what's your biggest challenge that you're facing right now in life, when you answer that to your massage therapist, we can gain insight into not only the areas of your body that might be holding tension, but also equip you with tools in the massage itself, or maybe evoke some guided meditation. So the entry level would be like a 90 minute massage. I'm a little bit of particular if I've never seen someone before, I tend to not like to see them any shorter than 90 minutes. Many massage therapists will see someone for an hour or even offer 30 minute sessions. And for me, the depth and the breadth of work that I like to offer, 90 minutes is kind of the entry level. 

CA: So- Do you need to, do you need to like meet the person before you agree to do the massage? 

HT: Not necessarily, no. 

CA: Okay. We might have a consultation on phone, we might not. If they have completed that intake form, that's the entry level to work with me. They would leave a deposit or put a credit card on file in order to set their appointment time and they would complete the intake form. And then because of the depth of the intake form, I actually look at it prior to the appointment. And so my price point includes that. I might seem a little bit pricier than other massage therapists, but I'm also really devoting more time to the service than just that window of period that you see me. So my 90 minute massages are 161 and they go up from there. I do up to three hour sessions. So again, many massage therapists don't do that length of session. And many massage therapists will argue that they could never do that long of a session. But in the work that I do, I never feel like it's taxing or straining for me because I'm not pushing or trying or striving. It's more just being and feeling and really breathing with you as we're moving the body, we're moving the limbs, we're massaging the tissue, we might be just doing some hands-on energy work, but really It's offering a space of deep presence, of loving presence that many people don't even offer themselves. Nevermind put themselves in the position of receiving that from someone else. Even in intimate partnerships. How often do we sit across from our partner and just simply offer a nurturing touch without wanting or desiring anything in return? Right? So that's the kind of quality and breadth of work that I bring to the body work. And then from there, it also gives them, builds them up with some skills because I do guided meditations and some invocations during those sessions. So it kind of gives you a sense of how my coaching is gonna be as well. And you're already developing the skills of breath and body awareness through working with me through massage. And then from there, I can sense whether they're really ready to dive into coaching. And not everyone is because you have to face your own shit. Not everyone wants to do that. But it is the people who are really fed up with whatever has been going on, if they've experienced any trauma in the past and ready to resolve the patterns that are inhibiting them and the life that they wanna see. And it's also someone who is brave enough to receive coaching. You know, like a coach is a little bit different than a therapist because a coach you present us your biggest wildest dreams. And then that is the goalpost. So anything that's getting in the way of that, we're gonna look at it. We're gonna unpack it. And we're gonna use skill building and different tools to equip you to move through that and towards that. 

CA: So when you're consulting with someone about what they want that ultimate goal to be, how are they or you or they, how is that being visualized as a goal? Is that like, I see a person on a hill who's very happy? Is it like a specific, is it arbitrary? Like not arbitrary, is it archetypal like that? Or is it more specific than that usually? 

HT: It's both, it's both and because first of all, there's generally some kind of image of what we envision. Like say, oh, I want a house with 40 acres and, you know, a wife and kids or whatever it happens to be. Usually there's an image involved in that. But the piece with coaching is, okay, now how does that feel in the body? And generally we don't know yet how it feels to have those things until we explore and kind of magnetize or call forth what it is that we're moving towards. So generally based on our history, we'll have the unpacking to do to get there. So first of all, we wanna remove the blocks and this is a visceral experience and it's packed into our nervous system. So this is why the body work can be really valuable. But the next step is really doing the mindset and the coaching work because we can receive that ease in the nervous system, but then we also have to be an active participant and an active creator in the vision that we're bringing in. So through the coaching, it's really about unpacking what's on the nervous system. And I'll share a quick example of this. I had spoken or no, I had received a healing session and I had this visceral experience like from my entire nervous system of this feeling of being lost, shed. Like it literally felt like I felt like I peeled a layer of skin off. This was the visceral sensation. And I acknowledged that as like, I think that was my mom's. And I followed up with her and I said, hey mom, how are you feeling when I was in your womb? And she's like, I was so lost, I was scared, I didn't know what I was gonna do. And I was like, holy cow. And that's exactly what I had shed. The first imprint in the nervous system is when we're in utero. That's the first thing that's developed is the fascia, the connective tissue of the body that's head to toe, front to back, side to side, it connects all bones, ligaments, joints, organs, everything. It's one webbing. And unlike structurally we think, oh, the bones hold us all together, it's actually the fascia. So that fascia is the nervous system. It is, it can receive information, it can learn habits. It can also release information or let go of information. So in our current culture, I know I can say this for myself, living in the St. Pete, it's a small city, but it's a city. I feel that buzz in my nervous system, whether I'm in a relaxed state, whether it's a work day or not, there's this internal buzz that is kind of always on. When I go really, really remote into nature, I don't feel that buzz anymore. It's more of a calm and ease. And I think a lot of people can say that too. Oh, when I go out in nature, I just feel so much better. Right? I just feel so good when I'm just like in the woods. There's something about that. And it's related to our nervous system. We're actually resetting into that homeostasis. So to kind of graduate into coaching with me, I start with three month containers. I don't do any less than three months because we don't wanna unpack anything that we can't clean up. I don't want you to come in for your first session. We talk about this trauma you had and then we're gonna leave it raw open. No, no, no. We wanna make sure that we can tend to whatever aspects we have enough time, a window period to actually integrate whatever it is that we're integrating. 

CA: So those coaching sessions, are those organized as like a series of meetings then? 

HT: Yeah, so it's every other week. So I give you a nice week, two weeks to really integrate most of the skillset that we'll be learning through our time together. And also in between those sessions, you have full access to me during working business hours for texts, email, all through Voxer. So it's like real time, you know, if I'm available, I'm responding to. So that's super helpful because, okay, you learned this new skill and then you go in your family and there's some friction and you're like, what the heck, it didn't work. How do I navigate this? So that's when we can hop on a quick call and we can navigate it right there in real time. 

CA: So what is Voxer? I've never heard of that platform. 

HT: Voxer is actually, it's a little bit like that walkie talkie app that, or remember when they had the walkie talkie phones? 

CA: Yeah, Nextel. 

HT: Yes. Yeah, yeah. So it's a little bit like that because you can share audio threads, you can share images, you can also text through it, but it's its own app. So it's kind of easy for me to keep it delineated from my personal messages. It's like, no, this is my work messages. And I look at this during these hours. And then this is my private messages and I'll look at these during private hours. 

CA: Oh, cool. So talking about all the services you offer, you mentioned that usually people come in with massage and then they might develop into other things from there. 

HT: As it is now, what percentage would you say are general bodywork versus what is non-bodywork? I would say right now it's about 70% bodywork, 30% coaching. 

CA: OK. Do you regularly find people who you feel would benefit from coaching, but don't take that advanced up? 

HT: I do. I do. And I think that's partly what I'm navigating as a service provider is how to sell myself in a way that serves my client. 

CA: Sure. Okay. 

HT: So I notice you know I never want to put myself in the position of trying to convince someone what they need. Right? So it's really strategic to, as a business person, to really share why it's valuable for someone and how it can benefit them. So honestly, that's my learning zone in my current business is how to have those sales calls, to really help my clients get to the next level, for them to see the value of doing this work. Do you ever set apart time in your day to just call clients like as a follow-up to massage or things like that, just maybe kind of slowly make that a sales pitch, but also really just kind of see how they're doing? 

CA: Yeah. 

HT: So I have had different segments of time where I'll dedicate like one day or one half day to sales calls. And that's super helpful in really delineating the time, how I invest my time, because I never, it doesn't feel good for me to be doing bodywork and then jump into sales calls or something like that. I really want to like… really delineate the time so I can get very clear with my intention in however I want to segment my time that way. Yeah. 

CA: Do you take notes like probably not during the bodywork session, but like after the session about things you'd want to follow up on? Because I imagine it's probably yet you need to like compartmentalize your emotional state during those different regions. So do you have kind of any practices that help you transition from one to the other?

HT: Yeah, there's definitely a process of... Everything in life for me, I really think of life as a living ceremony. So there's an opening to the day, right? We might have a ritual of coffee, and then there's like a closure to the day where we might wind down and just sit quietly, or maybe we watch a movie, right? There's rituals to everything. And it makes life meaningful. So the same thing happens with a session. Before someone comes in, I'm cleansing the space. I'm clearing the space, resetting it for the day. I wash my hands, I wash my face. You know, there's like this ritual of my own personal cleansing, but also spatial cleansing. And that happens after the session too. We're making notes of what we discovered in the session. And I'll do a follow-up after that as well to see, hey, you mentioned these things and also little celebrations, acknowledgements of some breakthroughs that had come through. So that's an important piece, I think, too. Yeah, as you say, like not only sessions, but also like how we delineate our time. Okay. Before I get on a sales call, I'm gonna make sure my desk is clear. I have my notepad. I have my phone is already charged. You know, on 10%. So yeah, things like that. 

CA: And so I know as recently your massage studio is in your current living space. Do you have like a separate office for that salesy aspect of your business or is that happening within the same massage studio? 

HT: It's a little bit of both actually. I have two spaces in my home that feel like a nice working space. And it really just depends on the vibe I'm in. And if it's cool enough outside, I'll even be outside as much as possible. But yeah, either way, I do have my little tabletop desk that I kind of like it's like a tray that I can bring everywhere. But yeah, sometimes it's in my massage space and sometimes it's not. I do see coaching clients in my massage space as well. But generally I'll kind of move the massage table aside because in many sessions we'll actually get into some embodiment work. So we're gonna be occupying the whole room too. 

CA: Oh, fun, okay. I mean, I could say from personal experience, if I'm trying to do work not in my office. I'm totally inefficient. I feel like I can't do things right. And like, if I'm not sitting at my desk with my external monitors, my arm cradle that holds my arm up as I use my mouse, I feel like I'm just wasting time. Don't let my wife hear that because she always wants me to work in the living room with her. Yeah. But I just, I don't have the same level of efficiency and that just drives me crazy because I'm always striving for efficiency.

HT: I totally, I hear you on that. I understand that completely. And it sounds like that's one of your rituals. You're like, when I enter this space, I know I am in work mode and I have clear tasks or goals that I wanna accomplish and then you're able to complete them. 

CA: And I do need to thank my wife for that, for forcing me out of work mode. Cause if she wasn't here, I would just be working nonstop 24 hours a day. And I mean, you know that you get texts from me in the middle of the night. So we had to have a discussion about that. But like, yeah, if left to my own devices. I would just, I would never eat, never sleep and just work constantly. So. Yeah. 

HT: Yeah, there is a delicate balance. And I think that's a part of being an entrepreneur as well. 

CA: Oh, for sure. 

Generally, what I notice is if you're an entrepreneur, you're doing something that you love. 

CA: Yeah.

HT: I mean, hopefully, you know? So with that, there's a little bit of ease, even though you're in the work, there's like, you know, there's juices flowing and activity and creativity happening. So there is kind of like a sustenance or nourishment that happens with that, you know? But there is also so much value in taking that time out that is that nervous system reset that actually does help us to work efficiently when we are in the work mode too. You know if we don't take that time out then our our system isn't charged up fully you know so that's that's my experience anyway and what I've noticed with many people that I work with whether you're an entrepreneur or not if you're just in work mode you're going to get.

CA: Talking a bit more about the salesy side, how do you go about collecting new clients? Is it all word of mouth? Do you do marketing? Is it just like personal conversations you have with strangers that eventually may lead to some type of service? 

HT: Yeah, so generally the clients that I see are either referrals because I have, I'm so grateful I have such a loyal, beautiful following. They're like my super fans. I'm so I love them so much. So generally referrals are a huge one for me. I'm very active in the community. So a lot of that is just, you know, connecting with people and people feel the energy and they're like, I want some of that whatever you have, you know, and then we'll start working together in one way or another. I also facilitate women's groups. So a lot of that in that space, we are kind of touching on those little points that like, oh yeah, this is a tender place that, you know, I would like a little bit more care and attention or some resolve to. So that'll be also kind of a doorway or a gateway into working with me as well. 

CA: Great. So you mentioned like women's groups specifically, what percentage of your clientele would you say identify as women and which one would you say identify as men?

HT: I would say about 60-40. 60% women and 40% men. 

CA: That's a little bit closer than I expected because I just assume men are less likely to want to be coached by a woman. 

HT: Yeah, okay. So, okay, that's relating bodywork. I actually have not coached any men. I coach women, I would say, not exclusively, but I find that yeah, the men that have inquired about coaching, there's been a little bit of resistance with, I don't know if it's working with me specifically or just in general. But yeah, I don't know if that's my learning zone for the sales call, in talking to my male clients. But it is interesting.

CA: Well, I wouldn't think it's you specifically because I could say from my own perspective I feel like I would be more likely to open up emotionally to a woman than to a man specifically if it comes with a side of coaching because in my mind, My lived experience. I would rather be more closely aligned with a woman's lived experience then what I imagine as a man who wants to tell me what to do. I don't know if that's a good way to describe it, but like I just question any man who wants to coach me. 

HT: Interesting, yeah, interesting.

CA: I guess that's probably an extension of like my reasoning behind hating politicians. It's like really you think your opinion is so important that you need to dictate it to everyone in the state or everyone in your county. So it's probably an extension of that.

HT: Yeah, I hear you on that. I hear you on that. And I think also it really depends on the individual and their experience with whoever was their kind of supporter or provider, right? We're looking at like mother, fathers, aunts and uncles. Like if you had an a-hole uncle, you're like F dudes that wanna lead me or guide me, you know? So it can be some of that too. 

CA: Yeah. 

HT: And it's interesting. I'm not saying specifically, but, you know, that could be why some people are more attracted or drawn to men or women. 

CA: Yeah. I guess, I guess thinking about, I mean, we're definitely unpacking some things here now, but thinking about my own, my own growing up advice I always got from my mother was always more about like, making the people around you feel better. Well, the advice I always got from my dad was more about making yourself feel better. And I definitely ended up putting more value on the what I see as maternal advice versus paternal advice Well, anyways that being said-

HT: Valid, you know, and I think it also touches on some of that masculine feminine polarity Which is a hot topic right now and the maternal or the feminine instinct, we actually have our eyes and ears and feelers out, not only to our personal private sphere, but also for generations. We're thinking that long range vision when the masculine is like a get shit done, like focus on that task, get it done, and on to the next, which we need both. You know, we really do need both. So where both skills are highlighted is where we can see the value in both, right? Is like where the men, you know, desiring to, and I'll just make this like really explicit example, you know, when men just wanna get off, like seeing the value in the feminine of like, no, let's draw it out. We really want it long and slow and you know and many waves of pleasure, not just one. You know, and then- 

CA: That's because women have less things to do during the day. Justkidding. 

HT: And then the feminine can see actually, there's value in efficiency, right? We wanna get it done. We wanna like execute a task, you know? So it's like living, breathing that polarity. It takes listening and seeing and feeling to build the skills of both. Right? As a feminine being, my skill building is having a balanced masculine. Right? I could be flowy all day, but not actually get anything done as a masculine. Like you're saying, you know, with your wife, you can get it done all day. But then she's like, wait, can we just like be together and just like enjoy the fruits of all the flavors? You know, so it's a balance, you know, and that's what I love about. I love about life is, you know, we get to have these dances with life. 

CA: You know, it's funny, my wife's been helping me a lot lately with cleaning up the AI transcription of these podcast episodes. And I know when she hears this, when she's going to be constantly like coming up to me and just staring at me because what you've said so perfectly describes our relationship. I love that she's going to get a kick out of this. So I think this is actually a good transition into the project we're working on together, the Women's Wheel. And so as a general speaking with it, a general distillation of what this is, Melissa reached out to me. Well, I guess we communicated, but Melissa said she had this idea about this philosophy she's been working on with a lot of her women's coaching. And I had lots of experience of developing tarot decks and crowdfunding. So we kind of put our powers together. So Melissa's philosophies define the project. I've worked on the illustration, graphic design, package design, marketing materials, and we have it on BackerKit right now going through crowdfunding. So can you please introduce your philosophy behind the Women's Wheel

HT: Yeah. Yeah. So what's so exciting about the Women's Wheel is it's really a culmination of my life's work. As a woman working with women and for women. So I'm taking the philosophy of, first of all, our cyclical wisdom. So really bringing in the intelligence and the wisdom of our bleeding cycle. Because first of all, as a woman, we experience this coming of age. And not too many of us actually received the information that would be empowering for us during our cycles. So this is what kind of brings us into the seasons of the cycle. So when we bring into awareness what season we're in as a woman within our cycle, then we can be empowered to navigate the world that's aligned with what season we're in. So I'll make the analogy of in winter, are you going to like go out in your bikini and, you know, go swimming? Well, maybe in Florida, but when you think about the seasons, actually winter, when you think about it, it's more of an inward phase, you know, you're kind of turning inward, maybe you're more reflective. I know I'm from New England, so these seasons are more fully expressed there. You know, they're very distinct each one. And so we can actually see the harmony that we are with nature. You know, our bodies have that same innate intelligence. And when we can honor those seasons, then we can work more efficiently, we can have more joy. We don't have to be confused of why we have this inner critic that is so loud or why our partners are like, why are you acting this way? You know, there is a reason for all of that. And that's in conjunction with hormonal changes. So that's one aspect. And then we brought in the 28 archetypes, which is more or less what a feminine cycle is. The cycle really is like 28, 29, 30 days, but we use 28 because it really depicts each season equally. And with that, we can see the subtle energies of transformation that females go through. So archetypes are really, if you're not familiar with that word, they can be considered more or less like universal personalities. So, we don't need to take the archetypes personally. They're really just a way of understanding how we show up differently in each day of our lives and even different times of the day, we might show up differently. So it gives us the ability to reclaim the diversity of our own life, right? My name's Melissa, but Melissa means many different things, right? Depending on the day you're gonna meet me. And there's also an overarching kind of essence of like who you know me to be. You're like, yeah, Melissa's kind of got this vibe, you know, as you know me and learn me, you kind of get that, right? I hope. Yeah. But then to those archetypes, there's also a light and a dark side, both equally valuable, equally important, but what's important to distinguish is how are those light and dark sides affecting our life? How are they supporting us? How are they maybe causing us some trouble or challenge? So when we can bring awareness to the light and dark side of each of these subtle energies, then we can then discern, oh, Where am I orienting towards? Is this, when I act out of this way of being, is this really supporting me or is it inhibiting me? So this is what kind of supports, it's like a self coaching tool, you know? It's self inquiry and you get to look at what is, how you can best advocate for yourself. Well, I really liked the idea that it's a system that allows you to kind of reflect on where you've been, where you're going, explains why you may be changing your personality or reactions to adversity. But then it also kind of helps identify a place where you're comfortable. 

CA: So for example, when we were coming up with these archetypes, I was always visualizing like this is the type of woman I see on the street. So then I would try and draw that. This is the type of woman who I picture in this environment. I try and draw that. And it doesn't kind of like limit you like a personality test does to like, this is what you do. It's more like, this is where you're comfortable but you're always gonna be cycling. 

HT: Yes, absolutely. And it also helps to really meet our sisterhood wherever they're at too. Because as very emotional, empathetic beings, like there can be a lot of turmoil amongst women and having that division really inhibits the service and the shift that we can provide for this planet, I think. When we can kind of integrate all of those different personalities where you might see the naturalist next to the executive and you're like okay how are these two going to get along but it might be that you draw them up in your own um in your own reading but you also might see how you interact with that and how is a naturalist interacting with an executive is the naturalist Right? Is that authentic to the naturalist nature? Probably not. The naturalist is really empathetic of all beings and can see where the executive is coming from and can meet that that individual where she's at. Sure.

CA: Yeah, I mean, it it was definitely fun developing all of those. And I don't think we had a hard time editing it down to 28.

HT: Um, no, it's, they're pretty universal. And you know, I mean, there's the, the fun part about this is, is like, there's these universal archetypes, these personalities, but then in that there's layers, right? We don't just have one personality up at any time. We're a culmination of them at any given time. So there, the amount of combinations and also I would say personalities that are like highlighted again at different seasons of our life is also why we put these archetypes in different seasons because they do kind of embody a unique energy and also that doesn't keep them limited because they're also likely to have many other energies from other seasons at any given time, just like myself right now. I'm bleeding, I'm in my winter, but I'm also in the Earth's autumn and I'm recording this podcast, which is a very summer-like energy. So there's all of these nuances happening. 

CA: So one thing that also really drew me to the idea of the project was that generally speaking, all tarot decks and Oracle decks out there are like a singular experience with you, just investigating your own spread or doing a reading for somebody else. It's rarely a conversation in which someone shares their thoughts and their opinions and vice versa. There's not a lot of reciprocation with Tarot and Oracle decks. So I loved your idea that being full of activities that can be for sisterhood or help facilitate communication with the women around you. So yeah, that making it a tool for the women's work you're already doing, I thought was really a fun reason to make this project happen. 

HT: Yeah. The one thing that's so lovely about women's groups, and I'm seeing this with men's groups now too, which is amazing. But everyone sharing this piece of vulnerability, it really builds the connection in the group. Sometimes, we might not necessarily have the words for what we're experiencing, or it might be that we don't know what that little hook is that keeps us in that place, that stuck place. And the Oracle Deck is a powerful tool to kind of like, oh, that's that little prickly energy. And now that I'm aware of it, now I can really shift and transform it with the support of my sisterhood because when you see other people holding you accountable or who know what you're unpacking, you can be held and supported in that. Absolutely. When it's like you're doing it alone, then you're doing it alone and then it can feel like heavy and you can feel stuck and scared to ask for help. But when it's out there in the open, you're fully supported, you're fully held. And if anything, it also helps to provide perspective on why someone else is maybe acting the way they are. Because if you can apply an archetype to someone you're seeing at a distance, you can read on that and say like, okay, well, maybe it's because of this, or maybe because they've transferred from this previous state, and this is them trying to unpack whatever they just dealt with, and this is how it is coming out of them. So I really love those communal aspects. So- Yeah, it's a tool for empathy. 

CA: Yeah. So in regards to the process of turning this into a product and going through this crowdfunding process, what are some things that surprised you that we've been through in the last few months of building it out? Things you didn't expect. 

HT: Yeah. Well, first of all, I am just in awe of you as a creator and an illustrator. I'm just like, this man is a magician. And also, yeah, the aspects that really go into marketing something, you know? And I think that's also partly why, you know, it's a whole new aspect of business that I'm learning so much more about is the actual marketing a campaign.

CA: Yeah, I can tell you I've learned a crazy amount in the last three months just from working with the marketing team at BackerKit. Like I've gained so much new terminology and learned how to calculate things I didn't know I needed to calculate on projects. So I've definitely learned a lot and it's exhausting. It's frankly exhausting. 

HT: What's been your biggest thing that you've learned from the team there? 

CA: Well, first off, like, I love that they've been giving us these presentations, or not presentations, but documents that show us which ad copies get the most clicks, which headlines get the most clicks, which graphics get the most clicks. Because like with the graphics, I was really surprised. I thought the ones that feature art from individual cards would have done better than just kind of like this nebulous here's the title couple cards on the side. But that really wasn't the case. 

HT: Yeah, I've noticed that.

CA: Like, we're getting, I think it's fascinating to see too, we're getting a lot of people who click on an ad, but don't necessarily make a purchase, which as they're describing to us, maybe that there's a disconnect between the project that's being presented in the ad, or at least what they're imagining the product is in the ad, versus how we're presenting it on the campaign. So that's really fascinating too. And it's not like I don't think we did enough prep leading into it. It's just, there's questions that we don't know people are asking. And there's no easy way for us, I mean, my day job's a market researcher. So there's no way to know what those questions are unless we get these potential people into a conversation. And there's no easy way to do that. 

HT: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I hear you on that. And that honestly has been my, probably my biggest learning zone or biggest, challenge I would say with business in particular is the wording. Because I feel like, and as y'all have probably heard from this podcast, I'm pretty woo woo. I have a lot of nuance and I paint these like lovely pictures, but they're broad brushstrokes. So really pinning it down and being so clear and concise. That's that's an edge for me. Oh, concise. 

CA: What? Well, I mean, that's also an issue with maybe issues, not a right word, but the overall project as it is, we're primarily trying to promote it as an Oracle deck, but that's just one of the many aspects within the core set. Yes. Yeah. And it's because people want to be able to define something. And I definitely don't want it defined as self-help because that just has such an ugly taste to it. But an Oracle deck is the easiest thing for people to kind of grab onto, and that is part of the project. 

HT: Yeah, and now honestly, now that you say that, I think it could be so well marketed as self-help. You know, it's interesting now that you say that, and I'm the same way. Like, there is like a little- it may be a dirty word, self-help, you know, in this current, you know, day and age, but it is actually self-help, you know? It is like receiving a tool that I can inform myself and learn more about myself, and I can even relate this to other people, and we can communicate it and learn about it together. It technically is, you know? So Maybe that's our next marketing campaign. 

CA: So I definitely do want to say how incredibly, I guess, lack of a better word, wonderful. It has been working with you on this project. This is the first time I've ever worked with someone else on a project like this. And I've always been, because I've always done everything myself, I've always been worried no one would be able to keep up with the rhythm in which I'm creating things. And like, I hate the, I know a lot of people who I've talked with who design games and things like that, they'll maybe like have to, they're working with other illustrators. So they're like, okay, I need to tweak this thing. Then they're gonna have to wait two weeks for that illustrator to give them the graphic. Then they'll have to send it to the factory in China to get another proof. So like, I'm always worried of that being a situation where I'm waiting months for someone to complete their job so I can finish my job. And I know I've probably driven you crazy with the amount of stuff we've been doing in the last few weeks, but I have really appreciated all the effort you've been putting into building this thing out.

HT: Yeah, well, likewise, likewise, I am so grateful. And I recognize, like, even when we first met that first time, there was so much creative energy. We were like back and forth, like the conversation was just flowing and- and there was so much there. So I really recognize this as like a really powerful masculine and feminine polarity, you know? And honestly, you've kept like such a strong and powerful like masculine container, which I always make the analogy, it's like the masculine's the riverbanks, you know? So the feminine flow, you know? So like, you're keeping us on time, on schedule, like the river banks are there. And I'm like, okay, okay, here I go, here I go. And I'm just like able to stay in my zone of genius, which is doing the writing and supporting with the advertising and the marketing and any other tasks that I feel equipped to do. So yeah, it's felt really good for me too. So thank you so much, Nick, especially coming from you, being like, being particular about a partner, you know, working partnership. I'm like, oh boy, let's see how it goes. And I'm thrilled. Yeah. 

CA: So like one thing that always keeps me going is no matter what happens on the crowdfunding phase, the end of the day, am I proud of what I've created? And I can tell you, I'm absolutely proud of what I created. So I always need to know that going into a crowdfunding project in case the crowdfunding doesn't work. I'm like, well, I know this will still be a good seller as a item. Maybe the audience that needs to see it needs to be shown. They need it to be shown to them like hand in person. They may not be able to find it through our advertising channels. So just because it doesn't do well in crowdfunding doesn't mean it's not going to do well in the life of the product itself after it's been produced. So. Yeah. That's something that I always want to know going into something that I'm proud enough that I want to have it as a physical thing and I'm going to be happy to sell it. Because that's exactly what happened with my erotic sex board game. Satisfy. The crowdfunding campaign was very minimal. It didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but I still made enough to manufacture it. I still lost money on the manufacturing of it. But over time, it has been a great seller. It just takes the effort of being able to explain to someone how it works, and then they're instantly in love with it. And you can't necessarily do that on just a static web page that describes your idea behind a project. So it's really kind of just a give and take. Your audience is out there, but is your audience browsing backer kit for new projects? That's kind of the question. 

HT: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely, way of approaching work as well. You really enlightened me to that is like, yeah, is this something that I can be proud of? Absolutely, absolutely. Like I, honestly, I'm just so stoked and excited to be working in this, with this framework, to be honest with you, because, yeah, it's a tool, it's a skill, but when we look through a certain lens or a framework, it really can like orient us towards, you know, something specific. And for me, this is orienting us towards nature, the natural rhythms of life and cycles of life. So for me, anything that orients us towards that, like I'm proud of. 

CA: Great, well, I think we've been going on for over an hour, so maybe it's time to wind it down. Anything you wanna leave us with? 

HT: Well, I would just say, please support the campaign, whether you feel inspired to simply contribute monetarily. We have that option as well. Or if you're really jazzed about the project and you want to take one home for yourself, please get one of those and share with your friends and family because I really do feel so jazzed and excited to have this be a modality that women specifically. And our communities can understand that we are nature and to harmonize in that way and to align ourselves with that innate wisdom. That innate wisdom. So please support the campaign. Yes, please do. And you can easily find it at womenswheel.co, W-O-M-E-N-S-W-H-E-E-L.co.

CA: You can also find Melissa's website at thehearttemple.co. Is that right? 

HT: hearttemple.co

CA: Okay. Heart Temple

HT: You can find me there. If you want to do a consultation or work together, I'd be happy to. 

CA: And you can also, my Instagram is lousy with ads for, or filled with ads, that's a better way to put it, filled with ads for women's wheels. So just you can hit the link on my Instagram. And Melissa is also at Women's Wheel on Instagram, right? 

HT: I am at hearttemple.co on Instagram

CA: Sorry, yes, thank you. hearttemple.co on Instagram. But it must be in the making already. 

HT: Yeah. But I do have a Women's Wheel Circle that's coming up in two weeks in St. Pete, and that will be an ongoing, twice monthly Women's Wheel Circle. And in addition to that, yeah, follow me on social media, hit me with a DM. I would love to chat if there's anything that sparked your interest or inspired you. Let's have a conversation. Great. 

CA: All right. Well, thank you so much. Once again, you have been wonderful to work with. I'm very excited about this project we've had, and I'll be probably chatting with you again through text over the next few hours just about random stuff on the project. 

HT: Oh, certainly. 

CA: All right.


Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

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