Coming to an end…

October 28th, 2013

Dearest Ones,

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Monica and Melanie would like to express their deepest gratitude for your helping to lift up Femme Tales over the years.  We’re so thankful that you journeyed with us for these past 4 years.  As with everything in life, changes are afoot around here.  Melanie and Monica are each setting forth on separate journeys in the blogging hemisphere.

Melanie has donned her purple pea coat and galoshes and is coaching visionaries and helping peeps write books as a Book Shaman.  You can continue to follow her blog and happenings here:  http://melaniebates.com/

Monica is buried under boxes from her most recent move across country, but is still working on her novel and blogging at various different sites: http://www.owningpink.com/users/monica-wilcox ; http://jenniferlshelton.com/

With so much love and heart, to each of you.

Melanie & Monica

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Do It. Before You’re Ready by Melanie Bates

September 11th, 2013

leap-of-faithI just launched my website. It’s been hanging out there in cyberspace, shivering and alone. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ve just been afraid to put myself out into the world in this way. I’ve told exactly five people about it and every single time I feel exposed. Anxious. Naked (With a lover. For the first time. After a bikini wax gone awry.)

The funny thing is that when gunk comes up for you, the big “U”niverse sends you all sorts of direct correspondence if you’re paying attention.

A couple months ago, for example, I read a fantastic article by James Clear about how successful people start before they’re ready.

I didn’t listen to that lil’ tidbit from the Divine. Not really.

So, as I was working with an author on his third book, I read a chapter he’d written about how he’d put himself out into the world in a profession he’d never worked in before and how his very successful business was launched from that experience. (Yes, I’m being vague, the book isn’t out yet. You’ll find no spoilers here.)

I sat up a little straighter when I read that chapter. I pondered and let it go.

Today, as I was talking to the glorious artist, goddess and visionary, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, I realized that her part of her success has come from starting before she feels ready and from always answering the calls from the Big “U.”

Me? Well… I typically don’t hear the call because my phone is on vibrate, or I’ve left it in my car, or I don’t have the energy to talk in that moment.

Okay, that’s not true (though if you’ve ever tried to call me you might disagree.) Today, however, in talking to Shiloh my ears perked up, my heart got a jump, and I paid close attention.

As I thought about it – this starting before you’re ready – I realized that I’ve actually started tons of things before I felt ready.

Case in point:

About six years ago I began to build a small accounting business in Cleveland. The clients were pouring in – an Italian restaurant, then an HVAC company, then a coffee shop… My big break, or so I thought, came when I went on an interview with a company who needed someone to do an inventory of their 20,000 square foot building and every nut and bolt in it. As I donned my canary yellow hard hat and walked into the basement to look at pipe fittings bigger than my head, I thought perhaps the job was out of my league given my background of recording pizza dough receipts into Quickbooks Pro 2007.

The company ended up folding before I really got started, thank God, but my little accounting business did quite well despite that loss.

Then there’s blogging, diving out of a plane at 11,000 feet, moving 2,000 miles away from friends and family to an unknown land, bartending Coyote Ugly style, quitting jobs to pursue my next path… I didn’t feel ready for any of these things when I started them and, for the most part, all of them turned out to be fairly successful leaps (literally and figuratively.)

Despite the fact that I may not feel ready, I’m going to “launch” my site. I’m not going to wait until I have the perfect shade of gray (no pun intended) in my headers or the polished-to-the-nub descriptors of my services or the right version of the 5,000,000,000 pictures I had taken to tell my story or until I have sixty years of experience in the coaching arena. I’m just going to show up, here on my site, as authentically me as I can be and wait with bated breath to see what the Big “U” has in store in regards to my latest ventures.

Hell, I’m going to post this blog before it’s ready, edited and re-read for the fortieth time. I’m cray-cray like that.

Go ahead, big “U”, make me a vessel.

What are you ready to do begin before you feel ready? What are you waiting for?

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Which Flavor is Your Purpose Pie? by Monica Wilcox

August 5th, 2013

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If life is a circle then it can be none other than a pie.

I talk to my kids regularly about their pie. Every few years I make them squiggle a lopsided circle onto a piece of paper and then I have them break it down into slices. Naming their pie isn’t enough. Oh no. They’ve got to name each piece of their pie based on how much time they spend doing certain activities. Here was my daughter’s pie at the age of 8:

photo

And here’s her current purpose pie: Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Place an Order with The Universe by Monica Wilcox

July 23rd, 2013

restaurant indoors

Jen’s fallen into a pit of hopelessness and can’t climb out.  She’s lost, frustrated and moodier than a Homer Winslow painting. So I tossed her a ladder, hauled her out and took her to my favorite kitchen, The Universe.  With its iridescent atmosphere (Is it white or is it colored?) and cheerful waiters who are highly knowledgeable and curiously androgynous, it’s the best place around!

Waiter-Welcome soulies! How can we serve you today?

Me-Wow, have you extended my menu? I don’t remember it being this expansive. Check out the Dream List!

Waiter-Every time you order, your menu automatically expands and tailors itself to your next visit. We try our best to cover every possibility . . . and then some.

Jen-I guess! There’s a section for Life Changing Bites , Soulful Delights, Growth Boosts, Spiritual Sliders, Higher Good Shots, and Opportunity Slammers.

Waiter-Yes, well the human experience is quite extensive. If you can’t find what you want on the menu we do take special requests.

Jen-Is there anything you don’t have?

Waiter- We used to offer misery, violence, greed and humiliation but no one ordered them so we took them off. Between you and me, most people seem to have no trouble cooking those up in their own kitchens.

Me-I’m going to go with my usual. I’ll take a Lucrative Surprise to start, an order of Successful Project Completion with a Serving Others Shot.

Waiter-Fantastic! I hope you don’t mind if I tell you that this will continue to be an excellent choice for you, Monica. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Crossing by Monica Wilcox

June 29th, 2013

mother-child-holding-hands

A Road…

is a black, flat, stretched rectangle that blocked him from the places he wanted to go. A road is where the gwass, weeds, sidewalk, and even the diwt ends and the fumy, Hot! Hot! Hot! oil begins.

“Careful,” she warned him in that voice he knew not to question, but of what, he could not see. There was nothing coming or going or crossing… except for one dry, squiggly worm. He loved worms.

“Take my hand. Let me help you through the traffic,” she said taking his dirty hand in hers. “You must stop. Look to the right, look to the left and then look to the right again.”

And he did just that: right, left, right, maybe a whole three times. Was he supposed to be counting? Still… nothing moved. Even the bweeze was afraid of this invisible danger. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do You Feel Heard? by Melanie Bates

June 22nd, 2013

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Do you ever just feel like no one hears you? As if you’re floating under the Pacific screaming “SHARK!” and the rest of the world is sunning themselves on the beach and watching their kids splash in the waves with sand on their arses?

Case in Point:

For the past few weeks my hair has looked like a particularly worn down coat of a buckskin mare who has been rolling around in the mud.  Sort of dingy blond with a dark brown stripe down the center.

See what I mean:

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I do not exaggerate. The difference between the color of my roots and the rest of my hair was as stark as this little guy:

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So I went in search of a new stylist as the last time I got my hair cut in Utah it resembled a Q-tip that has been forgotten in a travel bag for the past seven years – slightly yellowed, frayed off of the cardboard tip like the last wisp of cotton candy on the stick, and, not to mention, forlorn.

I found someone at a reputable salon here in Utah and made my appointment. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Avoid Shrinky Dink Dream Syndrome by Monica Wilcox

June 16th, 2013

sweet_dreams_my_child_

You Own It

It took entirely too long but you’re finally living your big dream. It’s finally here. You made it official, jumped off the cliff, changed your job title on Facebook and shredded the last of your old business cards. And you’ve never felt freer. You’re floating out on an open sea now, baby! Woo hoo! The possibilities are circling like a playful dolphin pod. Life couldn’t be better… although… it hasn’t been easy. It’s been downright frightful at times. You’ve had a few anxiety attacks. Okay, maybe more than a few.  And the bottom number in your bank account has grown heavy… like a baby T-rex chewing steroids.

The problem is your big bodacious dream is undefined. This sea is a bit too open, and much of it feels out of your control. I mean, could those dolphins actually be sharks? What will you do if it rains? What will you do when a storm hits? Build a dolphin raft?  So…

You Define It

Enough of this living in the unknown! You take a seat at your planning table with your crafting box and draw your dream: the huge checks, the expanding reach, the success, rapid expansion, franchising, a virtual assistant, a real world assistant and a Louis Vuitton briefcase. You color it in (no crossing the lines) shades of orange and green with absolutely no purple. No matter what, your dream will never allow even a hint of purple. It’s so clearly defined now even God’s Littlest Helper could carry it out. 

You Work It Read the rest of this entry »

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Living With a Misspell-ability by Monica Wilcox

May 26th, 2013

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Here’s an ironic, little secret: I’m a writer who can’t spell. While I haven’t been officially tested, it’s safe to say I’d struggle to make it through my son’s fourth grade spelling test. Speaking of fourth grade; that was the last year I made any effort to memorize the list. I spent so much time buried under weighty dictionaries that year I knew something had to be done. By fifth grade I was cheating off my BFF, an A+++ speller. That was the only year I got an A+++ in spelling (Sorry Mrs. Bunt). But you can bet your backpack I earned my A in Problem Solving that year.

Here’s The Deal: I Know I’m a Bad Speller

It’s been pretty clear for 33 years people. I don’t need another email, or notification or personal message, or direct message or poke to tell me how bad it is. Thanks. I’m honestly growing weary of the people who feel the need to constantly bring it up. Do these people email 10K run fliers to paraplegics? Do they mail an alphabet poster to the dyslexic? Do they save the job section of the newspaper for the homeless woman on the corner? Kicking at the crutch doesn’t make a disabled individual stronger. Read the rest of this entry »

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From My Hands & Heart: How Craniosacral Therapy Can Benefit Your Health by Monica Wilcox

May 18th, 2013

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A week ago I had never heard of Craniosacral Therapy. Today I’m lying on a massage table getting my first session. Serendipity: the gift that keeps on giving.

The therapist, Kate Mackinnon asks me a few questions. How am I feeling? Great, minus the stress of introducing your novel to the world. Any aches or pains? Would my daughter’s social studies grade count? Any surgeries or traumatic physical events. Well, I threw my upper ribs out doing P90X, I’ve delivered 2 kids and I had this freakishly embarrassing waterskiing accident in the early ‘90s that cleaned out my bowels, bladder and uterus. I eventually ended up in surgery to clear out the scar tissue.

To The Table

I’m face up, stretched across the massage table. Kate Mackinnon has her hands on my ankles. She gently holds them and I wonder if she’s noticed one of my legs is longer than the other. I usually get a hard hip crunch from my chiropractor. But there’s no bone cracking in this studio, only supportive touch and pressure.

Kate comes around to my left hip, setting her right hand under my lower back, she covers the left side of my lower belly with her left hand. I breathe deeply, try to relax (which is difficult when you’re waiting for someone to do “things” to your body) and focus on the physical sensations inside me.

The first thing I notice is my feet feel active. Not hot active, or motion active but energy active. If you’ve meditated before you will know what I am talking about. Kate pushes firmly but not uncomfortably on my belly and asks “Is the scar on your skin half an inch above my hand.” This is intuitively impressive since I’m dressed and she would have no way of seeing it or even feeling it since the scar is flat and almost gone. “Do you feel that?” She asks. I do. I feel my guts pushing back at her hand. There is resistance there. “That’s the stress your body has been holding since your accident and surgery.” It takes a minute for me to process this. “My body has been holding this stress for almost 20 years? Well that sorta sucks.” She gives me a “Welcome to craniosacral therapy” smile.

hands-and-heart

To The Book Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop Romanticizing Motherhood by Monica Wilcox

May 8th, 2013

mommy and me, photogr Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello

Photographers: Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello

Mother’s Day is on the calendric horizon. The Mother of The Year Awards have begun. These lucky women will have a celebrity chef deliver their breakfast in bed, take an exotic trip to Bora Bora, or win a year’s supply of Tide.

To The Video:  

-Morning show – “Our Mom of The Year, Shelia, broke her back in a car accident five years ago and still managed to deliver her fourth child. She never stopped working her full time job, manages the household, maintains the finances, gets the kids to school and coaches her son’s soccer team.  All of this while she endured years of excruciating physical therapy.”

Cut to Husband Dave – “There’s nothing Sheila won’t do for her family. She’s always putting everyone else ahead of herself.”

-Afternoon show – “The winner of our Best Mom in The Bay Award, Tory, is a single mom who hasn’t slowed down for the last nineteen years. She’s adopted nine children from abusive situations and works the night shift so she can homeschool them during the day. When the kids wanted a trip to Disney, Tory took a second job for a full year to save up the money for their trip.”

Cut to Grandmother – “I don’t know when she sleeps. And she’s showing the rest of us to stop thinking about ourselves. There’s always someone who’s got it worse than you.”

-Local news – “Our Best Mom Award goes to Kimberly. She’s dedicated her entire life to children. When the kids were in school, Kimberly became a deacon in her community church, started a foundation for children on the street and manages a nonprofit business providing babysitting for parents who are looking for work. Even after she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, Kimberly never slowed down. She never missed a school function, sporting event, church meeting or a day of work with her foundation. The day after her last chemo treatment she was in the front row at her daughter’s wedding.”

Cut to Video of Kimberly cheering her son’s wrestling meet with a colorful scarf wrapped around her thin head.

Am I supposed to aspire to be like these mothers? Is this the modern role model of American motherhood: consuming, sacrificial, ultra-selfless, tireless? How high are we setting the mommy bar? At that height, I can safely project a generation of moms will end up energetically blown out. Read the rest of this entry »

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