ME, THE PERSON
Both my personal and professional lives have always intersected in terms of what I’m passionate about and that is, very simply, living my life, as authentically and mindfully as possible while gaining insight, mastery and wisdom along the way.
Throughout my journey, I have come to learn that Self-Love is the crucial foundation we must build in order to create a meaningful and satisfying life. Like most of us who somehow manage to fully integrate our life experiences into mature wisdom, I learned about Self-Love the “hard” way… through loss, pain, grief, vulnerability, forgiveness and courage.
Though our relationship with ourselves is not the first relationship we learn from, it is the one we must seek to cultivate in order to heal from our childhood wounds so that we can move on to creating healthy adult relationships. Learning to love and accept ourselves, unconditionally, is not an easy task but it is an essential part of our journey if we want to develop healthy relationships with our partners, families, friends and community.
At some point on our journey, most of us realize that our enjoyment of life comes down to the quality of our relationships… with ourselves, each other, our environment and with something which is greater than ourselves.
I believe that my purpose is to honour my journey and these relationships while being curious about, present and compassionate with, my unique, personal experience of them.
This may sound simple but, if you’re doing it right, it’s never easy. Therefore, in order to navigate our way through this journey, we need a very clear “road map” to guide us… and this comes in the form of our values.
The values I’ve come to rely on… and the principles I choose to live by are… self-love, authenticity, vulnerability, courage, accountability, variety, spontaneity, tolerance, compassion, freedom, healthy relationships, effective communication, spirituality, creativity, optimism, mindfulness, gratitude, acceptance and emotional intelligence.
Make no mistake about it… I do lose my way, from time to time, but all I need to do is pull out my “values map” and, with a little courage and support, I’m able to get back on track again.
Paying It Forward
Because I am a teacher, by nature, my journey would not feel complete unless I shared what I’ve learned with others. I do this relationally and through my creative and professional pursuits such as personal growth, spiritual & pastoral counselling, performing weddings and other life-cycle ceremonies, blogging, painting, podcasts, videos, writing, photography, social media, singing, dancing, acting, traveling, speaking and more…
It is a privilege to do this work and to share my insight and wisdom with others.
Even though I am both touched and honoured to be considered an inspiration to my community, I understand, as well as anyone, that the true credit goes to each and every one of us “Badasses” who, in Brené Brown’s words, DARE to “Show Up, Be Seen and Live Brave”.
As gratitude is one of my guiding values, I must mention here how grateful I am to the many people and experiences in my life who/which have contributed to my journey and have helped me get where I find myself today. This journey has been full of bumps, twists and turns. It has been terrifying, sickening, joyful and exhilarating. I have countless people in my personal life to thank, as well as quite a few professional colleagues, mentors and thought leaders. Among them are the following professionals and communities whom I most admire and from whose work and with whose collaboration I have gained the most valuable support, skills and insight:
Brené Brown – (Author and Founder of The Daring Way™ Community)
Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt – (Authors and Founders of Imago Relationships Community)
Stan Tatkin – (Author & Founder of PACT)
Esther Perel – (Author & Founder of Relationships Redefined Community)
Ross Rosenberg – Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome
Michelle McKeirnan – (Imago Colleague/Collaborator)
Karen Lynne – (The Daring Way™ Colleague/Collaborator)
Mara Kormylo – (The Daring Way™ Mentor & Colleague)
Ken Sullivan – (Transformational Arts College Teacher, Mentor & Colleague)
Rosemary Hnatiuk – (Naturopathic Doctor & Colleague)
Barry H Samuel – (Fitness/Personal Growth Expert & Colleague/Collaborator)
The Self-Love Sisterhood
The Founding Members of The Self-Love Sisterhood (From left: Ola, Christine, Sabrina, Jill, Jana, Tracy, Robyn)
Tracy B Richards – (BADASS, Writer, Mentor & Founder of The Self-Love Society)
I was born and raised in Toronto, ON., Canada. As always, my work continues to evolve. I enjoy an abundant life: teaching, writing, travelling, and exploring — and I’m grateful that I can share all of it with my cherished clients, family and friends.
ME, THE ARTIST
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been telling a story.
Early on, I simply repeated the story that my mom told to me… the story of her childhood and background. It was full of drama and was pretty fascinating to me and, as it turned out, it inspired everyone else I told it to as well.
Over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I heard the words “You should write a book”, based on my mom’s tale.
As I got older and started to experience my own dramas, I told my mom’s story less and less but there was still a part of me that always felt I should write it all down someday. As a journaller, I had mostly written down my thoughts and experiences into a notebook and therefore my writing was kept to myself. It wasn’t until I was in the throes of a very adversarial divorce and feeling it necessary to document everything, that I began a digital version of my journal.
As I continued on my journey of self-awareness, my writing began to evolve. I noticed that I moved from simply using the practice of journaling as a way to “dump” my feelings and began to use it as a way to “process” them — it became an exercise in clarity and insight about the many issues I was working through. I began to see that these journal entries were, indeed, my “Process of Illumination”. That’s when I was inspired to publish them as a blog. At first, posting them online was simply a way to get used to writing and having a sense of “letting go” of the energy of what I was writing about. As the years went by and my journey became more about discovering my authentic self, my blog became a way to commit to exploring my own vulnerability by simply writing about whatever came up for me that week. What I realized is that it takes tremendous courage to do this every week and the blog has served as a way to hold myself accountable to my commitment to Self-Love, Authenticity, Vulnerability & Courage. Inasmuch as I write my blog purely for my own purposes, it is gratifying to know that it also helps and inspires others, as well.
Today, my “Process of Illumination” blog is published weekly and reaches over 2,000 readers. It has become one of my great passions and the experience has given me the confidence to imagine that my book(s) will, indeed, be written someday soon… and for that, I am extremely grateful. As I expressed in my entry “Drama Detox”, my blog has also helped me to detach from “the story” of my life and be free to start living it.
As you look around my website, you’ll see many examples of my art, here and there. There is even a store where you can buy things I have created and wish to share. I’m happy to be able to use my art as a background so that visitors have a chance to get a visual glimpse of my creative side.
My painting journey began sometime after the fall of 2012 when someone I loved and admired passed away. She had been an accomplished artist and an acclaimed figurative painter for most of her 80+ years. A few months after her death, I was in a Yoga class and, during my meditation, I saw a flash of a very specific image, which depicted my departed friend’s son. I wondered why such an odd image would pop into my mind so clearly and urgently and leave such a strong imprint.
A few days later, I was in another Yoga class and, this time, I heard the voice of my recently departed loved one. All she said was: “You must paint the image you saw.”
As you can imagine, I was both amazed and confused, however I felt that this was an important and legitimate message. Even though I had almost no painting experience, I accepted the challenge. I bought a large canvas, went home and proceeded to sketch an outline of the image, which was still crystal clear in my mind. When that was done, I was at a loss. Even though I could draw, I was not a painter and I had no idea what to do next. As luck would have it Sharron Katz, a figurative painter I was acquainted with, offered to have me come over so we could paint together and she could give me some inspiration and guidance. I went over, once or twice, and got things started, however, life got busy, we stopped painting together and the canvas ended up staying with her for some time. I had all but forgotten about it until, some two years later, I got word that Suzanne Metz, another accomplished painter/teacher/acquaintance of mine was offering abstract painting lessons in my neighbourhood. In her class, I began to experiment with abstract painting for the first time in my life and I LOVED IT!
Later on, near the end of the session, Suzanne suggested we bring in anything unfinished that we wanted help with. It was then that I remembered the painting I had started so long ago. Even though it was a figurative piece and this was an abstract class, Suzanne encouraged me to bring it in and work on it. With her help, I was able to complete the painting… my very first portrait, ever! I have to say, I’m very proud of it and incredibly grateful for having received the image and the message, encouraging me to paint it.
What I discovered is that exploring my creativity through painting has been a tremendous gift. It has helped me uncover more layers of my authentic self and experience the joy, healing and integration that is only possible through art. Since that time, I am happily exploring other media and finding new, artistic ways of expressing my creativity.