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THE PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE OF TRACY B. RICHARDS

About


To truly grow as people and become the most authentic version of who we are, we must summon the courage to access the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. This process can feel quite scary and uncomfortable, especially when we are asked to open up to a virtual stranger, to share and discover things that we may have never been able to with another human being.  One of my core beliefs is that the more I am able to learn about myself, through my own process, the better equipped I will be to help others.  I believe that healthy relationships are founded on a sense of safety which is created through mutual understanding, appreciation for each other’s vulnerabilities and the basic human need for connection. When we are brave enough to reach out and let our truest, most fragile parts be seen by those closest to us, tremendous healing can occur.  We are all human and we all feel pain. None of us are exempt from struggle. This is why I would like to begin our relationship by sharing a bit of my personal story with you…”
— Tracy B Richards


ME, THE PERSON


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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.

Self-Love

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.

Values

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”.

Gratitude

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

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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


Writing

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.

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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.

Painting

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.

ME, THE GUIDE


My Role

I see myself as something of a “Transformational Guide”, accompanying you through each stage of life’s journey. From the moment you come into this world, to the moment you leave it, I am here to support you, mentor you and guide you in a way which honours your uniqueness and your freedom to choose your own path. Life is wondrous and beautiful and, yet, it does get messy.  Rest assured, there will be no judgement here. I am simply here to be your witness, to help you identify your vision and your values and to, gently and with compassion, hold you accountable to them.

Self-Love & Personal Growth

I have always been committed to my own personal growth and I’m passionate about helping others to grow and develop as well. It is for this reason that I have become a Personal Growth Counsellor and an expert in this field.

Why Self-Love?

As I described in the “Me, The Person” section of this page, the importance of Self-Love pretty much hot me over the head as I navigated through a few, very challenging years of my life. I had managed to live through the turbulent and drawn-out end of a 20 year marriage and soon moved on to, what I thought was, another promising relationship.  After only 5 years, this subsequent relationship also came to a painful end. In the midst of my shock and devastation, I could not help but wonder how I got there. Was I missing something? As much as I thought I had “done my work”… as much as I could point the finger at each of my partners for their shortcomings, I knew, deep down, that there was a huge lesson for me to learn about myself in relationships. Finally, when I reflected on my past and looked for the pattern, it hit me like a brick. The one, key thread that I contributed to my unhealthy relationship dynamics… the thing that prevented me from showing up authentically and demonstrating the courage I needed to set healthy boundaries and communicate effectively was that I didn’t feel worthy of anything other than what I created.

I had never learned to love myself. 

Because of this Self-Love Deficit, I wasn’t able to be truly honest with myself or my partners. I didn’t know how to get what I needed and I was unconsciously resentful that my partners, at the time, didn’t seem to care about or love me enough to work harder or help me.

At the time, there was no one in my life or in my professional community who was talking about Self-Love. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was Self-Love Deficient and I had to find a way to love and accept myself before I had any business embarking on a new relationship. For the purposes of conducting the necessary research on what Self-Love is and how to cultivate it, I became my own guinea pig and, as is my way, I began to talk about it to everyone I knew. Eventually, I enlisted a small group of young, female clients who volunteered to join me on the Self-Love Journey. Together, we founded the Self-Love Sisterhood which was designed as a safe place for us to meet, share, support and guide one another as we set out to discover and develop the principles and practices of Self-Love.  Through our unique and individual processes, it became clear to each of us that Self-Love really was the missing link in our lives. It is for this reason that I became convinced that I must make the Self-Love Journey the foundation of my work, both personally and professionally.

To me, the commitment to Self-Love is the ultimate step on the Personal Growth Journey.

Spirituality

Life Cycle Events

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As a Licensed Ontario Wedding Officiant, I am able to perform legal marriage ceremonies. A marriage marks the beginning of a couple’s life together and so, I hope you will also consider me to help you create conscious, non or multi-denominational ceremonies for your other Life-Cycle events, such as welcoming children (either by birth or adoption); joining/blending families; conscious uncoupling (separation/divorce); or celebrating the life of a loved one who has left us.

When Things Get Rough

Sometimes we don’t know what to do to help ourselves, no matter how much experience we have in helping others. It is during these moments that we need unbiased support and the encouragement to keep going and work through our challenges. We may often find that friends and family lack the skills and objectivity to deal with our needs effectively. This is where outside assistance becomes extremely valuable. As an experienced Personal Growth & Pastoral Counsellor, I can offer support and guidance and teach you valuable skills to help you navigate and gain insight during the tough moments in your life. I did not have to face my challenges alone, and neither do you.

My Philosophy

I have a philosophy that every person, of any age or background, has the power to live a truly meaningful and happy life. Allow me to work with you and guide you toward a greater understanding of what it takes to get there. In our work together, you will achieve the freedom to address your immediate needs as well as to appreciate your infinite potential. We cannot always control WHAT happens to us, but we do have the power to choose HOW we respond.

My Services

  • Self-Love Counselling & Mentoring (helping you to understand the importance of and to cultivate a greater sense of authenticity, vulnerability, courage and unconditional self-acceptance)
  • Marriage/Partnership Preparation Counselling (for new couples who wish to embark on their lives together with an understanding of what to expect and having the necessary communication and relationship skills to ensure they are off to a great start. I explain how relationships work on an unconscious level and teach essential communication & dialogue skills)
  • Relationship & Family Counselling (for ongoing family/relationship issues, guidance during stressful times or just for a “tune-up”, here and there)
  • Spiritual Counselling  & Mentoring (helping you to gain a deeper understanding of your own values, beliefs & vision and how to develop and trust your unique inner guidance)
  • Marriage Celebrations (Licensed Ontario Wedding Officiant performing legal, customized marriage ceremonies and vow renewals)
  • New Life Celebrations (welcoming the birth of a child)
  • New Family Celebrations (welcoming new family members/blended families)
  • Parenting Coaching & Mentoring (how to create an authentic, loving and safe environment in which to raise your family, according to your unique family values)
  • Celebrating A Life (funeral celebrant services)
  • Daring Way™ & Rising Strong™ Counselling, Seminars, Workshops (based on the research, books and curriculum of Brené Brown, PhD)

This Is ME!

Below you will find a collection of my life photos.

  • Water Lilies
    Water Lilies
  • Inspire
    Inspire
  • Yemaya emerges from water
    Yemaya emerges from water
  • Astral planet
    Astral planet
  • Rory
    Rory
  • Tracy imperfect & enough
    Tracy imperfect & enough
  • Tracy PV sky
    Tracy PV sky
  • Tracy weathermaking
    Tracy weathermaking
  • Tracy age 4
    Tracy age 4
  • Astral Projection
    Astral Projection
  • Astral Cube
    Astral Cube
  • Long time sun
    Long time sun
  • Long Time Sun
    Long Time Sun
  • Red Tears
    Red Tears
  • Shaman
    Shaman
  • Abstract B&W REd
    Abstract B&W REd
  • Welcome Home
    Welcome Home
  • Irish pasture fence
    Irish pasture fence
  • Tracy age 4
    Tracy age 4
  • Tracy age 5
    Tracy age 5


TRACY B. RICHARDS
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