1. “Divorce Party Seen As Healthy Idea” by Jeanette Liu Celebrating a birthday? Cut a cake. Getting engaged? Buy a giant rock. Getting divorced? Attend a huge “I’m getting separated” fete. That’s exactly what some Toronto residents plan to do this week. Rob Pagetto, founder of The Divorce Party, plans to hold Canada’s largest celebration for divorcees at the Capitol Event Theatre on Friday. According to Statistics Canada, the divorce rate in North America is at an estimated 41 percent before the 30th year. “My parents are divorced and I have friends who got divorced,” said Pagetto, who has not been divorced but has been in three relationships. He was inspired to throw the annual event after noting the high divorce rates three years ago when he was a club owner in Fort Lauderdale. “Why not have it at a bigger venue?” “I just heard some women talking about how they were going to have a divorce party at their house,” he said. “And I thought why not have it at a bigger venue and include men as well, because I’m sure they’re going through struggles too.” Toronto psychotherapist Tracy Richards, who specializes in divorce, thinks separation parties, similar to Pagetto’s, are a great idea. “It can be really healthy if it’s done in a positive way,” she said. “But, if it’s a party full of people who want to bash your ex and hate him or her as much as you do, it’s ultimately not good.” The event hopes to house hundreds of divorcees and like-minded single folk looking to mix and mingle over some liquid-courage and music while annulling shameful taboos once associated with divorce. “It’s a party that’s meant to bond people and give them a chance to celebrate who they are as they move into the next new phase of their lives,” said Pagetto. 2. Web Interview: “Divorce Numbers are dropping — but so is marriage” – March 30, 2012 Fewer Canadians are getting divorced, according to a new Statistics Canada report — but it might just be because more people refuse to tie the knot in the first place. “The proportion of married couples has been steadily decreasing over the past 20 years while common-law unions are becoming more numerous,” writes report author Mary Bess Kelly. “I’d like to think that it’s because couples believe that they have more options, and there are more possibilities, before they make that final decision to separate,” says Tracy B Richards, Toronto-based relationship therapist. Read more here 3. Q & A from Thornhill/Richmond Hill Post – March 2009 Post: How did you become interested in inspired living? Tracy: That’s an interesting question. The truth is that I’ve always been a Seeker… of experiences, relationships, and what makes people tick. I’m a pleaser by nature and so I developed very keen skills for how to determine what others needed at a very early age. It was a way to manage my environment and keep myself feeling safe. I felt that it was my job to “fix” everyone and everything. (It’s no wonder psychotherapy came so naturally to me). However, as I became more self-aware I began to realize that being focused on others’ needs and emotions had prevented me from finding out what makes ME tick. This, I believe, was the missing link between me and the peace and contentment I had been seeking. I didn’t really KNOW myself because I hadn’t really wanted to LOOK at myself for fear of what I would find. So I kept busy trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal of what my life SHOULD be, instead of really asking myself what I WANTED it to be. I began living an Inspired Life about 12 years ago, after the death of my stepfather. That experience was a wake up call for me. Before that, I think I had been “sleepwalking” through life, going through the motions based on old patterns, conditioning and unrealistic expectations of myself as a woman, wife, mother. After my Dad was gone, I realized over time that something was incomplete in my life and as I became more self aware, I saw that he had been a major motivator for many of the choices I had made, some of which did not reflect the deeper values that I held. When he was gone, I questioned if the life I had created was really working. With that awareness, I became committed to learning more about who I was and that journey has allowed me to get closer to myself, know my truth, forgive myself for all my flaws and thus, learn to really love and accept myself for the first time. I’m still a work in progress, but I now allow myself the freedom to be who I am and I try not to judge myself too harshly for the mistakes that I make, because with each mistake comes the blessing of wisdom and growth. I am now building a new foundation based on a sense of wholeness and a deeper understanding of my Self and my purpose in this world. Post: What is your educational background? Tracy: After high school, I went to Ryerson for Business. I was headed for a career in the restaurant business (my step father was a well known Toronto restauranteur) but I changed directions to pursue a more stable career in marketing. I left that career when I got married and was a stay at home mom to my 3 boys for 10 years but, after my stepfather’s death, I felt I needed more. I enrolled in the Spiritual Psychotherapy Program at Transformational Arts College in Toronto (www.transformationalarts.com) and by the time classes had started, I was 3 months pregnant with my 4th boy! I then went on to do Advanced Studies in Dream Therapy, Past Lives, Homeopathy, Meditation and Energy Work. I have also been studying and teaching the principles of the Law of Attraction (of The Secret fame) for more than a decade. Post: What are you doing now? Tracy: I am recently separated and am now embarking on a new Chapter in all areas of my life, including my professional work. I no longer operate Soul Spa as a Wellness Centre, but I still see private clients at the same location which is now known as Yonge & Wellness, 7756 Yonge Street, 2nd floor. Note: Tracy currently continues her practice at StudioBe: see Contact page for details. My main focus is to reach larger groups of people and help them discover their passion and purpose through my writing, seminars, workshops, and events. I’m excited about further developing something I started under the Soul Spa umbrella called Club Sangha: Workshops and Events to Inspire Soulful Connections. The idea is to bring people together to socialize, discover and grow in meaningful and inspiring ways. We’ll be offering things like movie nights, retreats, personal growth workshops and seminars as well as opportunities for outreach in the community. Part of what Club Sangha will introduce is a social support network for “newly single” adults called “Suddenly Solo”. This program will help to empower and uplift individuals during the often traumatic transition of divorce, or death of a spouse through networking, social events, support groups and self help seminars covering a range of topics from legal advice to how to hook up your computer. The focus will be to reinvent the experience of life after marriage and make it a powerful opportunity for transformation! I’m also offering my signature Inspired Living program called “Project ME” where I mentor others on their personal journey of self-discovery. I am on the faculty of the Transformational Arts College. Post: Any new, cutting edge services that you provide that I should know about? Please describe. Tracy: Great question! Well, believe it or not, the MOST advanced and foolproof way I can suggest for truly Inspired Living is to be committed to finding our TRUTH. Now is the perfect time to connect to our deeper values and challenge our beliefs to find the real truth that lies beneath, because the world as we know it is changing before our eyes! From the environment, to the economy, everything is upside down and in turmoil and NOW is the time to clean house and build new foundations based on truth, rather than fantasy and love rather than fear. I strongly believe that the state the world is in right now is our greatest blessing because it is full of nothing but opportunity to create the new world! That is the most revolutionary thing I can think of! In terms of the services that I provide in relation to the above, all of my work is based on my own life experience, and I believe that I serve others best when I live and learn from my own Inspired Life! I incorporate all the insight and wisdom that I gain from my experiences into everything I do and try to lead my clients, and those I come into contact with, through my example. I think the best thing I can say about that is that I am far from perfect, and so I have learned the importance of practicing compassion for myself as well as others.