Create a New Normal by Tasha Richardson


Picture Change New NormalHave you ever wondered why it seems like you keep facing the same problems or struggles over and over again?  You managed to change your life, your outlook, or at least accomplish some goal that you’d wanted, and you were sure that this time–this umpteenth time–everything would stick, allowing you to move on to bigger and better successes.  This was until, with utter disappointment, dismay, and defeat, you found that those changes you made disappeared as quickly as roaches do when the lights are turned on.

The notion of change is so seductive and exciting, especially when you finally feel empowered enough to want to pursue it.  It tantalizes us into believing that once we capture it–it is ours forever.  How can we avoid the trappings of ‘change’s’ siren song?  How can we create true and lasting change?

Food for Thought

Realize that you (and everything else around you) are always in a state of evolution and flux. Accept the fact that the only change that is permanent is change itself.  Elizabeth Gilbert best describes the relationship between change and motion.  She states, Change is all about motion, motion is all about uncertainty and we are deeply uncomfortable with uncertainty.”  In addition to our discomfort with change, many of us become complacent after we do manage to ‘change’ and reach our vision of success.  For example, those of us who finally lose the weight we’ve been carrying around feel so good about that feat that we end up getting comfortable, thereby slipping back into the bad habits that allowed us to be overweight in the first place.

Create a New Normal. What is the new normal that you MUST accept in order to continue to have the quality of life that you’ve worked so hard to create?  Part of creating that new normal is shedding old defeating beliefs about yourself and the world around you.  Your new normal becomes your non-negotiable.  For example, in November 2011 Tanika and I became vegan, gluten-free, and caffeine-free.  In order for our change to have been sustainable over the last 3.5 years, we had to sever our connection and emotional affiliation to what it meant to eat meat, animal products, etc. and wholeheartedly create the new normal where meat, animal products, chocolate, and coffee no longer fit.  One way to do this is to actively replace those things you give up with something else that fits with your new vision of yourself, all the while realizing that this is something that you must do continually.  To do this requires making a series of adjustments.

Be grateful for all of your failures. It really is like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Gratitude for failure allows you to appreciate process and have compassion toward life and the many lessons it seeks to teach you.

“Do the Next Right Thing.” One slip up does not have to define you.  You have the power to choose and to choose those things that will elevate you at any given moment.  For more information about this concept, check out Matthew Kelly’s great book called Perfectly Yourself and Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Notes and video summary.  Doing the next right thing allows you to be unbothered and to reframe failure as a temporary state.

Be Courageous. It takes courage and resilience to look at defeat and failure and still make those necessary changes toward embracing the life that you want to have.

What steps did it take for you to create a new normal?  What are some barriers you are facing now when it comes to living in the life you want?  We would love to hear from you.

Best wishes on your journey–and remember to do you!


Be Miserable By Yourself! By Tasha Richardson


Shine On

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  Join the movement, ‘Bullying Ends with Me.”  Stomp Out Bullying and check out PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center website to learn more!

In life, there are some people who would love to tear you down and bring you to their level. These people go by various names especially by the term haters, toxic people, and nay sayers.  However, the term does not matter at all.  This is because hurting people hurt people and they would love to invite you to their party of misery.

When your light shines brightly, these people would like to eclipse your joy.  So they may attempt to do so by making snide remarks, taking stabs at you by using humour, or make the claim that your way of being infringes upon them or their success.  Stay encouraged if you are going through this or have gone through it!  Know that it is not about YOU–how they treat you, interpret your behaviour, or the stories they make up about you is a reflection of what they think about themselves.  Your light causes them to become fearful because they have a poverty mentality.  They essentially believe that their lights will dim because yours shines.  Dear haters and toxic people, may you one day realize that there is such abundance in the universe, so much so that there is more than enough to go around!  We are all worthy of the best that life has to offer–the only question is who is willing to own that instead of getting caught up in comparisons and battles of will.

Take consolation in knowing that their behaviour is impersonal–and that you neither have to agree nor seek to ‘set the record straight.’  This is because their opinions and perceptions of you are “between them and their self-esteem,” a phrase often said by motivational speaker Tei Street.  The best thing you can do for the haters is to continue being your wonderful and authentic self–even as their words, comments, and behaviours seek to effectively destroy your person, enjoining you to be less than you really are.

Know this, you are okay exactly as you are.  If those around you seek to convince you otherwise, reevaluate who you choose to surround yourself with.  Just because you get invited when misery is knocking at your door does not mean you have to open the door and accept it.  You open the door by a) your own negative thoughts and patterns, b) reacting to what they say, c) accepting their skewed vision to be your reality, and d) engaging in the power struggles that their own weak egos need to engage in feel significant.  Consider these powerful words by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements: “Nothing other people do is because of you.  It is because of themselves…You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said” (48).

When the haters attempt to infiltrate your life, remember that you do not need to welcome them in.  Be mindful of the toxic treatment, self-limiting beliefs, and hater like ways you’ve employed upon yourself.  Treat yourself with kindness and continually affirm that there is a place for you and that the way you are is exactly how you need to be to do the work and fulfill the purpose that you were put on this Earth to complete.  You are precious and perfect as you are, so continue treating yourself that way especially by leaving the haters to seethe all alone.  In fact, use their disdain to fuel your own journey of excellence.  Say thank you and remember the words of Marie Forleo, “sometimes a put-down is the best fuel to fire you up” use these put-downs to catapult you to your ‘elevator moment’ whereby you use these occurrences as catalysts to continue being the best you you can be.

Useful Information:

Quit Holding Your Breath! By Tasha Richardson


Holding Your Breath“Now is just not a good time, I have so many other things to take care of first.”  “I just don’t know what happened!  I just woke up one day, and here I am…it would be too hard to change now.”  “It’s no use!  My life won’t get better until ______ happens.”

Do the above statements sound familiar?  These statements should be termed ‘holding your breath’ statements.  This is because the person who says them is holding his or her breath until the perfect moment occurs.  This perfect moment exists in the future or it is tethered to the nostalgia of the past, which the person wishes could be recreated.

Recognize the areas of your life where you run from the action that the present moment is calling you to.  Where is it that you have been reminiscing about the past, dreaming up the future, and remaining paralyzed in the present?  Identify one area where you have noticed this and take action today!  Your action can be big or small–just do something.  In the words of poet June Jordan, “We are the One’s We’ve been Waiting for.”  That moment, person, situation, or circumstance will never come–even when it seems like it has or will.  Your life is waiting for you to accept it as it is, embrace the present moment, and ACT in the way you see fit.  You can do it–you are so amazing and awesome!  Just try it–the worst you can do is fail and choose to go back to the way you’ve always done things.

Helpful Readings:

  1. Time Warrior by Steve Chandler
  2. How to rid yourself of analysis paralysis
  3. The Secret to Defeating Analysis Paralysis (and Why You Don’t Do It)
  4. 11 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis
  5. You Have To Start Somewhere: 4 Steps to Eliminating Decision Paralysis

Best of luck on your journey!  May you live a whole life and greet the world with your light, no apologies necessary!

It’s More Than Hair–Being A Role Model



“Young girls can’t aspire to be something they don’t see.”

—India, from My Natural Sistas 

This quote totally resonates with me and reminds me of an experience I had to a few years ago.  I had the pleasure of working with youth in an after school/ summer day camp program a few years ago. This was before I converted to Islam and began wearing the hijab.

Continue reading

Vanquish Mental Clutter and Create Space for A Purpose-Filled Life by Tasha Richardson


When we live tethered to the past or worry about the future, we clutter our mind.  This makes it hard for us to spend time doing those things which allow us to live our lives full of purpose.  A cluttered mind is a distracted mind–and distracted minds cannot fully meet the world and the present moment with all of the strength, humility, awe, gratitude and abundance that the occasions call for.  

One of the biggest worries that a cluttered mind could have is the fear that ‘there is not enough for me” or “I am not worthy/I don’t deserve x or y.”  This fear suggests the belief in scarcity and a lack of abundance.  When in the grips of this fear nothing is or ever will suffice.  Worrying effectively locks us into paralysis. Author Steve Chandler explains worrying the best.  To Chandler, worrying is a ‘“misuse of the imagination,” a futile exercise that we engage in when we want to avoid taking action.  

Believing the lie that there isn’t enough or that one is not worthy or deserving automatically puts a true life worth living on the back burner.  This lie displaces those helpful thoughts and affirmations such as, “Life happens for me, not to me” and “I have everything I need, and I want for nothing because there is a lot to go around.”  How much more powerful could you be if you recognized this tendency within yourself?  Take notice of the ways that you willingly clutter your mind–and then take action.  When those thoughts come forth, short circuit and weaken them by performing an action–especially an act of service and/or finding something for which you are grateful.

Check out these articles below about mental clutter and what we can do about it!

  1. 5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Mind (& Life!)
  2. Decluttering Your Mental Clutter 
  3. Clearing Out The Mental Clutter
  4. Permanent self-motivation: Getting started
  5. Three Causes of Mental Clutter
  6. 3 Types of Mental Clutter and How to Eliminate Them
  7. 5 Steps to Clear Mental Clutter

What are the ways that you engage in worrying and other forms of mental clutter?  How has this ‘pastime’ distracted you from your true purpose?  How do you ‘clean house’ when mental clutter strikes?  Comment below!

Life is awaiting you!  Embrace it! Seize it!  Thrive!  Live boldly, confidently, and passionately!  Here are some great words of wisdom about life:

A Psalm of Life

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
  “Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
  And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
  And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”
  Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
  Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
  Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
  And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
  Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
  In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
  Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
  Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living Present!
  Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
  We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
  Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
  Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
  Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
  Learn to labor and to wait.

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths

Philip James Bailey

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.


Lesson #5: Get Off the Bus–Knowing When to Let Go and Move On



A few months ago, I was waiting for the bus by my house.  I was on my way to an offsite workshop for work and so had to take the bus to the last stop.  While I was waiting, a bus that would only take me half way to my destination arrived.  I got on the bus since I was familiar with the driver, since I often rode his bus in the bus in the mornings.  Once I got on the bus, I checked my bus tracker app and noticed that the bus I needed was only two minutes away.  So I got off the bus after only traveling two stops.

This experience inspired me to write this lesson.  Sometimes in life, we may be comfortable and familiar with a relationship we have with someone or something.  When that person or thing can no longer support us on our journeys, then it’s time to get off the bus.  I was familiar with that bus driver. We would greet each other every time I took his bus.  But he couldn’t take me where I needed to go.  I had to let go of the familiar in order to reach my destination.

Another important caveat that I took away from this ordeal was that it is better to let go immediately when you notice that a relationship is no longer serving you.  If I had gotten off the bus much later or at the halfway point, I would have had to wait much longer for the bus I needed and potentially arrived late to my training.

Once I realized that the driver was nice to me but couldn’t take me where I needed to go, it was time to abort.  I am by no means suggesting that you drop someone out of your life immediately because you are going through a trying time.  However, I do advise you to assess the situation.


Ask yourself:

Can this relationship contribute to my growth?

Will this habit help guide me to where I want to go?

If the answer is no, then it’s time for you to “get off that bus!”


When have you realized that it is time to let go of a thought pattern, person, or habit?  How did you handle the situation?  Let us know in the comment section.


Love always,

Tanika Monique

Always & Forever

Forever & Always

On Lemons and Entitlement by Tasha Richardson

Photo by Tasha Richardson of

Photo by Tasha Richardson of

Scene: A throng of commuters hurry down the stairs of a CTA train station in Chicago.  As they go past, a mother and her daughter, quaintly dressed in a school uniform and book bag, attempt to walk up the stairs.  The little girl hesitates and the mother says with a tone of annoyance, “You don’t stop for anybody–keep moving and they will move out of your way.”  

The mother who told her daughter to stop for no one and that people will move out of her daughter’s way was creating an entitlement dynamic.  Should this little girl override her natural instincts to hesitate and begin to plow through any crowds with the belief that they will always move aside, she will be sadly mistaken when that time comes where no one will move out of her way.  A similar form of entitlement thinking is encouraged by the above advertisement when it tells us to demand something other than which life provides us with, the lemons, in exchange for that which we don’t have, coconuts.

When we feel entitled, we feel the world owes us something and that it has no choice but to give it to us.  This is very different from feeling as though you are worthy and deserving of a certain outcome or the best that life has to offer.  One of the main ingredients that is missing from the entitlement story is humility, acceptance, and the realization that  it is okay–more than okay to get out of life what you didn’t expect.  Entitlement is a trap that only sets us up for discontentment in life when what we feel that we are entitled to does not come to fruition.This article does a great job in making the distinctions between entitlement and other forms of healthy expression. To take an entitlement quiz to see just how entitled you think you are in addition to everyday examples of entitlement thinking, click here.

Practical Tips–Shedding Entitlement Thinking:

  1. Recognize the gifts that life has bestowed upon you and note this favour in a gratitude journal
  2. The Power of the Pause (as frequently stated by Transformation Coach Vicki Hudson-Stapleton, formerly of the Cara Program): Take a giant step back and pause before you launch into thoughts about what life or those around you owes you
  3. Owes means woes–realize that unnecessary thoughts of expectations and what life owes you will lead to woes, comparisons, and anger
  4. Appreciate what life gives you and be willing to go above and beyond for love–without any thought of what the payback will be…and see how much you transform as a person
  5. Don’t fight against the reality of your situation–and what is–and see how you become transformed.

For more awesome and practical tips about life, personal growth, change, and moving beyond entitlement thinking, check out these great below posts from Marc and Angel Chernoff:

  1. 50 Things You Need To Give Up Today

  2. 16 Reasons You’re Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don’t Feel You Are)

  3. 8 Things You Forgot to Be Grateful For

Where in your life do you hold the expectation that you are entitled?  When you do feel that way, what is life showing you?  Is life complying with the entitlement that you feel–or are you experiencing roadblocks?  Comment below!

Here is some food for thought:

Thoughts are just what is. They appear. They’re innocent. They’re not personal. They’re like the breeze or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. Thoughts arise like that, and we can make friends with them. Would you argue with a raindrop?

Byron Katie

Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.

Byron Katie

“No matter how qualified or deserving we are, we will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it.”

Richard Bach