Embracing shadows: Debbie Ford

A dear friend of mine told me that everything that comes into my life means something.  Nothing is by coincidence or accident. Each day may seem the same but each day is different, it rewards us with a brand new gift whether that gift is an understanding, a friendship or a disappointment.  But if we are engulfed by fear and darkness then it makes it difficult for us to recognize those gifts, difficult to recognize whether or not it is an actual ‘coincidence’.  Normally such talk passes through one ear and out through the other but of recent one or two things have happened to make me to stop and consider what this friend said to me.

November last year I was in another part of the country, to attend a conference. Having arrived some hours earlier and already bored with watching TV in the hotel room I decided to go to the shops just to whittle away time. I walked past each shop as they didn’t hold any interest for me until I saw this interesting second-hand book shop. I went in and took my time going through the different categories until I came across the self-help section. Then I saw this book, in fact I was struck by its title; I read the back cover, the foreword and the first two paragraphs of the first chapter and wondered if I wanted this book. I checked by my purse, I had enough cash for just essentials so I headed back to my hotel room, Googled the author and read some interesting things about her and then as usually is the case, I forgot about the book and looked forward to my evening meal.

Two months ago, I had to go back to that city to attend a business meeting. Again, I ventured towards the bookshop to look for a magazine, and as usual, my attention was quickly taken by the books and some new titles. I suddenly remembered the book I looked at some months ago although I could not remember the title or the author’s name but remembered being intrigued by what it set out to do for the reader.  I found my way towards the ‘self-help’ section and there it was a single copy. I snatched it up, bought it then left.

After reading the first chapter I decided to Google the author again and only to find out that she died early this year from cancer. I was taken aback. Of course I realize people die but in my mind she was young (57), beautiful, still had so much before her; it just seemed weird that she had passed away and even more strangely, that I had just been introduced to her and her works. Her books have been praised by Deepak and Neale Donald and Oprah and other prominent spiritual mentors.

The author was Debbie Ford and her book – The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. I’m so sorry that Debbie is no longer with us but spirit directed me to her book at a time when fear and confusion has taken ahold. Ford explains how the various facets of ourselves which we reject or try to shun away only lead to more confusion and resentment.  Instead, we should embrace the negative parts of ourselves with love and understanding. It is only until we have done this can we reclaim our wholeness and be on track towards our purpose. When I see my friend again, I will have to tell her she was right.

12 thoughts on “Embracing shadows: Debbie Ford

    • I think that this is something very important to not only understand but make sure we work on these gifts that are given to us. But I think more so this is the work of God in our lifes.

      • Absolutely! I’m just slightly overwhelmed that this book ‘appeared’ at such an appropriate moment in my life. I understand and accept that God has always been working behind the scenes but most of the time I fail to see his work but I’m grateful that he has been patient with me and has not given up on me. I hope I can realise his purpose and not disappoint him. Thanks for your comments.

  1. Debbie Ford and her work came into my life a year and a half ago and my journey also began with this book. After I read Dark Side of the Light Chasers I went to California (I live on the east coast) to attend Debbie’s “Shadow Process”, a 3 day intensive workshop/retreat that is beyond description. What I learned and experienced in those 3 days changed my life positively and permanently. It began a process of loving myself, trusting myself and no longer needing to “get” what I needed (validation, approval, attention, etc.) from the outside world as I was able to begin to give it to myself. The freedom of this is beyond description. When you are able to give yourself what you need, you are no longer dependent on getting it from others and therefore are free of needing to act in ways that are not authentically who you are because you need something from others. Self acceptance,self- love, self-care, “un-hooking” from others, letting go of resentment and anger, not being triggered by others – these are some of the gifts I have received from this work. As I mentioned it has been a year and a half, and I am now certified as an Integrative Coach in Debbie’s work and loving bringing the gifts of the work to others.

    If this book spoke to you, I urge you to consider attending a Shadow Process (you can find information on the Ford Institute website). There is one coming up in a few weeks in San Diego. Now that Debbie has passed, her brilliant partner Kelley Kosow is conducting the process. Kelley is talented beyond description, with her as your guide you will have an amazing experience. If you are interested in doing some private work, I would be honored to speak with you about it.

    With love and gratitude,

    • Many thanks for your response. I’m really taken aback by this as I wrote my article late last night and the response has been immediate and very positive. Your words resonate and are key to where I need to ‘move’ to i.e., not finding a balence with family/friends meaning the balence within myself is missing. So there is a strong tendency to be concerned and dependent on people’s expectations of me. It does not occur to me that I should trust myself. Unfortunately I do not live in the States but will be travelling to London next month. Any chance that Kelley will be visiting there? Kathy, thanks for your offer, I will check your facebook page.
      Loads of Blessings to you

      • Hi again,

        Feeling out of sync with yourself is such a difficult place to live from. Feeling tied to the actions, behaviors and responses of others is a form of self imprisonment. Believing consciously or unconsciously that parts of you are “bad” or unacceptable is the surest way to loose your authenticity and therefore be out of sync. We are all everything, every quality we can see in another, we possess as well. To make any part of ourselves “wrong” sets us up to try to prove that we are not “that” and once we try to prove what we aren’t, we begin to try to prove we are the opposite. Once this starts, we have lost our connection to our authentic selves. It is the messages and stories that we have told ourselves of who we are or aren’t in the world, and the commitments we have made to ourselves to keep ourselves “safe”, that set us up to loose touch with who we are. And the craziest thing is that we form these stories, beliefs, and commitments as children, before we even are able to understand the world around us!

        As of now (as far as I know) there are no scheduled Shadow Processes other than in San Diego and one in Miami in September. If you are in Europe, I believe there is an active community and possibly workshops in Denmark. Also possibly in Australia. You can email The Ford Institute and see if there are any options wherever you live. There are also many ways (both free and paid) to get a little deeper into the work on the website. All coaching is done over the phone or Skype so as long as you have a phone or are online, you can be coached. I offer a consultation/discussion at no charge so if you are interested I’d be happy to connect with you. My FB page is personal and I am currently working on a website so you will not find out much about my coaching that way. I would be happy to put you in touch with some of my coaching clients to get a sense of who I am as a coach if you are interested. Please let me know if I can provide any more information either about coaching or about delving more deeply into the work in another way. With love, Kathy

      • Yes, I would like further info about the coaching and how long it would last and perhaps finding out how the work can be approached in another way.
        Take care.

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