By Stephen Dinan, Founder of The Shift Network
For those who haven’t heard, bestselling author Debbie Ford passed away earlier this week, which has led to a great outpouring of love and honoring for her life and legacy. You can read or leave your own remembrances here.
We’ve also posted a great interview she did with Devaa Haley Mitchell during the Inspiring Women Summit for free here.
It’s sad to lose a woman such as Debbie, who leaves a big hole in her family, community and in our larger movement. While I only knew her for a few years, I wanted to share with you why I found her to be such an amazing force of evolution and so liberating to be around.
First of all, Debbie was unafraid of the shadow, writing a book called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers and a potent movie called "The Shadow Effect." She was naked in revealing everything from her times of drug addiction to wrestling with cancer. This willingness to go into the shadow led to a truly full-spectrum acceptance of herself, which also led her to be a remarkable teacher of transformation. Her students were willing to reveal (and learn from) all their skeletons because she dared to do so first.
That’s not only healing, it’s also key to living a sacred life, which requires seeing everything with the eyes of God. If we’re shielding parts of ourselves with shame, we create an internal pressure that often erupts unconsciously. Too many “enlightened” teachers have fallen from acclaim because they never did this shadow work, which requires a deeper, more encompassing love to welcome our weakness, our frailties, our anger, and our destructiveness as well.
By illuminating the shadowy corners of our psyches and lives, she helped not just her students but the whole consciousness movement become less lopsided and ungrounded. And she gave us all a lot more permission to be fully real - which also happens to be a lot more fun and entertaining.
Second, Debbie cared deeply about the world and was willing to take on big and important projects, even at cost to herself. I’m reminded of the Gulf Call to Sacred Action that she organized, which brought together many evolutionary leaders to engage in both subtle healing and action around the BP Gulf oil disaster. She demonstrated love in action and continued to take on philanthropic projects even when wrestling with terminal cancer.
Third, I think we can all learn from Debbie what it means to play all out – nothing held back. She spoke her truth boldly, shared her victories and apparent failures, laughed wildly, got fiery when upset, and took a stand. She modeled what it means to be a new paradigm leader, both visionary and vulnerable, radical and real.
She was a shooting star, meant to bedazzle and transform and leave a more evolved world on the path behind her.
May her afterlife be filled with celebration and may we all follow in her wake.
The Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive The Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.
This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 4