This was the first book I read when I began my more serious journey into understanding what was making me suicidal and devaluing my own life at the beginning of 2015.
I have spent a fortune on healers, courses, hypnotherapy, books, alternative therapies etc over the last 10 years. So when I landed in Barcelona, learning that my then boyfriend was no longer coming to join me and having to witness the inner conflicts making me suicidal AGAIN, I had had enough. I made a powerful decision to do what it takes to get to the bottom of my depression and to finally lay rest to this draining way of existence.
This is the part when I remind you that you will find what you need when you need it. You will empower yourself to become your own healer, you will realise that no matter what you read, until it becomes your own wisdom and something you can personally relate to, it remains a bunch of letters with some meaning attached. This is your life. You conclude. So Debbie’s book was the first to help me get to my own conclusions on what has led to my suffering, cancer, depression and way too much drama. She was the beginning of my excavation of Natalie. It was time to remember and acknowledge who I really am.
“The world is a teacher to the wise man and an enemy to the fool” (p121)
When I read this book I had no idea Debbie Ford died of cancer in 2013 and I’m sad she passed but this book doesn’t lose its strength or impact on the reader. I love her direct, clean and clear style of writing. I love how she relates to the reader through her own personal experiences and empowers them to see just how incredible they are.
I loyally did all the exercises she suggests in the book. It’s a great way of getting very clear and present to the truth of your conditioned mind. I got clear on the powerful traits of myself that I locked up because they were ‘dangerous’ or misunderstood. Over-sensitive, being too quiet, opinionated, selfish…These are some my personal shadows and what I don’t like to admit makes me me.
“My friend Bill Spinoza, a seminar leader for Landmark Education, says, “What you can’t be with won’t let you be.” You’ve got to give all of who you are permission to exist. If you want to be free you must be able “to be.” – p.6 The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
I grasped from this book that despite all the failures in my life, the fears and the mist surrounding my purpose or existence, I had done something very well. I had chosen to live. I didn’t commit suicide back in 2007, I didn’t give into the thoughts telling me that the only answer was death. I also didn’t choose the path of anti-depressants and as a result I experienced some remarkable alternative treatments and healing sessions.
I also got how powerfully I intended to be whole. To be my friend again and to accept all parts of me even when others don’t. This is a very powerful realisation if you suffer with depression or self-hate because accepting yourself feels impossible when the world around you is so dark and out of control. Yet it’s the answer and when you absorb the true power of this wisdom, you begin your journey back to being happy (even if the world is still falling apart). You have to be your friend or accept yourself.
You have to stand by your decisions and choices even when they appear to be hugely flawed! Read the article Depression & Spiritual Awakening by Elzbieta Pettighill for a great account of her own personal transcendence from depression to acceptance. It’s raw, honest and very helpful.
On page 79 Debbie Ford says, “When resistance to owning something shows up, don’t skip over it.” This is when it dawned on me, I don’t want to be human. I don’t want to own my own life!! After getting clear on this and after several months, it really sunk in how this has affected my life and led to a great deal of rejection. Rejection of Earth and of being human. I don’t expect people to understand this but I know a lot of ‘spiritual’ people or people who think they are from another planet, another realm or are Angels – they reject their human life because it’s too painful. I did. I had such a deep knowing I didn’t belong here, I physically decided I needed to go ‘home’. But when I read this book and Caroline Myss’ Anatomy of the Spirit, Grounded in the Light by Michael David plus a book called Earth: Pleiadian Keys to the Living Library I made a powerful decision to be human.
“Compassion for ourselves is essential. Where it is absent, we feel fear and self loathing.” (p.129)
My victim mentality became very obvious when reading this book and doing the exercises. I loved seeing her, she has been a vital force during my healing and has brought me many lessons. Yet clinging to being a victim is EXHAUSTING. You become defensive, there is injustice everywhere and your language is based on a poor me mentality. You feel hopeless and helpless. Yet with Debbie’s work you get to see the messages behind these shadows, you are encouraged to see them in the full light.
“When you take the time to discover your whole self, you’ll open the door to true enlightenment…Shadow work is not intellectual; it’s a journey from the head to the heart.” (p.12)
I also enjoyed the exercise of practicing to get to know your sub-personalities. These sub-personalities are reflections of your shadows and they all have a message to share. I also hugely enjoyed Debbie’s way of explaining how we project our shadows onto others. “We see only that which we are” (p.39) In gaining awareness of how we project our hidden traits onto others, e.g. being annoyed at someone for being arrogant, we can turn it around and see how we are also arrogant at times. This isn’t making you wrong, it’s a powerful way of reclaiming your whole existence and working with it rather than denying it. Denial takes up a lot of your energy and feeds the mask you use on a daily bases. Be honest with yourself – what makes up the mask? Who are you and can you accept it, digest it and fall back into being who you really are?
“It takes compassion to own a part of yourself that you’ve previously disowned, ignored, hated, denied, or judged in others. It takes compassion to accept being human and having every aspect of humanity within you, good and bad. Ultimately, when you open your heart to yourself, you will find you have compassion for everything and everybody.” (p.76)
Debbie Ford offers a unique vision on the traits we work so hard on to hide. She brings a sense of peace to those of us who have shied away from our weaknesses and outlines fun, safe ways to bring them back into the light. This is a powerful way of becoming whole – of embracing all aspects of yourself and choosing to see the gift is everything that you are. Heavy investment in fixing our ‘flaws’ and running from our emotions is leading to the self-help illusion that you have to eliminate/clear/fix/change something in you to be happy. STOP! No one can be you, only you can conclude on your own existence and fall in love with who you really are – warts and all 😉
“Don’t be afraid if you don’t know what you want. Simply make a commitment to live up to your full potential” (p.163 – Debbie Ford)
Good luck and I highly recommend this book if you can keep an open mind, do the exercises and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s a guidebook to releasing the past, reinventing your self and strengthening your will to love your life again.
Believe in your path is sacred and embrace it fully x
Links & Resources
The Debbie Ford Website: www.debbieford.com