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The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams

Overview

The bestselling, beloved classic on how to go into the dark side of yourself to bring out the light — now with new material.

Debbie Ford believes that we each hold within us a trace of every human characteristic that exists, the capacity for every human emotion. We are born with the ability to express this entire spectrum of characteristics. But, Ford points out, our families and our society send us strong messages about which ones are good and bad. So when certain impulses ...

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The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams

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Overview

The bestselling, beloved classic on how to go into the dark side of yourself to bring out the light — now with new material.

Debbie Ford believes that we each hold within us a trace of every human characteristic that exists, the capacity for every human emotion. We are born with the ability to express this entire spectrum of characteristics. But, Ford points out, our families and our society send us strong messages about which ones are good and bad. So when certain impulses arise, we deny them instead of confronting them, giving them a healthy voice, then letting them go.

It is to these feelings that Ford turns our attention, these parts of our selves that don't fit the personae we have created for the rest of the world. She shows us the effects of living in the dark, of keeping all our supposedly unsavory impulses under wraps. We find ourselves disproportionately frustrated and angry at the selfishness of friends, the laziness of colleagues, the arrogance of siblings. When we are unable to reconcile similar impulses in ourselves, Ford explains, we waste our own energy judging others instead of empathizing. But most important, we deny ourselves the power and freedom of living authentically.

Through the stories and exercises in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford shows us not only how to recognize our hidden emotions, but also how to find the gifts they offer us. This is for fans of Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch, and Deepak Chopra. The very impulses we most fear may be the key to what is lacking in our lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Rather than learning from our past mistakes, many of us repeat them, falling into never-ending emotional and behavioral patterns. Debbie Ford can help break the cycle. In her enlightening book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Ford demonstrates that our "dark sides" hold us back. Qualities ranging from selfishness and arrogance to laziness and rudeness have a tremendous hold on all of us and prevent meaningful personal growth, but Ford explains how we can recognize these qualities within ourselves and then move past them. A favorite of Oprah Winfrey's, this book is life-changing.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Everyone possesses the entire range of human traits and emotions"the saintly and the cynical, the divine and the diabolical, the courageous and the cowardly"contends Ford, a faculty member of California's Chopra Center for Well-Being. The problem, as Ford (and Freud) define it, is that in growing up, people suppress those behaviors, thoughts, feelings and characteristics that are unacceptable within their particular environments. But rather than daily sessions on the couch, Ford advocates re-imagining and reclaiming lost aspects of self, urging readers to "unconceal" and embrace those traits buried in their "shadow," in order to find their "gift." She offers exercises designed to bring such traits to the surface, including directed self-questioning; listing one's characteristics for closer examination of positives and negatives; and "discharging toxic emotions" physically. Her advice is often drawn from anecdotes of experiences with friends and in workshops that she has taught or attended, and from her own struggles with various aspects of her personality. What some will see as disarming simple methodology may seem shallow to those with a more analytical bent. But even those not looking for the "Resistant Rita," "Lovegirl Laurie," "My-way Marvin" or "Competent Ken" locked inside them may find him or her in spite of themselves.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594485251
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 76,407
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Ford was an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal transformation. She was the best-selling author of many books, including: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, The Secret of the Shadow, Spiritual Divorce, The Right Questions, The Best Year of Your Life, Why Good People Do Bad Things, The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse, and The Shadow Effect. A transformational coach, speaker, and teacher for more than 20 years, Debbie created the renowned Shadow Process Workshop, was the executive producer of The Shadow Effect transformational documentary, and founder of The Ford Institute, the world-renowned personal and professional training organization. Visit: www.DebbieFord.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: World Without, World Within

Most of us set out on the path to personal growth because at some point the burden of our pain becomes too much to bear. The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is about unmasking that aspect of ourselves which destroys our relationships, kills our spirit, and keeps us from fulfilling our dreams. It is what the psychologist Carl Jung called the shadow. It contains all the parts of ourselves that we have tried to hide or deny. It contains those dark aspects that we believe are not acceptable to our family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves. The dark side is stuffed deeply within our consciousness, hidden from ourselves and others. The message we get from this hidden place is simple: there is something wrong with me. I'm not okay. I'm not lovable. I'm not deserving. I'm not worthy.

Many of us believe these messages. We believe that if we look closely enough at what lies deep within us, we will find something horrible. We resist looking long and hard for fear of discovering someone we can't live with. We fear ourselves. We fear every thought and feeling we have ever repressed. Many of us are so disconnected from this fear we can only see it by reflection. We project it onto the world, onto our families and friends, and onto strangers. Our fear is so deep that the only way we can deal with it is either to hide or deny it. We become great imposters who fool ourselves and others. We become so good at this we actually forget that we are wearing masks to hide our authentic selves. We believe we are the persons we see in the mirror. We believe we are our bodies and our minds. Even after years of failed relationships, careers, diets,and dreams, we continue to suppress these disturbing internal messages. We tell ourselves we're okay and that things will get better. We put blinders over our eyes and plugs in our ears to keep the internal stories we create alive. I'm not okay. I'm not lovable. I'm not deserving. I'm not worthy.

Instead of trying to suppress our shadows, we need to unconceal, own and embrace the very things we are most afraid of facing. By "own," I mean acknowledge that a quality belongs to you. "It is the shadow that holds the clues," says the spiritual teacher and author Lazaris. "The shadow also holds the secret of change, change that can affect you on a cellular level, change that can affect your very DNA." Our shadows hold the essence of who we are. They hold our most treasured gifts. By facing these aspects of ourselves, we become free to experience our glorious totality: the good and the bad, the dark and the light. It is by embracing all of who we are that we earn the freedom to choose what we do in this world. As long as we keep hiding, masquerading, and projecting what is inside us, we have no freedom to be and no freedom to choose.

Our shadows exist to teach us, guide us, and give us the blessing of our entire selves. They are resources for us to expose and explore. The feelings that we have suppressed are desperate to be integrated into ourselves. They are only harmful when they are repressed: then they can pop up at the least opportune times. Their sneak attacks will handicap you in the areas of your life that mean the most.

Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you're not. You will no longer have to prove you're good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to live in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.

Every human being is born with a healthy emotional system. We love and accept ourselves when we are born. We don't make judgments about which parts of ourselves are good and which parts are bad. We dwell in the fullness of our being, living in the moment, and expressing ourselves freely. As we grow older, we begin to learn from the people around us. They tell us how to act, when to eat, when to sleep, and we begin to make distinctions. We learn which behaviors bring us acceptance and which bring us rejection. We learn if we get a prompt response or if our cries go unanswered. We learn to trust the people around us or to fear the people around us. We learn consistency or inconsistency. We learn which qualities are acceptable in our environment and which are not. All of this distracts us from living in the moment and keeps us from expressing ourselves freely.

We need to revisit the experience of our innocence that allows us to accept all of who we are at every moment. This is where we need to be in order to have a healthy, happy, complete human existence. This is the path. In Neale Donald Walsch's book Conversations with God, God says:

Perfect love is to feeling what perfect white is to color. Many think that white is the absence of color. It is not. It is the inclusion of all color. White is every other color that exists combined. So, too, is love not the absence of emotion (hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, covertness), but the summation of all feeling? It is the sum total. The aggregate amount. The everything.

Love is inclusive: it accepts the full range of human emotion-the emotions we hide, the emotions we fear. Jung once said, "I'd rather be whole than good." How many of us have sold ourselves out in order to be good, to be liked, to be accepted?

Most of us were raised to believe that people have good qualities and bad qualities. And in order to be accepted we had to get rid of our bad qualities, or at least hide them. This way of thinking happens when we begin to individuate, as we distinguish our fingers from the slats of our crib, and distinguish ourselves from our parents. But as we get older we realize an even greater truth-that spiritually we are all interconnected. We are all part of each other. From this point of view we need to ask whether there really are good parts and bad parts of us. Or are all parts necessary to make a whole? Because how can we know good without knowing bad? How can we know love without knowing hate? How can we know courage without knowing fear?

This holographic model of the universe provides us with a revolutionary view of the connection between the inner and the outer world. According to this theory, every piece of the universe, no matter how we slice it, contains the intelligence of the whole. We, as individual beings, are not isolated and random. Each of us is a microcosm that reflects and contains the macrocosm. "If this is true," says consciousness researcher Stanislav Grof, "then we each hold the potential for having direct and immediate experiential access to virtually every aspect of the universe, extending our capacities well beyond the reach of our senses." We all contain the imprint of the entire universe within ourselves. As Deepak Chopra puts it, "We are not in the world, but the world is within us." Each of us possess every existing human quality. There is nothing we can see or conceive that we are not, and the purpose of our journey is to restore ourselves to this wholeness...

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Foreword xviii

Chapter 1 World Without, World Within 1

Chapter 2 Chasing Down the Shadow 11

Chapter 3 The World Within Us 23

Chapter 4 Re-Collecting Ourselves 39

Chapter 5 Know Thy Shadow, Know Thy Self 55

Chapter 6 "I Am That" 72

Chapter 7 Embracing Your Dark Side 92

Chapter 8 Reinterpreting Yourself 112

Chapter 9 Letting Your Own Light Shine 136

Chapter 10 A Life Worth Living 158

Afterword 181

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2002

    Down to Earth and Insightful

    I have been reading this book back to back with Caroline Myss' Sacred Contracts, and I actually prefer Debbie's clear, warm and straight-from-the-hip style. She comes across as very genuine, and her ideas, though not new (who has new ideas anyway?) are presented with a fresh, vibrant clarity that may appeal to a larger audience. Her suggestions seem more practical too. This book is a very powerful tool for anyone who wishes to improve their life, and/or sincerely desires to understand themselves and others better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2012

    Enlightening

    The Dark Side of The Light Chasers is intriguing and a different way to look at how we view ourselves and others. I gained a lot of insight into my relationships with others. Very enlightening.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    This Helped Me Through My Darkest Time!

    This book is a must-read for those who are spiritual and even possibly depressed. I first read this in high school while dealing with SO much teenage angst, and it was the first text that I read Psychology or Self-Help based, which actually helped me out. To this day, I buy and send this book to my spiritual friends who may need some guidance about direction. I just recently purchased this book again to re-read it since it had such a fantastic impact on showing me that life was okay and I could make it. While it may not have been Debbie Ford's goal to assist people who are depressed, she definitely helped me - and I highly recommend this book to all who are maybe looking for some direction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2004

    Brilliant brilliant book!

    I thought I was happy, I thought I was mature. I was looking for another challenge in life, so I picked up this book to see if there was anything useful. Whoa! This book made me realize that I have a whole other side to myself that I was not aware of. It made me understand what really being whole as a person is all about. I cannot say enough about this book! Thanks to this book, I feel I can really see the positive and negative sides of myself. I am using it to figure out how to get rid of the clutter in my life and embrace the simple beauty of it all. Another book that is really helping me now is 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It is another one of these terrific books that looks at these things with a focus on our relationships with other people. Both of these books are highly, highly recommended!!! Good luck to you all!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2001

    Transformational, but with an unappetizing spiritual glaze.

    Ms. Ford has absorbed much her teachers wisdom, but stil keeps her belief in mysticism and gods. She, or her editors, insists in wrapping valuable truths in packages with little spiritual pink ribbons on them. Try Nathaniel Brandons, The Art of Living Consciously as a companion book that will offset some of Ms. Ford's sugary spiritual seasoning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2001

    Lasting Changes

    The philosophies shared in this book are significant. Unlike many of the theories written in other self-helps, Debbie provides the reader with tools that seem to make true lasting changes. I took the time to do the exercises and I believe I find myself on a brighter path of consciousness and contentment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2001

    REVIEW ON DARK SIDE OF LIGHT CHASERS

    SIMPLY PUT- A 'MUST' READ BOOK. IT WAS TRULY ENLIGHTENING. IT MADE ME WANT TO BUY SEVERAL COPIES AND PASS THEM ON TO ALL I KNOW. BUY IT READ IT AND ENJOY!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2001

    Brilliant

    Debbie Ford has helped me change my life and perspective. Thank you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2001

    Wonderful Book

    Reading this book gave me some real insights into my own life, things I would never have thought of, I am very grateful for it and Debbies wonderful insight to these things and how to handle them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2000

    Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance and Dreams

    This book is about getting the dark side out. Keeping anything hidden is the problem. The book helped my a lot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2000

    Yea, It's worth it!

    Fully enjoyed it as I have his other books. I recommend his Conversations With God both reading and listening to the tapes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2000

    Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance and Dreams

    This book tells us how to feed our positive thoughts. I loved the book. I would also highly recommend the book An Encounter With A Prophet and Conversations With God.

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