The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreamsby Debbie Ford
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
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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. The very impulses we most fear may be the key to what is lacking in our lives.
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Chapter 1: World Without, World WithinMost 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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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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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.
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.