The Barnes & Noble Review
What would you say if someone asked you to tell them your life story? Would it be a story you would be excited to tell? Is it a story of conviction, courage, and joy? For most people, it is not. In her earlier years, author Debbie Ford was constantly battling drug addiction and feelings of worthlessness. It was during a session of group therapy in rehab when a flash of insight hit her like a slap across the face. She realized that the stories people in the group were telling -- including her own -- had become repetitive tales that people had scripted themselves into and that they couldn't move beyond the roles they had created for themselves. They were all taking their individual tales of woe as the ultimate "truth" about who they were, who they are, and who they could become.
Delving into and working through her own story, she realized that in the heart of it, of every person's story, lies a great secret. And that secret is "the key to unleashing our magnificence." Through journaling exercises, rituals, and meditations that are provided at the end of each chapter, you, too, will learn to embrace and let go of your own story. In the process you will unearth your own secret, the light that has been long and carefully buried. (Jennifer Forman)
In her latest book, the author of the bestselling The Dark Side of the Light Chasers decries that so many people have spent so much money in an attempt to gain deep inner peace to no avail. Presumably, Ford considers this treacly volume will be money well spent: employing stories both from her unhappy past and from the lives of people she counsels in her workshops at the Chopra Center for Well Being, she illustrates the steps she claims will lead a person to discover his or her "Divine truth." What initially sounds like the final answer in self-help books is in fact a sincere but cloying mix of Ford's spiritual views and suggested exercises that are all too familiar to dedicated soul-searchers. Incorporating perspectives from various religions, 12-step programs and pop psychology, Ford's advice urges readers to stop blaming other people for their own problems, take responsibility for their own actions and make amends to balance their "karmic scales." The final lesson here is that everything that happens is a blessing, no matter how painful or difficult it may be. Ford advises readers to "step outside" their stories the limited and limiting meanings they have given to events in their lives and to instead realize that they are "Divine" beings with a unique purpose in life and contribution to make. She makes it sound easy and therein lies the problem. (Jan.) Forecast: Ford's previous book, Spiritual Divorce, focused on applying her tenets in specific ways to a specific experience. While her relative fame will guarantee sales, this latest volume offers little more than the well-worn edict to find something good in all "bad" experiences. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A divorced mother and recovered drug addict who currently teaches at the Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, CA, Ford introduced her concept of the "shadow" (i.e., what's really going on in our lives) in her best-selling The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. Here, she builds on that concept, incorporating it into the idea of one's "story," or the set of negative attitudes and beliefs that prevent people from being happy. To free oneself from that baggage and discover the true self, Ford offers some sensible methods. Unfortunately, in doing so, she also annoyingly discounts other best-selling self-help titles and their key concepts, claiming that her competitors' ideas will only lead people to hide from the truth. Mystical and underlined with ying and yang ideas, her book is not groundbreaking, but it is written in an engagingly ethereal and poetic style. It has a place in public libraries, bookstores, and personal growth collections. Given the print and broadcast advertising campaign and Ford's connection with Deepak Chopra, there will be demand. Susan Burdick, Media, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
“A spiritual wake-up call to step into the infinite possibilities of your highest self.”
“Ford has—with great attention, efficiency, and care—created a modern map that charts the course to timeless, invaluable knowledge.”
“Acknowledge. Reclaim. Evolve. These are the core action steps Debbie Ford illustrates in this empowering new book.”
“Debbie Ford will challenge you to come out of hiding and share your precious gift with the world.”
Read an Excerpt
You and Your Story
Imagine that you knew at birth that you were a master, that you were powerful beyond measure, that you possessed enormous gifts, and that all it would take to deliver your gifts to the world was your desire. Imagine that you came into this world with your heart filled with the healing power of love and that your only desire was to bestow that love onto all those around you. Imagine that you had the innate ability to create and have all that you want and all that you need. Is it possible that at some point in your life you knew that there was no one else in the world like you? And that in every fiber of your being you knew that you not only possessed the light of the world, but that you were the light of the world? Is it possible that at one time you knew who you were at the deepest level and you rejoiced in your gifts? Take a moment now, and see if you can remember that time when you knew the truth of who you really are.
Then something happened. Your world changed. Something or someone cast a shadow on your light. From that moment on you feared that you and your precious gifts were no longer safe in the world. You felt that if you didn't hide your sacred gift it might be abused, injured, or taken away from you. Deep inside, you knew that this gift was like a precious, innocent child that was yours to protect. So you did what any good parent would do: You hid all your magnificence deep inside so that no one would ever discover it, so that no one could hurt it or take it away from you. Then, with the creativity of a child, youcovered it up. You created an act, a persona, a drama, a story so that nobody would ever suspect that you were the keeper of so much light. You were very smart -- brilliant, actually -- at hiding your secret. Not only did you convince others that you were not that; you also convinced yourself -- all because you were being a good parent to the gift that you held. It was your secret -- your deep, dark secret, which only you knew. You were even creative enough to manifest the exact opposite of that which you truly are so that you could protect yourself from those who might be upset or angered by your innate gifts.
But after days, months, and years of hiding your precious treasure, you began to believe your story. You became the persona you created to protect your secret. At that moment you forgot that you had ever buried your treasured gift in the first place. You not only forgot where you had hidden it, you forgot that you had hidden it at all. Your light, love, greatness, and beauty got lost inside your story. You forgot that you had a secret.
From that moment on, you felt lost, alone, separate, and scared. Suddenly you became aware that there was something missing -- and there was. The pain of separating from your treasure felt like losing your best friend. Inside, you ached for the return of your true self. So you began a search outside of yourself for something that would fill the void and make you feel better. You looked to relationships, to other people, to your achievements and awards, trying to find that which was missing. You looked to your body and your bank account, trying to get that feeling back. Maybe, like me, you were driven by feelings of unworthiness that ran so deep that you spent most of your life frantically searching for something to complete you. But everywhere you looked you came up empty.
By the time I was five years old, I was all too familiar with the voice in my head telling me that I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't wanted, and that I didn't belong. Desperate to feel loved and accepted, I set out on the exhausting task of getting other people to validate my worth. Deep inside I believed there was something wrong with me, and I went to great lengths to conceal my flaws. I quickly learned how to charm people, flashing my biggest smile to get them to notice me. I thought that if I was more talented than my older sister or smarter than my older brother, I would belong and my family would fill me with all the love and acceptance I hungered for. I believed that if they loved me enough, I would no longer have to listen to the awful thoughts that filled my mind or endure the painful feelings that consumed my small body.
As the years passed, I became skilled at finding ways to hide my pain from myself and others. When I couldn't find someone to validate me or tell me I was okay, I would sneak across the street to the nearby 7-Eleven and buy a package of Sara Lee brownies and a bottle of Coca-Cola. That dose of sugar really seemed to do the trick. But by the age of twelve my pain was too big to hide: I felt too tall, too awkward, and too stupid. I was envious of the girls who seemed to fit in, who wore the right clothes and had the right families. For years I cried every day, trying to release the inner pain that consumed me. My tears of sadness always had the same message: “Why doesn't anyone love me? What's wrong with me? Please, won't someone come and help me?”
Then, to make matters even worse, one Saturday afternoon when I was twelve years old my mother informed my brother and me that while we were at the beach, my father had moved out of the house. Their marriage was over, and they were...
The Secret of the Shadow. Copyright © by Debbie Ford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.