As I mentioned when I started doing the Fabulous Friday Female, this project is a group effort and I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate not just the women who inspire me, but also those who inspire YOU. Today, we get to honour a woman who has inspired people all over the planet by sharing her gifts whole heartedly with the world.
Unfortunately, last Sunday Debbie passed after a long battle with cancer.
You only need to read the message from Debbie on her website to see what a truly special woman she was.
A Message from Debbie Ford
The evolution of one’s own soul is a process. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not a five day workshop. It’s a lifetime process where we let go, discover and then allow for futures to come into existence. Through connecting to our soul, to our collective heart, we can become congruent with our deepest values and our life mission. We can then allow for the realities which are always available to us to unfold. As we all have heard, love is the answer. Indeed it is, but it’s not just the loving of our good self, of our good qualities. True love is embracing our dark impulses, our imperfections, our mistakes and our heartache. That is when one reconnects and experiences the love that is truly the answer.
It is my mission day after day to find new ways to inspire others to go on this lifelong journey to clean up their past, to forgive themselves for their flaws and shortcomings, to make peace with their humanity, to open up to their divinity and allow themselves to be guided by a power greater than themselves. Congruence, integration, responsibility and integrity are the values that I stand for that each of us can reclaim as part of this process. Within ourselves, there are voices that provide us with all the answers that we need to heal our deepest wounds, to transcend our limitations, to overcome our obstacles or challenges, and to see where our soul is longing to go. Training people to go beyond their minds for direction in order to connect with these voices within is at the core of everything I teach.
Understanding the relationship between one’s inner world, where these voices and this wisdom reside, and the outer world is the thing that radically altered my life. Understanding this relationship is one of the things that distinguishes me from other teachers, as do my awe and respect for both the inner and the outer, the ego created and the soul inspired, the human and the divine, the false self and the true self. It is the return to wholeness and the integration of all we are that has inspired and woken me up every morning for the last 20 years.
So today I would like to thank my friend Johanna Lyman for sharing her tribute to Debbie with us, as her life has been deeply touched by Debbie’s work.
Here’s what Johanna had to say about Debbie Ford:
Debbie Ford, author of several books on the shadow and one of my most influential early teachers, passed away on Sunday from cancer. I’ve spent much of the day reflecting on what I’ve learned from this gifted teacher.
I believe one of the simplest, yet most profound thing she said was this: “Each aspect within us needs understanding and compassion. If we are unwilling to give it to ourselves how can we expect the world to give it to us?”
How, indeed? And yet we do. This expectation that we can receive understanding and compassion, or love and forgiveness, from someone else when we’re unwilling to give those things to ourselves is the root of most of our suffering.
The reason we suffer is because we are unwilling or uncapable of seeing ourselves as whole and good, even with our cracks and our imperfections. We try to hide those things about us that aren’t perfect, and in hiding parts of ourselves we think we can trick others into finding us lovable and worthy. But because the very basis of our attempts at love is rooted in subterfuge, it never sticks.
This dynamic sets us up for a lifetime of suffering, until we decide to shift it. Thanks to Debbie Ford, many more of us have been deciding to take a good look at our shadows. In shining the light into the shadows, we can regain a sense of ourselves as unique, precious beings with meaningful gifts to share.
When we own all of the aspects of ourselves we can finally realize that we’re good enough just as we are. Yes, we might have things we want to improve, but if we can’t improve something then we’re still alright.
A great example of this is with weight and body image. The diet industry is major business: people (mostly women) spend sixty billion dollars a year trying to lose weight. What if you could stop trying to the perfect weight, and shifted your perspective. What if you asked yourself, “What would someone who truly loved herself eat today? What would someone who really accepted herself do to nurture her body today?” I daresay you would be a lot more compassionate with yourself when you slip, and less likely to slip in the first place. Perhaps you won’t fit into a size zero dress, but the last time I checked, sexy was not a dress size, it was an attitude. Let’s all try on an attitude of self love and self acceptance. Debbie Ford would highly recommend it.
So please join Johanna and I today in acknowledging, honouring and celebrating the life of Debbie Ford, for her work, for her gifts, and for her heart. Thanks to her work, many people around the world are accepting and embracing all parts of themselves, and she has been instrumental in many programs to help women and children now thriving. She has touched many lives during her lifetime, and will continue to touch many more for years to come.
I’ll leave you with a heart-felt message from Debbie’s sister Arielle Ford which says it all.
My beautiful, brilliant and very brave sister Debbie made her transition last night into the waiting arms of her ancestors and guardian angels.
She told Brian and me that she was tired and ready to go. She had accomplished her mission, even though she would have liked more time with her son Beau, her family, her devoted Julie, her gazillion friends and many beloved co-workers and community members.
Debbie wasn’t just my little sister. She was my friend, teacher, biggest supporter, and sometimes unmanageable client. (She was always stubborn which served her well these past two and half years when she defied the odds of cancer. I’ll never forget the day one doctor told her in September 2010 to get her affairs in order because she was ready for hospice. She told him to F-off, that there was no way she was dying.)
If I had to choose just one word to describe her I would say that first and foremost Debbie was a seeker.
In her teens and twenties she was seeking excitement, parties, wild adventure and of course shopping.
In her thirties she began seeking to understand the mind, body, spirit connection in order to heal herself of addiction.
She was simultaneously committed to discovering her own spirituality while gaining a college degree in transpersonal psychology as she sought more and more understanding of herself, the divine, and the world. Debbie also earned two honorary doctorate degrees for her contributions to the field.
From her forties and beyond, she devoted herself to teaching and sharing her own powerful process of healing while always seeking new, deeper paths to wholeness.
Debbie innovated groundbreaking work around the human shadow and grew into her role as a teacher, sharing her insightful shadow work through her many books, lectures, workshops, coaching programs, TV and radio shows, and even a movie — helping hundreds of thousands around the world transform their pain into “their best life.” Debbie helped so many people go beyond their limited perspective of themselves and reconnect to the love, joy, and peace of their true selves.
Her legacy and work will live on through the programs she developed and through her loving and devoted staff at The Ford Institute for Transformational Training.
Debbie was also a giver. Her generosity is legendary and one of her proudest accomplishments was assisting Beau with his Bar Mitzvah project to build a school in rural Uganda. Through her Collective Heart Foundation in partnership with the Just Like My Child Foundation, several important programs to help women and children are now thriving including a Girl Power project. You can support this by visiting www.TheCollectiveHeart.org
If you would like to post your memories and stories about Debbie, prayers for Debbie, or messages for the family, please visit RememberingDebbieFord.com
p.s. Here’s a great Debbie video:
As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with 3 simple details:
- Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
- Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
- A photo or link to a picture of her online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)
So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women who inspire YOU.
…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!