Debbie Ford, Spiritual Leader & Transformational Teacher, Dead at 57

BlogHer Original Post

This week, the world lost a truly transformational leader as Debbie Ford passed away, losing her battle with cancer at the age of 57. Debbie was a New York Times bestselling author, teacher, trainer, and internationally recognized expert in personal transformation. Yet it's not the accolades that I mourn and celebrate today.

You see, Debbie Ford touched and transformed people in a way that was unique. Her methods were neither a quick fix nor a "rainbows and puppies" solution. They were rooted in exploring the dark side (our shadows), embracing them, and thereby empowering people with the emotional freedom to truly shine. I am one of those people on whom Debbie left an indelible mark.

Debbie Ford

Image: © Brian Cahn/

I discovered her work at a critical point in my life. I had been landing the nice jobs with corporate companies but dying a slow emotional death, mired in a great deal of self-loathing, and feeling hopeless about the possibilities for an inspiring future. Like many, I discovered Debbie on Oprah. Devouring her book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, I saw myself in her words, perhaps for the first time.

At the time, I was not the kind of person who would attend a workshop or do anything out of the box. I was a fearful woman who struggled with panic and anxiety attacks and didn't stray too far from what was expected of me. This is why it made no logical sense whatsoever that in 2001 I drove by myself to upstate New York to attend her Shadow Process at Omega Institute.
There really is no way to explain that weekend except to say in the course of three days, I hit my lowest lows and highest highs. I was forever changed, and it became the catalyst for everything that followed.

I eventually spent over a year training personally with Debbie and her staff, becoming a coach. That's when I realized my career emancipation. I can remember standing in the San Diego sunshine and speaking with a man named Dick during one of our breaks. I asked him what he did for a living; he owned some sort of industrial widget distributor company. When I asked why widgets, he told me, "I chose this so my business life supports my whole life in the way I want it to (freedom, financially, et cetera)." His words that have become my mantra. I realized in that moment -- as I stood in a room full of people who were mostly following entrepreneurial, business owner, or other nontraditional career paths -- that there could be a different way to earn a living than sitting in the death cubicle, passing time, waiting for "someday" to truly live.

The transformation I experienced as a person, a professional, and leader could never be fully described. Without Debbie's impact on my life, I would have no business. I wouldn't have realized deep relationships with family and loved ones. There would be no outdoor adventures, no book, and frankly, I wonder if I could have even survived the soul-suicide path that I was on at all. The personal freedom, the depth of life experiences, and the empowerment that came from these times has only deepened and widened as I've continued on my journey. Her work first taught me how to go inside and connect head and heart. This is the seat of all wisdom and one of the tenets of the Intuitive Intelligence® work I created.


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