Cover image for The secret of the shadow : the power of owning your whole story
The secret of the shadow : the power of owning your whole story
Ford, Debbie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 222 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF637.S4 F65 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In The Secret of the Shadow bestselling author Debbie Ford shows us how to rediscover our true essence, which is hidden in the shadows of our own dramatic life stories. In her blockbuster The Dark Side of the Light Chasers Ford introduced us to our "shadow." Now she uncovers our "Story", the collection of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that prevent us from having all the love, happiness, and success we desire. She guides us to understand that bidden in the shadow of our stories is our magnificence, and our unique gift. The Secret of the Shadow shows that the stories we tell ourselves about our lives do not define who we truly are. In fact, they prevent us from grasping our purpose and potential. When we live in these stories we engage in noisy internal dialogues, self-defeating habits, and abusive behaviors. But once they are understood and processed, our traumas and failures, our pain and our discontent, will take us deep inside and return us to our Divine essence.

Our personal dramas contain important information and wisdom that can help us discover our essential selves and true purpose in life. The process of making peace with our stories requires us to identify, understand, accept, and embrace everything in our past that has caused us pain. In order for us to heal, we must stop chasing what Ford calls "the feel-good moments" and embark on the extraordinary journey of loving and embracing all that we are. The process outlined in this book offers us a way out of the never-ending cycle of pain and discontent. Whether we suffer from depression, ill health, a sense of unworthiness, arrogance, or low self-esteem, the road to heating is the same. This clear process (including action steps and contemplations in each chapter) will help you to discover your unique purpose and realize the fulfillment of your deepest desires.

As we make the inner journey of embracing our story and all its ingredients, we begin to see the life that lies ahead of us, a life that will give us the gift of our eternal selves.

Author Notes

Debbie Ford struggled with substance abuse as a teenager and young adult as a result of her parents' divorce and a sense that she had not lived up to their expectations. She checked in and out of drug treatment centers throughout her 20s and into her 30s, but hearing motivational speaker and author Deepak Chopra speak changed her life. She was influenced by his assertion that people need to "embrace" their demons rather than try to repress or conquer them.

She worked for Chopra for spent several years before publishing her first book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, in 1998. She discussed the book on television with Oprah Winfrey in 2000 and the book made best-seller lists. Her other self-help books include The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse, The Best Year of Your Life, The Shadow Effect co-written with Chopra and Marianne Williamson, and Spiritual Divorce. She was also an internationally-known motivational speaker for personal transformation who founded the Ford Institute for Integrative Coaching. She died from a rare form of sarcoma on February 17, 2013 at the age of 57.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The Secret of the Shadow Chapter One 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 youknew 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, you covered 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. Excerpted from All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 You and Your Storyp. 1
Chapter 2 Your Unique Recipep. 25
Chapter 3 Exploring the Great and Mysterious Story of Youp. 41
Chapter 4 Why You Hold on to Your Storyp. 63
Chapter 5 Reclaiming Your Powerp. 81
Chapter 6 The Power of Processp. 101
Chapter 7 Making Peace With Your Storyp. 127
Chapter 8 Finding Your Unique Specialtyp. 153
Chapter 9 Living Outside Your Storyp. 179
Chapter 10 The Secret of the Shadowp. 197
Acknowledgmentsp. 219