Goodbye to Debbie Ford
By Laurie Sue Brockway
Debbie Ford, 57, bestselling
author and teacher known for her work helping people break free of their
emotional baggage and fears, died in her home in San Diego, California Sunday,
February 17, 2013. She was surrounded by friends and family. This marked the
end of a long journey with cancer that she first shared with the public in an
interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Considered a thought leader
for her generation, Ford burst onto the scene with her first book, The Dark
Side of the Light Chasers, in 1998, showing the world that even loving and
self-aware people have a darker side. She took readers on a journey of
identifying, facing, and embracing their shadow selves. Her Shadow Process
Workshop became the foundation of her work for nearly two decades to follow.
She penned nine best-selling books related to that topic, and was working on
her 10th book at the time of her death. Her books are translated into over 20
languages and have sold millions
Her books are still
considered pioneering work in the world of emotional and spiritual education
including: The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self
which she wrote with Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson (2010); and Courage:
Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence (2012).
Early in her career, Ford
realized that one of her gifts was to bring large groups of people through the
transformational process. To facilitate this work, she founded the The Ford Institute for Transformational Training and began
to train others in her life-changing processes. She trained thousands of
transformational life coaches around the world to utilize her innovative
coaching models, tools, techniques and processes to support others in healing
their hearts, clarifying their goals, creating lives beyond the limitations of
their old beliefs and behaviors, and embracing and integrating their whole
Her quick wit, ability to
stand strong in the presence of human pain and suffering, and true belief that
we are all encoded with the ability to serve others and love ourselves, gained
her the admiration and support of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time.
She was known for her straight talking, honest approach to helping others heal
their own self-hatred and release self-criticisms with forgiveness.
In 2008, Debbie founded The
Collective Heart, a nonprofit organization with the mission to encourage people
to make a difference in the lives of others, especially children. Inspired by
Oprah’s commitment to educate girls and at the urging of her friend Vivian Glyck, founder of the Just Like My Child Foundation, Ford
and her son Beau committed to building the first “Children’s Academy for the
Collective Heart” in rural Uganda. With contributions from around the world,
the first school was built, and began educating students in the spring of 2009.
Since inception, the Collective Heart has raised over $350,000, and provided
the resources and provisions for six primary schools to be built in two African
nations — five schools in Uganda and one in Kenya — that will empower thousands
of children over the next 20 years with the lifelong gift of an education. In
her latest endeavor, Ford helped inspire her community to raise $100,000 in
support of The Girl Power Project, a dynamic year-long leadership training for
adolescent girls in Uganda.
* * *
The family requests in lieu
of flowers, donations be made to Ford’s foundation www.thecollectiveheart.org
for the Girl Power Project. If you would like to share your memories and
stories about Debbie, prayers for Debbie, or messages for her family, visit