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The Secret of the Shadow: The Power of Owning Your Whole Story Paperback – December 3, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (December 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006251783X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062517838
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The past is more than prologue, says bestselling author and Chopra Center for Well Being counselor Debbie Ford. The Secret of the Shadow urges readers to create a fresh meaning about their formative experiences, especially the painful ones, and use them to plan a more purposeful and authentic life. Ford believes that each person is born with unique gifts and a divine purpose, which are lost when we create a "story"--a collection of beliefs--that manufactures a false self and casts a shadow to hide our uniqueness and prevent us from success in work and love. As she explains, "the key is to stop chasing the feel-good moments and make peace with our stories so we can understand, accept and embrace everything in the past that has caused us pain." Once we stop trying to change the painful parts of our story, we will discover the divine plan for our lives.

Writing in the voice of the wounded healer, Ford tells her own story of embracing the wisdom and direction she found in facing family and addiction problems. She skillfully offers examples from participants in her workshops at the Chopra center who have leveraged the lessons of a painful past into a purposeful life. She invites readers to "own their whole story" by asking: What is the secret [about you] that your story conceals? What wisdom can you contribute to the world that you couldn't if the events in your life hadn't happened?"

At times, Ford's approach seems derivative of 12-step programs and ersatz Buddhism. And she mixes metaphors of shadows and light with those of a recipe and ingredients. Readers also know that self-reflection, acceptance of life's mixed blessings, and making lemonade from lemons are not new ideas. Yet Ford's passion and persuasiveness make a fresh case for daring to be yourself, learning from experience, and discovering the divine spark that is beyond our understanding. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Debbie Ford was an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal transformation. She was the bestselling author of nine books -- The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, The Secret of the Shadow, Spiritual Divorce, The Right Questions, The Best Year of Your Life, Why Good People Do Bad Things, The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse, The Shadow Effect, and Courage. A transformational coach, speaker and teacher for more than 20 years, Debbie was the creator of the renowned Shadow Process Workshop, the executive producer of The Shadow Effect transformational documentary and founder of The Ford Institute for Transformational Training, the world-renowned personal and professional training organization. A pioneering force in incorporating the study and integration of the shadow into modern psychological and spiritual practices, Debbie Ford's books have sold over 1 million copies, are translated into 32 languages, and are used in institutions of learning worldwide. For more information, visit

Customer Reviews

Now that I hear she has passed away, I am newly inspired to read all her books.
Patricia A. Phillips
Thank you Debbie Ford for allowing your experince and your story to open my heart in finding my story and the gifts it offers me and the people in my life.
Ali Starr
If you follow the action steps, you learn that you really can transform you life.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book deserves more than five stars! Ms. Ford provides a superb way to help you see past your ego and grasp the Divine meaning of the trials, failures, and successes you have experienced. I found the experience of reading, thinking about the book's contemplation quotes, and employing the action steps took me well beyond what I had learned from any previous book I had read or self-help course I had taken for establishing the right life mission. I am very grateful for this book, and have already given my copy to another person to help share the benefit I received.
The key points in this book are nicely summarized by the author as follows:
"First, we create our life stories in our attempt to become someone or something." These stories are usually built upon setbacks. "Our real fear is the disapproval of others, their harsh judgments, or the withdrawal of their love."
"Second, our stories hold the key to our unique purpose in life and its fulfillment." "It is safe for me to contribute my specialty."
"And third, hidden in the shadow of our story is a very special secret . . . [which will cause us to] stand in awe of the magnificence of our own humanity." When the personal story is removed, the Divine intention becomes apparent.
One's personal story can be found in the themes behind the internal dialogue that runs through our minds all of the time, either putting ourselves down or saying that all is well. The book contains many excellent examples from the author's own life and those of people who have attended her courses or have been coached by her. I found the examples helped me to locate key events that helped form my perspective. Unlike some other teachers in this area, you are encouraged to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am familiar with Debbie Ford's other works, however, this book truly feels like her most important message yet.
While reading this book I discovered that everything I had previously thought myself to be -- my past, my beliefs, my feelings, my limitations -- is just part of a story that I created about myself. A story that has kept me small. A story that has prevented me from spreading my wings and flying as high as I am capable. This realization has opened a door in my consciousness that can never again be closed. It has awakened a deep inner knowing of who I am and what my life is about.
What I loved most about this book is Debbie's generous accounts for her own evolution, from living inside her limiting "story" to choosing a life outside of it. The book is filled with practical exercises and meditations that helped me to find the wisdom of my life's experiences, and to see myself as the magnificent spiritual being that I am.
Thank you, Debbie Ford, once again, for taking the light of God out of the shadow. I am deeply touched and forever changed.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
And I thought the "Dark Side of the Light Chasers" was life altering! "The Secret of the Shadow" has revealed yet another layer I hadn't seen before. Until reading this book, I had been living in the very limiting stories of, "I'm not good enough" and "I'm not deserving." In simple and clear terms, Debbie Ford has provided me with a roadmap to identify the beliefs that have been running my life. I now have the tools to transform my automatic behaviors which have created negative results in the past. Debbie's wisdom has awakened my own spiritual essence such that I can truly see my divine right to have it all!
When I saw that I am robbing myself of fulfillment, joy and self expression by not sharing my gifts with the world, I was able to make a shift in my perception. As a result, I am already moving forward in creating the life of my dreams. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is ready to play on the court of life in a big way!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Daina Puodziunas on January 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Reading " The Secret of the Shadow" inspired me to view what I perceived as roadblocks, trials, and tragedies in my life with new eyes. It encouraged me to take those experiences that felt like a curse and hold them up to the light of compassion and understanding in order to recognize and extract their value. This transformed what was once senseless in my life into a powerful gift. There is gold in the dark. The message is simple- the journey is anything but. We can all use the insights from Debbie; someone who has come out on other side and is willing to give us on this challenging and ultimately rewarding path. There can never be enough written about the kind of paradigm shift that needs to take place in our awareness if we are to appreciate and utilize what was once our deepest wounds. It takes courage, know how, and perseverance.
The countless examples Debbie Ford gives from her own life, and from the participants in her programs, helped my mind to stretch and open up to new possibilities for myself. I saw how deeply attached I was to 'my story' of suffering and struggle. I actually viewed it as some kind of noble virtue. I was able to see how much easier it is to blame circumstances and other people than to take responsibility for my life; especially when my blame was "unquestionably justifiable." How liberating it is to know that our "stories" can serve as guides to our higher purpose in life. They can actually reveal our Divine calling. To know that we can take EVERYTHING that has happened in our lives and make good use of it through extracting the wisdom is powerful beyond measure.
Nowhere in the book does Debbie imply that this paradigm shift is easy or quick. She knows there is no value in dwelling on how hard it can feel.
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