This afternoon I received a group email from Arielle Ford that read Debbie Ford Gets Her Wings. I wondered what brilliant thing Arielle’s younger sister had done to earn them and I made a mental note to read it when I had time. It wasn’t until I was sitting at my desk at my job as an addictions counselor, that I opened it. All of a sudden I wasn’t in Lansdale, PA, but instead whisked cross country to California where Debbie’s family was immersed in their private grief that was simultaneously being shared by thousands of others. Tears flowed as my visceral reaction kicked in. I could only imagine what the journey from a gloomy cancer diagnosis a few years ago to transition last night, was like for Debbie and her loved ones. My guess is that she faced it with what Ram Dass would call ‘fierce grace’. After reading Arielle’s message that directed folks to go to another site that was set up to honor Debbie’s memory, I knew that this blog entry needed to be written.
Like most people, my intro to Debbie was through her writing. I had the joy of interviewing her when her groundbreaking book: The Dark Side of The Light Chasers was released. It was a revelation to this light chaser who was (and still is) a perpetual optimist, refusing at times to look at anything remotely shadowy. I was sorting through back copies of Visions Magazine to locate the one in which it was published before writing this and couldn’t find it , so I will have to go from memory. One thing I recall was a story Debbie shared about being at a personal growth training and the facilitator called her a bitch. At first she was taken aback with what I imagine was a “who me?” reaction; much the same as I might have. And then she recognized the grain of truth in the woman’s perception of her and the ways in which pretending that she wasn’t a bitch ran her life and was her M.O. Of course, there were times when she was bitchy, as are we all. Then she came to understand that being a bitch came in handy at times when otherwise she might have been emotionally pushed around by others and needed to stand her ground. Did that ever ring true for me! I was as if I had permission to be more fully expressed, set boundaries and be assertive rather than remain the starry eyed idealist who was like a dishrag at times and an emotional contortionist who would often bend over backward to please people.
She went on to elaborate that what we most attempt to hide about ourselves, is eventually revealed and can become our greatest strength. These days, while I don’t quite embrace my shadow, at least she and I are on cordial, nodding at each other as we pass by, terms. I learned through Debbie’s work that even though I have what I call ‘cave thoughts and feelings’, judgements and mental ‘nasties’, I am still loveable.
Tonight as those who knew her best both mourn the loss of her physical presence and honor her place in their lives, I offer my heartfelt love and prayers to them and say Kaddish with them.
Rise up on those wings, Debbie and soar~
http://youtu.be/UKYgA2JaufY Om Shree Rama, Fly High-Deva Premal and Miten