Are You Ready To Take An Evolutionary Leap In Your Life?

Are You Ready To Take An Evolutionary Leap In Your Life?

We all know that getting to the destination of our dreams requires taking consistent action steps and continually pushing forward. So why don't we "just do it?" Why do we procrastinate, remain complacent, become paralyzed, or shrink in fear? Why, even when we know what we should be doing or the steps that we need to be taking, do we get easily sidetracked, go unconscious, or function on automatic pilot?

Our Shadow!

Your shadow is the part of you that determines how much success you will achieve. It impacts your thoughts, behaviors, actions, inactions, choices, and non-choices, basically dictating your life. When you deny your shadow and hide the parts of yourself that you do not like or want to be, you whittle away at your full self-expression. And since your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world, when you lose access to all of who you are on the inside, you automatically limit what you can create and manifest in your external world.

This is one of the many reasons I always get so excited about The Shadow Process Workshop. I know that each one I lead will be the catalyst for me to have a huge breakthrough and propel me into another reality in terms of what I will be able to realize in my life.

Every time I prepare to lead The Shadow Process, I start thinking about and asking to be shown what shadow I most need to integrate in order to have a radical shift in my life.

A few years ago, my goal was to write a book. I spent months caught up in the cycle of starting, stopping, promising myself I would start again, preparing to start, finding an excuse to postpone starting, feeling guilty about not starting, starting, and then stopping again. I came up with very justified reasons for my postponements and delays but underneath them all was fear -- the fear I could not do it. At that point, I wasn't even worried about whether the book would be "good" or not. I just feared that I would never have the wherewithal to complete a book and that would mean I was unsuccessful, an obvious shadow -- a characteristic I did not want to be.

So at The Shadow Process, I worked on the shadow I had around being "unsuccessful." I realized the gift of "unsuccessful" is that it allowed me to let go of situations that no longer served me like my marriage or an unfulfilling business. In working with "unsuccessful," I also realized that I never owned the "successful" part of myself either. Although on a cognitive level, I knew that I had achieved a lot of accomplishments and had the degrees and accolades to affirm that, I never really saw myself as "successful" because there was always that next thing I told myself I needed to accomplish before I truly would be "successful" -- just like my father! When I made peace with and owned that I was both "unsuccessful" and "successful," I went home, sat on my living room couch every weekend, and finished my book within a few months.

My next issue came as a result of a bit of a surprise. Not only had I finished my book but I actually really liked it. It felt like the book wanted to be something more than a manuscript I completed and would just email to my family, close friends, and clients if they expressed interest in reading it. I needed to establish a plan to "get it out there." But to do this, it would require me to take a risk, step outside of my comfort zone, and let my work be seen. Luckily for me, just as I was hitting this quandary, there was an upcoming Shadow Process! Once again I asked to be shown what shadow and parts of myself I needed to integrate in order to take that next evolutionary leap in my life. Always thinking I had a good relationship with being both "visible" and "invisible," I was shocked that these were the two words that came up for me to work through during that weekend workshop. Although I knew I had fear about not making a mark in the world, not being special, and being invisible, I did not realize how much fear I had about being visible and how unsafe that felt to me on a cellular level. As a result of my work that weekend, I was able shift my beliefs about being "visible." I now truly believe that it is safe for me to be visible and I know that if and when I don't feel safe being visible, I have the power to cloak myself with my cape of invisibility since they both serve and protect me.

I am happy to report that since then I have gone on to find a publisher (Sounds True) and today, just hours ago, I finished my last round of copy edits! My book The Integrity Advantage: Step into Your Truth, Love Your Life, and Claim Your Magnificence is being published in November, 2017. Although I am taking this process of writing a book and becoming an author one step at a time, and I'm not exactly sure what will come next, I do know that issues and insecurities will arise. I am grateful to have the work that I teach as the tool I turn to for the insight I need to fuel my next evolutionary leap! I am excited that our next Shadow Process Workshop is right around the corner -- April 7th to April 9th. I invite you to join me if you too are looking for that insight that will be the catalyst for your evolutionary leap.

Transformational Action Steps

1. Think about a goal you want to accomplish.

2. Ask to be shown or identify a characteristic, quality, or part of yourself that you need to integrate in order to achieve that goal.

3. In order to really cultivate that characteristic, ask yourself every morning for two to four weeks, "What action can I do today that will support me in really being that characteristic or owning that characteristic inside of me?"

4. Take those actions!

5. Come join us in Los Angeles April 7th to April 9th for The Shadow Process Workshop. (Bring a friend, family member, or partner and get 50% off their ticket. Just enter the Promo Code FRIEND and click Apply at checkout when you register together for this life-changing weekend workshop.)

Is Your Present Partner a Victim of Your Past Relationships?

Is Your Present Partner a Victim of Your Past Relationships?

The other day I was speaking to a friend who had just started dating someone a few months ago. Although his face lit up as he exuberantly told me about the "fabulous" new woman in his life and all of the fun they are having, after a while he paused and said, "There is only one thing...I am the victim of her past relationships."

When I asked him what he meant, he explained that as a result of the "bad guys" she had been with in the past, she was guarded, not trusting, and even skeptical of some of the things my friend would say to her. She was dubious about the possibility of "happily ever after" when it comes to relationships. Although my friend concluded that with patience and time his new girlfriend would realize that he was different from the people in her past, I kept thinking about his comment.

After working with hundreds of people, I know that it is common for people to think that they are dealing with the leftover residue and trauma of their partner's past relationships. Yet, even though that may be true and people do bring their past experiences into their current circumstances, it goes deeper than that. We date our partner's shadows!

Our partner's past relationships, as well as the experience and relationship they are having with us, are dictated by their shadows and more specifically their shadow beliefs. They are being shaped and impacted by all of the limiting beliefs, underlying fears, and negative meanings and interpretations that they consciously or unconsciously created about love and relationships when they were actually too young to even have the mental wherewithal to understand about love, relationships, or the messages they were receiving about these subjects since they were just children.

For those of you who are not familiar with shadow beliefs, shadow beliefs are the unconscious limiting beliefs that are created in an instant as a result of the environment we were raised in or some emotionally charged incident that happens when we are young. Since as a child we don't know how to process or digest the situation, we create a meaning out of the situation - we make it mean something about us, the world, or any given subject matter. The experience then fades into the shadows of our conscious memory – but the shadow beliefs, those limiting interpretations, live on and shape our reality.

Love and relationships are two of the richest areas that people have lots of shadow beliefs about. Whether they came from the interactions of their parents, feelings of abandonment from a loved one who is never around, or what we actually saw or heard about relationships, many of us form shadow beliefs like:

"I am unlovable."
"People leave me."
"Love hurts."
"You can't trust anyone."
"Love is unsafe."
"Nothing lasts forever."
"If I am not perfect, I will be rejected."
"I am unworthy of love."

It is then these shadow beliefs that, whether we realize it or not, dictate the type of partner we attract, the way we interact with them, and the issues that come up in our relationship. It is these shadow beliefs that cause us, or our partner, to engage in behaviors, reactions, or patterns like leaving before we are left, creating drama, not speaking our truth, not trusting, rolling our eyes at anything our partner says, becoming too clingy, or being reticent to make plans for the future.

Although our shadow beliefs may protect, benefit, or serve us in some ways, the problem is that they become self-fulfilling prophecies and determine the fate of our relationships. If you or your partner believes "love never lasts," then it won't! If our partner has a shadow belief that "people will disappoint me," then no matter what you do, how hard you try, how fast you dance, or how good you are, one day something will happen and you will become the next disappointment in your partner's life.

But don't despair! We can shift our shadow beliefs and create a different ending in our love story. This is one of the reasons I love when couples participate in The Shadow Process Workshop together. They begin to unconceal the shadow beliefs that are impacting the way they behave in relationship. They also begin to understand that the way they each act is really not about the other person. It derives from their shadows. Realizing that it isn't "personal" they begin to have more understanding and compassion for each other. As their insecurity, hurt, anger, and resentment dissipate, their authenticity, intimacy, and connection intensifies. They are able to realize, relax, and revel in their relationship in a whole new way.

They also come to understand that we are not the victim of our partner's past. We actually called in that partner for a reason!

In any and all situations, we have the choice to view ourselves as either victims or co-creators. If, like we do in our work, we stand in the belief that we are always co-creating our lives whether we realize it or not, then when it comes to our relationships, we actually called into our lives that particular partner with those particular shadow beliefs for a reason. They are there to show us ourselves so we can continue to grow and evolve. As co-creators, we call forth the people and situations that we most need to support us in realizing new insights about ourselves, or even ripping a band-aid off of some old wound so that it can be tended to and truly healed.

I often say that in relationships our shadows and wounds fit with those of our partners like puzzle pieces. This is why you often see that a person with a fear of abandonment attracts a partner with a fear of commitment. The person with the fear of commitment needs to learn to lean into a relationship and commit while the person with abandonment issues need to learn not abandon themselves. Or like in my friend's situation, maybe he called forth a woman with trust issues so he could look at where in his life he is not trusting. It may not be in intimate relationships like his girlfriend but maybe it is in business or with his family. In this way, we are never the victim of present partner's past relationships. We are the beneficiary of them. We are actually always choosing the perfect partner, even with all of their shadows and past histories, to teach us the perfect lessons that we need to learn for our soul's evolution, growth, and healing! They offer the next crucial piece to our ultimate destination of wholeness.

Transformational Action Steps

  1. Start thinking about the environment that you grew up in and any emotionally charged incidents that may have impacted your beliefs or fears about love and relationships.
  2. See how those beliefs have impacted your experiences as well as your partner's experiences with you.
  3. Replace those old disempowering beliefs with some new empowering ones that will support you in getting the love you need.
  4. Come with your partner to The Shadow Process Workshop April 7th to April 9th in Los Angeles. Bring your partner and get 50% off their ticket. Just enter the Promo Code FRIEND and click Apply at checkout when you register together for this life-changing weekend workshop.

Rewriting Your Valentine's Day Story

Rewriting Your Valentine's Day Story

It's Valentine's Day – a day when many wear red, receive roses, and revel in romance, while others roll their eyes, denounce it as being "no big deal," and wish they could ignore it completely. It is also a day that can trigger painful memories, uncomfortable emotions, and give rise to a steady stream of shadow beliefs that generate negative self-talk that loops in our head. Instead of hearing "silly love songs," we hear a choir of self-condemnation and criticism that reminds us we are unlovable, losers, damaged, broken, or just not worthy of hearts and flowers or deserving of any of the sweet, juicy stuff that life has to offer.

I must admit I was definitely one of those who always dreaded Valentine's Day. If I was in a relationship, I always worried that my partner would not show up the way I wanted him to. If I was not in a relationship, I just wanted to hide under the covers and not have to face the shame of what I made being single and alone mean about me. No matter what my situation was at the time, I had a whole story around this day of love and romance and despite whatever transpired, my Valentine's Day story always had the same ending. For me, V-Day was D-Day - A Day of Disappointment!

For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept of story, our story is all of the beliefs and meanings that we assign to an event or situation. Put another way, it is the fiction that we wrap around the facts of our lives. For example, if I was not in a relationship on Valentine's Day I might have made it mean that something was wrong with me or no one would ever want me and I would die alone. Or if my partner did not get me a gift, I might have made it mean that he did not love me. Now the important thing about our stories is that they are not the truth, they are just a bunch of meanings that we sometimes consciously and more often unconsciously create and wrap around a set of facts. Our stories are not necessarily true or false, bad or good, but they are limiting. Predicated on our shadow beliefs, they impact our ability to receive in the present and become self-fulfilling prophecies for our future.

Why do you think so many of us have so much anxiety and fear about our futures? We live in fear because when we are being run by our stories from the past. Our futures are predictable since our stories always have the same ending!

Our stories are set in stone unless we proactively dissect them and unconceal the shadow beliefs that lurk beneath the surface of our conscious mind. Our shadow beliefs drive our thoughts and behavior, whether we're aware of it or not. When you become aware of your story, you can consciously choose to step out of your story heartbreak, and disappointment and into a place of possibilities where you have the power to rewrite the ending of your love story.

One of the reasons I love leading and being a part of The Shadow Process Workshop is because I get to witness people wake up to their shadows of shame, legacies of lack, and histories of humiliation. They start realizing the meaning-making, plot lines, and themes that have been running and wreaking havoc on their lives. They begin to recognize their story for what it is – a story that is like a song that gets played way too much on the radio, unconsciously infiltrating their thoughts and sabotaging their ability to receive abundance.

The good news is you have the power to change the channel, turn the page, and step out of any story you have created about any subject. You can recommit to looking at yourself and your life through fresh eyes, and find the moral to your story and the lessons learned. So on this Valentine's Day, or any other day you are entranced by a story, I want to invite you to step out of the prison of your past perceptions and adopt the look of love!

Transformational Action Steps

  1. Start thinking about Valentine's Day or any significant event (birthday, New Year's Eve, first day of school, etc.) that brings up feelings of ambivalence, dread, anxiety, sadness, etc.
  2. Write out your story about that particular event – and make it dramatic.
    • What has happened in the past that made you feel those feelings?
    • How did you interpret those events?
    • What did you make them mean about you?
    • How have those meanings impacted the way you view that event?
    • What can you now see about your story?
    • What is the cost of holding on to it?
    • What is the wisdom you are ready to extract from your story?
  3. Create a new story. Write out your vision for that event – what you would like to experience and the feelings you would like to feel.
  4. Consciously take on stepping out of your old story and into your new vision.
  5. Come join us at The Shadow Process Workshop in Los Angeles April 7th – 9th.

Sending you lots of love and happiness on Valentine's Day!

Bringing Attention To Your Intention

Bringing Attention To Your Intention

In Debbie Ford's last book, Courage, she talks about "becoming unrecognizable." Loving that concept from the moment she first shared it, I eagerly took on living my life from the bar of unrecognizable. Whether it's being more aware of my finances or carving out time to do nothing and relax on the weekends, I am always willing to give up who I am for who I can become and to look at how I have done things for new ways that are wanting and needing to be birthed.

In the past year, I have become unrecognizable when it comes to my level of engagement in what is happening in the world. Like many, I have gone from being more of a casual, weekend spectator to someone who feels compelled to know more of the everyday play-by-play. Lucky for me, between social media and all of the news outlets, there is never a shortage of sources I can tune into to get my fill of what is going on in the world and what people are saying as well as everyone's commentary on other people's commentaries. Yet, the self-observation that I find so fascinating is that the more involved in this conversation I become, the less I want to say. Why? Because as I listen to all of the commentary and read all of the tweets and posts, I become acutely aware of the power of words.

We all know that words can inspire or incite, cause healing or hatred, unite or divide. And just like when you hammer a nail into a piece of wood, if you decide that you want to pull out the nail, the imprint the nail makes on the wood lasts forever, such is the impact of the power of our communications. Even if after uttering a remark, you later try to retract your words, explain your statement, or jest your way out of a judgment, just like the nail in wood, the imprint of words can last a lifetime and the impact is beyond repair. Even if they are eventually forgiven, they may not be forgotten.

Now more than ever, when there seems to be an endless war of words, we need to strive to take greater responsibility for our words before they are uttered. Instead of relying on "fact checking" after a communication is made, we need to shift our attention to our intention and let that be the mandate from which our communications are birthed.

As Debbie writes in The Best Year of Your Life, "Intent is to humans what software is to a computer…An intent is a commitment to yourself to bring into existence a particular result. It is the driving force, the hidden compass that directs your daily behaviors. A conscious intent acts as an organizing principle, guiding you to make empowering choices."

It is crucial to take time to think before we speak, tweet, post, make an eye roll, or some sort of body or facial expression, and ask ourselves questions like:

1. Who do I want to be inside of this conversation?

2. What is my purpose and intent for my communication?

3. What will the ripple effect of my communication be? What imprint might it have on others?

When we consciously define who we want to be inside of a conversation and the position we want to take, knowing that like throwing a rock across the top of a lake, there will be a ripple effect, then we consciously create an intention that can serve as a mandate for our communications. And of course it is often our shadows - the fears, negative thoughts and beliefs, and shame that lives inside of our wounded ego - that drive our automatic, unconscious communications and sabotages our ability to be conscious communicators. Our need to be liked, validated, appear cool, tough, wise, and popular, can influence our conversations and determine the impact and imprint of our messaging.

We are blessed with the liberty of free speech yet it is up each of us to bring our attention to our intention when it comes to our communications. Others don't necessarily need to agree with or like what you say, but when you take on being a conscious communicator at least they might respect that you mean what you say and say what you mean. More importantly your sense of self-trust and integrity will rise as you consciously create who you are being in the world and the legacy of your message.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Before you enter any conversation, bring your attention to your intention and ask yourself:

- Who do I want to be inside of this conversation?

- What is my purpose and intent for my communication?

(2) See your communication as a rock being thrown across a lake. Think about: What will the ripple effect of my communication be? What imprint might it have on others and the world?

(3) When you get clear on these answers and your intention, breathe what you find into every cell of you body and use it as the mandate or organizing principle that sources your communications.

(4) To dive deeper into becoming unrecognizable and embracing your shadow, join us for The Shadow Process Workshop April 7th to April 9th in Los Angeles.

Are You Creating the Life You Want?

Are You Creating the Life You Want?

As we embark on a new year, it is only natural for most of us to be somewhat introspective and to do our own personal "year-in-review." We evaluate our successes, what we might do differently and hopefully what we learned. We assess where we are and what we want to create by asking ourselves powerful questions, like: "Am I on the right path?" "Am I happy?" and a question I hear more and more frequently, "Am I creating the life I even want?"

If you are reading this, chances are you are a person who is self-reflective and interested in continued self-growth, evolution and "being the best you can be." But even for those of us on this path, I am sure there are days when you wake up to your positive affirmations, vision boards, inventory of goals and resolutions, and your daily "to-do" lists, and wonder, "What am I doing all of this for?" "What is it I am chasing?"

Although these questions may feel heavy at first, they are there to serve your highest. They arise from the stirrings of your soul and are generally wrapped in your feelings of discontent. For many the voice of discontent starts off as a subtle murmur. It can be easy to ignore because you are caught up in the rhythm of going, doing and achieving. But with time the thrill of the chase and even the applause of the accomplishments can't diminish that gnawing feeling that you are stuck on a treadmill trying to run as fast as you can, make others happy, fulfill someone else's dream or satisfy some picture of what your life "should be." And the good news, (yes, I said "good news") is that at some point the voice of your discontent will become so great, the pain will become so palpable, that you will no longer be able to ignore, deny or numb that voice inside. Instead it will capture your full attention and demand that you do something different. It will insist that you take the time to stop running as fast as you can for as many miles as you can and instead step off of the treadmill and reconnect!

You must reconnect to a source deep inside of yourself rather than referring to the same old list of goals to be achieved, milestones to be marked, and "shoulds" to be accomplished -- a list created by your ego or should I say your wounded ego. If you really want to create a life that lights you up, you need to reconnect with your soul.

Suffering, pain and discontent are all signs that you are creating a life based on your wounded ego's desires rather than your soul's path. They are there to wake you up and let you know that you have lost sight of your soul's dream; that you have strayed from your highest path. Your soul (also referred to as your divine, higher, sacred, or authentic self) knows exactly how to make your life a magical wonderland. When you are in sync with your soul's desires, you don't feel compelled to create a persona, be someone that you are not, or prove to the outer world how great your life is. When living in union with your soul's path, life flows. There is no ache for more, better or different! You will come from a place of inner certainty and an unapologetic aliveness that lights you up and illuminates a path for others. When you follow your soul, you will create a life you want and love.

So at this very fertile time of the new year, take time to tune into your voice of discontent, disenchantment or even defeat. Identify the areas and situations in your life, where these feelings exist and recognize that these are actually the cries of your soul letting you know that it is wanting and aching for something more -- a "something more" that only you can give to you! For as we all know, "If you do not go within, you go without!"

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Take time to get quiet and reconnect.

(2) Think about the different areas of your life and allow yourself to feel the feelings that emerge as you reflect on those areas. Which are the areas or situations where you feel discontent, suffering or that gnawing feeling that something is off?

(3) Identify what your wounded ego is telling you that you should be doing or accomplishing in those areas of your life. What are the stories you tell yourself about what you "should be" doing or accomplishing in your life?

(4) Take a few deep breaths, feel the breath connect with your heart, and ask yourself, "What is for my soul aching to create or experience in this situation or area of my life?"

(5) Just listen and trust!

(6) Get some support in laying the foundation for 2017 to be the best year ever. There is still time to join us for Radical Reinvention!

Your Past Does Not Have to Be Your Future ~ Reinvent Yourself In 2017!

Your Past Does Not Have to Be Your Future ~ Reinvent Yourself In 2017!

It is with enormous enthusiasm that I write the first newsletter of 2017. I am excited about welcoming the start of a new year and standing with you in a place of unlimited possibilities and the promise of creating an off-the-charts year! There is no time like the present for us all to declare and claim that "This is my year and it starts now!"

Like many of you, I have spent the last few weeks taking time off, unplugging from my normal work schedule and day-to-day routine, and contemplating my vision for 2017. As I did this, I became acutely aware of all of the things I do out of habit or on automatic pilot. I noticed all the things I do without questioning or based on what I have done in the past. Becoming present to this realization and the impact that this behavior has on molding my life, I stopped and questioned myself. "Is it the truth that I need to work out 7 days per week, that I can only take Fridays off, or that I can never cancel a date with someone unless I give them twenty-four hours notice? Or are these all stories I have told myself and have come to regard as the truth?" In short, I had to look at whether I just made up all of these self-imposed guidelines for my life and was continuing to live by them out of habit even though they may not have been serving my highest or bringing me joy.

As many wise sages have said, the greatest predictor of the future is the past. It is without question that this adage will continue to ring true as long as we all stay on automatic pilot, seeing and interpreting situations through a myopic perspective and believing that the stories we tell ourselves are the only truth. Our past will continue to be the greatest predictor of our future as long as we react to certain events and manage particular areas of our lives as if they are set in stone.

The fact is that not only do we allow our own thoughts and self-imposed guidelines to dictate our behavior, but we also project on to others what we believe they want for us or think we should do. Then we let those projections and suppositions drive our life. As I have started to challenge my own reality, I have had to question what I am convinced is the truth for others, "Do my children really hate it when I go out and leave them at home? Would my friend really be opposed to changing our plans last minute and ordering take-out instead of getting all dressed up and going out? Is Sunday night the only night I can have my weekly dinner with my mother or could we change it to Friday every once in a while?" The answer to all of these questions is, "Definitely Not!" Yet until I ask I will never know. And most of the time I don't even ask because these are all things I have told myself are truths and used as the basis of my decision-making process!

A promise that I have made to myself for 2017 is to look at my life and my day-to-day choices and patterns with fresh eyes; to not just assume that the way I did something in the past is how I have to do it in 2017, and to really challenge my assumptions by asking:

  • What are the stories, or actually even the lies, I am telling myself?
  • What am I doing as a result of a routine, automatic pilot or even some made-up sense of obligation?
  • What serves me?
  • What excites me?
  • What could I do differently that maybe I have never even saw or thought of before?

Our options are truly infinite! And sometimes just some "small" tweaks in your routine can make a huge difference in your life, but you need to wake up to your right of choice. You don't have to "do your life" in the future as you have in the past.

The time is now to take on radically reinventing your life! It starts with waking up to the fictions you have created. The good news is that even though you might have been the one to place all of these self-imposed guidelines on your life, you are also the one who has the power to look at situations through new eyes, question the status-quo, release yourself from the bondage of the past, and create your life in a fresh new way that will leave you feeling energized and excited about who you are and what you get to do on a daily basis!

We at The Ford Institute wish you a joyous and inspiring new year. We hope that we can continue to connect in a way that is supportive and life-changing!

Transformational Action Steps: Start Busting Your Status-Quo!

  1. Begin noticing the things you do automatically or because you have done them that way in the past. Do you have the same thing for breakfast every day? Do you go to the same vacation spot every February? Do you jog the same route on Sunday mornings?
  2. Start to question and challenge the habits you are seeing. Ask yourself:
    • What are the stories, or actually even the lies, I am telling myself?
    • What am I doing as a result of a routine, automatic pilot or even some made-up sense of obligation?
    • What serves me?
    • What excites me?
    • What could I do differently that maybe I have never even seen or thought of before?

  3. Try doing one, then two, then three things differently. Experiment with options, you can always go back to the old way of doing things or things don't have to be black or white – you can vary things, the point is to have fun and shake it up! Who knows what you will find.
  4. Get some support in laying the foundation for 2017 to be the best year ever. There is still time to join us for Radical Reinvention!

A New Year's Ritual

A New Year's Ritual

This is a tremendously powerful time of year -- a time when the universe is moving all of us in an exciting and positive direction, a time when everyone, whether they know it or not, is looking to complete the past and move into a new future. 2017 offers all of us a new beginning!

We're excited to share with you Debbie Ford's 2012 New Year's Ritual (with a few updates) to support you in clearing out the past and opening up to a new future. This ritual is a great opportunity to powerfully end this year, igniting new possibilities in your inner and outer worlds, so we invite you to set aside some time to read her message and do the exercise she outlines.

We at The Ford Institute are wishing you a healthy, happy, inspired new year. We look forward to continuing to support you in 2017.

With love,

A New Year's Ritual
by Debbie Ford

In the fertile soil of the last few days of the year, I want to support you in laying the internal foundation for a deeply satisfying and rewarding year ahead. As many wise sages have said, the greatest predictor of the future is the past. It is my belief that once we learn the lessons of the past -- and are willing to really "get" those lessons -- we don't have to repeat them. Our souls are always trying to get us to evolve. And just how do we evolve? Through learning the lessons of our past -- recognizing them, owning them and incorporating what we discover into our lives. So I offer you this New Year's Ritual that will reap huge rewards for you in the months to come.

Look Through the Eyes of the Universe

Take a deep, centering breath, and say to the universe: "I know you have a very important lesson for me - my soul's lesson. There is something very important that you've been trying to teach me through the experiences, circumstances and people you've put in front of me. I acknowledge that this lesson is imperative for me to learn in order to have 2017 truly be a new new year and not a year of disappointing repetition. What is that one lesson?" Listen for the answer and write it down.

Your New Internal State

Imagine that your soul is hungry. It's starving for a state of being -- an internal environment for you to live in each day. What are the feelings that you most desire to have in 2017? With a deep breath and big exhale, ask yourself: "What is the internal environment that I'm longing to live inside of?" Is it an environment of love, peace, quiet, safety, freedom, happiness, joy, aliveness? For example, one of my staff members saw that she wanted to live in an environment of inner peace, and in that space there would be a feeling of certainty for her. As you listen for answers and write down what you hear, continue to ask your soul to reveal what it hungers for.

An Internal Shift

What two thoughts or beliefs would you have to let go of in order to create that environment? Could it be the belief that you're not good enough, not worthy, not safe, or not loved? Write them down.

An External Shift

Now let yourself see what would have to shift in your external world to support that new internal environment. What two habits or behaviors would you have to let go of in order to create your desired internal environment? People-pleasing, pleasure-seeking, procrastination, disorganization, staying in an unhealthy relationship, overworking? Write down the two habits or behaviors.

Integrity Anchors

Knowing that it is vitally important to move your awareness into action, allow yourself to identify two action steps you are willing to take this week to create this internal environment. Choose two simple actions that will serve as anchors to nourishing your new inner state. Perhaps it's creating a new morning ritual, taking a brisk daily walk, attending Weight Watchers, playing a special piece of music for yourself, ten minutes of nightly meditation, or scheduling the time to get radically organized so you can handle your busy life with ease. Write down your two action steps.


Give yourself some time to journal about what will become available to you in the new year by learning the lessons, letting go and leaving the past where it belongs. Let your imagination run wild as you open up to re-creating your life anew.

Seal It In

For the next 21 days straight, spend a minimum of two minutes at the beginning of the day and before you go to bed reviewing your notes from this New Year's Ritual. Bring yourself into the presence of your new internal environment. Feel its vibration. Bask in the feeling your soul is longing for. Close your eyes and ask the powers that be to support you in cultivating this state of being.

By embracing the significant lessons of 2016, you're saying yes to miraculous new beginnings. You won't have to worry about your resolutions or your goals. You'll get everything that you desire.

A Holiday Blessing

A Holiday Blessing

As we move toward the end of a remarkable year, you are in our thoughts and hearts. In the midst of the busyness of the holiday season, we want to express our profound gratitude for you.

To best express our appreciation, we offer you the blessing that Debbie Ford wrote for her newsletter subscribers in December of 2009. She began the blessing by writing, "You deserve an unimaginable future, one that exceeds your expectations and your deepest desires. You can have it. It is your birthright through your divine connection." We couldn't agree more.

From me and the staff of The Ford Institute for Transformational Training, on behalf of all of our Integrative Coaches, and our global community at large, we are sending you enormous amounts of love and wishes for the happiest, healthiest holiday season ever.

by Debbie Ford

Divine Spirit
thank you for giving me the capacity for wholeness

Thank you for this very precious moment

A moment where I am present
to all the goodness that exists
inside and outside of me

A moment that inspires thoughts of a greater future

A future where I can love and be loved
where I can serve and be served

A future where I humbly and gracefully
contribute my soul's gifts to the world

A future that is filled with abundance and miracles

Today I open my arms to the loving presence
that will awaken me to my greatness
and fill my future with surprises

I surrender my life and will
to the greatest power in the universe

Today I accept my worth and my worthiness

And so it is

'Tis The Season For Receiving

'Tis The Season For Receiving

There is no doubt about it. December is the time of year that is synonymous with giving. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, charitable organizations or the people who make our lives better, we all have our lists and are checking them twice! Most of us love to give -- and when we do so, we feel good about ourselves, joyful, abundant and alive.

But what about receiving? Most people feel very uncomfortable about receiving! Whether it is a lavish gift, an act of kindness, generosity from a friend, or even a compliment, we have a difficult time receiving. For many, our awkwardness around receiving started at an early age. We were brought up hearing messages like, "Tis better to give than to receive." or "Give more than you get." We decided consciously or unconsciously that people who receive are greedy, selfish, weak, or needy -- and since we didn't want to be any of those things, we made receiving wrong. When I first looked at my inability to receive, I realized that I had a belief that if I received something from someone, then I would owe them something in return. For me, being beholden to anyone was a loss of control and a very scary place. So for me receiving became taboo.

When we make receiving wrong, we not only limit what we don't want but also that which our heart truly longs for. When we make receiving wrong, we diminish the amount of love, abundance, happiness, and magic we allow into our lives! When we make receiving wrong, we erect an energetic barrier around us that keeps us from attracting all that we do desire as well as that which we do not. When we make receiving wrong, we knowingly or unknowingly make a declaration to the universe, others and ourselves that we do not feel worthy and deserving enough to open ourselves up to the unimaginable gifts that the universe has to offer.

I always love to hear stories about people who knew each other for years and one day, in an instant, their relationship turns into love. Or the person who is paralyzed by a problem for months and then all of a sudden has a flash of genius and finds the solution. What has changed? They open themselves up to receive something that was previously unavailable to them. The fact is that magic, possibilities, extraordinary circumstances, and opportunities exist in every moment and are around us all the time. And as Debbie Ford writes in Spiritual Divorce, "Miracles can show up in our lives when we are open to receiving them!"

I truly believe that like all valuable lessons, the universe wants us to open up to receiving. For some of us, it does take a painful event like a divorce to realize that you cannot and do not have to do it on all on your own. For Debbie, her illness taught her to receive. In the "Letter to the Reader" in her book Courage, she wrote, "One of the greatest lessons I learned lying in bed for almost a year was to receive love."

I know that what Debbie would want for you this holiday season, in the new year, and always is to have a fantastic life. We agree! And I know that to have a fantastic life, you need to open yourself up to receive as well as give. If you do not, you will inevitably deplete yourself. So as you rush around this holiday season making your gift-giving list, make time to receive all the magic, love, happiness, and abundance that are dancing right around you!

Transformational Action Steps

1. Journal about your beliefs about receiving. What were the messages you received when you were young about people who receive or being a giver vs. a receiver?

2. Become aware of how you feel about receiving. For example: If you are given a gift this holiday season, notice how it automatically makes you feel. What emotions come up for you?

3. Be fascinated by your actions around receiving. If you are given a compliment, do you ignore it, deflect it, or breathe it in? If someone offers to do something for you, how do you respond?

4. Have fun opening up to miracles. Declare a day, an hour, or even ten minutes when you are going to look at life through the lens that everything around you is a miracle. Just notice what happens when you do!

5. Give yourself the gift of experiencing this life-changing work. Join us from the comfort of your own home for Radical Reinvention starting January 17th.

A Gratitude Ritual

A Gratitude Ritual

As each one of my three daughters comes home for the Thanksgiving vacation holiday, my heart expands and I am overcome by all of the amazing gifts that I have in my life. Of course, also on the top of my list of the gifts and blessings I have in my life is Debbie Ford, the brilliance she shared with the world, and the legacy that she left behind. Simply put, Debbie's work changed my life. She taught me concepts and tools that radically altered the way I viewed myself and the world. She gave me the gift of liberation!

As we enter the holiday season and this sacred time of introspection, Debbie's words ring in my ear. Especially around this time of year, she used to remind us that:

"When you're in the presence of your gifts,
you naturally feel gratitude."

If you want to live a life beyond your wildest dreams, if you want to turn the ordinary into extraordinary and find the miracles that are dancing in front of you in every moment then start with the practice of cultivating gratitude.

So as we enter this week of Thanksgiving, we want to share with you a powerful Gratitude Ritual Debbie created. (See below.) We hope you take the time to do it. Especially during this season when we all literally and figuratively have so much on our plates, it is important to go within and connect with your blessings.

And as we turn our attention to what we are most appreciative for this week, we want you to know that we are grateful for YOU. We know that there is no greater honor than to be welcomed into your life and share in your emotional and spiritual evolution. We appreciate your openness and willingness to let us be a part of your process!

From our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you...

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Make a plan do the Gratitude Ritual on a daily basis for at least a week. Put it in your calendar.

(2) Find a place that inspires and deeply nurtures you, a sacred place, to do the Gratitude Ritual.

(3) Do the Gratitude Ritual each day for at least a week.

(4) After the Gratitude Ritual, ask your heart to tell you what it's most appreciative for. Jot these words down and remember that they can serve to fill your internal cup and bring you peace at any time amidst the bustle of this holiday season.

With love,

A Gratitude Ritual
by Debbie Ford

The beautiful gifts of gratitude begin at home
so today invite a healing to happen
in your own body
in your own consciousness
in your own loving heart
that feels blessed to be alive

Notice all the riches you've been given
the feet that allow you to stand
the legs that allow you to walk
the stomach that allows you to eat
the lungs that allow you to breathe
the throat that allows you to speak
the mouth that allows you to taste
the nose that allows you to smell
the eyes that allow you to see
and your beating heart
that allows you to love
Honor them all

Become present to the treasures of your life
the opportunities that you have been given
the ones that have effortlessly opened up for you this year
Reflect on your family, your kids, your partner, your friends
Look through appreciative eyes
the eyes of what's right
the eyes of the divine
Give thanks in a way that you never have before

Allow fear, doubt, struggle and pain
to melt away in the presence of this all-loving appreciation
Thank God that you have a consciousness
that is able to shift and transform in just a moment
Thank God that you are courageous enough
to take a moment to bless yourself
to bless the universe
to bless all those who love and guide you
and then to bless all of the world

Send your tears of love and gratitude
to those who are in pain
to those who are alone
to those who are confused
Allow the heavenly vibration of gratitude
to puncture their fearful illusions
and open up their hearts to what is truly divine

Today, take this vow of deep self-love and gratitude
knowing that when you are in the presence of this kind of love
you - as well as all of those around you - will flourish

Take five slow deep breaths, breathing in love, appreciation, gratitude and joy
Know that you are never alone and you will never be alone
We are all here surrounding you with love.

The Communication Clean-Up Campaign

The Communication Clean-Up Campaign

Well, we are finally here...Election Day! Normally I would make some comment about how "tomorrow we will wake up and there will be a new president." Yet, since nothing has been normal about this election, who knows what tomorrow will bring and what the status of the election not to mention the State of the Union will be.

What I do know is what many media outlets have been reporting -- "election anxiety" is at an all time high! The American Psychological Association says, "52 percent of American adults are coping with high levels of stress brought on by the election and that this anxiety is affecting both Republicans and Democrats equally."

Our work is grounded in the premise that every emotion, the "positive" as well as the "negative," are meant to serve us or as the great poet Rumi says are "sent as a guide from beyond."

Often it takes a breakdown to get to a breakthrough. So although this anxiety that many of us are experiencing might feel uncomfortable and may cause stress, frustration, and fear and may have its cost, my hope is that we can use this anxiety as a guide to learn, heal, and grow. My hope is that we can extract the wisdom from the wounds of this election and use it as a catalyst to evolve both individually and collectively.

Debbie Ford used to say, "Elections are all about the shadow." They are all about projection. We judge in the candidates, their "surrogates", and their supporters the qualities that we don't like or don't see in ourselves. Generally you want and need to take back your projections so that you can vote according to the issues facing the country as opposed to your own personal issues and unhealed wounds. Well, there is no question that this election has triggered reactions in all of us and provided us all with opportunities to look at our shadows and unconceal disowned qualities, both positive and negative, that we project on others.

Although I am obviously a great believer and lover of shadow work, my hope is that the learning and lessons that this election will ultimately provide go far beyond shadow work. If, as Newton's Third Law says, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," then my hope is that on the other side of the tremendous anxiety, negativity, and divisiveness this election has caused, there will be a healing, learning, and shift of the same if not even greater magnitude.

My hope is that this experience serves as the catalyst for each of us to look beyond the politics and at our own personal platforms. In watching all that has been going on and sensing what has triggered or inspired you, let this election serve as an opportunity for us all to look within and reflect upon:

What do I stand for?
What do I want to say and how do I want to say it?
And, most importantly - who do I want to be and how do I want to contribute to the collective?

As you ponder these questions and find your answers within, I invite you to join me in thinking about an idea that Debbie wrote about years ago. She called it "The Communication Clean-Up Campaign." When she originally proffered this concept, I am sure she couldn't have imagined how relevant and necessary this campaign would be today. Her intention for that newsletter was to "bring to our attention something we can all work on that will not only change the lives of those around us but will change our lives as well...the way that we communicate." She talked about how the way we communicate can have "a devastating effect on our self-esteem and on our ability to live an open-hearted life."

There is no question that during this election we have seen how our words can be weapons, used to shame others, cut some one down at the knees, incite violence, fighting, and division, and even boomerang back around to assault the person who spoke them. The disrespectful has and will ultimately become the disrespected. But change can happen and it can start with each of us thinking globally and acting locally. It can start with us each being uber-vigilant and conscious about what we say and being mindful about restoring the integrity of our communications. We can and must demand this of ourselves and proactively ask for it in others.

Not to at all demean the significance of what happens today and tomorrow, since it is important, no matter what happens, I think we can all agree that we are stronger together and that we want America and the world to be great. I think we also can agree, as I read on someone's Facebook feed, it's time to "Make America Kind Again!" The good news is we can do that by joining in on The Communication Clean-Up Campaign.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Start watching your words.

- Think about the purpose and intent of every communication and make sure your words match and magnify that intention.

- When you write an email, text or tweet, breath it in and feel how it lands in your body. Does it feel clean? Expansive? Or create any static that needs to be cleaned up?

- Before you speak, think about the impact your words will have as they are received and ripple out into the ether and see if there are any simple adjustments you need to make as you bring awareness to each and every word that you speak.

(2) Come join us at The Shadow Experience November 11th to November 13th in Irvington, New York or The Shadow Process December 2nd to December 4th in Los Angeles for the ultimate cleanup of your communication with yourself and others!

What Superhero Are You?

What Superhero Are You?

Halloween is in a few days and many of us are searching for that perfect costume. I am always fascinated to see the trends in Halloween costumes. I view them as a commentary on what is relevant in today's society. This year, there is no question we are going to see our fair share of Trumps and Clintons (or the Saturday Night Live version of them) out trick-or-treating. From Star Wars to Pokemon to the cast of the TV show "Empire," what's "hot" in pop culture will most likely be represented as well as the classic stand-bys like the naughty nurse, Rocky Balboa, or the Addams Family. However year after year, as I do my unofficial survey of "what's trending now," what always stands out is the number and wide array of superheroes that are out protecting the streets on Halloween night!

So what is it about superheroes that make them so popular? Their superpowers, of course...And the desire we all have to possess them, even if it only is for one night!

From the magical sorcerer to the muscle-bound mutants, we shine our light on superheroes, thinking that they have something that we mere mortals do not! However if you stop to think about it, although some superheroes have powers that exceed the abilities of most humans, the fact is many do not. Think of Batman and all of the heroes, villains, and vixens from Gotham City. None of them possess abilities beyond those of you and I. Yet we consider them superheroes! We want to be suave, charismatic, and logical like Bruce Wayne (Batman); smart, sexy and intuitive like Batgirl or Poison Ivy; or clever like the Riddler. Even though we all might want to fly like Superman or be able to make magic like Harry Potter, when it comes to these superheroes with superhuman abilities, it is not only their magical powers but also their human qualities that we truly covet. We want to be healers like the Wolverine, super-strong and disciplined like the Hulk, psychic like the team from X-Men, or all-knowing, certain, and heartfelt like Superman.

The fact is that we all have superpowers! The only difference between us mere mortals and the people we consider to be superheroes is that they own their light and their greatness and we do not. But the light we see in them is within us. It is our birthright!

In her book The Best Year of Your Life, Debbie Ford talks about how we all have the power to be anything we want to be in the chapter entitled, "Stepping Into Greatness." She says, "Each of us has the ability to find and nurture new parts of ourselves and become the people we aspire to be….Each of us has a choice to stay stuck in the persona we have created or to let it go and allow a new expression of ourselves to emerge. Human beings (just like superheroes) are capable of this type of metamorphosis. We don't have to stay stuck displaying the same personality traits over the course of our lifetime but are free to transform into the higher expressions of ourselves."

So if you are ready to unleash your inner genie in a bottle, embrace your bionic abilities, and "run faster than a speeding bullet" straight into owning the superhero that you are, then I suggest you call forth your x-ray vision and see past your outdated, limited definition of yourself. You must adopt your chest-out hands-on-hips Wonder Woman-Superman pose and bask in the glory of your light. There is no one in any galaxy quite like you -- no one else who can deliver your gifts to the world. So this Halloween remember the costume is just a façade. Everything you need and have been yearning for is already inside of you! It is your time to fly!

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Identify a superhero or super person that you admire. Ask yourself, "What are the qualities that that person has that you most admire or truly wished you possessed?" Make a list of those qualities.

(2) From that list, pick out the two qualities that you most feel drawn to cultivate. Look to see what actions or practice will nurture the two qualities you identified. What can you do on a monthly, weekly, daily basis to let these qualities shine in full force in your life?

(3) Come join us at The Shadow Experience November 11th to November 13th in Irvington, New York or The Shadow Process December 2nd to December 4th in Los Angeles to reach your next level of light!

Who Is Bearing Witness To Your Life?

Who Is Bearing Witness To Your Life?

As some of you might know I have been working on writing my first book. I was very honored when I found out that the highly renowned multimedia publishing company Sounds True wanted to publish it. After going back and forth on some of the terms of the agreement, they sent me a final draft of our contract. In my day-to-day scramble to get everything done, I printed out the document and was mindlessly going to sign it and send it back. I then stopped myself. This was my first book deal!

Writing a book is something I have talked about, made notes on, thought and dreamed about for years. In the past several months I have spent countless hours writing an outline, meeting with agents, and crafting the perfect book proposal to present to publishers. I have worried, waited, prayed, and gone back and forth from fear to faith, wondering if in this economy I would find a synergistic publisher. Having it all come together in a manner which truly was the manifestation of my vision becoming my reality was a major moment in my life. It's not a moment that should just be robotically checked off my "to-do" list like going to the grocery store, picking up dry cleaning, or putting gas in my car.

This was a moment that not only needed to be claimed but
truly deserved to be memorialized and celebrated!

It was a moment that got me thinking about the concept of "Who is bearing witness to your life?"

When we claim the moment, we punctuate a situation by being present and taking notice. By seeking to define what makes it special, we turn what could be considered "mundane" into memorable and ordinary into extraordinary. Claiming the moment is a great tool when it comes to you making your moments matter. However, if you want to maximize the magnitude of a moment, then have others bear witness to it.

Having others bear witness is a declaration to the Universe that you and your moments matter. Inviting others to bear witness to your life is a declaration that your achievements deserve celebrating, and that your dreams and wishes are meaningful enough to be held by others. Ultimately having others bear witness to your life is a proclamation of your feelings of worthiness. When you make your life matter so will others!

Yet beyond baby showers, birthdays, weddings, and funerals, how often do you invite people to share in the snapshots of your life? Probably not that many! Why? The shadow!

The shadow has us play small, not show off, not be too arrogant, stay invisible, and not be seen. It creates fear and plays mind games. It makes us question if our successes are just flukes, fear that our dreams will quickly become disappointments, and believe that any feelings of worthiness will be short-lived. As a result, we decide that to minimize the onslaught of the inevitable pain and shame, we should just keep it all to ourselves!

But that all comes from a lack state of consciousness and just like lack begets lack, abundance begets abundance.

Many scientists, theorists, and teachers have studied and talked about the power of the collective and how you can magnify the impact of any thought, intention, or prayer when it is held by a group. It is time to harness the power of the collective and move from selfies to making memories by inviting people to bear witness to your life. Although it may feel scary at first and your shadow might wreak havoc on you reaching out, doubting that anyone truly cares or has the time to celebrate your moments, I can promise you that the right people, the people who love and support you, will be thrilled! We just have to step out of the limiting voice of the shadow and give others the opportunity!

And if you don't believe me, you can ask my friend who I had plans with the night I got my contract from my publisher. I went to her apartment, told her about my book deal, which I had not really mentioned to anyone, and asked her to bear witness to my signing my first book contract! She was honored! Smiling from ear to ear, we went out on her balcony, set the intention that my book go out into the Universe and touch lots of lives and she witnessed me signing my first book deal. We both had tears in our eyes as we magnified the meaning of the moment and deepened the bond of our already rich history.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Start by bringing your awareness to the moments of your day. At any point, stop and claim the special significance of any situation.

(2) Next it is time to invite another to bear witness to a moment. It can be anything - from trying on a new outfit to sampling or savoring something you have cooked to signing a contract to driving your new car. Remember it's not so much about the moment as it is declaring that your moments matter!

(3) Be bold and share your moments with me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

With love,

The Jennifer Aniston Effect

The Jennifer Aniston Effect

The Jennifer Aniston Effect

A few years ago during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wrote a newsletter entitled "What Is Your 'Angelina Effect'?" In it, I talked about Angelina Jolie's powerful impact on the number of women with a family history of breast cancer getting tested. The newsletter then went on to discuss how we all have the ability to be the ripple. We all have the ability to be the catalyst for motivation or to play the part of a game-changer in the life of one or many.

Lately I have been thinking about what I am going to call "The Jennifer Aniston Effect."

Let me start by saying I do not know Jennifer Aniston at all. The closest I have gotten to her is that I stood behind Courteney Cox and her daughter in line at the Los Angeles Airport a few years ago. Other than that, Jennifer Aniston will always be a "Friend" that still comes into my living room thanks to reruns on cable television. So admittedly anything I write here is my speculation about a woman who, in my eyes, is conscious, cool, kind, and a class act.

This past week it was announced that Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. When the news came out, pictures of Jennifer Aniston taken throughout her career were splashed all over social media and in the news, pictures that showed her smiling, laughing, rolling her eyes, and grinning like a Cheshire cat. There have even been headlines saying, "Karma's a bitch!" (I am just trying to figure out my own karma so I have no idea what anyone else's is.)

When I look at Jennifer Aniston, I see a woman who went through the heartbreak of a broken relationship and the dashed dreams of divorce. Then she used her pain as a catalyst to look inside, dig deep, heal her wounds, and go on to create more vibrantly and love more whole-heartedly. She surrounded herself with loving friends, healthy relationships and positive wellness structures that feed her soul and allow her to be in integrity with her highest self.

Our work is predicated on the concept that our relationships, especially those closest to us, serve as our clearest mirrors. They are there to show us the parts of ourselves that we have disowned, tried to hide, or suppressed. They are there to show us the wounds from our past that are waiting and wanting to be healed. That is why we often say, "There's no one out there."

When we are in relationship with others, we often try to make it all about them. We think about what they did wrong, how their behavior was inappropriate, and what they could or should be doing differently. But the fact of the matter is it's not about them. It goes back to that saying, "If you spot it, you got it!" The people in our lives are just there to act as reflections - to highlight the shadows we need to own, the wounds we need to heal, and the outdated beliefs we need to unconceal and shift so that we can be our fullest and most loving selves.

Even the people who break your heart come bearing a gift: their presence in your life and all that transpired occurred to give you the opportunity to gain some new insight so your soul could evolve.

Now when most of us get hurt from a break-up or experience some pain from a relationship, we don't automatically think, "Wow! How lucky am I that I just got my heart broken?" Instead, we tend to blame the other person or beat ourselves up. We think, "If only I was smarter, better looking, in better shape, more successful, sensual, or spontaneous...then maybe things would not have happened as they did. Maybe he or she would not have left or found someone else."

BUT here's the thing. Although it might hurt -- and believe me, I have been there and know that it can leave you breathless --

What if their leaving was the best thing
that could have ever happened to you?

What if their leaving had nothing to do with you?

What if that one more broken heart was exactly
what your soul needed so you could do the work
and create the insight and opening to finally
find the love of your life?

If there is no one out there, then on the one hand, their leaving, cheating, or doing whatever they did had to do with their wounds and the opportunity to discover what they needed to learn in this lifetime.

And on the other hand, their leaving, cheating, or doing whatever they did was totally for you in that it gave you the invitation to see what you were projecting on to them or the relationship so you could own back that light or dark and more fully embrace all of yourself. It also served as the catalyst to rip the band-aid off of some old wound from the past so it could finally be examined and healed, allowing you to love more deeply.

To me, "The Jennifer Aniston Effect" is an inspiration for people everywhere to use whatever happens to them as a catalyst for growth, to turn pain into possibilities, and to find the wisdom in their wounds. It will be a reminder to everyone that it truly doesn't matter how beautiful, creative, successful, fun, and fabulous you are because your soul is meant to evolve and grow and the Universe will send you experiences and people who will aid you in doing so. Sometimes the lessons happen easily, but, more often than not, they are accompanied by pain. And it doesn't matter how fast you dance, how much you try to fix, change, or improve yourself or others, the Universe will bring you opportunities to evolve. That's the good news! Because if you embrace these opportunities, then you can go on to be the next version of your highest, most authentic self - to love more generously, cultivate enriching relationships, set healthy boundaries, and step into new levels of self-worth and respect for yourself and others so you don't engage in behaviors that do not represent the person and friend that you are...whole and complete!

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Think of a relationship that caused you pain.

(2) Make a list of all the ways that you blamed the other person for what transpired.

(3) Make a list of all the ways you beat yourself up for what happened.

(4) Looking at the two lists you made, allow yourself to see the cost of those negative behaviors, thoughts, or reactions. How many years has this been going on?

(5) Dwell in the question about what you learned as a result of that experience, exactly as it transpired. How did that relationship serve the evolution of your soul?

Thank God for Your Discontent

Thank God for Your Discontent

When people show up at The Shadow Experience, The Shadow Process or one of our transformational or training programs, it is often their discontent that delivers them there. They come because they want to live better lives. They want the skills, the tools, and the processes to support them in stretching and growing. And ultimately they reach new heights and live lives beyond what they could imagine for themselves. They become truly unrecognizable as they live day-to-day lives filled with joy, fulfillment, and contentment.

Discontent occurs when our outer experiences aren't matching our inner desires. It usually begins as a subtle awareness - a gnawing feeling that we are capable of something more than we are actually creating in some key area of our lives or we are tolerating circumstances that are below our standards. In its early stages, discontent is fairly easy to overlook or conceal from ourselves. But like a glowing ember, the heat of discontent builds slowly over time until it becomes a blazing fire that can no longer be ignored. By then our discontent captures our full attention and, hopefully, we are motivated into action.

Whether it shows up in the area of our jobs, our bodies, or our relationships with our spouse or our kids, the sensation of discontent blows past our egos and our logic, insisting that we are destined for much, much more than we are currently living. The natural human reaction when faced with such a powerful and uncomfortable emotion is to blame it on someone or something else in order to ease our own pain. (My kids are spoiled. My metabolism isn't what it used to be. My job is too demanding). But I'd like to offer you another, more empowering way to perceive it: Your discontent is a tap on the shoulder from your most magnificent self, awakening you to your true potential and revealing a part of yourself that is ready to be expressed. In fact, discontent may be your most powerful ally on your journey to a life of greater fulfillment.

What if you listened to the subtle urgings of your discontent rather than making it someone else's fault or keeping it at bay? What if you could penetrate the denial of your own actions and choices? What if you took radical responsibility for where you are right now? What if you not only listened to your discontent but courted it, took it to lunch or out for an afternoon stroll, and received full-heartedly the messages it is trying to convey? What you will inevitably find is that your discontent is ushering in a more expanded, more powerful version of yourself that is wanting and waiting to be born. It is the proverbial messenger whispering in your ear, "It's time to upgrade your relationship with your body, with your spouse, with your vocation, with your children, so that it reflects your highest vision and your deepest values."

Once we crack the code of our discontent and receive the message it has been trying to send us, we can embrace it, and move in the direction it is guiding us. My coaching organization is dedicated to this very purpose: I created it, and all of the programs it offers, to support you in realizing your full potential in all areas of your life, so that your outer experiences reflect and fulfill your innermost desires.

This is the time and today is the day to face and embrace your discontent. You can either use your discontent, or it will use you. This week, I encourage you to make a powerful choice to move forward in an area of your life where you aren't 100% satisfied. I promise you, you can do it.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Look to see in what area(s) of your life your discontent is trying to get your attention

(2) Identify and take actions that enable you to grow your discontent rather than fight against it. If you're tired of eating the same old meals, enroll in a cooking class. Or if you are unfulfilled by your job, look to see what skills you could develop so that you can move powerfully into a new career by next year.

(3) Step into a structure to create change in every area of your life. Sign up for Every Choice Matters, a life-altering course you can do from the comfort of your own home. In Every Choice Matters which starts in two weeks, you will be coached in a group setting to awaken to the power of the choices you are making in each and every area of your life. You will be guided to discover where your shadow is in control. By shedding light on what lies at the root of your choices, you will be able to make new choices -- choices that empower you, inspire you and deliver you an unimaginable future.

With love,

p.s. If you are interested in The Ford Institute's coaching training, Every Choice Matters is a required program and a great next step.

Are You In Control Of Your Life?

Are You In Control Of Your Life?

Have you ever thought about what your driving force is? What keeps you trying to get to that next level? What keeps you from letting go even when you know something no longer serves your highest vision for your life? What keeps you trying to do things as you think they should be done or to please others? The answer: your unclaimed shadows -- the negative thoughts, fears, beliefs that live in your unconscious and determine how much success, joy, fun, love or silent suffering you will experience or endure. Your shadow is responsible for the internal dialogue that plays as a tape in your head and constantly whispers in your ear: "Act that way so they will like you." "Don't do that or they will think you are stupid, selfish or lazy." "Just keep your mouth shut or stay under the radar so you won't feel embarrassed."

Ultimately it is the shadow that gives birth to our fear and keeps us paralyzed, striving for more, or trying to fit in or get it right. It is the shadow that controls our actions, non-actions and basically eliminates our ability to make high level choices. Let me say that again. Our shadows eliminate our ability to make high level choices! When we are being run by our shadows, we lose our freedom to choose - our only choice is to try to hide it, deny it or achieve over it. We lose our ability to make choices that truly serve us because the only choices we can make are those that are aligned with the shadow that is driving us. For example, if you have shame or a belief that you are not good enough, you will make choices to show the world how good or worthy you are. It won't matter whether those choices are really what you want to do or not. Think about it. How many of us have done things to make our parents proud, our spouses or children happy, or so our friends will need us, compliment us or affirm our value even when the actions are truly not in our best interest or what we want to do?

Your present is a result of the choices you made yesterday, and your future will be determined by the choices you make today. Given that, you must wake up to really see what is controlling your life. You are making thousands of choices each day about your life. You don't have to allow your shadow to be in control of your life. Instead, you can choose to shine the light on your darkness and get into the presence of your goals, dreams, and desires. You can choose to envision a new future and ensure that the choices you are making are moving you in the direction of your dreams.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Make a list of two goals that you are committed to reaching.

(2) Ask yourself, "Are the choices I made this week moving me in the direction of these goals?"

(3) If not, identify the part of you that has been driving your decisions. Who is driving? Who is making the choices? Is it your wounded self? Is it the part of you that worries what your mother will think? Is it the part of you that wants to ensure your peers like you and approve of you? How long have they been in the driver's seat? And how much longer will you give them the wheel?

(4) Set a strong boundary with this part of you by letting them know that you are now taking control, that you are going to protect yourself, ensuring your future, and that they can no longer drive. In other words, revoke their driver's license. How? Write it down. Create a positive statement and put it up where you can see it daily.

(5) When we are driving, we have the ability to push on the gas pedal. Take one action this week that proves you are in the driver's seat.

(6) Sign up for Every Choice Matters, a life-altering course you can do from the comfort of your own home. In Every Choice Matters, you will be coached in a group setting to awaken to the power of the choices you are making in each and every area of your life. You will be guided to discover where your shadow is in control. By shedding light on what lies at the root of your choices, you will be able to make new choices -- choices that empower you, inspire you and deliver you an unimaginable future.

I can tell you that I have changed every single thing in my life. The transformation I've experienced is ultimately because of the choices I've made. This same transformation can be yours. I promise you that when you take this transformational journey, you will be able to powerfully use your voice and you will feel worthy of receiving all that the universe is waiting to deliver to you.

The time is now.

The choice is yours.

With love,

p.s. If you are interested in The Ford Institute's coaching training, Every Choice Matters is a required program and a great next step.

Life Can Be Easy - The Choice Is Yours!

Life Can Be Easy - The Choice Is Yours!

Do you remember when one of the big office supply stores developed the big red "Easy Button" as a reminder to "keep things easy at work?" Years ago one of my fellow staff members at The Ford Institute started bringing a big red "Easy Button" to all of the in-person workshops and trainings we did. He would keep it out at the staff table at the back of the workshop room. It was actually a perfect reminder for all of us that an invitation for transformation exists in every moment and it can happen in an instant if we choose to open up and receive the invitation. Unfortunately most people don't recognize the miracles that are always dancing right in front of them

On a daily basis I watch and hear stories about what I categorize as "people who are committed to struggle." Wherever they go and whatever they do, drama seems to follow them, upset seems to happen, disappointment permeates every experience, and even the little things seem to get blown out of proportion. Whether they realize it or not, they are on some level always looking for what is wrong and as a result find it! They miss the magic of the moment or anything good that might be coming their way or even standing right in front of them since they are committed to clinging to a past that has betrayed them, being the victim, and telling themselves a story that ends "unhappily ever after."

But just like one glance at the big red "Easy Button" can be the catalyst for transformation, we all have the choice to shift from struggle to ease in any situation. In order to do so, first you must be painfully honest with yourself about what's going on. If you are experiencing struggle and drama in more than one area of your life, in several situations, or with multiple people, then you have to be willing to recognize that you are the common denominator in the creation of this chaos. No matter what you might be saying you want - such as peace and quiet - there is something happening inside of you that is creating the friction, fighting, and fatigue.

One of the fundamental concepts of our work is that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. If you are experiencing unrest in your outer world, then you must look within. You must take 100% responsibility for the reality you are experiencing. Is there some belief you have or maybe adopted from your parents that "life is hard" or "life is about surviving and not thriving?" Is there some action, reaction, or pattern of behavior that you keep repeating that keeps you stuck in a cesspool of turbulence, disappointment, or discontent? Or maybe the conflicts that you are experiencing in your outer world come from the conflict within yourself. Do you constantly have a demeaning dialogue running inside your head? Are you berating yourself for not being good enough, smart enough, or charismatic enough?

It's time to declare "enough is enough!"

As the saying goes, "Struggle is optional!" If you want to switch from struggle to ease, the choice is yours. Now is the time to bust free from the past, to give up your righteous beliefs about how unfair or hard life is, to bring awareness to the voice of condemnation inside your head, and to call a truce to the internal war inside of you. When you start feeling ease within yourself it will be reflected in your outer world.

Transformational Action Steps

1. Allow yourself to see how you are addicted to struggle or identify an area or situation in your life where you have created struggle.

2. Honestly evaluate the behaviors, actions, and patterns that you engage in that lead to struggle, the beliefs you have around struggle vs. ease, and the turbulent internal dialogue inside yourself that is being reflected in your outer world.

3. Allow yourself to identify what you could do to shift these behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts to promote more ease in your life. Take some of those actions and notice what changes.

4. Set a strong intention to create more ease in your life and create a structure that will support you in manifesting your intention.

5. If you want to understand what motivates your choices and switch from a life of struggle to high-level choices, join us for Every Choice Matters, a guided interactive program you can do from the comfort of your own home.

With love,

With This Shadow Process, I Thee/Me Wed!

With This Shadow Process, I Thee/Me Wed!

As many of you know, I have three daughters aged 26, 25, and 23. Often we go on long walks or hikes. I love our power walks not only because it gives me a chance to multi-task, tan, and tone but it also gives me an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with my daughters that we don't necessarily have by phone or text, when riding in the car, or relaxing on the couch watching Lifetime movies.

When my youngest and I did an eight-mile walk through the streets of Los Angeles talking about her older sister's relationship and how some of their friends are getting engaged and married, she asked me, "What would you say if her boyfriend came to you and asked you for her hand in marriage?" Luckily, I adore my daughter's boyfriend, and even if it is just for now I consider him as "part of the family." So if I were asked to give my "blessing," I would only have one requirement - I would want him to attend The Shadow Process Workshop.

For many couples, a precursor to marriage or commitment might include discussions about finances, religion, children, or the kind of lifestyle they want to live. All of these topics are important and can often turn into tough discussions and heated issues. And while you can give a couple advice and they can solve a particular problem, like the famous proverb says, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for lifetime." In the same way, if you teach them transformational tools, you give them structure and support to navigate and grow for a lifetime. And that is exactly what The Shadow Process does. It educates people about concepts and techniques that will radically alter their relationship with themselves and others, especially those that are closest to them.

I saw this clearly when I spent time in Malibu with one of my closest friends and her "beloved." Fifteen years ago when she first introduced her new beau to all of us, her closest friends, across the board the consensus was "This will never last." Fifteen years later, the new overwhelming consensus is "We want what they have!" In explaining how their relationship keeps getting better and better and how they keep getting happier and happier, my friends credit this work and the tools that it taught them. (They both have done The Shadow Process and many of our other programs.)

Learning about concepts like projection helped them get through the sticky parts of their relationship. Projection is the act of 'projecting' a quality of our own on to another. Any time we are triggered, blaming, or judging others as being wrong or the cause of our unhappiness, we are likely in projection. Simply put, what we see and can't be with in others is what we can't be with in ourselves.

Our relationships, especially those closest to us serve as our closest mirrors. They are there to teach us and show us the parts of ourselves that we have disowned or tried to hide and suppress. Ultimately we all want to be whole and fully expressed. We want to make peace with and have access to all of the parts of ourselves. We do this by unconcealing the parts of ourselves that we deny and find the gifts that these disowned qualities have for us so we can embrace and integrate them into our being.

Every time my friends were triggered by each other and had one finger pointed at the other person, they looked at the three fingers pointed back at themselves. They used the tool of projection to recognize, rediscover, and reclaim the disowned parts of themselves. They used this tool as a way to no longer be a slave to their emotional reactions. They used this tool to minimize the blow-ups and separation and become more emotionally responsible. As a result of learning about projection, they came to understand that when the other person does something to upset them, it's not because the other person is bad or trying to make their life miserable. It's actually quite the opposite. The other person is there to deliver a gift. The other person is there to show them a part of themselves that they don't have access to. The other person is there to show them the next place in their life where they need to take radical responsibility. The other person and the relationship is there to serve as a guide for their next level of greatness.

Some people define enlightenment as being able to look at anyone, anything, or any trait and know that "I am that!" Ultimately, this tool of projection opens you up to seeing that everything you see in the outer world is within you. It supports you in becoming your fullest expression of yourself and embracing all of you are. As you fall more in love with more parts of yourself, not only does your love for yourself expand but also your ability to love others.

When it comes to my daughters, as much as I love having them with me, I have always known that is my job to give them the wings to help them fly away from the nest. As they get older I feel blessed that there is a process that can give them and their "beloveds" the foundation and tools to have more authentic, connected, and intimate relationships. For anyone interested in conscious coupling and growing inside of a relationship, this is the most priceless and incredible gift they could receive!

Transformational Action Steps

Work with this tool of projection.

(1) If you are in a relationship, think about the behaviors you see in your partner that you judge as wrong or trigger you. If you are not in an intimate relationship, then identify a person that upsets or frustrates you and think about the behaviors or actions of that person that trigger you.

(2) Ask yourself, "What is the quality or characteristic of a person who would display this kind of behavior?"

(3) Identify how you display that quality even if it is in a completely different way. If you can't see how you display that quality now, allow yourself to see how you have displayed it in the past or how you could or might display it in the future under different circumstances.

(4) Allow yourself to identify how that quality has or could serve, benefit, or protect you.

(5) Once you realize that you are capable of displaying the quality that you see in the person you've been judging, notice if your heart softens and if the judgmental voice in your mind quiets as you wake up from the trance of projection.

(6) Give the gift of The Shadow Process to yourself and a loved one! Join us September 16th to September 18th in Miami!

With love,

A Declaration of Interdependence

A Declaration of Interdependence

At the beginning of the month I celebrated the fourth of July with my oldest daughter at a resort in Upstate New York. Everywhere we looked, there were families, groups of friends, and couples playing, partying, and picnicking. Although they were all there to celebrate Independence Day, it was their interdependence that truly struck me.

Every week I meet a handful of people, especially women, who make being dependent or interdependent wrong. Not wanting to be needy, they feel compelled to do it on their own. Not wanting to appear weak, they are driven to do it all. Never allowing themselves to be vulnerable, they suck up any emotion they might be feeling and deny the wants or needs they are actually longing for. When asked "How are you doing?" they automatically say, "I'm fine." They don't delegate or ask for help and take care of everything from the heavy lifting to the most minute details.

Although I am all for being confident, self-reliant, and owning how strong, capable, and kick-ass you are, I do know that for most of us, our distaste for or inability to be dependent, weak, needy, or vulnerable comes from a shadow, a disowned part of ourselves or a shadow belief, an unconscious limiting belief. Our shadows and shadow beliefs form when we are young, generally under the age of ten. And with regard to qualities like dependent, weak, needy, or vulnerable, our shadows and shadow beliefs often form as a result of growing up in an environment in which we made a decision that we needed to do everything on our own, that we could not trust others, that no one really cared for us, or only the strong survive. Shadows around not wanting to be needy, dependent, or vulnerable also could have been born out of feeling ashamed or being shamed for being too sensitive, overly-emotional, wanting attention, or needing help. For others, having a parent who they or others negatively viewed as a "doormat" or a "victim" might have consciously or unconsciously caused them to decide that they would never be like that and disown any traits that made them appear that way.

But herein lies the issue...any time your persona is birthed from a shadow or a shadow belief an inherent problem occurs. You lose your ability to choose! Even though you may love the competent, being in control, do-it-all yourself part of your personality, and I am sure that it has served you in many ways, when you disown a quality, you don't have access to it. If you cannot own and embrace your needy, weak, vulnerable self, it becomes virtually impossible to ask for help or even a hug! It impacts all of your relationships and whether you realize it or not, it creates a wall between you and others or blatantly has you keep everyone at arm's length. For many women, it also impacts them owning their femininity and sexuality.

A long-standing "do it all yourselfer," my ego would get stroked when others would comment on how much I could do and how well I could do it. Overdoing, overachieving, and being Miss Independent became my baseline way of being. That was until my divorce. I literally could not take one more person telling me, "Don't worry Kelley. You are so strong. You will be fine on your own!" In that moment, I realized that actually was one of the issues. Believing that I was so fine on my own, and that I had to do everything on my own was what I created in my marriage and how I co-created the disconnection.

Disowning my needs and wants actually kept me from the things I wanted and needed most! It impacted my ability to connect, to be authentic, and to have true intimacy.

Embracing my weak, needy, and vulnerable self has been one of the many gifts of doing shadow work. I no longer have to do it all and by myself. I can ask for help. I can honor my needs and wants, and as I honor them, so do the people who are closest to me. Embracing these weak, needy, vulnerable parts of myself has actually made me stronger since I no longer have to exhaust myself doing it all on my own!

Although I grew up watching the movie Funny Girl, it took me decades to truly own what Fanny Brice (aka Barbra Streisand) means when she sings, "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world." Admitting that I need other people has been and continues to be a blessing in my life. Even this past Independence Day, it was my being interdependent and wanting and needing to be with a very special person that had me reach out to my daughter to spend a long weekend together. And we created moments and memories that will live in our hearts forever!

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Start thinking about your beliefs about or relationship with characteristics like weak, needy, dependent, or vulnerable.

(2) Allow yourself to see how those beliefs impact your life.

(3) Make Your Declaration of Interdependence. Journal about what would be possible if you embraced and had a healthy relationship with these qualities.

(4) Identify something you can do in the outer world to embrace these qualities.

(5) Take the action that will support you in embracing these qualities.

With love,

Take the Vow of Emotional Independence

Take the Vow of Emotional Independence

As we celebrate Independence Day in the United States this week, there is no better time to take a vow of emotional independence.

When you have emotional independence, you want for nothing because you have everything. Just take a deep breath and think about this. Imagine feeling so full and so completely at peace inside yourself that you have the freedom to love and be loved, to give freely and to receive abundantly, to expand rather than contract, to move forward rather than stay stuck, to live in joy rather than suffer in misery. Emotional independence allows you to be in control rather than to be controlled by the unhealed emotions of your past and will support you in being nourished and filled with faith rather than diminished and weakened by fear.

So close your eyes and have the intention that you can be free, that you can be loved, that you can be abundant, that you can be healed, that you can be inspired, that you can be passionate, and that you can help change the world. And then open your eyes and please join me in taking the vow.

The Vow of Emotional Independence

I, ______ ________, am committed to living free of the strangulating grip of fear, shame, doubt, worry, anger, and sadness.

I promise to give my power to the force greater than myself rather than some food, substance, bad habit, or disempowering craving.

I will stand for my highest expression rather than allowing others’ judgments to define who I am.

I will always make sure to please and take care of myself instead of succumbing to any people-pleasing habits.

I will listen to the voice of my soul rather than listening to the voice of my critical internal judge.

I will find joy in each and every day of my existence rather than get caught up in the insanity of my world.

I will take care of my planet and let my voice be heard instead of waiting for someone else to do it for me.

I will choose powerfully each and every moment to make choices that leave me feeling inspired by myself and will graciously let go of my self-defeating behaviors.

I take this vow NOW as a positive stand for my soul's highest expression and for every man, woman, and child on this planet today.

As I set myself free, I am freeing myself and others from the violence of my darkest thoughts, my negative projections, and my limiting self-image.

And now I ask all the powers that be to support me in living this vow each and every moment of each and every day.

As I surrender my will for the higher will, I know that I will be guided from my darkest thought to my greatest dream, from my head to my heart.

Today, I commit to living in full accordance with this vow.

And so it is.

Live as if this is your birthright and your destiny – because it is.

- Debbie Ford, July, 2010

Take a deep breath. Read this vow to yourself and allow it to nourish you. See yourself filled with all the light of the world. And if your heart desires to share it, send it on to others.

With love,