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. 2018 offers all of us a new beginning! 

We're excited to share with you Debbie Ford's 2008 New Year's Ritual (with a few updates) to support you in 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 hope you'll join us for The 21-Day Integrity Challenge to kick off the new year. (You can read more about that below the ritual.) We look forward to continuing to support you in 2018. 

With love,

A New Year's Ritual
by Debbie Ford

This morning in my meditation, I thought about all the people I love, of course all of you -- and this was the message that came to me to deliver to you. I hope it nourishes you as much as it did me. 

Every New Year’s Eve, we make resolutions that this year will finally be different. We vow that this is the year we will land that new job, get in great shape, find the man of our dreams, or quit smoking. We spend our days thinking, talking, and dreaming about what our lives could be like 'if only ...'. We follow a new diet, we start exercise routines – we begin working on our lifelong goals and then we give up, get too busy, and forget about what's truly important to us. Another year passes by and our dreams remain out of reach. 

From leading thousands of people through the transformational process, I can assure you of this. Although people think they're chasing a goal that may or may not happen, the truth is they are chasing the feelingthey think they'll have when their dreams come true. Really breathe that in. What you are craving is not the outside goodie — the new career, the fit body, the loving family — but the feeling that you think you'll experience when you get it. 

The great news is that you don't have to wait to feel that feeling. You can feel that way right now. Every feeling that exists - all these levels of consciousness, frequencies, and vibrations - exist inside of us right now. Our job is just to activate them. When you feel the feelings you most desire, you're more likely to achieve the goals and dreams you have for your life. 

Here is a ritual to support you in discovering that the life you've always wanted is right in front of you, well within your grasp. Take some time to journal and answer these questions.

  1. What is one feeling you most want to explore or align with this coming year? What feeling would be worth giving up old patterns, behaviors, opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and judgments? To help pick your feeling, I recommend you find a "feelings list" online to prompt yourself. Or you can think of a goal you've wanted to achieve and then ask yourself "How would I feel if I achieved that goal?" Even if it seems challenging, for the purposes of this ritual, make sure to pick just ONE feeling you MOST want to feel in 2018. Write it down. 
  2. Reflect on how this feeling would push you to take risks and step into your next highest expression. How would you act differently if you were living a life grounded in that feeling? What would be different in your world? Write it out in great detail. 
  3. Let yourself see how your alignment with this feeling could serve the greater whole. How would it help those around you? What would you be able to do if you felt this feeling? Make some notes. 
  4. Call forth three images that evoke this feeling, images you can revisit to ensure that you're living on that frequency this year. For example, if you want peace, you might see an image of a still lake, a person in meditation, or people holding hands. Allow yourself to see three images that will anchor you in the feeling you most desire. 
  5. Identify what this feeling would smell like. What smell would you most associate with what you've chosen? (Hint: You might want to pick your favorite smell since I'm going to ask you to get it and smell it every day!) 
  6. Select a color that most reminds you of this feeling. What color would best evoke the feeling you've chosen? 
  7. Find a phrase -- an expression, a line in a prayer, a part of a poem, or something you write yourself. For peace, for example, it could be "Be still and know that I am G-d." 
  8. Pick two synonyms for the feeling. For peace, for example, you might pick "serenity" and "contentment." 
  9. Choose a song that matches the feeling you want. Go through your music library or put your word into the iTunes store. Find yourself a theme song for the year. 
  10. See two behaviors that you can do every week this year that would bring forth the feeling inside of you. For peace, it might be going for a walk in a park near your home, going to pray in a spot that you like, or reading part of a book. 
  11. Find a beautiful piece of paper or notebook. In your best handwriting (or most beautiful font on your computer), write out all these details -- the images, the smell, the color, the phrase, the synonyms, the song, and the behaviors. Make copies of your list and put them around the house so you will be reminded. 
  12. Finally, at least for the next 21 days straight and ideally each and every day of the new year, spend a minimum of two minutes at the beginning of the day and before you go to bed holding that piece of paper, reviewing your list, listening to the song, smelling the smell, repeating the phrase. Bring yourself into the presence of the frequency. Feel the vibration. Bask in that feeling. Close your eyes and ask the powers that be to support you in bringing forth the highest expression of the state of being you have chosen.

I promise that when you live your life this way, you won't have to worry about your resolutions or your goals. You'll get everything that your heart desires. 

As you start a new year, know that I am wishing you a fantastic year. May all your dreams come true. 


Have You Joined The 21-Day Integrity Challenge Yet?



One simple action can change everything. In The 21-Day Integrity Challenge starting on Wednesday January 10th, you will enter into a conversation where each day you will be invited to a look at an aspect of your life to determine if there is anything that needs to be re-examined, released, replaced, resolved, or reignited. 

Each day you'll receive an email in your inbox with your challenge for the day. You will be invited to engage in different inquiries, actions, and practices to cultivate integrity. You'll also have access to a private Facebook group where you can share your progress and support your fellow members with ideas and inspiration. 

Don't miss this day-by-day, step-by-step guide that will aid you in shedding and cleaning up the ways you have been out of integrity so you will feel empowered, worthy, and ready to own that you are whole and complete and to live in alignment with your deepest truths and grandest desires.

Join The 21-Day Integrity Challenge

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, 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 

What Do You Need To Eliminate Before 2018?

What Do You Need To Eliminate Before 2018?

As the holidays kick into high gear, I am thankful and a bit overwhelmed as I fill in my calendar. There are parties to attend, dinners to organize, presents to buy, decorations to hang, and visits from out-of-towners, friends, and family to prepare for. As I anticipate the month to come, it feels like my to-do list is infused with a sense of accumulation. Although I look forward to the abundance and merriment of delighting in the decadence of December, I also feel a strong sense of urgency to resolve and handle certain issues so I do not carry them forward into 2018. And the good news is there is still time. 

In my book The Integrity Advantage, I write,

"Integrity is a process of elimination—you need to let go of that which you have suppressed, clean out that which does not serve you, let go of toxicity, and make space. 

To flow freely and powerfully toward the future, you must eliminate anything that might have a gravitational pull to the past or keep you connected to old karma or chaos. It’s like pulling out the old weeds before you plant new seeds, washing your face before you put on makeup, or clearing the table before you set it for the next meal. You always want to start with a clean work space."  

To support me in starting the year with a “clean work space,” I have been spending time really contemplating the following three questions:

  • What incompletions do I need to address? 
  • What do I need to clean up? 
  • What or whom do I need to let go of?

Already this past week I threw away garbage bags full of old papers, gave away clothes that I have not worn in years, dealt with an issue that required me to actually go down and wait in line at the Social Security Office, and finally got someone on the phone at Apple to discuss the recurring charges that appear on my credit card statement each month which I have no idea what they are for but since they are only add up to a few dollars, I justify ignoring. 

Although on the surface each of these issues were “small,” the feeling of space and freedom that I feel now that they are resolved is huge. It fuels my desire to rid my life and surroundings of anything that might consciously or unconsciously be a drain on my energy. So as the year draws to an end, I want to encourage you to be mindful to not let your focus on your holiday shopping list deter you from spending time doing end-of year clean up. If you want to ring in 2018 with a sense of clarity and calm and joyously jump into January, than I invite you to join me in taking on elimination as well as accumulation. 

Transformational Action Steps 

Spend time looking at your life through the eyes of elimination. 

(1) Dwell in the following questions:

  • What incompletions do you need to tackle?
  • What situations or relationships do you need to clean up?
  • What or whom do you need to let go of?

(2) Make a list of action steps and make sure to schedule these action steps into your calendar. 

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. As I wrote on the dedication page of my new book The Integrity Advantage, I am blessed to have amazing women in my life to learn from, laugh with, and lean on. In particular, I publicly acknowledged my mother, my three daughters, and of course Debbie Ford. A woman of courage, brilliance, and faith, Debbie radically shifted so many people's lives - especially mine. Through her teachings, wisdom, honesty, and vision, Debbie gave and keeps giving me - and all of us - 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.

Turning The Tables on Turkey Day Trauma & Trepidation

Turning The Tables on Turkey Day Trauma & Trepidation

Happy almost-Thanksgiving! If you are like me, I'm sure that you cannot believe the holidays are already upon us. What happened to Fall? Although the song says "Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays," despite what we see in Hallmark Channel's Five Night Thanksgiving Movie Event, the fact is that most of us experience a sense of dread as we envision our upcoming holiday gatherings. Feelings of resistance, anxiety, and resignation start to bubble up as we anticipate the drama and dis-ease that will undoubtedly accompany the candied yams and pumpkin pie. As we contemplate the upcoming holiday, our minds naturally drift back to Thanksgivings past and we automatically become stressed out thinking about our family dynamic and the scenarios that consistently cause trauma and trepidation before we get to and/or around the Thanksgiving table. Any hope of warm and fuzzy feelings turn cold and cautious as we contemplate situations like:

- How do I once again try to explain to my family why I have to bring my own food since I eat - vegan or gluten-free?

- What can I do to appease my parents and in-laws, who are all divorced but expect us to show up and make their Thanksgiving meal the most significant one?

- How should I handle it this year when, at the last minute, my sister-in-law once again decides to invite four more people to dinner?

- What do I do when Uncle Bob brings up politics and the holiday goes from being about pilgrims, Native Americans, and gratitude to Democrats vs. Republicans and hate and hurling insults?

- How do I not get pissed off at my family when they stay glued to the couch and watching TV as I do all of the work in the kitchen?

Your first instinct might be to cancel Thanksgiving or hide because you just want to avoid the inevitable or you are afraid you will do what you have done in the past, remaining silent or passively standing by and pretending things are "fine" as you face dive into the mashed potatoes, drown your sorrows in a bottle of wine, and unconsciously choose self-sabotage over self-love. But checking or numbing out is not the best option. Neither is doing what you have done in the past -- avoidance, settling for crumbs, enduring the explosions or inappropriate actions and behaviors of others, or allowing yourself to self-implode and then berating and beating yourself up for it later. 

It is time to turn the tables on turkey day trauma and trepidation. It is time to declare a no-tolerance policy when it comes to putting ourselves in unhealthy scenarios in which we do unto others better than we do unto ourselves as we compromise our wants, needs, desires, and truth. It is time to initiate some new holiday traditions! 

In my book The Integrity Advantage, one of my favorite sections is about creating an "Integrity Protection Program," a set of structures and practices that aid us in protecting our highest. To help navigate the holiday pitfalls, it is crucial that we be proactive about formulating a holiday Integrity Protection Plan and put structures in place to safeguard our sanity. We must commit to establishing a clear set of ground rules, some for us to adhere to and others that we convey to our loved ones. Even though it would be nice to think that our family members and close friends know our needs, assuming often gets us in trouble and causes misunderstandings. As we take on being proactive about turning the tables on turkey day trauma and trepidation, we must also commit to communicating our requests and boundaries to others in a clear and timely manner. It is okay to:

- Tell your sister-in law that the cut-off day for any additional guest is the Monday before Thanksgiving.

- Give each family member a list of tasks you need them to perform and add in a time frame for when they need to be done by.

- Call your hostess and ask what they will be serving to see if it meets your dietary needs and then check if you can bring some "sugar-free" or gluten-free options.

- Remind your in-laws that you will be eating dinner at your mother's house and will be at their house in the afternoon to say hello.

- Declare the Thanksgiving table a "no-politics" zone.

Structures and boundaries are acts of self-care and demonstrations of self-love. And one of the "ahas" I have come to realize is that just like we need to establish them to safeguard us from the actions and habits of others, we often need structures and boundaries to safeguard ourselves from our own weaknesses and pitfalls. I have found that for myself, especially when it comes to the holidays,

It is better to know myself, not to test myself!

If I know that leftovers will wreak havoc with my food plan, then instead of hoping that this year I will be able to resist the leftover chestnut stuffing or deep-dish apple pie, I eliminate the temptation and allow myself one "leftover day" before I give the excess food away. 

If year after year, I get angry with my children because they are late getting dressed and out the door for Thanksgiving dinner, then to defuse the situation before it happens, I let them know in advance what time we are leaving and invite anyone who is not sure what they are wearing to model it the day before so there is no last-minute drama. 

If I always feel overwhelmed by my holiday to-do list, then starting two weeks before, I start peppering into my schedule the things I can do ahead of time so I don't feel rushed and exhausted the last few days. 

Although I might like to think that this year I will handle things differently, chances are I might not. That is why I love this concept of knowing myself instead of testing or tempting myself. It supports me in embracing my humanity and creating structures that are accepting of what is and planning accordingly. 

Changing your holiday karma is possible. But we need to be as mindful about creating our holiday Integrity Protection Program as we are our Thanksgiving menu. My hope is that, to whatever extent you need to, you can turn the tables on turkey day trauma and trepidation and have the yummiest of holidays. 

Transformational Action Steps

  1. Start formulating your holiday Integrity Protection Program.
    • What boundaries do you need to establish with others?
    • What structures do you need to create that will support you in successfully navigating your family's issues and dealing with their dynamics?
    • If you take on the concept of knowing yourself and not testing yourself, what structures can you put in place to safeguard yourself from your own weaknesses and pitfalls?
  2. Make a conscious choice to have a wonderful Thanksgiving and walk through the holiday with eyes of love and gratitude.
  3. Get The Integrity Advantage to learn even more about setting up your own Integrity Protection Program and the benefits of living an integrity-guided life.
  4. Join The Integrity Movement and stay tuned for news about our first-ever INTEGRI-THON when we will be cleaning up and clearing out anything that no longer serves us and takes up space so we can make room for that which does.

How The Divorce Diet Became The Integrity Advantage

How The Divorce Diet Became The Integrity Advantage

As many of you know, this past week, my first book, The Integrity Advantage, was released. It was a pinnacle moment filled with a smorgasbord of emotions. It quickly turned into a somewhat surreal experience watching this baby being birthed out into the world, seeing people holding the book in their hands, and knowing that they would soon be reading my words.

Many people have asked me why I committed to this concept of integrity as a way of life a few years ago. I was recently invited to write a guest blog addressing what motivated me to write this book and what I hoped the reader would get out of it. Since it was my own pain and chaos of living out of integrity that brought me to living and realizing the advantage of living an integrity-guided life, I thought I would share the blog here. 

I couldn’t believe I was back there again! It had been years since I found myself doing laps around the kitchen compulsively looking for the next bit of comfort food to stuff in my mouth. It had been ten years since that desire to binge swept over me like a tsunami. Actually, it had been since my divorce ten years earlier that I had abstained from emotional overeating. I had thought those days were over. I had thought that my divorce was the cure for my unhappiness and the antidote to my binge behavior. I guess I had thought wrong! 

Forcing myself to stop before the excess calories and self-loathing set in, I had to ask myself, “What is going on?” 

The truth - my truth - popped up in minutes. My friend and mentor Debbie Ford had passed away from cancer months earlier. Debbie was a best-selling author and founder of The Ford Institute which teaches personal growth and transformation and offers life-changing workshops and programs. Debbie had left her business to me and a fellow Ford Institute staff member. It was an amazing honor as well as a daunting responsibility to step into the shoes of someone who was so loved and admired. Perfectionist that I am, I dove right into running the business and keeping the legacy of Debbie’s work alive. I was scared to death I would be rejected and embarrassed or that I would fail. I worked 24/7 trying to prove my worth to others, all along doubting it myself. The task at hand was not only stirring up lots of issues in terms of my confidence and self-worth but also in terms of my identity. Internally, I started grappling with a well of issues and emotions. Was I living someone else’s vision or my own? Was this something I wanted to do or felt obligated to do? Had I ever stopped and asked myself, “Is this right for me?” or did I just jump into doing what I thought was right and trying desperately to get it right? 

As I looked around at my life, I could see that there were other instances where I was caught up trying to do the “right” thing or what I thought was expected of me, other places I had totally lost sight of what was right for me. Once again, just like in my marriage, I was stepping over my truth and sidelining my desires. And, as a result, my impulse to self-soothe or self-sabotage with food was taking over. 

At that moment, a bell went off in my head. 

It was not my divorce that had been the catalyst for me to stop emotional eating. It was being out of integrity that was the impetus for me to engage in self-sabotage. 

In that moment, my first book, which I always thought would be titled “The Divorce Diet” morphed into “The Integrity Advantage.” 

In that moment, somewhere between rummaging from the refrigerator to the cabinets, I realized the connection between integrity, self-worth, and self-sabotage. 

Being out of integrity launches us into a downward spiral. It leads to feelings of shame and unworthiness which leads to self-sabotage and making choices not in our highest. These can generate greater feelings of being out of integrity and unworthiness, leading to more self-sabotage, and the spiral continues straight into a dark abyss. Yet, the moment you declare “Enough is enough!” and focus on who you want to be in that moment, the downward spiral becomes a shooting star. Just like being out of integrity breeds more of the same, so does being in integrity. It builds on itself. The internal integrity alignment monitor that we all have guides us to make high-level choices which fuel our feelings of worthiness and our desire to make high-level choices. 

I also realized that there was actually a blessing in my binges since anytime I had the impulse to binge, it was actually my integrity alignment monitor telling me that something was off…that somewhere in my life I was stepping over my truth, compromising myself, playing it safe or small, or accepting the unacceptable. It was a signal that I needed to find out what was eating me so I wouldn’t eat over the issue! 

Before, the word integrity had always felt like something that some people had and others did not. It was something that people needed to do to get into integrity. But now I know that integrity is inside each of us. It is not something that we have to do but who we are. And most importantly it is not a destination, but a way of life! 

Once you commit to integrity as way of life, everything becomes clearer and easier. You feel worthy of having and being more and you will allow yourself to create more passionately, play more joyously, love more open-heartedly, and live more abundantly. 

My hope is that the reader will see themselves in this book and it will make them laugh, think, and open up to new possibilities. I want them to see that there is another way. Suffering, struggle, and self-sabotage are optional. Life can be easy and there is such a thing as self-love. After years of trying to fix and change myself on the outside, I have realized that transformation happens when we learn to love and honor what is in the inside. Learning to always take that U-turn back to myself and live in harmony with my integrity alignment monitor has given me a life I love. It has always been my passion to share with others what was given to me - the gift of liberation. I hope this book inspires people to take back their power and free themselves of outdated beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve them so they can feel open and empowered to step into their truth, love their life and claim their magnificence. That is The Integrity Advantage

Transformational Action Steps 

Dwell in the concept of doing it right vs. what is right for you. 

(1) Identify a situation or circumstance where you are or have been more focused on getting it right instead of really looking at whether it is right for you. 

(2) Let yourself see the cost. What does it cost you? 

(3) Identify the thought would you need to affirm or let go in order to take that U-turn back to yourself and live your truth. 

(4) Get The Integrity Advantage to step into your truth, love your life, and claim your magnificence. 

(5) Join The Integrity Movement and stay tuned for news about our first-ever 5-day INTEGRI-THON! We will be cleaning up and clearing out anything that no longer serves us and takes up space so we can make room for that which does. 

Stop Covering Your Butt!

Stop Covering Your Butt!

Last Saturday when I was taking a bootcamp class at my gym, I noticed this adorable twenty-something standing next to me. Although I have seen her before, I have never talked to her. Truth is, she generally works out every morning at 6 AM, whereas I stumble in at 7 AM. I have in the past overheard some of her conversations.  They generally revolve around what she is eating and her asking advice from others since she is “starving herself and not losing any more weight.”  Having been in that situation for a huge portion of my life, I have had tremendous empathy for her.  Although part of me wanted to jump right in and save her, I could hear my three daughters (who are also in their twenties) in my head saying, “Mom, don’t be scary!”  So beyond complimenting her whenever I could and was appropriate, I kept my scary-self quiet.

But on this day, my mind was on overdrive.  Stunned by the news coming out of Hollywood about Harvey Weinstein and the horrific and growing number of reports of sexual assault and harassment, I was horrified - horrified by the predatory behavior, abuse, and misuse of power and horrified, even though I understood it and had great compassion for it, that women (and men) were silenced by the shadow of shame and frozen by fear. 

In my mind, the battle-cry that kept sounding louder and louder was “Enough is enough!"  It compelled me to look once again at my own life as well as in the world to see “In what situations and circumstances am I or others compromising, settling, accepting the unacceptable, quieting our voice, or stepping over our truth?”

I literally took on proactively walking through the world looking through the eyes of “Enough is enough!” not in a judgmental or make-wrong way but more in a social justice kind of way - a way of really looking at “Who do I want to be in the world?  What do I want to stand for? and What can I no longer tolerate?”  (This was very much motivated by what I wrote in my last newsletter entitled “Join The Integrity Movement” and taking on being the change I want to see in the world.) 

So that day as I looked over at this beautiful being who was working out so hard, I was saddened and disturbed to see her wearing a sweatshirt tied around her waist, covering her butt!  Now let me preface this by saying that I live in Miami where it is still close to 90 degrees.  No one needs or is wearing a big bulky sweatshirt.  Having also spent many years literally and figuratively covering my ass, I knew exactly what this girl was doing and why!  She was covering her ass because of shame!

In my book The Integrity Advantage, I have a chapter dedicated to what I call “Integrity Snatchers.”  Integrity Snatchers are the constant companions, the characteristics and situations, that we all live with that diminish our sense of self, erode our self-trust, and whittle away at our birthright of integrity.  Integrity Snatchers keep us from making the highest choices for ourselves and going for the life of our dreams.  In my book, I talk about seven different Integrity Snatchers, the first of which is shame.  In my book, I write:

“Shame is one of the most painful emotions that there is.  Our shame, which is generally birthed from some childhood event, teaches us to hide who we truly are because we fear that who we are is fundamentally flawed. Our shame leads us to believe that people won’t like us if they know who we truly are at our core. Our shame is what creates our external persona and robs us of authenticity. 

Believing that we are our shame, fundamentally flawed, need fixing, are not to be trusted, and must hide, we dull down our desires and don’t strive for amazing. Why? Because we don’t believe we deserve amazing or can achieve amazing. Above all, we don’t want to feel the pain of our shame if we risk something and fail. The time bomb of our shame is ticking loudly and keeps us stuck and playing small. It leaves us paralyzed, fearing rejection, expecting disappointment, hiding who we are. It keeps us from reaching for the life we dream of and know we are meant to live.”

Now I know there has been a lot of conversation about body-shamers - people who say nasty, inappropriate, and unwarranted things about others.  Their comments and commentary are not needed or wanted. If given the opportunity, I would encourage these body-shamers to look at the purpose and intent of their words as well as the impact and really dig deep in the exploration of knowing that your words are your calling cards. Who do you want to be in the world?  But enough about them.

Debbie Ford always used to always say that other people cannot make you feel a certain way.  In wrapping my arms around her theory, I used to imagine it like a hook and eye.  If someone’s words or a situation stirs up a certain feeling, it is only because somewhere within you there is an eye to anchor in their hook.  That is why the same words or event might not generate similar feelings in someone else – they don’t have the same wounds or sensitivities so they are not getting hooked in. 

So, as I looked at this girl next to me, working out tirelessly, sweating profusely, trying to fix herself, and covering her butt, I started to think about all of the ways we consciously or often unconsciously shame ourselves. 

Think of the times when you:

- Wear baggy clothing to cover some part of your body
- Negatively compare yourself to the person sitting next to you or some celebrity
- Don’t eat, spend money, or even sleep in public out of fear someone might think you are lazy or irresponsible
- Quiet your voice, thinking your thoughts don’t matter or would sound stupid
- Don’t take a risk or go for a dream or desire because you're afraid to fail

Although I know we all walk around on some level trying to guard ourselves from the pain and sting of rejection or embarrassment, the truth is playing small makes us feel small - and that kills our soul and destroys our dreams!  It is like we are constantly beating up that little, innocent beautiful child inside of us.  It is abusive.

So this week I am declaring “Enough is enough!”  when it comes to us all shaming ourselves! I encourage you to really look around your life and see the ways you are whittling away at your self-esteem.  As you go on this exploration, be mindful not to use anything you find to shame yourself even more. Be fascinated by what you find and amazed by the insidiousness ofshame, especially when we do it to ourselves.

The only way to bust out of our shame is to bust out of our shame!  It’s time to stop hiding, claim our right to be fully expressed, and dance in the light of authentic aliveness and the inspiration of integrity!

“A person of integrity is someone whose life isn’t full of contradictions. They do as they say, and they say as they do. Who they are on the inside is who they are on the outside, and who they are on the outside is aligned with how they feel on the inside. They have declared what is important to them and who they want to be in this lifetime. The actions they take and choices they make are aligned with that declaration and reflect that they feel worthy and deserving to manifest that which they most desire.”

Since that Saturday class, we have seen the courage of the “Me Too” movement spread throughout social media and the world.  Women are stepping out of the shadow of shame and isolation and imprisonment of Integrity Snatchers.  I am also happy to report that after mentioning my crusade to have people stop body-shaming themselves to a best friend of the girl with the sweatshirt, who quickly assured me that she too tells her friend to stop wearing shirts tied around her waist, the “girl with the sweatshirt” is no longer.  She came into the gym on Thursday for the first time without having something covering her butt! 

I am still in awe of what can happen when we make that declaration of “Enough is enough!”

Transformational Action Steps

Start walking through life looking at your own life and in the world at the situations where “Enough is enough!”

(1)  Become fascinated by all of the ways you consciously or unconsciously shame yourself.  What are the ways you cover up, quiet yourself, play small, or hide?

(2)  Picture that little child inside of you and truly think about whether they deserve to be put down, pushed away, or put in the corner.  Ask them, “What is the love that you need to step out of your shame and into the light?”

(3)  Do something unrecognizable.  Take on your shame and let your whole self shine!

(4)  Pre-order my book The Integrity Advantage for even more insight into Integrity Snatchers that are stopping you from stepping into your truth, loving your life, and claiming your magnificence.

OMG, you won't believe this!

OMG, you won't believe this!

It's a big week for The Ford Institute! First, we launched the Integrity Movement. Come join! And now comes huge news from Debbie Ford's sister Arielle that a previously unpublished manuscript by Debbie will be published March 6th, 2018! (Of course Debbie gets a book deal even on the other side!) Read this incredible story below and be sure to take advantage of the 24-hour sale on the e-book today only!

OMG, you won't believe this! by Arielle Ford

Debbie and JamesMy friend (and my sister Debbie's dear friend), world-famous medium James Van Praagh called last December to invite me, Bri, and my Mom to visit his new home here in San Diego and he offered us a reading with my sister in heaven, Debbie. This was an irresistible offer, as it's now impossible to get private readings with James.

During the reading, Debbie kept asking me if I would write a prayer book with her. I politely declined. How in the world would we do that? We couldn't possibly impose on James to be a daily intermediary and I didn't have any desire to figure it out.

During the "reading" lots and lots of relatives from the other side came through and in between these lovely visits, Debbie would pop in, insisting we write a prayer book together.

Eventually, I gave in and said yes, clueless as to how this would happen.

On the drive home, Brian mentioned that he recalled Debbie talking about some prayers she had written and suggested I contact the amazing Julie Stroud, (who to this day runs The Ford Institute along with Kelly Kosow) to see if she had any of these prayers.

Julie, who was Debbie's right hand everything for years, immediately wrote back and said not only did she have the prayers, she had an entire unpublished manuscript entitled Your Holiness: Discover the Light Within, and it was attached to the email.


Debbie wrote a prayer book and I never knew?

How was that possible?

I immediately read the book - astounded at the wisdom, the beauty, and the brilliance of it.

And, then I called her editor at Harper One, who admitted that he had been feeling guilty for the past several years because he knew that she always wanted to write a prayer book but he talked her out of it.

Well, guess what? Your Holiness

He bought the book and it will be published on March 6th with an introduction from Marianne Williamson.

Here's what Deepak Chopra has to say about Your Holiness:


"Debbie Ford was a spiritual sister, colleague and teacher to me . This book, discovered as her writings after her passing is an extraordinary journey to higher consciousness . Read it, absorb her insights and you may see the world fresh, vibrant and holy and as if for the first time."


This Thursday ONLY, for 24 hours, the e-book version will be on sale for $4.99 as a pre-order (U.S. only). (The normal retail price of the e-book will be $11.99.)

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

TODAY ONLY: Pre-Order Debbie Ford’s Your Holiness in e-book format for only $4.99!*

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At a time when so much in our world feels uncertain and suffering is widespread and persistent, Debbie’s voice is more essential than ever. In an effort to reach as many people as possible with her message of relentless love and strength, her publisher is making the e-book edition of Your Holiness available for $4.99 to those who pre-order it today (U.S. only). We hope you’ll take advantage of the offer and spread the word about this important new book. A few words from Debbie:


"What you are seeking at the deepest level exists inside of you, in the quietude of your own inner world, in the privacy of your own sweet heart. So now it’s your responsibility, your holy responsibility, to encode your consciousness with thoughts, feelings, and images that will support you in creating the perfect internal environment to cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with the one you call God. This is the force that loves you, cheers for you, and wants it all for you. In a world where love leaves as quickly as it comes, you can rest now, knowing that you have found a love that will never leave you, never misguide you, and never ever let you down. My advice, dear friend, is take great care of that Love. It will give you everything you’ve been looking for."


TODAY ONLY: Pre-Order Debbie Ford’s Your Holiness in e-book format for only $4.99!*

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* U.S. only

Join the Integrity Movement

Join the Integrity Movement

As I sit to write this blog post, it is hard to find the words. I, like all of you, have been shaken by the course of events in the world over this past year and especially these past months and days. As Jimmy Kimmel said, "It feels like someone has opened up the door to Hell!" As we endure the extremes when it comes to divisiveness, disaster, devastation, and horrific acts of mass destruction, it has left people feeling saddened, anxious, afraid, helpless, and hopeless. I, like many of you, have prayed, tweeted condolences, sent thoughts of love, best wishes, and healing, and tried to be proactive in making donations and/or contacting our elected officials. And although these are all important, heartfelt gestures and do make a difference, they just do not feel like enough. They have not been enough in the past to make substantive change and more than likely they are not enough now. It just can't be that three days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, anchors on national news shows were already saying that "things are getting back to normal." Just because their co-anchors flew back home or they are no longer broadcasting whole shows from Las Vegas, we cannot accept what is going on in the world as the new normal...and if it is, who wants that?

Now, I understand that with tragedy we do all affirm that we need to love and live to the fullest and that we can't stay paralyzed, fixated on watching the news, and if we stop living our lives then the terrorists and evil wins. But the truth is, we have been here before. We have been shocked, stirred up, and deeply saddened by a horrific event and nothing has changed. Divisiveness, devastation, and death can no longer be the new normal. Something more needs to happen because If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting what we have always gotten!

I believe that the Universe is always giving us feedback, always trying to wake us up and show us the areas of our lives or world that are out of integrity and need attention. A benevolent partner and teacher, at first the Universe tries to get our attention by giving us a gentle nudge. But if we continue to ignore the message, that gentle nudge becomes a tap on the shoulder, then a kick in the butt, and eventually a punch in the gut that has us double over in pain and leaves us unable to catch our breath.

There is no question in my mind that what is going on in the world is a huge collective wake-up call. No longer can we sit back thinking that we don't matter, don't have the power, or are too insignificant to impact change. No longer can we live in the illusion that other people, including our elected officials or those with more money or influence, will and can do it for us. Whether it be in our individual lives or as part of the collective, no longer can we minimize who we are, step over our truth, be frozen by fear, or be guided by the lie that loops around our brain trying to convince us that we are not enough - not smart, important, successful, courageous, strong, or just plain old not good enough - to truly make a difference.

When we silence our truth and diminish our significance, we sabotage our ability to make a difference in our own lives and in the world.

No one is coming to save us. We must do it for ourselves. We must do it together. And we must each take it on. Just like we saw in Las Vegas and with all of these natural disasters, it has been people helping people - one person doing it with and for the next - that can and will make a difference. A shift in consciousness can impact a moment, an individual, and the world.

It is time for a new level of personal and collective responsibility, a remembrance of and realignment with core values of honesty, unity, wholeness, compassion, kindness, authenticity, and love. Simply put, it is time for integrity!

Everything that is bubbling up in the world right now is a reflection of what is bubbling up in each of us and it must be healed in each of us so it can be healed in the world. I know a lot of people think they have no influence in changing the world, that it is an insurmountable feat or a lofty, unattainable goal that "spiritual" people talk about. But just like in coaching when we encourage clients to achieve their goals one action step at a time because the goal might feel overwhelming and the overwhelm becomes their excuse to quit, the same is true with the world. If we focus on the world, we can feel impotent. But if we focus on something we have control of - ourselves - and focus on what Gandhi said, "being the change we want to see in the world," things can change.

Instead of looking at what is going on in the world and having it shut us down, let's use it take back our power and fuel our personal transformation, trusting it will have a ripple effect in the world. Like the first responders and heroes in Las Vegas, we need to take on the chaos instead of running away from it. For as Gandhi also said, "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."

From the perspective of our work, these are all shadows coming to the surface. As you know, on an individual level, our shadow is made up of the parts of ourselves that we deny, detest, don't want to be, or just can't see in ourselves. As Debbie Ford, the ultimate expert in the shadow, wrote,

  "Our shadow is the made up of the thoughts, emotions, and impulses we find too painful, embarrassing or distasteful to accept. So instead of dealing with them, we repress them – seal them away in some part of our psyche, so we don't have to feel the burden and shame they carry with them."  

We cannot heal that which we don't see or deny the existence of. Since the Universe is our partner, always supporting our evolution, it sends us messages and messengers to reflect back to us the parts of ourselves that we need to have a healing with so we can integrate them back and move closer to our birthright of wholeness.

Just as we have an individual shadow, there is a collective shadow as well. The things in the world that trigger us and create friction, frustration, and fear are actually an expression of what we have repressed. But the shadow will not be denied. And when it rises to the surface, it shines a light on that which is not working and needs to be healed.

Everything that is coming up in the world, whether it be racism, prejudice, supremacy, terrorism, corruption, fake news, fraud, falsities, or even first or second amendment issues, are all coming up to the surface because as a race, a human race, it is time to re-evaluate, re-examine, and, if deemed necessary, consciously replace these forces with something new. Otherwise, the past will be automatically carried forward and we will have more of the same.

It is up to each of us to step up and to step in and take on integrity. And we do that from the INside out, starting with self. We must heal ourselves and resolve our integrity issues so we can make decisions from wholeness instead of lack, our deepest truths instead of our greatest fear, and in the light of our grandest desires instead of the confines of our smallest thoughts.

That is what being in integrity and living an integrity-guided life is all about. Integrity is owning all of who you are and living in alignment with your deepest truths and grandest desires.

Together, we can do this! We can turn the tide on what is happening in the world and instead of being victim of it, we can do something about it. We can use it as a mirror to re-examine our own lives and inspire personal growth as well as the catalyst to fuel collective change.

That is why we are inviting you to join with us and be a part of our Integrity Movement. If you want to live in a world of like-minded people who are conscious, willing to look at themselves as individuals as well as part of a collective, and wanting to live in a world where there are systems, structures and ways of being and acting that are in harmony with the earth, serve the good of the whole, and are aligned with core values of love, respect, and wholeness, then take the #integritypledge.

This massive breakdown can be the prelude to a global breakthrough!

The Integrity Movement Manifesto

Be Pissed: We need to feel it so we can heal it. In history, it has been our intolerance of what is that has created the opening for something new. Let your intolerance for what is not working in the world be the fuel to ignite a new light of day.

Take It Personally: The Universe is always giving you feedback. It is always mirroring back to you the parts of yourself and your life that need healing. Be fascinated at where you are getting hooked in and let that act a treasure map, showing you where you need to take personal responsibility in terms of your emotional education and spiritual growth.

Define Your Principles: Never before have so many people been engaged and present to what is going on in the world. The global wake-up call is actually working. Let it awaken a new level of interest, involvement, and insight. We are being called to take a stand. Who do you want to be in the world? Who do you want to be as a partner, family member, co-worker, and as part of the collective? What do you believe in? And what is important to you in this lifetime?

Take Back Your Projections: We point fingers and project on to others that which we can't be with or judge in ourselves. Our projections aren't pretty. They are a choir of condemnation and criticism that we inflict on ourselves or others, causing conflict and chaos. Our words become weapons. To cultivate compassion and connection, we must learn to take back our projections.

Shift Your Perspective: Transformation is a shift in perception. To turn the tide on what is happening in the world, we must embrace that things are happening for us and not to us. We must embrace that this massive breakdown is the prelude to a global breakthrough. We must go from hater to creator!

Own Your Power: You can make a difference. Be the change you want to see in the world. Trust the ripple effect can and will happen.

Live in the Possibility: Things can and must be different. Let your grandest desires for yourself and the world motivate your choices and actions and be the gravitational force that pulls you and everyone else forward. Changing your life will change the trajectory of the world.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Take the #integritypledge. Join the Integrity Movement and add your pin to the Integrity Movement Map.

(2) Visit the Integrity Movement Facebook group to share what motivated you to join the Integrity Movement.

(3) Come connect with me on my 'Integrity Igniter' Facebook Live on Wednesday October 11th at 10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern to dive deeper into this conversation.

(4) If you want a step-by-step guide to help you shed all of your outdated, self-sabotaging, and non-serving beliefs and behaviors so that you can step into greater levels of personal integrity, tap into the magic of manifestation, and be the person you want to be, get started by reading the first chapter of my book The Integrity Advantage. Learn more about the foundation of this Movement and being the change you want to see in the world.

The Eye Of The Hurricane

The Eye Of The Hurricane

As many of you may or may not know, I am a structure queen. When it comes to writing this blog, I start a week before, asking to be shown what topic to write about. I let the topic marinate for a few days and then sit down to write the blog post about five to seven days before it gets published.

What many of you probably don't know is that I live in Miami where, as I write this blog post, there is a Category 5 hurricane expected in a few days. Although I had planned to write this post on an entirely different topic, every time I sat down to write, my mind kept drifting back to thinking about this impending hurricane. Since I believe that the Universe is always giving us feedback and that every experience is a learning experience, I decided to pause and go with what is. What is this experience trying to teach me? What am I supposed to be seeing?

Although I have had several a-has and insights, the thing that has stood out the most about this experience up to this moment is the incredible amount of kindness permeating the air. Yes, there have been reports of price gouging and people losing their cool as a result of long lines, supply shortages, fear, and stress, but for the most part what I see and feel is kindness and caring.

People are greeting each other, looking into each other's eyes, and asking, "How are you doing? Where are you going?" Every conversation ends with, "Stay safe!" which has become like a sacred prayer. There is an increased sense of gratitude for the people working at grocery stores, drug stores, and restaurants for being there and helping instead of being home with their families and/or making their own preparations. Many businesses are helping out. Yes, they want to make money but not in the face of tragedy or at the cost of other people. There is not only neighbor helping neighbor but strangers helping strangers and many are going above and beyond, asking, "How can I become a first responder? How can I volunteer?" And in terms of people who are not in Irma's path, the prayers and love being sent from around the world are creating a container of love which I know will protect us and help us weather the storm. The feelings of love are just that palpable!

For me, I feel an increased sense of churning and fear as well as an increased sense of awe and reverence. I am again amazed that from the shadow comes the light. It's incredible the range and dichotomy of emotions that can exist in one moment.

In my upcoming book I write:

When we each own our wholeness, it impacts the whole.

In the eye of the hurricane, whatever seems to divide us dissipates. We are connected in compassion. Everyone seems to have stepped into a collective consciousness. People are asking:

Who do I want to be inside the collective?

How can I contribute or help?

What do I need to do to take care of myself so I feel free and able to help others?

There are no "right" or "wrong" answers to any of these questions, just what feels right for each individual. Standing in our personal integrity of what is important to us and taking individual responsibility for the safety and well-being of ourselves and our loved ones, we are then able to step into the whole and collective integrity. And it really is amazing what communities can do and achieve when they come together as one. Together, we can weather the storms!

I conclude this blog post with gratitude, prayers, and love! Wherever you are and whatever you are dealing with..."Stay Safe!"

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Reflect on this thought: "When we each own our wholeness, it impacts the whole."

(2) Identify what you need to take care of for yourself or handle in your own life that would then free you up to step more fully into the collective.

(3) Start dwelling in the question "Who do I want to be inside of the collective?" and see if you're inspired to back up your insights with action.

What Are You Truly Communicating to the World?

What Are You Truly Communicating to the World?

Even though January 1st is officially the beginning of the new year, because the school calendar is so ingrained in my psyche, I view August and September as a new beginning and a poignant time to reflect upon where I am in my life and what I want to accomplish. After years of "back-to-school" shopping, it is also a great time to look at how you want to express yourself to the world.

When my three daughters were young and had to wear uniforms to school, their book-bags were their big form of self-expression. We would discuss the kinds of bags they each wanted to carry (backpack, messenger bag, shoulder bag, wheely-book bag), the fabric, and the pattern (leopard, cupcakes, hearts, or basic black). Then I would do extensive searches trying to find the perfect book-bags that would communicate to the world who they were that year. As my children got older so did their forms of self-expression. Their desires were based as much on the activities and friends they were involved with as they were a reflection of their sense of style. I thought we had hit the pinnacle of self-expression when we put together my first daughter's dorm room but over the years, as my daughters have moved into new apartments, making these spaces into a statement of who they are -- the image they want to project to the world as well as the emotions they want to feel when they walk through the front door -- became a whole new challenge.

Working with my daughters, I became fascinated, looking at all of the ways people communicate to the world who they are without saying a word. In the past, I have used color, clothing, decor, and the music I blare in my car to express who I am. But as I look around lately, I see people expressing themselves in everything from the cars they drive to the tattoos they have on their bodies to what they "like" on Facebook.

In "The Code of Supreme Beauty" in her book Courage, Debbie Ford wrote: "You are always communicating something about who you are and your belief in your own value. If you do not find the courage to embody your message on every level of your being, you will not reach the hearts that are waiting to be touched by you."

It is crucial that we understand that every choice matters and that we are always, through every level of our beingness, communicating to the world who we are. Debbie also said, "You may think that if you take the actions or if you say the words, you have done enough. You may think that you don't need to take responsibility for embodying the message you are sending. But if you think you can just say things without truly owning and embracing that which you already are, you are just putting ice cream on top of poop."

To be able to stand in who you are, to let your authentic self be seen and to have the confidence to communicate that to the world, whether it be through your social media posts, the people you hang out with, the kind of pet you have, or even the way you wear your hair, are truly acts of courage! What could be more supremely beautiful than showing the world who you truly are?

Transformational Action Steps

1. Look around the different areas of your life and reflect upon what those areas as they look today are communicating to the world about you.

2. Take on one area where what you are communicating feels out of alignment with who you truly are.

3. Determine what that area would look like if it were an accurate expression of who you are.

4. Take two actions steps each week to bring that area into alignment so that what the outer world sees is in sync with who you are.

5. To find the confidence to be your most authentic self, RUN (don't walk!) to The Shadow Process September 15th to September 17th in Miami.

Claiming the Last Days of Summer

Claiming the Last Days of Summer

I came across this message in Debbie Ford's newsletter archive and it was such a poignant and powerful reminder of the preciousness of each day that I couldn't resist sharing it with you in these final weeks of Summer. Enjoy!

Claiming the Last Days of Summer
by Debbie Ford
August 9, 2005

Yesterday I asked my son Beau if there is anything he hasn't done yet this summer that he wishes he could. "Yeah," he said. "I'd like to play laser tag!" So we're going to spend a day where he chases me around with a laser gun. I'm so glad I asked (really), because I already know that it will be an unforgettable day in my life.

In creating the best year of your life, how could you claim the remaining days of summer? What would you like to do to end this summer on the most memorable note?

If you were to let go of the rationale that says, "Someday, I'll do_____," or "Next summer, we should go to____," what plan would you make right here and now? Is there a close friend who you haven't seen enough of recently? And what about your lover - have you nabbed enough play and recreation time together? Perhaps it's a picnic at the river's edge, an afternoon at the lake on a rented paddle boat, an outdoor concert, a ballgame or a day of fishing. Or maybe it's a romantic downtown stroll on a balmy evening, or soaking in a sunset on the beach with a bottle of wine.

In addition to what, where and when, I encourage you to put the emphasis on how. Think about how you can bring greater intention, enthusiasm and love into this day. Is this a shared day or time alone with your sweet self? Is there something that you would like to communicate to yourself or another that will give voice to your deepest heart? How could you step outside of your comfort zone and bring vibrant vulnerability to this experience? If you reflect on some of the most memorable moments of your life, you're likely to see that you took some kind of emotional risk that left you feeling more real, more authentic and somehow opened up to the promise of infinite possibilities.

Transformational Action Steps

1. Think about what would be off-the-charts in terms of self-expression. How could you demonstrate the passion and gratitude that you feel for life - even if those states of being have been temporarily obscured by a few limiting thoughts and behaviors?

2. Give yourself full permission to express your delight and aliveness! And let that be your guide while planning a few late summer days that you just might remember for the rest of your life.

With love and blessings,

From Loathing to Loving: A New Relationship With Your Body

From Loathing to Loving: A New Relationship With Your Body

As we move through these summer months, bodies are everywhere! If you tune into daytime TV talk shows, you'll find bikini fashion shows. On the bestseller list, diet books are on the rise. Gyms are full as people keep their beach bodies in shape. This time of year can stir up a lot of shadows -- the emotions, beliefs, habits, and patterns stored deep inside the psyche that dictate our relationships with our bodies. We see it in every program and workshop we do. Person after person shares the depths to which they have struggled with body issues and the years they have hated their bodies and thus themselves.

Weight and body image have always been issues for me. The quality of my day used to be determined by the number on the scale. I only felt worthy of being loved by myself or others if I looked a certain way. I had grown up with the belief that it was not okay to eat so in my book, food was evil. I made my body my enemy! Every day, I was in an all-out war. I spent every moment evaluating, "Who is winning -- me or my body?" Would I pass up the carb or take a bite of the piece of pizza? Could I push myself to exercise for another hour despite the swelling in my knee? Would I find the next "miracle" cream to take away the wrinkles? This minute-by-minute battle was exhausting. Even me, a person who trains people to become Integrative Coaches, a person who guides people to blast through their limitations and accept, love and embrace all of who they are, saw my body as an external foe which continually needed to be defeated!

Armed with this awareness of my own shadow, I chose to reinvent my relationship with my body. I became more loving and accepting of my body. I no longer abused and starved it. I began to view my body as a fine automobile and I understand it's my job to keep it well-oiled and functioning impeccably. I rewired my operating system by unconcealing, owning, and embracing my shadow. It was only then that I achieved my once elusive goals for my weight and well-being -- not from a place of self-hate or shame but rather from a place of deep love.

Debbie Ford wrote in The 21 Day Consciousness Cleanse, "To transform your relationship with your body, you must embrace the agent of change known as reverence. When you are present to the absolute gift you have been blessed with – the sacredness of having a body – you will begin to move in the world with more grace, gratitude and humility than you ever thought possible." Our bodies are a sacred gift. They provide the opportunity for us to experience life and the evolution of our souls. Instead of hating them, battling with them and constantly trying to fix or change them, we need to love them, to make peace with them, to cherish them and treat them with kindness, compassion and respect.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Identify something loving you can do for your body this week. Your body will tell you what it needs if you take the time to ask and listen for the answer. So ask your body what it needs and commit to doing what it tells you.

(2) Start viewing your body as a sacred gift. Spend three minutes in front of the mirror every day and take in the blessings that your body gives you. Affirm what is right about your body. Send gratitude to each of your parts and declare out loud how each part serves you.

(3) To free yourself from the limitations that impact and sabotage your relationship with your body, register for Radical Reinvention, a 12-week, online, goal-oriented program starting August 7th.

(4) For a massive body breakthrough, RUN (don't walk!) to The Shadow Process September 15th to September 17th in Miami.

Are You Finally Fed Up With Being Fed Up?

Are You Finally Fed Up With Being Fed Up?

Week after week I hear stories from people who just can't seem to get out of their own way. They are still talking about the same twenty pounds, caught in the same cash crisis, trying to find their passion, and searching for their soulmate. Although often their explanation, spiritual conversation, or overall bravado seems to have changed or been upgraded, what they are experiencing in their external world has not! Underneath whatever they might be saying lies their story of limitation, excuses, disappointment, regret, and wishful thinking laced with resignation. Unfortunately they have lost trust in themselves and the benevolence of the Universe. They have forgotten what Glinda said to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "You had the power all along."

We all have the power inside us to create more passionately, to love more deeply, to experience our everyday life more joyfully, and to reach our full potential. We just need to get to that point of being fed up with being fed up. Most people say that pain is the great motivator for transformation, and that is true. Yet for me, the other great motivator that can catapult you from inertia to action and from stagnation to stupendousness is the intolerance of your own mediocrity! When you can no longer tolerate your own excuses, patterns of paralysis and procrastination, or days (or decades) of drama, change can happen. When you are finally willing to be straight with yourself and admit that you're settling for mediocre results, that you're cooperating with the part of you that tells you to play small, be safe, and sell out, you've taken the first step to creating a new future.

Turning the tide of mediocrity isn't a matter of stamping out fear and self-sabotage. It's a matter of reconnection. Rather than referring to the same old manual, referencing your limiting beliefs and behaviors for how to endlessly struggle to fix what isn't working, it is time to connect to your higher self who knows exactly how to make your life a magical wonderland. This is the part of you that hungers to live life with an unapologetic aliveness and wants to contribute your remarkable gifts to this world. It knows exactly how to satisfy your needs and give you "the more" that you are looking for. The only way for you to reconnect is to defy gravity - to defy the gravitational pull of your past and gather up the fuel you need to launch yourself into a new level of consciousness. It is time to declare your freedom from the limits of your past and to finally manifest and sustain the change you desire.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Look around your life. What are the areas and situations that you keep talking about changing? Where are you playing small, stuck or achieving mediocre results?

(2) Note how many years you have been promising yourself that things would change. What are the costs of not taking those areas on and achieving what you desire?

(3) Tune into your voice of intolerance and hear what it tells you to do in each of these areas or situations. Is there an action you need to take, a commitment you need to make, or a structure you need to put in place to support you in achieving a new result?

(4) IF YOU REALLY ARE COMMITTED TO CHANGE then register for Radical Reinvention, a 12-week, online, goal-oriented program will free you from the limitations that impact and sabotage every aspect of your life. The program starts August 7th and we've got a special discount just for you that expires July 31st.

(5) To propel yourself into a new level of consciousness, RUN (don't walk!) to The Shadow Process September 15th to September 17th in Miami to reach your next level of light!

Take the Vow of Emotional Independence

Take the Vow of Emotional Independence

As we celebrate Independence Day in the United States, 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.

Summer Lovin'

Summer Lovin'

Summer officially starts this week, but it feels like it is already flying by. Before Fall creeps up on you, I want to encourage you to take advantage of the hot summer days and nights. We have all seen movies about "summer love." So how about spending summer falling more deeply in love with yourself and your life? It's time to turn up the flame on your passion and stretch beyond the limits of your daily routine. It's time to step outside the status quo of your life, kick up your heels, and plan something off-the-charts for yourself!

A fundamental aspect of the work that Integrative Coaches do with clients is to have them identify a goal and then each week commit to taking action steps that will lead them to the manifestation of this accomplishment. Achieving a goal or actually doing something that you have been thinking or talking about for years is one of the best ways to ignite your light of self-love!

What is it that you've been talking about doing? Or what have you been secretly wishing you could do? What could you plan for yourself that would be enlivening, invigorating, eye-opening, and heart-expanding for you? Maybe it's planning a romantic weekend away with your partner, registering for a yoga retreat, or turning a corner of your house into an art studio (even if you've never done more than paint by numbers). Or perhaps you could schedule tennis lessons or go salsa dancing with a group of friends. Parks and museums always have terrific summer workshops, and if you live near a beach, this could be your summer for those kayaking, paddle boarding, or surfing lessons that you've fantasized about.

In Debbie Ford's last book Courage, she talks about becoming "unrecognizable." She explains that "to become unrecognizable to yourself, you must move outside of your comfort zone, let go of whatever you are holding on to, release the self-image that you've kept trying to live up to over and over and over again."

You will become an inspiration to yourself and all of those around you when you continually challenge yourself to be unrecognizable. Just imagine what will be possible for you if, by the time fall rolls around, you challenged yourself and accomplished something that you have been dreaming about for years? You will become the idol of yourself and open up to self-confidence and love!

So while the sun is shining and the days are long, take some time to look at what will light you up, turn you on, and infuse these next few months with the ultimate of summer lovin' and have a blast!

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Brainstorm It! Sit down and without thinking or editing yourself, make a list of the things you have been dreaming or talking about doing.

(2) Pick It! Select the top two or three from the list.

(3) Make It Happen! Make the phone calls, Google it, schedule it, put your deposit down, and give it to yourself – whatever it may be. Allow yourself more fun and pleasure than you think you can stand!

(4) Transform! Make this a summer you'll never forget by joining us for The Shadow Experience: Breaking Through to Emotional & Spiritual Freedom at the Omega Institute June 30th to July 2nd. Learn more and register here.

Your Inspired Vision Is Waiting For YOU!

Your Inspired Vision Is Waiting For YOU!

I can't believe that summer is already here! This summer I have the privilege of leading The Shadow Experience: Breaking Through to Emotional & Spiritual Freedom at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. For me this is still humbling.

I remember the first time I went to Omega in 2002. I had another business at the time. It was called Go Goddess! and we created games to connect and empower women and girls. As a result of the success of that business, we were asked to do speaking engagements and workshops. Although I was a "great girlfriend," I quickly realized that those traits didn't qualify me to stand up in the front of a room and hold, support, and advise other people. I decided I needed some sort of formal training. I called The Ford Institute because I'd heard that they offered the best life coach training program out there. The man I spoke with said that I could jump into the training which had already started if I promised to attend Debbie Ford's upcoming workshop at Omega. Something in my heart told me to jump and I did.

Weeks later I found myself on quite a journey: leaving my family, flying to New York City, and driving two hours up to the Omega Institute. I knew nothing about Omega and I didn't know anyone who would be at the workshop. As I arrived I thought to myself, "What am I doing here? What did I sign up for?" My life on the surface was seemingly fine and abundant. I was married, had three beautiful daughters, was an attorney, and had created a meaningful business with two of my closest friends. My plate was more than full. So what was I doing in rural New York, away from my family and friends, pursuing yet another degree or certification?

Little did I know that weekend would change my life and be such a huge turning point! Although at first I was scared to death of Debbie Ford, I clung to every word that came out of her mouth. I had tried all different kinds of transformational work by that time. I had read many books, done sweat lodges and rebirthing, studied Shamanic traditions and the ancient Gods and Goddesses, and participated in workshops and therapy. You name it, I had done it. Although they all had value, they just hadn't provided the shift my soul was longing to experience. But what I experienced during that weekend workshop at Omega did! By the end of the weekend I remember looking admiringly and enviously at Debbie, wishing that I could have the impact that she did and lead others through such profound and life-altering work.

And now it is with total awe of the divine design of life that 15 years later I will be going to Omega to lead The Shadow Experience for the third year in a row! I never would have predicted the direction that my life has taken these past 15 years but from this vantage point, I can see the perfection of the journey.

In her final book Courage, Debbie writes:

"We all have an inspiring vision. It may not be one that you recognize yet. It may live deep within you, stirring quietly below the surface. But it will see the light of day. Because, just like the sun obscured by the clouds or by the fall of night, it is always there waiting for you to bask in its golden light. Your vision is a precious gift from the divine."

All of our lives have a divine design. Many of us have been trying for years to figure out our purpose in life. We just need to trust and keep asking to be shown and as Debbie advises, "If you are not yet in the presence of your vision, start with what you love. Anything that inspires you, excites you, and motivates you in your life is sparked by the divine. You don't need to try to make it come, because it's already there." All you need to do is continue to be asked to be shown and listen. The wonderful news is:

"When you trust in the universe you get to play
in the magical world of God's plan."

If you are having trouble trusting or connecting to that voice within, then I invite you to do what I did 15 years ago and jump! Come join us at Omega for The Shadow Experience. I know that it will touch and transform your life as it did mine and thousands of other people!

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Write out three lists:

- List #1: Things you love and that inspire, excite, and motivate you (anything from animals to food to helping others)

- List #2: Distinct gifts you possess (anything from putting on make-up to giving advice to others)

- List #3: The unique experiences you have had, including even the painful experiences you have endured like divorce, loss, or hard financial times

(2) Start exploring how the items on your lists impact you and if any of them hold the seed of your inspired vision. Do they light you up?

(3) Continue to ask the divine to show you how it wants to use you for the good of all. Even if you think you already know what this is, allow yourself to look through the eyes of your most fearless and passionate self.

(4) Join us for The Shadow Experience: Breaking Through to Emotional & Spiritual Freedom at the Omega Institute June 30th to July 2nd. Learn more and register here.

Letting Go Of What You Think You Know!

Letting Go Of What You Think You Know!

The other night I had dinner with a dear friend whose 96-year-old father passed away a few weeks ago. Always being extremely close with her father she told me, "All of these years, I thought I would have an absolute breakdown when my father died, but I have actually been really good!"

Day after day, I hear stories from people who think they know how they will react, what is best for them, and how things should happen. They tell themselves all sorts of things like:

  • I will never...get divorced, get married again, move in with someone, date a same-sex partner, a person of a different race, religion, or nationality, or someone ten years older or younger than myself.
  • There is no way I could...sing karaoke, do public speaking, eat raw food, run a marathon, live anywhere but NYC, travel by myself, work with a partner, jump out of a plane.
  • My child won't...go away to school, live with their other parent, play football, go into the family business.
  • I could never...be friends with that person, make it on my own, emotionally survive the loss of a loved one.

But then something happens and Boom, they are confronted with some situation that challenges or conflicts with their belief system. They are faced with the dilemma of breaking out of the self-imposed box they have put themselves in or stepping over the line in the sand which they have drawn. They are confronted with giving up the safety of the self they have known themselves to be as well as the false sense of security that comes with their myopic definition of themselves. They are challenged with giving up control and stepping into the vulnerability and the sobering thought that they may not have a clue!

Although I am a great believer in learning from our past and being conscious of what has and has not served our highest, I have come to realize that often thinking we know ourselves limits ourselves.

Many of our self-imposed rules, although masquerading in the guise of "this is what is best for me," come from our ego's need to control, to protect us, or to be right. Driving this ego's need is generally some shadow, some fear that if we let go or at all digress from the self or beliefs that we think we know, our lives might spin out of control. Unfortunately, when we are in this place of attachment to thinking we know, we resist any outcome but the one we want or are attached to. Our present becomes a repeat of our past, and any new possibilities for the future cease to exist because we are locked in the prison of the person that we know ourselves to be. We become firmly entrenched in our righteousness, seeing things as black and white, good or bad, right or wrong. We become rigid in our perspectives and lose touch with the fact that our righteous positions are not the truth but thoughts that we have turned into truths. And even though our ego on some level is trying to protect us, on the other hand, since it is fueled by fear and shrouded in shadows, the result is that our ego limits us and actually keeps us from breaking free from the cage of our comfort zone and taking a leap of faith or waking up to what might be right in front of us that we've been too blind or fearful to see.

An antidote to thinking that we know is surrender.

As Debbie Ford writes in her book Courage:

When we surrender and let go, we must resign as general manager of the universe. We must mind our own business. We must stop believing that we are in control of everything. We must take our power where it lives – in this moment – and surrender to a path even if we don't know where the path is going. The hardest part of turning our lives over to the care of a power greater than ourselves and choosing surrender over control is that we have to resign from this lofty position. We have to give up our way of doing things, our effort to control the situations and circumstances of our lives. We must let go of the things we believe to be true. The truth is that we really have no idea where the universe is trying to guide us.   

I have come to realize the more I learn, the less I truly know. For me, a person who always tried to "get it right" and keep myself safe, it is now with a sigh of relief and a smile that I can admit, "I have no clue!" And for me, that is the good news! It is the exciting part. It is exciting to think I have no clue what is in my highest. It is exciting to trust that if the Universe is bringing me to it or it to me, then there must be a reason. Life becomes like a great treasure hunt, never knowing where the next clue might lead but believing that there will be gold…even in the dark.

So this week I invite you to join me on a treasure hunt, to open up to the miracles and magic that are dancing right in front of you, to open up to a whole new level of possibilities and wonderment by letting go of what you think you know!

As Lao Tzu said, "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."

Transformational Action Steps

  1. Make a list of situations in your life where you are experiencing some sort of frustrations or conflict.
  2. Pick one situation:
    • Allow yourself to see how you have been trying to control the situation. Is there a particular outcome that you think should happen or are attached to? How has your attachment to that outcome impacted the situation?
    • Now imagine yourself cutting the cord of your attachment and letting go of what you think you know. What can you now see is possible?
    • If you were to admit to yourself that you have no clue what is "right" or "the way," what other perspectives can you see?
    • If you were trusting that what was showing up was as it should be, what new insights can you glean?
  3. Sign up for The Shadow Process or The Shadow Experience to step into even more possibilities!

Embracing the Bad Mother in All of Us!

Embracing the Bad Mother in All of Us!

Normally on Mother's Day, we read articles and Hallmark cards highlighting all of the good deeds, affectionate gestures, and altruistic virtues of a "good mother." We are bombarded with images of women cheerfully cleaning finger paint off of the wall, driving carpool, hauling soccer gear, or patiently waiting as their teenager ignores their very existence.

Yet week after week, I encounter countless numbers of women who feel that they have somehow or in some ways flunked motherhood. They are ashamed about the way they lost their temper, were absent, pushed their child too hard, didn't push their child enough, or impacted their child's life with their divorce. They are beating themselves up for being bad moms! (And dads, this is the same for you too but since it is Mother's Day, I am wording this in the feminine.) They are berating themselves for not being the kind of mother they think they should be and blaming themselves for everything that goes "wrong" in their child's life. They compare themselves and their children to others and condemn themselves for what they perceive to be their shortcomings. They focus on their "failures" and see their flaws as fatal. They feel tremendous guilt and shame about being what they hate to say out loud or even admit to themselves -- a bad mom!

For many of us, our vision or ideal of who we should be as a parent was developed early on. We saw a movie or had a friend who seemed to have a picture-perfect mother and from that moment on, we decided that we wanted to be kind, creative, fun, smart, capable, and talented just like her. For others, this archetype of who we should be as a mother was born out of not wanting to be the traits or qualities that we disliked in the women closest to us, most specifically our mothers. We vowed to never be cruel, lazy, mean, judgmental, negative, weak, or a failure like our mother.

Our shadows are these unwanted qualities that we vow not to be. They are the characteristics that we hated in others or ones that caused us embarrassment or even emotional and physical harm. Committed to not being that which we judge in others, from an early age we started crafting our definition of what a good mother should be. Although it comes from a pure intention, the fact is our definition of who we should be as a parent is determined by our shadows. It is birthed from our childhood wounds or a very hurt part of ourselves that created this narrow view of who we should and should not be as a parent. It is fueled by denial and an overwhelming fear that we may turn into that which we hated. And it becomes etched in our psyche the moment we declare, "I will never be like my mother!"

As we are methodically piecing together the picture of the parent we think we should be, we don't realize our evolution to being the fullest expression of ourselves as a parent, as well as a person, will not come from denying that which we don't want to be but embracing everything that we are -- good and bad!

As Carl Jung said, "I would rather be whole than good."

Shadow work is based on the concept of wholeness. It is based on knowing that within us is every characteristic that we see in the outer world. To be the fullest expression of ourselves, we must unconceal, own, embrace, and integrate all of the characteristics that we have disowned or denied. To do this we must find the gifts of the negative characteristics that we judge and make wrong in our mothers or others.

  • How could being lazy like your mother actually serve you?
  • What would be possible if you embraced that you too were weak and needy? Would you be able to ask for help or not always have to be the strong one?
  • Has not wanting to be negative like your mother caused you to see the glass as half full?

And how has not wanting to be a bad mother supported you in being a really good mother?

Many of us think that we need to be good to be effective and that we need to be perfect to be good. But the fact is our children will learn as much from the part of us that is a bad mother as they will from the part of us that is a good one.

Ultimately, the greatest gift we can give our children is to learn to love and accept themselves. We want them to find the lessons in their "mistakes," the wisdom in their wounds, the perfection of their imperfections, and the fun in their flaws. We want to teach them new perspectives and to be aware of whether they are looking for what's right or what's wrong. We want them to put down the internal bat that they have used to beat themselves up and to open up to greater levels of understanding and compassion for themselves. By teaching them to find the gifts in that which they judge, we pave the way for them to love a part of themselves that they have seen as "bad."

So on this Mother's Day, I want to encourage you to invite that bad mother part of you to join in on the festivities. Acknowledge her for all she has taught you. Embrace her for the humanity she has brought into your household. And maybe even applaud her for providing some of the real and rawest moments that have and will add to the richness of the texture of the tapestry of your family.

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Make a list of the traits or characteristics that you think would or do make you a bad mom. Make sure you add all the traits that you saw in others, particularly your mother, and swore you would never be.

(2) Find the gifts of at least five of those traits. How have they served you?

(3) Write a letter of appreciation to the part of you that you see as your "bad mom." How has it served you? What do you see are its gifts?

(4) Sign up for The Shadow Process or The Shadow Experience with your mother or daughter!