I first learned of Debbie Ford's work on an Oprah episode long ago but it wasn't until 2007 when I attended my very first week-end in New York City at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition that I really connected with her work. For me, Debbie was a beacon of truth telling and she shook my soul that day as she led us in a call to action to stop denying the hidden parts of our shadows and wake up to loving each and every part of ourselves.
When I learned last year that Debbie had cancer (around the same time I learned so many other people in my life had it too), I felt a kind of disbelief. Not her. Not possible. Not only did I want to believe that Debbie Ford would exist as a teacher in our world here on Earth for much, much longer but I also didn't want to accept that this could happen to absolutely anyone. No matter how much energy we had put into being our healthy and best selves.
So when I heard yesterday of her passing, I met the news with so many emotions. Deep sadness that my life would never again be impacted by the next level of learning that she was always so generous to share so bravely and honestly with the world. And also a kind of immeasurable comfort in feeling absolutely sure that she was now in a place of deep importance in the journey of our souls. And that somehow, even there (maybe especially there), her essence would continue to impact my life and so many others.
Her message to me on that day more than five years ago was clear and unmistakable ...sing, Juli, use your voice. It made me braver. It made me sing more, if only for a little while. And while I still have not yet figured out where music fits back into my life right now, her message to me to not deny my voice is as strong today as it ever was. And I am more myself because she was courageous enough to always strive to be more herself too.