It’s not a film or a book. It’s reality – it happened. It seemed like it was an ordinary day, much like any other. But then, it was n’t, was it. It’s not every day you wake up and look an assassin in the face. When that happens there’s an awareness of such clarity that perhaps will never be repeated. There is an immediate understanding of what truly matters.
There are many stories of survivors who have seen their end in sight and explained how their life flashed them by, in detail and with unbelievable speed. For me, it was just a simple understanding, a recognition of the actions I had taken allegedly for the benefit of my wife and young family. Actions that as it turned out had disastrous, unplanned consequences. Yet I considered myself to be reasonably logical, caring, with sound ethical values and honest, at least most of the time – and certainly in respect to anything significant.
How did it happen? How did I find myself in this situation? In a fictional best-seller, the victim either had contact, knowingly or unknowingly, with characters involved in some shady deal or had mistakenly stumbled by chance into an unlawful scenario and was about to reap terrifying consequences. I can safely say that none of those situations had occurred, and I had been blessed with a fantastic, supportive and loving family. My friends were just ordinary, law abiding folk. I now know that like an unwelcome stalker, the assassin had been close to me for some considerable time.
I don’t remember exactly where I was, or when it happened. You would think I would, but it was the realization that comes back, again and again. If it had been a “dum dum bullet”, that would have been it, no lasting effect, and over and done in moments. A knife would have been worse as the impact would have been clear and certainly painful but at least it would be time limited.
This was different. You see the assassin was familiar, so very familiar. It would have been the same whether it was night or day, foggy or clear for the simple reason that the “assassin” was an intruder constantly on my shoulder; it was my shadow; the antithesis and opposite of who I was. It was the gremlin in my mind that was not the real me!
Words are Its key weapon, often silent and hidden from everyone else’s ears. They are far more deadly than anything I know. The wounds those “words” cause is piercing, tortuous and potentially lifelong. The ammunition providing the impetus and sustainability are thoughts and beliefs that limited my perception of who I am. They appeared in my mind’s eye. I have no real idea where they came from, or who was responsible for feeding them to me in the first instance, but they milked my confidence, my self-esteem and slowly and surely sapped my energy and wellbeing.
At forty-five I came close to working myself to death. It would have happened had it not been for the benefit of a recession that saw me lose my directorship of, and significant shareholding in, a national construction company. Only then did I discover my three children saw me as something of a stranger.
That’s no longer the case! Paradoxically it is thanks to my “shadow”, that we now have the most magnificent relationship. But it need not have taken until I was forty-five to have achieved this, or for me to have to go through such challenging working conditions for so long.
All I had to do was to recognize who I am. This started by recognizing I am most definitely not “my mind” nor am I a slave to any pessimistic ideas it produced. My “shadow” in providing all those negative stories was merely trying desperately to help me in this process, by suggesting ideas of what I was not!
So, the interesting question is:
“What is YOUR “shadow” showing you, that you are not?”