Life is so amazing with the most enriching invaluable lessons. Before I share my very personal story about my shadow, I need to add that throughout my life, all of my fears had come to fruition – like my fear of ‘ losing’ a partner, the fear of ‘losing’ family, the fear of becoming financially dependent to mention but a few. All of these have come and rested at my door – but not without boundless treasures. Perhaps it can be said that ‘thoughts becomes things’ and perhaps these very self-sabotaging thoughts may possess the most fundamental rewards. Before I share my shadow story, I need to first tell you what our shadow is…
Our shadows are parts of ourselves we have stuffed into a little ‘doggie bag’. It may be positive or ‘negative’ aspects. Our shadow are the parts we have repressed, denied or split off – the parts we are afraid to show and even things we cannot stand in others. Well I’ve had to deal with quite a few of my shadows over the last few years because my doggie bag had developed quite a stench. However, the revelation of my most recent shadow was quite an ‘aha’ moment! After some meditation late last year, I found myself at the door of an institution to pursue my studies. It was not the ‘usual’ academia – I found myself registered to an intensive two year Islamic studies. I recall mentioning the possibility of doing this course approximately three months back but how I found myself registered and agreeing to wearing niqab, is still a complete mystery to me. Though wearing niqab is one of the school’s non-negotiable rules, I was even baffled by my own calm acceptance of it all as though inherently I knew that the reward would be far greater than my temporary discomfort and nuisance. It was later that day when I was in search of buying my ‘veil’ that I remembered an associate conference that I attended approximately six years earlier.
I had just completed my coaching course when I was invited to attend a weekend seminar for associates. One of the weekend exercises was that we came to dinner one evening dressed as our shadow and I arrived in complete hijab including my niqab (my veil). The reason for my choice of shadow sharing at the time was because I had a total aversion to women who ‘imprisoned’ themselves that way. I believed that that was not who I am. In a way I also believed that women in niqab wish not to be seen. I felt uncomfortable just looking at them but in hindsight I was really just uncomfortable with who I was and I was the one who wished not to be seen by the world. I now share a class with probably more than sixty beautiful women in niqab – some of them wearing it by choice and others because of the rules of the school.
What I have come to learn in a very short space of time is that these women’s personal preference is acceptable, it is okay and I could embrace that. I remember deliberately taking a walk to the shop in my beautiful black lace trimmed veil, simply to get a feel for what it is some women choose to wear everyday. I discovered that beside the fact that it really isn’t that bad wearing it, I felt as though I was wearing my own personal protection, I felt guarded and not ostracised. I felt closer to myself, my inner world and humility. I didn’t feel unattractive (a little hot) but definitely not distasteful.
I feel honoured to share space and time with these women but mostly I feel divinely blessed to integrate my shadow as a part of me and to God for hearing my intense desire to be unrestricted and authentic and drenching me in the courage to toss my ‘doggie bag’! ~ RJ.