A hint of chlorine perfumed my daughter as we left the Y. Zippered and snapped into Gortex, flannel and down--a wool beret on my head, a hoodie on hers--we stepped out into the black night of Friday. A flash of memories streaked before my mind's eye. A deja vu. We've left this Y, the one in the westernmost suburb of town, many other Friday nights, just like this one. Only, two-and-a-half years ago, I left this area I'd called home for 16 years for what I thought was forever. I was marrying up, supposedly, and moving into a posher part of town.
A sick feeling began to seep up from my gut, the third chakkra. I start to fondle words like "failure," "embarrassment." A slide show projected faces of folks here that I'd run into recently. Folks I hadn't seen since I left. Their mouths gaped open and their eyes registered shock and then confusion when they learned I am back. Already.
"STOP!" I yell within to the voice. It is the voice of my Ego. The same voice that I allowed to drive and fake and addict me to a relationship that proved not to be what it first appeared while my true self, my spirit, my consciousness cried out "NO! DON'T!"
"The Ego will kill you, Leisa!" The refrain from my spiritual teacher rebounds in the echo chamber of my mind.
The Ego that on that cold, damp, March night was kicking and punching me as my thoughts crumpled me as if I'd dropped into a crouched position on the ground, hands and arms up alongside my head to protect myself. The same Ego that delivered the fierce kicks and wild swings is the same one that also, at other times, strokes and puffs me.
I didn't understand those cautioning voices back then. Confused, I continued into the relationship that felt so right in some ways, despite the truth-telling of my gentle, knowing soul whispers. I continued because I was a singed moth driven to the flame because that was how love was supposed to feel. The only way I'd known. Love that began with my father and repeated again and again throughout my life.
So, I beat back the voice on that cold, dark night. I told it to shut up and I sat on the lid and held it down until it did. And then, I told myself the truth:
This. That. Was not failure. To leave was liberation. It took courage and tractor-trailor-sized portions of guts. The enormity of that so-called failure finally awakened me. My adversity was opportunity for blessed change, awareness.
So, failure? No. Liberation? Yes.