Through the Woods to the Sea: A Journey of Becoming Me

For a while I was putting up chapters here but then I got so entrenched in the editing process that I kind of neglected that. After several rewrites and many – many edits and a  title change my memoir is done.

It was published at the end of April and we have been doing a soft release. As I get ready to put it out into the world it is scary exciting! This is after all my life, my story, events and details.

Why would anyone want to read about me? my life?

I hope that in sharing my story other women who have been through challenges, lost their sense-of-self, felt empty or gave up on their dreams to meet the demands of others or the world will feel connected and not alone. I hope it inspires you to believe in yourself and follow your dreams at any age or stage of life.

It is never to late to become your true self and live the life you dreamed about in secret.

It has arrived. Come along and be a part of My Journey of Becoming Me!
Get it on Amazon.com
or at The Mermaid’s Purse and Sugar Island  Bakery              on Topsail Island

 

update Memoir CoverIn her Memoir, Through the Woods to the Sea: A Journey of Becoming Me, she shares her story, her life, and her journey of stepping out of life to create one. It is one of emotion, hope, perseverance, letting go and beginning again.

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. What a journey you have been and still are on. I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced in your life experiences.” Marie

 

I’d love to hear your story – send me an email at cathyt@cathyteoste.com or jump onto my facebook page

Music’s Influence in Our Lives

Music has been a part of me all my life. I wanted to be a singer or play an instrument as a child. I tried to join the chorus but the teacher said I couldn’t sing. I wanted to learn to play the piano but my mom said I had to play the clarinet or flute. I choose the clarinet. I learned to dabble a little on an organ and later on a keyboard. Yet I never became proficient at playing any instrument.

Writing has been my main avenue of self-expression since I couldn’t seem to express it in music myself and depended on others music to speak. Songs and lyrics have been my verbal expression of my feelings and emotions. I even took a songwriting class in my thirties.

I ended up dancing. Tap dancing, ballet dancing, modern dance, expressive dance. Dancing became my connection to the music. The way I expressed the music I was hearing in my soul.

Music has gotten me through feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, emptiness, sadness, grief, and depression. It lifted my spirit gave me moments of joy and happiness. It created moments of life and living. It gave me hope when I was feeling despair. It got me through moments of weakness and helped me find inner strength in reserve.

Music has played an influential role in my life. It has helped express feelings and emotions that I was unable to express outwardly. It gave me strength during times of difficulties. It was my refuge when I needed to hide. It was my secret place. My cocoon to feel safe, and gather strength and inspiration. It gave me back my life at a time my life I felt empty and barren.

A country singer by the name of John Michael MontgomeryMe & JMM filled me with hope when I wasn’t sure there was any life for me. With his music, specifically with the song, Life’s a Dance, he helped me find a spark of spirt inside, I thought was gone forever.

I even go to meet him at a concert!

 

Soon after Martina McBride offered me strength and courage. I play Martina McBride when I want to feel comfort and angels sing and to feel empowered. Of all the singers it is her voice that I envy. It evokes memories, it resonates through my body, it comforts my heart and it feels at peace within my soul.

One of her songs, From The Ashes written by Hillary Lindsey and Austin Cunningham, was my anthem for a long. During the time I was in the middle of the fire burning down the old walls waiting for the smoke to pass it gave me hope that I could step into becoming a new stronger person. It helped me discard the past and prepare to be reborn. Another of her songs, The Ride, is my current theme song.

Then when I had fallen lost again, a man I met at a retreat center revived my love of music and dance. It brought my connection to my body and spirit back into the world. Music became personal again. I began going to hear local artists and friends who played. Through them, I came back to music and dance.

Music gave me a way to get back into myself. Music gave me a passion to reenter life.

Music can be a powerful tool for self-reflection, self-discovery and self-expression. Our choices in music can give us clues to our authentic self. We can find hidden pieces and move us more fully into our being and true selves.

Every generation can be identified with the music it grew up on, the music that came out of it tells a story of the times. It tells of their hopes, fears, beliefs, and experiences. In my own life music has impacted my development, character and growth.

Music has found a way back into the foundation of my life. I hear live music every week. I have friends who play and have bands. Though I long to join them playing and singing, I dance my heart out! Even when I have had a long day and am tired, I go listen to my friends play and I get a second wind. It revives my body and spirit.

Music has played a large part in my life. It has had moments of great significance, defining and commemorating events in my life. It has sometimes just been playing softly in the background. It has been consistent and steady. Like family and friends, participating in important moments always there to lean on. Music is a part of my life, a part of me. Music is my best friend.

Music creates History – History creates Music

 What role does Music play in your life?

Step Deeper into Your Dreams

Today is the day I take another step into my life – deeper into the sea of dreams, desires and journey into the next adventure.

My new book, Through the Woods to the Sea: A Journey of Becoming Me is now available. update Memoir Cover

Sharing my story, my life with the world is scary exciting!

Writing being an author has been a long buried dream of mine since I was a little girl, but like I pushed aside my love of the ocean, I buried that dream because I was told it was impractical and unrealistic.

It took fifty years of my life to dig it up and resurrect it. It took almost another ten to write it and find the courage and confidence to rewrite, edit, and publish it.

After writing the rough draft, fear took hold. A friend suggested I test the waters and write a short book on my love of the ocean. That is how Dancing on the Beach came about. A collection of essays expressing deep love and connection to the wisdom of the ocean (501x800)

Rewriting my life story was a long emotional process. I would work on it, have a reader or editor look at it, think about the suggestions then finally rewrite. I went through four different versions and formats before I found the format that fit my story. In hindsight, it was the most logical choice but it took me a roundabout way to get there.

It is my way I guess, I never seem to approach anything in a linear fashion. I love jumping around here and there to see what side trips might be interesting or what I might see or discover.

When I thought about becoming a writer, I never thought about writing personal essay but it is where I found my voice. Writing my own life story wasn’t in the plans either but years ago a teacher had suggested that I write about my experience with dissociation. Years later as I was in the midst of my midlife free fall, other women I shared my story with asked me to write and share it when I arrived.

Truth is arriving at one point just sends me off to another point on the horizon I see. Life is like that. We are never meant to arrive and stay long term just for a while and then to move forward towards something more.

So I have shared my story in hopes it inspires you to free fall or jump into becoming your true self and share it with the world in whatever expression that is for you.

We live life in our experiences expressing our spirit in the present moment

Step Deeper into Your Dreams!

Experiencing a New Perspective of Yourself: Create a New Vision of Yourself

Now with your new understanding and perspective of yourself and of your life. Knowing more about yourself, what you love, your desires, and who you have become. We are going to expand that into who you are Becoming.

Armed with your discoveries about yourself, your loves, likes, what you don’t like you are going to begin to write the story of who you are and who you are becoming.

Being Authentic in your daily life with your choices and decisions, in how you act, how you express yourself. You should try out and experiment with new ways of being in the comfort of your personal environment, at home with yourself, then with family and friends.

Expect reactions when they see you acting and being different. Not all those reactions will be positive. Your family may balk when you change something about yourself or your day that they are used to. Though in life it is necessary to take into account people who we interact with, whom we love and care about, and how our behavior impacts their life. You must decide from within you if and how to adjust a new part of yourself when you are interacting with them.

This may be a very difficult shift for you. It’s ok. There is no clear-cut and dry answers. As a compassionate human being, you do not want to have your choices harm another. You will know if it is right to make an adjustment or not. You must listen to your heart and to your core being. The answers are always within you. You just have to listen and you will know.

When something is coming from your core being nothing and no one can dissuade you from being true to yourself except yourself.

So now we are going to interject some fun into the process!

 

Nurturing Authentic Fair and Style

So what’s your favorite color? Is your house decorated with that color? If not why not? Where could you add that color? By a pillow or paint a wall or a piece of furniture that color. Do you wear your favorite color? If not why not? Buy one item of clothing in that color.

Style and flair are important to add to your life. What is your style? Do you have a signature flair? Red is my color. My bedroom is full of red, sheets, blankets, table covers. I wear it often. A third of my wardrobe is red.

Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or style of clothing? I am a sundress girl. I have a collection of them. When I travel my souvenir is unusual a sundress. It helps that I live on an island at the beach. I get to wear them almost all the time.

What is your style? What makes you unique? Create one if you don’t have one. Choose one item, a signature item that says – this is Me! This is who I am! It can be a necklace, earrings, a scarf, type or color of shoes, an item of clothing or a style.

Wear it out every day for a week. How does it make you feel? Does anyone notice? Have you received compliments?

Add some style and flair to your home as well. Start small, add color or items that make you happy, comfortable, or peaceful and that you love for no reason other than you love it! Each time you change something in your home, redecorate or need a new item choose it not only because it is functional but because it suits you.

 

Authentic Self-Expression: Being You

As you get up each morning set the tone and quality of your day. Having a morning ritual that fuels your soul and spirit. Setting the tone, setting your intentions and being fully present will send you forward into the day with an open heart and mind.

As the day goes along stay mindful of what is happening. What choices you are making. Listen to yourself. Stay true to what you now know to be true about yourself.

Continue to foster your authenticity every day through as much of your day as possible. Recognize when you are not being authentic. Do not judge just notice.

It up to you to be who you are each day. It takes courage. It takes being vulnerable. Don’t hold back. Be real.

Activities to Foster Authentic Self-Expression

Embrace your uniqueness and express it.

Develop your inner guidance and act on it.

Take time to know yourself. Go back over the self-discovery questions ask yourself again and again as your answer will change as you shift, become more aware and grow into who you are becoming.

Continue to Journal and meditate as a way to bring inner wisdom to awareness

Align your words, thoughts, and actions together.

Avoid thinking in terms of “should” and “have to.” Replace with do I want to? Is doing this in alignment with my values and beliefs?

Be open to try new things. Say yes to things that interest you. Say No to things that will drain you or dampen your spirit.

Be willing to show courage when authenticity calls for it.

Expect that you will be challenged and be okay with this.

Accept that you are your own ultimate authority

Accept and live your life as a journey, always unfolding. Embrace the process. Trust the process.

Redefining Who You Are & Who You Are Becoming

Self Discovery: Getting to Know Yourself

Self-Discovery: Getting to Know Yourself

 This is a journey into the depths of yourself and your life. It is an excavating process. Make it fun- enjoy it.

If you stay present with it you will walk through the forest and see the light at the end of the tunnel. On your way you will probably get lost, confused, and discouraged but you will also be delighted, amazed, astonished, and excited about some of the things you discover.

This part of my process, I began in the middle of my chaos of confusion, depression and disillusionment with myself and life. I was lost and empty. I felt like I didn’t exist anymore. It was a start and stop process even when I stepped out of life to focus on the process, I still didn’t jump completely into it. I took small steps at a time. (You can read my full process in my soon to be released memoir, Through the Woods to the Sea)

 

Identity and Sense of Self

What is your identity? What is your sense of self?

We often identify ourselves using a combination of our

  • Occupations – teacher, doctor, engineer, accountant
  • Social relationships – colleague, friend, husband/wife
  • Family relationships – brother/sister, mother/father son/daughter
  • Avocations – musician, athlete, artist
  • Abilities/disabilities and attributes – funny, shy, reliable, good looking, kind, intelligent

It is a collection of these identifications, the roles we play, and our personality traits that we choose, consciously or unconsciously, to incorporate into our self-perception.

Who do you think you are?

We all have a story we tell ourselves and others who we are.

  • What roles do you use to define yourself?
  • How do you see yourself?
  • How do you feel about yourself?
  • What do you see in the mirror?
  • How would you describe yourself?

What is the story you tell yourself about who you are and why you are who you are?

The story I believed for most of my life about myself was that I was told I wasn’t good enough to be out in the world. So I hid myself away at home and became some stranger when I was at school and out in the world. Eventually the separation became blurred as did my identity and sense of self. I never had a sense of self or knew who I was. When I became a mother, I escaped into that one role and I went completely missing in action. I believed I couldn’t be myself because I wasn’t good enough to exist. So I became nonexistent.

 

Getting to Know Yourself

Walking the Paths of the Past: Excavating the Formation of Your Identity

Make a chart or take a piece of paper and label each stage of life: Infancy, Early Childhood, School-age, Adolescents, Young Adulthood, Adulthood or you can separate your life using years or decades: Years 1-5, 6-12, 13-18, 19-25, 25-29, 30’s, 40’s etc.

Write down what you remember or know about each stage of your life. Answer these questions for each stage. Write down anything that comes to mind. It may not be seem significant to you now but it may later.

  • What significant events, circumstances, situations occurred during each stage? Who were you at each stage of your development?
  • How did these events, circumstances or situations impact or influence your identity? Your sense of self?
  • What were you like during each stage?
  • What did you love/hate about your life? Yourself?
  • What activities did you love? List all the things you did that gave you joy, made you happy and had fun doing.
  • What were you good at? What did you excel at?
  • What roles did you play?

 

Looking back on what you uncovered:

  • What parts of yourself have you rediscovered during the excavating process?
  • Did you discover something about yourself during the excavating process that amazes you? Are you stronger than you believed about yourself?
  • What part of yourself is not being acknowledged?
  • What have you learned about yourself?

 

During the excavating process I discovered that I was a confident active fun little girl. I rediscovered things I loved, the weather, music, dancing, horseback riding, writing stories and poetry. I discovered that during the time I was missing in action that I became stronger inside. That I developed a determination to find a way back to life.

I realized that there in the books and movies I loved as a child was my inner self that I had been denying. They were my way of connecting and being myself in my imagination when I felt I couldn’t be myself in my everyday life as I child. I kept myself alive through them. When I was a teenager and into my adulthood I kept my essence alive through the stories and poems I wrote.

 So the first steps in reconnecting with the person deep within was is relieving those childhood loves. It was my first step to connect with who I had been. And became the starting point for becoming liking who I was and realizing that there was nothing wrong with her.

 

Self-Discovery Activities to discover more about Yourself

Connecting with your inner self is a deep soul searching process. It should be fun and exciting even in the moments of uncertainty and growing.

Pick one of your favorite activities you did as a child and do it again. See how it makes you feel now. What does it tell you about yourself?

Now pick an activity that you wish you had done that haven’t yet. Now plan a day and time to do it. How does planning it feel? Are you anticipating it with excitement or are you anxious. Once you have done it – How was the whole experience? What did you learn about yourself?

Do something you do not like to do. How do you get yourself to do it? How did you feel before you did it? How do you feel about doing it now? Would you do it again or do you still not like doing it?

Talk to someone who has known you for a long time. Ask them some of your self-discovery questions. Ask them to describe you as if they were telling someone else about you.

In returning to school and studying some of those childhood loves at an adult level I began to cultivate a relationship with the person I would have become. In studying mindfulness and present moment I cultivated a relationship with who I was in that moment – a mixture of all I had hidden away, lost and all that I had experienced as a disassociated person. I uncovered wonderful things about myself.

Yet until I found myself in the woods I hadn’t really thought about who I was becoming and who I wanted to be. I connected to the little girl inside and the person within the mother but I didn’t have a solid sense of self without the structures of my life.

 

Self-Discovery Questions

 Who do you want to be? What do you want?

 No one asked me those questions until Sr. Henrita asked me. My life was always about what I was expected to do or what others wanted. Having connected with the person I had hidden away and lost now I had to figure who I was now and who I wanted to be in the world.

  •  What activities do you love? Do you hate?
  • What makes you happy? Sad? Peaceful? Excited?
  • What excites and inspires you?
  • What new activities are you interested in or willing to try?
  • What are your goals and dreams?
  • What do you really want to do? Are you doing that?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What is it that wants to speak from your heart?
  • What do you want to contribute to the world?

Moving forward begins in the present moment but it helps to have a vision. It doesn’t have to be a clear ridged goal, but you must have a direction to begin walking towards. Take some time to think about those questions, explore them, and explore possibilities. Stay present follow your intuition and your heart. Each day, each experience you will discover more about who you are becoming.

You have come far, before you move forward it is time to take a breath, to marinate and blend what you have learned and what you know now with what your heart and soul know. Breakthroughs happen in times of mental relaxation.

Let go of anything you no longer want to carry around. Plan a ceremony or ritual where you symbolically let it go and release it.

Plan a Celebration – A Celebration of You. Plan it yourself. Plan it your way. Invite who you want. Or go out and celebrate you with you! Celebrate by doing something you have always wanted to do! Or just pamper yourself.

Conclusion

Stepping into yourself and your life is a path of perpetual movement and personal growth to come into alignment with your true self and authentic self-expression.

Next is taking what you have learned and begin to express that inner person in your everyday life.

To Experience a New Perspective of Yourself.

Cultivate Authentic Self-Expression.

Author, Writer, Blogger, Coach, Traveler