Is Running Away Always the Wrong Thing to Do?

Someone close to me recently had decided to move away and begin a new life and then suddenly 3 days later changed their mind and went back to their old life. In their explanation they said that they felt that they couldn’t run away from their problems and they realized that running away from them wasn’t the right thing to do.

Which prompted me to feel hurt and admonished because basically that is what I did a little over 8 years ago. I ran away from my life when it fell apart and I had no idea what to do next. For a brief moment I felt ashamed of myself and the fact that I ran away.

So the question arises is running away always the wrong thing to do or can it sometimes be exactly the right choice?

I agree that running away doesn’t solve your problems. You carry with you any problems that are inside you. And some problems and situations follow you wherever you go. If you are just running away to hide or ignore problems rather than face and deal with them then maybe you do need to face them directly. If you are running towards something like a new career or lifestyle then isn’t that a good thing? Even if you are leaving a situation that is full of issues and problems?

Isn’t moving to a new place and creating a new different life a great way to change your life and resolve some issues and problems you have been having? If nothing else moving away even briefly can help see your life and yourself from a different perspective. You can even discover new solutions and opportunities that you had no idea existed or that didn’t exist in your current environment.

I didn’t run away to create a new life. I did run away from the life I was being left with and the choices that were in front of me. I didn’t like the options and choices I was being presented with. I had no idea what I could do or what I wanted. I just felt like I had to get away.

My first year away I didn’t make any attempt to create a new life. I just lived in the present moment. I focused on what was there happening where I was. In reality I was hiding out. I was far away from family and friends at a retreat center. Not having a clue what to do next I took an opportunity to volunteer at a retreat center just so I could get away from the life around me and from the life I was expected to live and the choices I thought I was expected to make. At the time I wasn’t running towards anything. I really was just running away from my situation and the problems that existed.

After much time just being and living day to day I did begin to ponder and explore ideas of what I wanted in life, what kind of life was important to me and to consider beginning to create that life. Running away from my life and the problems around the life I was living and the problems within myself was exactly what I needed. It turned out to be the blessing I needed.

I could have chosen to return to the life I was left with and rebuild my life from all the broken pieces. I didn’t choose that. I chose instead to move to a new place and begin over again. Not only create a new life for myself but to reinvent myself too. This has been the best decision I have ever made.

It could have fallen apart or been a disaster or not worked. At any time I could have changed my mind and returned home. The truth is that home didn’t exist anymore in the place I had grown up or lived. It isn’t even really in this particular town and community that I live in now. It is home because I am here and I am here.

Home is not always a particular place. It is a place within myself. For me home is where my heart is, where I am at peace, content and happy.

The ocean is my home. That is where I am content and at peace. Enjoying a meal and a glass of wine with people who I enjoy their company with is home. Traveling to new places is home. Meeting new people is home. Sailing on the ocean is home. Visiting with my children is home. Visiting and traveling with my sister is home.

In a way you could say I am always running away. I love to go somewhere new. I know that I could pack up and begin over again in another place. I may someday. In fact the idea intrigues me. So I may just run away again someday.

I believe that running away isn’t always the wrong thing to do. I don’t believe it is a bad choice. Starting over can be the best choice. It all depends on what is in your heart and what is the best choice for you.

So what do you think? Is running away a good choice or a bad choice? Is someone wrong for choosing to walk away and begin again? Is the only way to solve problems by facing them head on directly where they were created? Or can a change of environment change perspective, open new opportunities and resolve issues and problems in a different way?

 

Still Stepping into Myself

These last weeks, in fact, these last couple of months have pushed me into further learning about myself. It seems that as far as I have come there is still further to go. Yes I know that this journey of life never ends until it is finally over and that includes learning and growing.

I had begun to believe that I had fallen backwards on my growth into myself. I have spent a great deal of time in solitude while somehow maintaining a social life that has been overwhelming at times. I have been through some curve balls that I haven’t been able to hit.

My life has had drama swirling around me- unwanted drama. I have tried very hard to stay centered in the eye of the storm. Yet everything around me has affected me in some way.

For weeks I was trying to make things happen. I was moving between doing my own creative work and working my day job. I have been tired and have little energy or desire to do the things I keep saying I want to do. Injuries have sidelined me as well. Spending time alone is a breeding ground for thoughts. I am not having any breakthroughs at all. Twinges of doubt have wanted to take hold and grow. What has happened is that I have been forced into another inner growth spurt.

I haven’t been able to spend very much time on the beach, my sanctuary. It has been a struggle to get out there since I could hardly walk with 2 broken toes. When I was out there I wasn’t relaxed. That feeling of peace never settled over me because I wanted to be out in the water playing and dancing with the waves. I was too unstable on my foot to chance the waves. The water was hardly ever calm enough that I could feel secure enough to risk falling down. I became frustrated and disappointed.

I no sooner healed when I sprained my ankle. I couldn’t believe it! It was a clear sign that I needed to rest but I continued to fight on. I knew that this summer had exhausted me yet I have no intention of giving in and surrendering to the physical pain. I have no intention of letting it hold me down. I keep pushing my body to keep moving. I don’t want to miss out on any fun, adventures or opportunities that may come my way.

I am holding on just trying to make it until my vacation. And yes just because I live in paradise and live in a place that often seems like a vacation, I still need a vacation! I crave change and change of scenery. I crave new adventures and exploring different places.

Wonder what I plan for my vacation? A Caribbean cruise of course!

Not only do I get to explore new islands and revisit islands I have been before. I love being on the ship and on the water. I love finding a new beach on every island we stop at. I would love to spend time on a different beach on every island! Each island is unique and I love island life in all its flavors!

I am looking forward to opening a new part of myself as well. What will I discover on this adventure about myself? Each place opens a new door in my soul. I make a new connection with a new place and connect with a new part of myself. I feel like each place I visit and explore I find another piece of me. I am scattered all over the world and it is my life purpose and mission to collect all those pieces.

It is important at times to stay and really explore deeply a piece of myself that I have discovered. That is why sometimes I spend more than a brief visit and why sometimes I am lured back to someplace I have already been. I have been feeling like it will soon be time to spend an extended amount of time in another place but as of yet I am not sure where that place is. Maybe I will discover it on this trip. Maybe not. The answer will come when I am ready for a new deep adventure.

For now I find I am in transition again. It is the time in between major breakthroughs and major changes. I must take small steps as I can, retreat when I need to, shift thoughts and actions as I progress. In the meantime before the change takes place I am making small adjustments but I am also opening up to possibilities, creating new dreams, taking some side trips for information and contemplating the depths of my soul.

The trick is staying present with what is and what is going on, to what I am feeling, sensing, thinking, doing. Present moment awareness is the magic that will allow the answers and guidance to be seen and heard. I don’t want to miss the turn of the tide or the breakthrough. I am excited about what is about to happen right now today that will shape tomorrow.

The ship sets sail in two weeks and I am excited and ready for the adventure!

Keep posted, I will let you know what discoveries I make on my adventure!

Rediscovering Dreams

The dream was always to live at the ocean. I fantasized about living at the beach and living on an island most of my life. I imagined what it would be like. I envisioned being able to go out to the beach and swim in the water whenever I wanted.

It was always just a dream. A make believe dream that would never become reality. I never believed that it would be possible. Life was surrounded by family, responsibility and doing what was expected of you. It was doing what must be done to survive day to day, to pay the bills and have a roof over your head. The messages I received about life were confusing mixed messages but I knew which messages I was suppose to follow and which were to be considered unrealistic fancy .

My mother believed life was a harsh reality where you struggled to survive. You worked, you married, you had children, and you worked some more to put a roof over everyone’s head and food on the table. Family stayed together and all contributed to its survival. You ignored your own interests and individuality to conform to the group and by group one means the leader, the mother. Simply what she said was law and you conformed.  Your loyalty and responsibility was to the family. Never loyalty or responsibility to yourself. You had to sacrifice that because real life demanded it of you.

The messages from my father tried to slip hope of something else, of dreams, passions, individuality, and a larger world out there with different opportunities and experiences to partake of. He opened moments of possibility with trips to the beach, Bermuda, and cruises to the Caribbean. I wanted to believe so much.

It became my belief that these trips, these experiences of opportunities beyond our basic life existed but I was only allowed to experience them on a limited level. Only on a vacation did this life exist. It was temporary and not real life but a short lived fantasy one was allowed to indulge in but only if you worked hard and long for many hours, days and months and years first then you could treat yourself selfishly to a trip-a yearly vacation if you were very lucky.

These brief interludes of dreams didn’t last and eventually you have to go back to the reality of life-real life as my mother called it. Dreams were a waste of time really. Make-believe like when you are a kid. Even as a kid your imagination gets squashed and pushed down. Daydreaming becomes shameful as you get older.

I followed the path of mom’s beliefs the best I could but sometimes I would break free for brief moments. It was then I would hear, “She’s just like her father, a dreamer.” I knew that this was meant as a negative comment not a compliment. At least not in my household.

I became emotionless to life. I felt nothing. Life was empty for me. I was empty except for those brief moments. The times I was off on that vacation. There I would get lost in another world. The ‘real world’ didn’t exist. I lived in that fantasy world blocking out the life I had waiting at home for me. Eventually I fell completely into the path of what was expected of me. I had prolonged it as long as I could but the pull, my mother’s voice and command of authority was stronger than I was.

I did what was expected of me. Worked, married, had kids, struggled to work to survive. I was barely surviving. I was suffocating. I walked through my life like I was watching someone else live a life I wasn’t in but it was my life. My existence wasn’t in it. It was a body, a shell with no person living inside or experiencing this life. I had given up on believing in dreams. My mother had won. I was living the life she wanted and expected of me. The life she kept telling me should make me happy but I wasn’t happy.

Whatever happened around me I walked through blindly. I become more emotionless to reality. Three major events through this part of my life each played a part in my regaining my belief in dreams. It didn’t happen at once but it sure felt like it in the end.

The first event was the birth of my third daughter, Monica. It sent me into the depths of depersonalization and derealization that manifested on the outside as depression.I began to question this life I was living. I began feeling a need to search and see if there really was something more to life. More importantly I wanted to know if someone actually existed inside myself. Why was I so numb? Why didn’t I feel any moments of joy when something wonderful happened?

The second event was the death of my father. I was devastated. I lost the most solid foundation of myself and my dreams I had. I felt like any hope of the reality of dreams was shattered. I fell apart. I felt anger for the first time in my life. The great thing about that is that I experienced a feeling completely and fully for the first time I could remember. If I could feel sadness and pain so deeply then I must exist inside somewhere. Hope that I could discover her arose. And thankfully it didn’t end all my hope that dreams could come true. Hope arose in the midst of grief and anger that I hung onto for a very long time.

The third and final event that sent me full flung into an adventure of discovering the person inside myself and that dreams could come true was when all my daughters flew the coup and began living life following their dreams. I fell into a state of fear of losing the only piece of semblance of the life I was suppose to be living. Dread of continuing to follow that path and do what was being expected of me now sent me into fear of being forced into the world of reality that I hated with a passion because it only made me feel invisible and numb.

It was my youngest, Monica that told me. “Mom, go have your own adventure” It was time. It was well past time. I had done what was expected of me and except for the girls and some other brief moments it had turned into an empty shell of a life where I didn’t exist or experience any of it. I wanted to feel life, experience life, live life but first I would have to find the person who was hidden inside my body who was hiding inside my soul afraid to live.

Where was I to go? What was I to do? How was I going to find myself and live my dreams? What was my dream it had been so long since I let myself dream I had even forgotten what the dream was. I vaguely remembered I loved the ocean but I was afraid and still didn’t believe in my dreams. I followed the winding path into the woods. Lost wandering while examining my past and finding the way into my soul. And when I was almost there I stumbled out of the woods onto an island with the ocean before me. I didn’t plan this. I didn’t strive and plan moving to this island or any island or this beach or any beach. I stumbled onto it just trying to get out of the woods and to the ocean. I was just reaching for the ocean. I couldn’t have planned it. I wasn’t capable of planning anything. I was making choices day to day, minute by minute. But I found myself on an island at the beach with the ocean in front of me.

And living the dream began.

Here I began living completely in the present moment. In those moments I became. Moment by moment, piece by piece I began living through my being. It was in the being that my true self began to emerge little by little. I uncovered a piece of myself as I watched the ocean waves roll onto shore, as the tides came in and went out, as the sun rose and set each day. It was in the living within those present moments that I emerged from the shell.

I was discovering who I was, not who I was suppose to be, not who my mother wanted me to be but who I am from within. I began experience these moments of life. I was experiencing nature and experiencing me and interacting with life going on around me. I was seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching life in all its dimensions.

It is a daily process but I have come far. I am no longer that quiet shy timid little girl. I am no longer that reserve empty shell of a person going through the motions. I feel a connection to the little girl I was becoming before my path was altered and I became someone in reaction to outside circumstances. The little girl hidden away in shame has reemerged. She is not complete yet. I would say she is a teenager still growing into herself.

I have also discover the sage that lives within my soul. There the wisdom of ages resides. It guides me forward to allow my true being to continue to emerge. I am a sage who is growing up experiencing a new life after being shut off and silent for most of the years of this lifetime. Finally living this lifetime continuing to uncover the depths of being, its passions, its loves, its dislikes, its dreams and letting them become real. I believe in dreams again. I am living my dream and creating new dreams to live into.

 

 

Memoir: Falling to Pieces

This is an excerpt of my Memoir Manuscript

Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into My Life

By Cathy Teoste

Falling to Pieces

My life is falling apart. Not that it has been an exciting great life but it has been the life I have been living. I have been watching the life that I have created fall away piece by piece. I have even helped pack it up and send it on its way. My daughters, Nikki, Sam and Monica are going off to begin their own lives as young adults.

What about me? What do I do? This has been my life despite the fact that I haven’t fully lived it. I have been making the best of it for years sometimes barley hanging on so why as it is falling apart am I in a panic. Fear and panic swarm me externally and internally. The only thing that has mattered in the life, my daughters, are now leaving me. My life line that held the little pieces of me left together and the reason for me holding on to living is abandoning me.

I find myself in a place I am very familiar with where I have lost my sense of identity, questioning the structure and the rules of the world and my faith in God. I am standing in a time of uncertainty with negative thoughts, fears, and judgements escalating all the voices in my head.

The expectation from those around me is that now I can get back into real life. I dread real life. Feeling pressured I explore job opportunities, every resume I send out and every response to my quires makes me nauseous. As I get closer and closer to landing that position that would take me back into the ‘real world’ I get so sick to my stomach that I am throwing up.

I don’t want to live in this world or live the way I am expected to live it. I have never felt comfortable in that world. I know that if I take one step in that direction I will once again fill my life from a place of doing what I am expected to do, doing what I think I should be doing, trying to please other people, social expectations, demands, influences and circumstances.

Most of my life I have built around a false sense of self or no self. It was built from outside circumstances, events, expectations and demands. If I stay here and rebuild my life from this empty shell I will just reconstruct another false self and false life. I know exactly where this road will take me. I know that I will live with a void of emptiness inside. This thought scares the hell out of me.

I don’t want to continue living this way.  I have been trying to play the part I have created for myself and the part others expected of me. My whole life has become a play in which I have been pretending day after day. I have been a character in the play but have felt like I have been in the audience watching my life rather than being a part of it. I fear that I am being sucked into the direction of expectations and the responsible path. If I do that I will step into a world I don’t like and don’t want to be in anymore.

I know that this person I have been-have become-is a cover, a hard shell around my heart that I created. I fashioned myself from a core that was broken, pushed down and controlled when I was young. From that point on I hid who I really was. I hid in shame of who I was. I have lived my life with a deep rooted belief that I am not good enough. Who I am inside is not acceptable in the outside world. I believed I had to become who I was expected to be. I never felt comfortable in that shell.

My soul has been crying out for years and I have done what I could to pacify it. The thought of continuing to live with this emptiness inside is unbearable to my soul. I don’t want to do that anymore. It has become too painful. The truth of the matter is that I have wanted to run away from my life for years. I have wanted to get out – get away but responsibilities and obligations have kept me trapped. Fear has kept me from action. If I stay here I will drown in the sacrifice of myself. I’ve already given myself away but sacrificing myself knowing full well what will happen to my soul is suicide.

Yet the pull to get sucked into living a façade is strong. I am at my weakest moment. I have always tried to fit in, to make myself into someone who would be liked and accepted. Yet I have never felt accepted. Even the false creations of myself who were fashioned to be the person others wanted me to be was not accepted. I have felt rejected and abandoned then and now. This is the theme of my life, trying to please everyone and pleasing no one in the process. It runs through every choice, every decision I have ever made. Because of these deep rooted feelings I have isolated myself from life, others and myself. Everything within me is telling me this is the moment to break free but can I? The conflict of following the ‘right path’ and following my soul is paralyzing me. All I can feel is fear and panic.

My inner life and being has been screaming at me to pay attention to it. It seems scary to turn inside when it was in turning inside that forced me to live outside myself. How could doing the very thing that sent me into this empty chasm of a person be the solution and answer into becoming my true self? As confusing as this seems I am being drawn into this idea that this is also the way out.

The outlook is shadowy and indistinct, feeling empty and full of nothingness. Nothing makes any sense and answers are lost in the distant fog. I have been wandering aimlessly for years unable to regain any focus. This confusion is unsettling. Inadequacy and doubt like vertigo distorts my balance. I fearfully wander in a vast and empty, yet deeply emotional wilderness. As I wrestle with the darkness, a rush of panic rips a hole in my heart. I struggle to catch my breath as I drown in the depths of emotions that are rising and falling like storm waves of a violent hurricane crashing a rocky shoreline. An immobilizing lack of confidence and fear has forced me into a junction of significant change.

This is an excerpt of my Memoir Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into my Life By Cathy Teoste

This manuscript is still a work in progress.  I will continue to share excerpts from the manuscript as I continue through this rewrite/edit.

A Sense of Place – A Sense of Self

If one believes in astrology then it makes sense that I am so at home at the sea. I am a Pisces, two fish swimming in opposite directions, one swimming with the current and the other against the current. This sums up my life in simple terms. I grew up with two distinct parts of myself in conflict with each other.

When I arrived on this island I knew I had found home even though it was far away from everyone and everything I had ever known. Home is not an address. For me it is a place that speaks to my soul, a sense of place, a sense of belonging, a sense of identity, a sense of self, a sense of being. A place where I feel at peace, where everything comes together, where I feel inspired, connected to my inner wisdom, where my spirit is nurtured and cared for.

The ocean is my soul. It gives me peace. It touches my heart. It gives me love. It gives me joy. It gives me hope. It gives me life. I am blessed and graced because of it. I am grateful for the abundance it brings to me, for the substance and nourishment that it provides me. I can never again live without being near her.

The ocean with her magnificent waves, her depth and expansiveness out to the horizon is my home. It is where I belong.

Because I live on an island, no matter how good or bad the day is, I get to see the magnificent ocean. I slip into a peaceful state of relaxation where all my cares and woes drift out to sea. The ocean brings her energy to me and she revives me. My senses come alive. I see clearly. I hear the songs of the waves. I smell each scent that blows on the wind. I taste the water and the air. I feel the particles of sand on my feet and particles of water and salt on my skin.

The ocean reaches into my weakest moments and reminds that I am strong. The waves lull me into the present moment….into stillness. Life is determined in the present moment and its glory is in the details.

The different colors of the ocean can change in an instant. It shifts and changes with the light right before my eyes. The colors can range between a grey green to glistening blue with white dancing dots to hundreds of shades not just green and blue but purple, pink, brown and black. It is diverse from shore to horizon in any given moment. I might miss it if I am not paying attention.

Here I look out over her surface to the horizon and stand on the horizon of myself, my hopes and dreams. My life is contained within the depths of her.

The beach is the in-between place between the ocean and the land. It is where transition and change take place. It is a sacred space of healing and comfort. Here on the beach, I can experience all of the shades of life and self.

I sit on the beach and dream. I listen to the wisdom of the sea…so many lessons to learn….so many joys to experience…so much beauty to see. It is all here to savor.

The beach is where I have contemplated life, my life, where I have been, where I am going.

I come here with my confusion and a restless spirit, disconnected and broken. I come here with all of my faults, my inadequacies, my regrets, my sadness, my heartache. I give them all to the sea, tossing them into the wind and into the waves.

I come here with my joy and happiness. I come here with my gratitude and love. I come here with abundance to share. It is the cradle that allows me to experience the ocean.

Here on the beach everything comes together. I never know what I will find on the beach. I may be alone and find myself basking in stillness and serenity. I may find connection and friendship with others. I may find playfulness and fun. I may find a storm brewing off shore, racing towards me. As the landscape of the beach is changed by the tides of the sea I am changed by my experiences of the beach.

The ocean is my foundation. It has shaped my sense of self, my identity. It is a deep part of who I am, and where I am. Each encounter and experience with the ocean has nurtured my growth and development. I have grown into myself on each journey to Bermuda, the Caribbean, each beach on each island I have visited, each cruise I have taken.

I have grown into the person who I am because of those journeys, because of my connection to the sea. I have become human again, found my way through my demons and challenges. I continue to grown stronger and more into my being and into my fullest potential as I continue to live and travel the ocean.

I love sea days, when the ship is in the ocean with no land in sight, surrounded by her expansiveness, her magnificence. I feel strong and happy, content and exhilarated. I live on an island at the beach. I vacation on a cruise on the ocean and visit a new beach on each island. Each experience adds another dimension to me. It changes how I see and experience myself and my life.

Living and traveling the ocean and her shores is a part of me. It is who I am. It makes me who I am. It is my life. It is my home. I am dancing on the beach of life. I am ready and excited for the next journey.

Author, Cruise Consultant, Travel Writer