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Through the Woods: The Christine Center

The Christine Center is where my story begins to unfold and shifts. I will always see my experience here as the turning point in who I have been to who I have become. 

 

[Excerpts from Through the Woods to the Sea: A Journey of Becoming Me by Cathy Teoste}

Sister Henrita keeps prodding me to do the deeper inner work, to face the demons that I have buried inside. I hesitate and keep putting her off. I want to continue on in this void of being in-between, not the past – not the future. I like just remaining in the present moment.

Every week I have my session with Sister Henrita. Every week she continues to prod me about my issue with my name, my relationship and feelings about my mother, and the anger I feel surrounding my father’s death. I keep avoiding the questions. I want to leave the past behind. I have chosen to walk away and let it go. I don’t want to examine the past. I want to forget it and move forward.

I just want to figure out who I am, who I want to be and what I want to do with the rest of my life. Why is Sister Henrita so insistent that I go back and look at the past and all I have buried deep inside? It doesn’t seem necessary to me. I just don’t want to. It is the past, over and gone, dead and buried, done. Let’s just leave it there. Sister Henrita knows that the past is holding me down and back. She knows that I will not be able to change my life or figure out who I am until I deal with all that is simmering and haunting me.

Maybe it is time to begin the process of dismantling the lost and forgotten pieces of myself and dissecting the hidden pain and hurt I have buried deep within. I know deep down that Sister Henrita is right, moving forward and becoming whole does necessitate shifting through pieces of my past. To understand who I want to become I need to understand who and why I became who I am now. To find the me inside I buried, shamed, hid and lost along the way, I need to dismantle the person I created.

I have taken a huge leap of faith in coming here, trusting in God. I am still angry with God for all the times I have felt abandoned and alone so how can I trust in faith at all? It certainly isn’t a doubtless faith, that’s for sure, but I am moving in faith anyway even with the doubts.

Running away was the only way I could think of to stop myself from becoming a person I didn’t like or didn’t want to be. I believed that distancing myself from everyone I knew would be the only way to gain my strength. Will I ever be strong enough not to let others define my worth or my value as a person?

I am examining myself, tree by tree, branch by branch, leaf by leaf.
As one tree begins to grow stronger another tree falls to the ground needing my attention, too many trees to nurture and care for. Can I really listen to every tree, every fallen branch, and every fallen leaf? I have found myself deep in the forest so, for now, I must listen to the wisdom of the woods.

The internal conflicts, illusions, fears and grief that have led me here are beginning to unravel, piece by piece. I find that I am beginning to look within and the journey of processing all the emotional turmoil buried deep within. I must begin to face all the broken pieces inside.

How much of my life have I allowed to be contrived into existence by culture and expectations of others? Was any of my life self-conceived and self-created by my own hands?
Is the only way to move forward to go back and examine those hauntings that have held me back from becoming who I am inside?

Am I really ready for this? Can I finally heal and find myself, become myself? More than that can I find the courage and strength to hold on to her, stand strong in her when I find her? So many times along the path I thought I had found her only to fall apart again when I was hit with opposition, criticism, judgment or threats of any kind real or perceived. Will this time be any different?

My Thoughts

As I look back on this experience, I realize how critically important it was. I never wanted to be in the Wisconsin Woods but the woods began the journey of becoming me. At the time I thought it was just a pause in my life until I decided where I wanted to live and what I wanted to do next. I believed when I went that it was just temporary. A place to run to rest and get away from the pressures of being pushed into a life I no longer wanted. It turned out to be an amazing divine opportunity. I would never had even know the place existed if it wasn’t for a friend I met at Lesley University. Myra lead me into the unknown woods and there I began to become comfortable with just being me. 

If you ever have the opportunity to take a retreat, I recommend you visit The Christine Center. You can go on your own and just have some time and space in a beautiful wooded setting, where stillness lives. You can participate in one of the many spiritual deepening programs they offer. 

 

For more information about The Christine Center and their programs

The Christine Center

W8303 MANN ROAD
WILLARD, WI 54493
715.267.7507
866.333.7507

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Published inMemoir