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I Think There Is a Larger Life for Me

December 13, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Snow_Topped_SunriseShe never said that out loud before. End of the year brought her into deeper conversations with herself. I am grateful I was with her.

Am I just settling for what I have? I asked her to name what she does have and doesn’t have.  I asked her to share what hasn’t come together that she thought would have by this time of her life:

1. I have two good friends
2. I am not really in love and am not alone
3. I am well respected and not so much appreciated
4. I do like myself
5. I am not as driven as before
6. My life could be more community based but how?
7. I don’t even know what to dream
8. I miss people I loved and I cry
9. I feel hungry for something

During our two-hour conversation at her home, we decided to take whatever was in the cupboards and refrigerator and cook together.  Background music collection played, and she kept singing louder and louder, STAY WITH ME.

We piled the food of greens, hot humus, shredded chicken, lemon tart filling; crust less, since that wasn’t in the kitchen, goat yogurt with smashed pumpkin puree and lots of cinnamon. White wine for her. Not me, I would be driving home. We ate outside in flannel shirts and wooly socks. Doing something creative together while chatting brought more of her to herself.

Lake_Reflecton_8482“This is all I need,” she said.  Then added, “Well not really. I need to somehow get that my life is my life. I get caught in the routine and that isn’t always enough for me.  I need to ask for more help and spend some money on me.  I need to actually make that sacred space you talked about and then enjoy it.  Cheers.”

Ask yourself “WHO THINKS YOU ARE SETTLING, meaning, what inner part of you, like your critical parent, your pusher, your over doer, your fantasy voice, your part who hasn’t yet been ok with an ORDINARY DAY?  Ask yourself, when you can be just with you, and able to listen.  Ask more than one time. WHO THINKS YOU ARE SETTLING?  Then ask what SUPPORT do you need to OPEN to something new? Take notes.  End with writing what you ADORE ABOUT YOURSELF…

Be there for you. It doesn’t take much to have a deeper conversation with YOU.  You know you better than anyone knows you.

Take good care,

Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations
– Speaking engagements
– Support groups
– Workshops
– Mentoring
- Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

Tips For Finding Meaning in Retirement

December 9, 2014 | by lheidel | No Comments

wsj-1214

As one of the Wall Street Journal Experts, Natalie’s blog was originally published at blogs.wsj.com.

When you are seeking new meaning and how to spend your time when you retire, it is normal to feel off balance, which can show itself in irritability, fatigue or negativity. Fear rises about longevity, being needed, what didn’t come together by now, and what’s it all about? For others, happiness lands right in their entryway, even though they don’t know what’s next. They simply feel freed to explore and not have a structured week.

Retirement is a time to assess and reflect, take a view from above and dive deep into what matters now? What went dormant that wants to surface? Who has been waiting for you to have free time?

Here are a few tips:

  • Your no’s lead you to your yeses.
  • You get to change your mind.
  • What did you like to do after school?
  • What do you like to research on the computer?
  • Who are you jealous of? I remember one man shared, “my friend who owns a book store.” He decided to start a lending library.
  • Have fun learning more about who you are and who you are not. Then gather the resources you need to move forward on an idea. (Classes in computer skills so you can build a website)
  • What compliments have people given you over the years? “You are good at entertaining. You know just what to say to comfort me. You could teach that to others.”
  • What would you like someone to do for you?
  • Who do you like to spend time with and why?
  • Make friends with the unknown. If you are used to being productive, making quick decisions, have a chat with the part of you that is OK with not knowing anything or doing much, yet.
  • What is something you have always wanted to learn (foreign language, surfing, meditation, cooking healthy, winemaking, mountain biking, ping pong)
  • Practice not comparing yourself to others.
  • You have never been at this cycle of life. Be gentle with you.
  • Don’t buy into the ideas that you are too old or don’t have the skills for something.

Choose fun. The blinder is unrealistic expectations, as well as that inner critic who never takes a vacation and stops you from hearing your inner courageous voice. Put on some music and write, “It would be fun to…”

Natalie Caine (@NatalieCaine) is the owner of Empty Nest Support Services and Life in Transition.

How To “Relate” During The Holidays

November 15, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Birds_on_BeachWhat makes your holidays happy or fall apart, whether it is the kids coming home from college, being newly divorced, recent losses, being with one friend, or solo, newly married, first time parents, grandparents, challenged with illness,  well the list is long, is that you remind yourself that you are good enough.

– Good at serving the gravy, even though it is a little lumpy this year.

– Good at feeling left out when all the attention heads to the sofa and you are sitting on the stool.

– Good at crying for what isn’t happening this year.

– Good at loving your stuffing so much that you eat three scoops and pass on putting turkey on your plate.

– Good at being awkward because you don’t feel, “at home,” with this gathering.

– Good at expecting someone to say something awesome about you even though you know those expectations doom you into disappointment.

– Good at having to tell the host you are vegan even when they roll their eyes, so you bring your own plate of food and label it, “vegan.”

– Good at being angry that your X has a new partner and you don’t and he has the kids this year.

– Good at clicking the camera because you love Facebook.

– Good at “faking it” because it is the right thing to be ok with your son spending the holidays with his girlfriend’s family and not you. Yes, he gets to lead now. He is an adult. You get to not really like sharing and have to do it anyhow.

– Good at being tearful because this is the last family gathering with the grandparents around the table. Raising your glass to toast the elders you will always honor.

–  Good at being the only one overweight in the room and still having yams, “just a bit of yams, thanks.”

– Good at honestly and deeply being grateful that you are here and your life, as it is right now, is good enough. You are enough. So if you fall during the holidays, you know how to get back up and remind yourself, that you are doing the best you can right now and you are a very loving person, even with a skinned knee and puffy eyes.

Beach_BirdsMay you enjoy what makes you happy at your Thanksgiving Holiday and surprise someone with the gratitude you feel for them being in your life. You just can’t say it enough, I APPRECIATE YOU BEING SO……. With ME.

Take good care,

Natalie

 

White_Flower_6694Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?

Empty Nest Support Services

(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040

Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org

www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations

– Speaking engagements

– Support groups

– Workshops

– Mentoring

– FacebookLinked InTwitter

 

Pali High’s Holiday Boutique by the sea

November 14, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

  Pali_High_2014_Poster

 

White-Red_Flower2Thank you, Pacific Palisades High School, for inviting my photographs and gift cards, to be part of your fund raiser and holiday boutique.

If any of you are in the area Saturday, November 22, stop by for fifty creative vendor gift ideas and delicious food.

Enjoy your thanksgiving holiday. Wooded_Path

 

 

 

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next? Empty Nest Support Services (800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040 Los Angeles Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Blue_LeavesChange is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org

www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations

– Speaking engagements

– Support groups

– Workshops

– Mentoring

– FacebookLinked InTwitter

He Hurts And She Didn’t Know It

October 30, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Warm_1060906 A man shared with me that he felt numb in his relationship.  “What does that feel like, numb?” He quietly said, “without, without anything.”

His story is not singular.  He would have gone on with his daily routine except that his girlfriend gave him a line, “wake up to yourself and then sleep with me.”

She shares that she works on herself because it makes her feel safe.  She mostly relies on herself.  The unavailability of her partner was draining her because she needed some depth that went beyond work chat, goals, and dinner with friends, vacation, decorating, and morning gym workout.

She figured out what was bothering her with him.  He wasn’t feeling the same bother. He could say to her, “I get what you are saying. I just don’t spend time that way. I don’t work on myself like that.”

Sea_Bird_1120278His bravery to sit without answers and be so uncomfortable surprised him.  I sat with him as he did a free flowing write, “Without anything, without anything, without anything, I feel safe.”  There is where we began… exploring safety and exploring not feeling safe.

He had no idea that beneath his charm and success lay a young one, sleeping alone, familiar with his solitude from anything but the top cover.

Of course there is much more to his dear story that he allows me to share with you.  He has met a part of himself that had to go dormant to feel safe. He has been with a woman that he believes is the love of his life. That love fuels his attending to WITHOUT. Down the road of time together, we eventually joked about how he rarely goes in the ocean or a swimming pool, let alone, walking around in his bathing suit. Now he dives from the board into the depth of his waters.  He longs to feel love deeper, even if he hits the bottom and needs to just float awhile on and off his journey towards depth of life.

She had no idea he hurt.  He had no idea what was possible.

Oh to begin and trust that you will be ok.  You are loved.

Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations
– Speaking engagements
– Support groups
– Workshops
– Mentoring
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

Getting Over It

October 23, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Sea_Shore_1130705Mistakes. We think we can explain to ourselves why we did what we did and then let it go, but that is easier said than done.

In our group each of us shared what happened during the week that triggered our inner critic. “I talked too much and wanted to listen more.  I over gave presents, rather than one gift.  I repeated my needs over and over to my husband, like seven times in a row.”

Sounds silly, but the meal I cooked turned out so boring and tasteless.  I didn’t make the time to see my mom at the hospital every day, even though I went two days before.  I didn’t speak up at work about my creative idea because I thought it wasn’t good enough.  I said I would make calls about being part of a new project and didn’t. I didn’t even go for a long walk, let alone the gym.  I wanted to break up with my boyfriend but just feared being alone and we always do a big Halloween party here.

Those are part of the inner critic voices in our group.  What does your critic say to you?

Your inner critic doesn’t disappear. It does get less attention when you practice hearing it, and doing a reality check, “Yes, I don’t like that I did that. It is not the end of the world. I am sorry.”  You will find your own words to chat with your critic.

Key is to practice catching yourself sooner from giving it attention over and over and believing that it is such a big deal.  Maybe you can’t get over it because  you keep spinning it as  a distraction from doing something else, or your perfectionist, or your younger self that has a need to always be liked or right or your unrealistic expectations of yourself and others that blinds you. Expectations unmet can spiral you down, don’t you think?  Check in with your expectations to see if reality or fantasy.

Sand_Magic_1120940I think one way to move on is to see the bigger picture… maybe you are practicing being kind to yourself despite a mistake so  you have an experience where you did a behavior you don’t like and now have a chance to LET IT BE rather than ruin your day . Do you over think why you did what you did?  Sometimes your strength, like problem solving, can turn into your shadow, like inner critic who doesn’t LET IT BE. “I am good at that and today I wasn’t.”

Another way to shift is too notice where there have been worse things that happen and you are still here and ok.  One person shared how she gave a party for some important people in her life and it rained and she had no backup plan.  Guests were unhappy and she blamed herself for weeks. That was, as she said it, one of the worse mistakes she made. Another person shared having to get over the fact that she got caught gossiping and didn’t want to be seen as THAT kind of person.

Mistakes happen.  It isn’t easy to find a way to LET IT BE.  It is possible with practice.  Imagine how much more relaxed you could feel, if you say, WELL, that didn’t go well. I didn’t mean for it to go in that direction. Not totally sure what that was all about…  You will discover ways to move on and be kind to yourself. Sometimes we can’t get the answers we need of WHY something happened.  Sometimes, it is another part of us that just got center stage even when we didn’t want them too.

What do you want to get over today?

Take care,
Natalie

 
Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations
– Speaking engagements
– Support groups
– Workshops
– Mentoring
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

A Checklist for Retirees Returning to Work

October 17, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

checklist

As one of the Wall Street Journal Experts, Natalie’s blog was originally published at blogs.wsj.com.

When you shift back into routines and accountability after being retired, a part of you fears you made a mistake and are trapped. Your inner doubter says that you took on more than you wanted to at this stage of your life and that you will be left out of the other life you developed that didn’t include a work schedule. You get to decide who to let lead you. Who do you want to listen to that speaks in your rushing head and heart?

The mistake I see people making is that they don’t give themselves enough time to check in with different parts of themselves. We all have familiar parts that guide us and unfamiliar parts that rarely get voice time. We have parts that like making money, feeling needed, having community, parts that wonder if this the last time we will be hired. And then there are parts of us that want to play, have free time daily, do something different than work, that aren’t driven as in the past. These are examples of parts of you to have a chat with while making this decision.

In other words, make time to get to know yourself better and not only rely on what you think you know about yourself. In re-entering work, where are your “yesses” and where are your “nos” and where is there confusion when you explore your:

1. Values

2. Solo time

3. Relationships

4. Creativity

5. Finances

6. Fun time

7. Spirituality

8. Intellect

9. Wellness

What will get sacrificed? Dive deeper than the surface of what is familiar in this decision-making. Who else within you has some wisdom to share with you? Listen for inner responses to your questions. Sit with yourself more than once, and ask the question, “What would be helpful for me right now?” “What am I not thinking about or feeling?” Listen.

Reality check:

1. You want to be good at what you do.

2. Fear is expected. Action reduces anxiety.

3. You will learn something about yourself. Isn’t that a good thing?

4. You aren’t the only one who will make mistakes and show up with their flaws.

5. If you have a rule about your life, does it apply today?

6. You will find your rhythm from uncomfortable to comfortable, over and over.

7. Notice when you feel excited rather than depleted.

8. Do what is right in front of you.

9. Life doesn’t come with guarantees.

Natalie Caine (@NatalieCaine) is the owner of Empty Nest Support Services and Life in Transition.

The Empty-Nest Book Hatchery

October 16, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

nyt-hatch

Natalie was featured in the October 10th New York Times article “The Empty-Nest Book Hatchery” by Nancy M. Better.

“Typically, it takes about a year to move on,” said Natalie Caine, a Los Angeles life coach who offers specialized counseling for empty nesters. “If it goes beyond that and you’re really suffering, you should consider professional help.”

Click here to read the entire article at NYTimes.com

A Disconnected Day Leads To A Decision

October 15, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Sand_Magic_1120941She had been so happy having a week together, for one of her family’s joyous celebrations. When it ended, the void dropped her to unexpected tears. She felt left, unseen, standing alone in an airport line of strangers, with nothing to look forward to when she would return home, opening her front door, to the same same.

A big change happened. As she flew back home, trapped, as she put it, with only herself on a dry, cramped airplane.

 
She pulled out from her black purse, a yellow notepad. She wrote fast, not sentences, phrases about fears, angers and disappointments. She wrote less about her needs, until she got to the last three pages of paper.  What her writing unfolded was that she had been waiting too long for some great idea to come to her. Decision-making gets stuck, by her wanting to “BE RIGHT” and to “BE THE BEST.”

 
Yes, she has been told more than once to choose something passionate to her and take a step forward. BEGIN. Her head and feet were in the dance. Her rhythm was forgotten because she forgot to ask her heart to take her hand.

 
“DEAR HEART, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO BEGIN?  I AM LISTENING TO YOU.”  She closed her eyes, bowed her head to curl inward, and heard, “write chapters, the ending chapter, then write the first chapter, I will be with you.”  She wept and wept.  She knew it was about spending time with herself, through writing, to discover what mattered to her now. What would lift her to connect? What would she say YES to and what would she say NO THANK YOU to?
Ocean_Rays_1130061

Now home, she begins. She takes her morning walk out that front door, no music in her ear; she walks, and asks, “Remind me to practice SELF TRUST. Remind me to CATCH myself when my DOUBTER and CRITIC trap me from my passions. I am listening. Thank you.”

 
BEGIN ….YOU GET TO CHANGE YOUR MIND…BEGIN.
 

Take care,
Natalie

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations
– Speaking engagements
– Support groups
– Workshops
– Mentoring
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Did You Know About Natalie’s Art?

October 12, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | One Comment

Handmade_Art_Bazaar

Artists are gathering to welcome in the holidays.  This will be a really fun group of women.  I will be selling my photos and gift cards.

Come join us. Your invitation is below.

See you soon. ………….  Natalie Caine

Thursday and Friday, October 16 & 17, 9am-6:30pm

516 Arbramar Avenue, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

$5 Entrance Fee and 20% of all proceeds go to benefit for Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Los Angeles

 

Come fine one-of-a-kind treasures – vintage textiles, purses and bags, canvas totes, jewelry, dresses, treasure boxes, dyed panama linen straw hates, button purses, candles, greeting cards, framed art, photography, collectibles

 

Collage_1Collage_2bTeton_FieldCollage_3

If you can’t join her, email natalie@lifeintransition.org about how to purchase her art and have it sent to your home

 

Divorce

September 26, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | 3 Comments

Woman_Grieving__0131She wanted to get a new perspective about being solo now that her divorce was final, but perspective was clouded by deep sorrow.  “Just say I am sorry, just say it wasn’t your fault, just say I love how you raised our kids, just say your smile lifted me on those over worked days, just say I honestly loved you, just say you taught me to brush it off.”  When you know what you want to hear to heal and you can’t get it, now what?

She asked him to say anything personal about her and him that was positive. He couldn’t.  She wept. She wanted this pain to be over. She wondered how many times do I need to talk about this, cry about it, and sit in the dark?

When someone isn’t able to give you what you want, grieve it deeply.  Surround yourself in beauty. What is beautiful to you? Walk in nature. Find a new place that becomes sacred to you.  Be with a friend who listens and comforts you. Teach them what you need and thank them every time.   Get your music playing. Write your feelings on the computer or in a journal.  In big print, write what you APPRECIATE about yourself.

Window_5273Loss hurts. How could it not?  Change is entering the unknown, so of course you wobble and weep. Change also brings a time of reflection of who you are, who you are not, and who you might develop internally and externally.  Learning is a lifetime journey.

You will find your rhythm over and over. You will learn what matters to you and what doesn’t.  Mostly, I hope you learn to be gentle with yourself and trust this pain won’t last forever. Love will arrive.

Take good care,
Natalie

 

 

Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations
– Speaking engagements
– Support groups
– Workshops
– Mentoring
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

Happy New Year

September 23, 2014 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

Wooded_Path_4997 Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are nearing. A woman shared with me that she is no longer religious, but the memories of walking to temple, having family and friends gather, feeling a bond, singing together, and the predictable discomfort of the heat, all flood in, vibrantly.   A part of her wants that again and another doesn’t want to make the effort because she feels she no longer lives temple life.

Isn’t it common how we compartmentalize feelings and longings?  We make rules of what is and isn’t acceptable.  After deeper conversation, she also felt she didn’t want to sit in temple and miss her mom and her dad, her uncle and her cousins, and her children, that are far away and may not be going to temple in their hometown.  Feelings flooded in vibrantly.

Vulnerability.  She had been in worker mode where rarely did sentiment and the unknown sit at her desk.  We actually laughed how a yearly ritual, HIGH HOLIDAYS, that will always be on the calendar, thank goodness, effortlessly, open a not so visited part of one’s self.  LOVE and LOSS. “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. “Elizabeth Barret Brown, poet.

White_Flower_4881Memories are a precious treasure which includes tears.  You can feel them and then take those fallen petals and tuck them in your pantry. They make a very sweet challah.

However you decide to honor your HIGH HOLIDAYS, this year, whether in temple or being in nature, lighting candles, praying at home, bringing in traditional foods like matzo ball soup, brisket, carrot tsimmes, noodle kugel, and macaroons, may you celebrate your ancestors, family, friends, and YOURSELF, for all the good and all the growth in you and them, as well as, the I AM SORRY.  Honor your life and those who are and were part of your circle.  Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a collective ritual, allows your heart to be held, mend, and fold as you sip from a cup of sweetness and sorrow, grateful to simply be here for another turning of the seasons. May you embrace your gems and your flaws, and keep dreaming.

Take care,
Natalie
Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.

www.lifeintransition.org
www.emptynestsupport.com

– Private Telephone Consultations
– Speaking engagements
– Support groups
– Workshops
– Mentoring
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter

 

Natalie Caine, M.A. natalie@lifeintransition.org | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310