Natalie was recently interviewed for an article at the Chicago Tribune. You can read the article in its entirety at ChicagoTribune.com.
Below is an excerpt:
“One of the biggest challenges is unrealistic expectations,” said Natalie Caine, who offers empty nest counseling in Los Angeles.
She remembers taking her only daughter to college in New York, giving her a goodbye hug, and then, on her way back to Los Angeles, it hit her.
“I just sobbed and sobbed,” she said. She realized, “Oh my God, this is really happening. We’re really this far apart. I won’t be seeing her tonight or tomorrow morning.”
What role are you playing in your close relationships? Are you the intellect sharing the news and best book you ever read? The creative, the spiritual, the leader, the entertainer, the shoulder to cry on, the light in the room, the one who waits for cue cards and then you respond, the money advisor and giver, the planner, the forgiver, the fitness talker, etc.
You might be a combination depending on the relationship.
In our group that I was facilitating during breakfast at their apartment, I put three empty chairs and asked who had a situation they wanted to explore and receive new possibilities? The chairs were places to sit in different voices.
“Hard to say and here I go. I don’t like when you only call from the car. I feel rushed. I feel you aren’t present. Horns honking. Phone clips out. I am frustrated. It gives me the feeling you don’t want to sit with me which is what I want. I want you to call from home with no distractions. No dog. No papers shuffling. No being on the computer. No opening the cupboard for a scoop of nuts. Whew. Now I need a minute before you respond.”
We role played the different voices being expressed in this conversation. (sit in the chairs). We took a view from above and we invited our vulnerable self, our protector, our pusher, our railroader, etc., to express in different ways until she felt received, heard, and could then open to more conversation around SIT WITH ME.
We want to meet each other right where we are and we have a whole band that gets out of tune in the moment. We aren’t only bringing one part of us to the conversation.
Pausing. Noticing. Asking for help. Adjusting our body (for me, my head too forward at times), Forgiving, Feeling, Breathing, Closing your eyes for a second, Inviting Unseen help into the room, all help us love fuller. There are many tools to quiet the parts of the band that aren’t in tune.
Let’s begin with making a space to listen. I just reminded myself to breathe which I have been practicing by humming. When you call a friend on the phone be on the phone. When you meet for a walk, meet. You don’t have to have eye contact. Hand on heart.
I am remembering a man sharing with me that it is so challenging for him to share feelings with his partner. He feels that he is better at listening than sharing. He said his wife was bored and tired of going fishing for who is in there besides the chef, the father, and the worker bee.
Don’t we all have something that is a little on tilt and longs to stand tall? Begin. Maybe think of it as giving in a new way, which could be by asking your friend to listen. Letting them know they don’t have to fix or comment right away. Open to listening.
Happy Spring Blooming,
I EXPLORED THAT QUESTION DURING A FUN GATHERING AT SOMEONE’S HOME WHERE A GROUP OF FRIENDS ASKED ME TO JOIN THEM TO FACILITATE AND TEACH.
HERE ARE THEIR SHARES OF WHAT THEY DISCOVERED WOULD MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE FOR THEM:
1. I changed how I started my day. First, I looked out the window and really looked, rather than reading my emails and text. I wanted something different to do that calmed me as a beginner of my day.
3. I ended my night with a prayer. I started my morning by staying in bed a few more minutes, and asked myself, “What really matters today.” I usually just leap out of bed and get going.
4. I stopped the chatter in my head that I have been spinning about being fat. When that voice turned on, I said, “NO THANKS. You aren’t helpful.” Then I practiced thinking about something else right away, even if I looked at something right in front of me, a washcloth, a road sign, or some distraction from that same old critic. Whew, such a more loving way to be with myself.
5. I bought a sand timer and put it by my computer as a way to pause and check in with me, “What cha feeling right now?” My old way was to not take breaks and have no idea who I was.
7. I shifted my view of being solo as a stage of not having to plan with someone else, rather than the heavy critical feeling I had about being left out.
8. I asked a friend to call me in the morning for five days to help me start my day with a more positive possibility. It really made a difference because I had been so stuck.
9. I get socially anxious and I changed that to, go slowly and walk into the room and just observe. Find my rhythm.
10. It is vulnerable to share this about me. I realized I rarely say, Thank You, and now I do.
We laughed, ate simple fresh foods, and the friends shared that they felt closer to each other. Next time we are meeting at another woman’s home and she said,” be prepared to taste some foods you usually wouldn’t.” Mystery is exciting.
I appreciate that these friends said YES to my wanting to share with you how to have meaningful time with a friend and at the same time, honor their privacy. What do you think those mystery foods might be?
Enjoy your friend,
(310) 454-0040 Los Angeles, CA
Oh the joy of feeling invigorated with hope and the challenge of not getting what you wanted: Relationships seducing you, and then not being what you thought they were, work not bringing out the best in you, body doing its dance when you would rather it just sing, meditation restlessness, children texting not calling. I imagine you can relate and add to the list of what hasn’t happened that you really want.
Here are a few thoughts from our Skype group that they said I could pass on to you:
For me, I appreciate that I have cultivated a meadow of helpers that includes the unseen. The other night I was longing for someone who couldn’t be available to me. I cried. From somewhere the thought arrived, “go outside and look at the moon.” I did. It was full, bright and shining at the top of the trees, lighting the roads.
Oh wow! That unexpected beauty fed me amazement and a reminder of the bigger picture. I did feel better. I could let go of what wasn’t available and put my heart in line with the unknown.
When disappointment shuts me down, I choose kindness and sometimes buying a new red lipstick. What do you choose? What are you cultivating that builds your inner world so that no matter what is happening in the outer, you come back home to YOU?
Life in Transition
(310) 454-0040 Los Angeles
Spring Begins. I hope you are moving forward in directions that matter to you and making time to be. I am writing today to share a new offering that I am so excited to experience with you: Stay vacation or get away weekends for replenishing, fun and meaningful times with your friends. Yes, I am continuing to offer my other services, as well. So read on. And I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions.
A Little About Natalie
From a young age, Natalie has lived a life of expected and unexpected changes. She believes those times seeded a curiosity about how to navigate the unknown, find meaning in life and stay vibrant. Natalie has been featured in top media like NY Times, Associated Press, Time Magazine, and writes for the Wall Street Journal. Natalie works one-on-one with people as well as organizations, personal groups, and in corporate worlds. She regularly presents at top resorts and spas like The Golden Door, Rancho La Puerta, Cal A Vie, Red Rock Mountain and more. Natalie has been invited into private homes and vacation getaways with small and large groups. Her style is concrete, humorous, and creative. She is an entertaining story teller and you will feel like you have known her for years.
She was a Speech and Language Therapist, and woman’s group facilitator, who re-invented her career to help people navigate life’s transitions, whether expected or unexpected. Life changes constantly, yet we are not taught how to make choices and be without answers, how to hold paradoxes, let alone how to be loved when we feel awkward, lonely, unseen, limited, or bored. We were not taught how to access the parts of us that go beyond logic. Often Natalie is told by friends and groups,” Wait Natalie, let me write that down. I didn’t know how to say that until you said it that way. Wow, I never thought of that idea.”
Little did Natalie know her passion for communication would show up in different energies and experiences, like colors, tones, night dreams, visions, body sensing and healing. She is more than happy to talk about how they began and how they communicate. She built an inner world that has nothing to do with what is happening in her outer life. Just ask her. She wants to hear about yours as well. (Yes, you have had them, maybe you forgot).
What is better than having time with your best friends? Whether you choose a stay vacation, getting out of town, a fun evening or brunch in your home, we know that the fun is enhanced with meaningful conversations.
Here is how it works…….
You plan your happy time together including the location and Natalie joins you to interweave psychological, spiritual guidance, and creative choices. She offers intuitive readings and practices in how you can connect with your wisdom. Meditations, imagery and dream work are available to engage you with other parts of yourself that are dormant and now want to surface. It is simply fun having a facilitator guide and ask the poignant questions and experiences that open you to a deeper truth, a hidden passion and learning more about who you are and who you are not.
Who is this friend of mine right now and how can we support each other? Today, friendships have grown beyond the portrayal of besties in Sex and the City. More and more women are living solo and find that their friendships are their partnering. Married women make time for their girlfriends because that tribe is forever.
There is nothing so endearing than a friend who wants the best for you and carries your history of your well lived life that includes sorrows and joys. Natalie safely opens the windows and doors for a fresh view.
We have a fantasy about big groups of besties. Truth is, if you have one or two, you are blessed. What we adore about our friends is we can say anything, make mistakes, be vulnerable, excited, and forgiven. We can be busy and not call for a while and pick up right where we were. When all else falls away, friendship remains.
I remember one evening when we were sitting on the sofas in pajamas and socks, and a woman said,” I have so much in my life, but the truth is something is missing. Honestly, I am tired of hearing myself tell the same stories about me. I feel like I am wasting time and stuck. Over the many conversations I have had in my personal life and work, I consistently notice we don’t ask for help. We play a role in our friendships, like the initiator, the care taker, the light, etc. A question to ask is, “what is my role with you and do I want a new one?”
You have a full orchestra inside you, longing to come out and play, longing to be more than the drummer, cymbals, or violin.
So you decide if you want Natalie to join you during your weekend getaway, stay vacation, or series of luncheons or dinners in your home.
Natalie has a field of ideas to choose from to customize your experience once you begin the conversation with her about your friendship time together.
Example of a weekend gathering format:
(Natalie usually leaves by noon on Sunday.)
Luncheons, a series of four, can include locations shifting each time to another friend’s home.
The scheduling can be:
I am excited to engage and explore with you. Email or call with your thoughts and questions, and pricing.
Spring Beginnings… Take good care,
(310) 454-0040 Los Angeles email@example.com
You know those weeks where you are singularly focused and then you are at a Saturday lunch with a friend? You notice your shoulders are dropped, bellies out, and you effortlessly are listening, and engaging. You feel birthed anew.
During lunch, I told my friend how vulnerable I felt crying in front of a new friend. She said, “I wouldn’t be able to cry like that and tell a new friend about the loss I was feeling. You, though, have a way of staying with it. You find words that land so safely. I stumble and freeze when vulnerable. I quickly go to what is she thinking about me right now? Better stop.”
I thanked my friend for sharing something about me that I hadn’t thought about. I told her that it is predictable later my critic will say, “Really, you told her that so soon.” I hopefully let that voice pass me by.
I don’t want to lose the courage I had to be me in the moment with that new person. Who knows.
I hadn’t planned on being vulnerable. I didn’t know what I was going to say or do and I just opened to that pulse. I thought I would choose who I want to be vulnerable with and who I don’t. Well that idea flew out the window when I was crying in front of a new friend. I actually don’t regret it.
My friend shared with me that she is working on not focusing on her sore yoga shoulder. She is attending to it and saw a doctor, which she delayed because the loud spinning chatter in her head fed her doubts. Her doubter says it will be a waste of time and the dr. will just say ice, rest, and take an anti-inflammatory.
We laughed saying, “Well, what would you want him to say, oh you are imagining that pain, there is nothing there, oh you have arthritis just part of aging, oh you need surgery.” It’s not so much about what the doctor would say, we just don’t like being interrupted with a life we aren’t choosing called pain in the shoulder.
Her style with pain is do the best she can to heal it and not be angry at her body. Learn to call the doctor when pain shifts for the worse and delete the words telling her,” Oh, I don’t want to bother him.” When she is in pain, she likes to get distracted doing what she enjoys, researching.
She doesn’t want to fall down the negative trap of LIFE SUCKS and it is only going to get worse with body pains now that I am getting OLDER. We tell each other stories about our neighbors who are still biking at 91, starting Pilates at 79, and traveling by themselves at 87. We are committed to reminding each other we have a long happy life ahead of us, so keep choosing, and we can also share about pain or inconveniences our bodies unexpectedly deliver us.
Masks on. Masks off. Oops. Forgiveness. Encouragement. Crisis. Getaways together for new views, fun, and relaxation. Our friendships add meaning to our lives.
Oh the questions of life, let’s hope they keep unfolding!
In our friendship council we assessed:
In relationship, I just keep teaching, suggesting new ways he could act. In my work, I over extend my creative ideas or actions, like a kite out of control rather than being with what is, pausing, weeping, and appreciating. I guess that sounds like a bit of denial for sorrow and a pusher who just tells me do something right now. Make it work. No acceptance for what is right now. Don’t pause. Go Go Go. Ok, breathing, will you help me with this behavior that I don’t like so much? Do you do things like that?
There is a myth that tells you that you need a lot of friends. If you have one or two friends, you are blessed. Friendships grow us. They help us accept and dream big, holding paradoxes. Friends bring out parts of us that are waiting to surface. They keep you interesting and interested.
What conversation do you want to have with a friend today?
NATALIE CAINE, M.A. is returning to THE GOLDEN DOOR RESORT and SPA, near San Diego, April 10-16, 2016 to present and explore with you, “Life in Transition, Now What?”
You are at a crossroad. You aren’t who you use to be and not yet who you will be. Time to take a view from above. Here are a few of the experiences you will receive during our time together:
Learn what you need to let go of and what you want to reach towards, from a sense of hope and possibilities verses desperation.
Discover who you are and who you aren’t and, from there, gather inner and outer resources to take a step forward.
Experience an inner space of well-being that has nothing to do with what is going on in your outer world.
Noticing during a conversation, what collapses you, speeds you up, and how a small body shift can bring you back to center.
How do you access parts of you that had to go dormant and now want to surface, in order to feed your new creativity and to build a more meaningful life?
Practice heart-felt conversations with what is visible and invisible?
Come with a friend or make new ones. Visit The Golden Door website. Learn what they offer and see their beauty. I think you will love the everyday massage in your room, the staff who go beyond being there for your mind, body, and spiritual needs, the Japanese landscape that includes hikes, delicious meals in the garden and dining room.
Natalie will be offering private sessions in your room. Call The Golden Door (888) 523-9927 for information about your week of relaxation and renewal. You are also welcome to contact Natalie through email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or phone call (310) 454-0040
“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
But it won’t be surprising if Letterman second-guesses his decision to exit the airwaves, said Natalie Caine, a California-based consultant to retirees from the worlds of acting and politics.
Similar to anyone entering retirement, Letterman is letting go of his career identity, daily routine, workplace support network and camaraderie of colleagues.
Setting him apart from other retirees are traits, for better or worse, that accompanied his rise to the top.
Known to be a harsh self-critic, Letterman lives for making the show but fully expects that things will go wrong. When things go right, the show has been his one reliable gauge of positive feedback.
Now, suddenly, yank.
They believe in you. They give to you because they want you to feel that you matter. They want you to have bricks under your feet. They want you to feel hugged.
We forget to visit happy memories as moon light to help you stand, over and over when you collapse, and when you simply love life. They know you will doubt, fear, cry, freeze, and beam all through your life. They want you to remember what they whispered or showed you. They want you to pause and feel those supported moments. Those moments are within you. Call on them. Thank them. Pass on what you know has helped you.
Whether they are here or gone, you stand with precious memories, as do they.
Someone believes in you. How do you want to appreciate you and them? Pause , daily check in with you, and begin.
Congratulations and take good care,
Natalie Caine M.A.
Los Angeles, CA
“Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.”
Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and more…
The joy of being outside lifts creativity easily seeds calmness that may have felt buried for months. Welcome!
I shared my new photography collage piece with a group of women while supporting them to dive deeper within themselves.
With their permission, here are a few of their depths.
1. I can’t forgive because then I have to move forward with her. I have to then move forward with me.
2. I thought I wouldn’t miss my kids so much. I do. I feel weak for not, “having a life.” I distract myself too much with nonsense.
3. Love is action. I know. I know. Where am I called to give my love? Where?
4. I spin on one channel. I don’t know how to stop unless you hold my hand.
5. I judge me daily in the hopes it will motivate me. It crashes me. I see that now.
6. I need to have answers before I commit. I have been burned over and over with fantasy. I want a solid plan.
7. Can I buy your collage? Is that a deep dive? My humor gets me through my illness that is unpredictable.
8. I adore my solo time and have to watch to not hibernate too much. Safe. Unknown makes me shy.
9. I put that photo on my wall and that week I got the call I wanted. Sure, I had been waiting a long long time, and I got the call. The wait is in the past. The road is wide open now and I am going to travel it with gratitude and some fear. I have never worked there before. I am putting my wise one from within in the passenger seat.
There were many sweet, touching SPRING shares.
I hope you are finding time to be in nature and to meet new parts of you that had to go dormant.
Who wants to come out and play, and be connected with others? How can you step towards that this week?
Natalie Caine M.A.
Los Angeles, CA
“Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.”
Featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and more…
As one of the Wall Street Journal Experts, Natalie’s blog was originally published at blogs.wsj.com.
NATALIE CAINE: When heading toward retirement or sitting in this stage of life, doubts and regrets inevitably visit. It can be a painful time. But it’s also the perfect time to dig deeper, to find out more about yourself – and come out happier and more content for it.
One of the most common questions I am asked by people close to retirement, or already retired, is, “why at times do I feel so off or unhappy when this is a good time in my life?” From my experience, the answer is often this: You didn’t have the opportunity to explore what didn’t come into your life nor have you given yourself permission to grieve about what you haven’t accomplished.
A woman, for instance, shared with me that she thought she would be re-married. Another believed her finances would be stronger than they were: She had planned so well – but didn’t see it coming that she would lose her job. She regretted that five years earlier, she had wanted to leave that company, but hadn’t. Another talked about how strong he was during a cycle of illness, but hadn’t allowed himself to feel or talk about the financial loss because he wanted to keep positive. A couple thought they would be grandparents and that was nowhere in sight. They never imagined not being able to have those little ones spend the night and wake up for play days with granny and poppy.
All of them would sit on the surface of these pains. Some had decided to simply push through the pain. Others talked about not crying over spilt milk. Others expressed that so many people have it worse.
What was absent from all these people was the deeper dive into heart and tears, into the pain that was there but barely acknowledged. They wanted tools to dive deeper. Here are some of the tools that I’ve found useful. Not to dwell on the grief, but to at least acknowledge it before moving on.
Practices to Move Forward:
1. Take a walk in nature and have a conversation with yourself, ” I forgot to…., I thought about and didn’t….I hoped by now I would have…” Pause along your walk. When you feel something from within. Take it in.
2. Write. Writing integrates your thoughts and surprises you when you simply begin to write. The act of writing takes you where you may not have been able to go by verbal conversation. “I feel badly that I never did….. I took this road and now looking again, I wish I had….. I want my younger self to know that…… I want my older than today self to see that..”
3. Grieve. Allow your tears to fall. If you aren’t able to access those feelings, put on music that might induce sadness.
4. Make the call. If there is someone on your mind, call and express the regret. Call up your courage. The anxiety is worse than the reality of the action.
5. If there isn’t a way to call the person, visualize them, or meditate and imagine what you want to say. Create a safe space in your imagination to express yourself. You will feel better.
6. Sometimes we can’t name the regret. We feel something. Ask in whatever way you ask for help, to release what is causing you sadness, immobility at times, depression. If you know the disappointments and regrets, ask yourself for help with letting them go now.
7. Remind yourself that life is complex and a mystery. Certain parts of you are more available to you than others – for example, the doer vs. the playful side. This is true for everyone. So try a little tenderness. Invite another part of you to come forward. Wait. Listen. Sense a response. You may want to try this more than once in a day.
8. Remind yourself that you do what you can to have a peaceful life and yet, life happens, unexpected changes come. Give yourself permission to grieve what didn’t arrive or decisions you made that now you doubt. Sometimes a blossom is not visible, but roots are growing. Check in with how life really is for today is being able to appreciate yourself and others.
As time moves forward, your life asks for more reflection. Become an observer of your life rather than a critic. Practice taking yourself lightly forward and keep digging in the dirt for your treasures.
With the permission of the group and not revealing any names, I share with you:
In our woman’s group, we began with that sentence. Each woman wrote a line and passed it around the table, adding on, not stopping to read. Kleenex on the table, white unscented tall candle lit, circled by yellow daffodils, chocolate mints and apricots in bowls, coffee and tea. The paper moved quickly in the beginning…
1. I am an only child who walks with crippling perfectionism.
2. I am an over doer, little feelings for me. Just keep me busy.
3. I was married five times. I am not a failure.
4. I had an abortion. No regrets
5. I drank for fun. Still seeking fun.
6. I never really loved my partner for more than two years. Should have left. Feared being lonely. I was only 28.
7. My parents slept in separate bedrooms. Why?
8. My brother could do no wrong.
9. I let boys kiss me.
10. I was such a good girl that now I want to be bad, a little bad.
11. I always wanted to make a difference in the world and instead chose to be home with our kids.
12. I feared God.
13. I change my outfits way too many times before I get out the door.
14. I get anxious when I go to work.
15. I survived a life threatening illness when I was very young.
16. My parents divorced and I don’t know why.
17. I just didn’t feel like anyone knew me.
18. I wasn’t smart so I kept quiet.
19. I wasted my college years.
20. I never had that true best friend.
• I was a couch potato and hate that no one in my family encouraged me to get outside and move. Bad habits are hard to change. There I said it, I blame them.
• I always had to do more chores than anyone else. Don’t get that. Now I want others to do for me. Take care of me. Don’t yell at me.
• I was never chosen to be on any teams. Insecure about belonging.
• I was the leader right after college. Could someone else take the lead?
• I don’t understand why people don’t invite me over. Why don’t they call after we have been together? Sick of it.
• I get too many ideas and never really get going with any because I want a winner first. I’ve been burned with collaborating.
• I just have trouble trusting that it is worth it.
• I get caught in comparing myself to others. Not just looks, everything in life. I drive myself crazy sometimes.
• My kids aren’t as nice as I wish they would be. I wasn’t either as a kid, nice so much. I was needy and dramatic.
• I have always been a really hard worker and still I don’t feel special.
• I was raped in my twenties and only told my room mate. I don’t like to remember.
• Parenting is exhausting because they seem to never get unselfish.
• I go back because it is too frightening to go forward. I know he won’t rise up and say, I love you so much. I will do anything. You have done so much for me.
• Someone poisoned my dog. I just can’t get another pet.
• I don’t like being older because my body is slower and unpredictable with pains. I don’t talk about it.
• I pretend I like eating alone.
• I worry about my kid because she isn’t dating.
There were more vulnerable words. Some may not sound like their HISTORY and to them, it is THEIR HISTORY. It is theirs to be responded to. They want you to KNOW them. They want to know THEMSELVES better.
I read them out loud when we finished. If someone wanted to STAND because they felt that too or wrote that, they could. HUG time. Then we all talked and added some WISDOM and CONDOLENCES.
One of my favorite things is gathering for SUPPORT. Diving a little DEEPER in our CONVERSATIONS, sharing food, and feeling we BELONG. I honestly feel honored that they allow me to facilitate their circles and be a part of their lives. Don’t we all want meaning in life no matter what our age is!
Stay connected and take care,
Natalie Caine M.A.
Life In Transition, What’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
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.
Natalie Caine, M.A. email@example.com | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310