Natalie was interviewed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article “Period of adjustment: ‘Empty-nesters’ look to tears — and travel” by Len Barcousky. Here’s an excerpt:
Natalie Caine says tears — shed by both fathers and mothers — are not unusual during such transition times. Ms. Caine leads workshops and counsels couples and individuals as they face a variety of life changes. She is a native of Wheeling, W.Va., who now bases her practice in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. For the past 15 years her areas of specialty have included “empty nest” support services.
Ms. Caine has had personal experience with this particular life change. Her only child, a daughter, selected a college in New York City, 3,000 miles from California.
In a recent phone conversation, Mrs. Caine emphasized that each family situation is unique. Do not measure yourself and your “empty nest” reaction to those of your neighbors, she advised. Each family and each parent within that family likely will deal with the transition — which she compared to a grieving process — differently.
Natalie was interviewed for the AARP article “How to Cope With an Empty Nest” by Sarah Elizabeth Adler.
Here’s an excerpt:
That said, if you’re distraught, you’re not alone. Natalie Caine, the founder of Empty Nest Support Services (which she started the year before her own daughter left for college), says that grieving is normal, whether you’re launching a first child or the last,
“Be gentle with yourself,” she says. “What you’re grieving is that the role you had as a parent is different now.” And just as some parents experience more grief than others, Caine says it’s entirely normal for your feelings about different children’s departures to vary.
It is amazing we never had classes in school that prepared us for the unexpected. I know we are spread across the country and want a place to share and learn new ways to live with the unknown.
Therefore, again, I am happy to offer my facilitating and presenting during our hour virtual gathering. I hope you join us.
Space is limited in order for each person to have a safe time to share. Who knows, you might meet someone who lives right down the street from you. This happened with two women in New Jersey.
We all commit to “nothing we share leaves this room”. There will be experiential learning so have paper and pencil.
Natalie Caine M.A re-invented her career to fit a new passion—helping people travel their road of change. She is an honest, humorous, compassionate teacher who is packed full of suggestions for the unexpected. She knows these roads because she had to figure it out and learn from a long list of unexpected changes that arrived over and over during her life. Just ask her and she is happy to share with you her experiences.
She has shared wisdom, tips, and comfort with thousands of people across the globe as they deal with happy and challenging life transitions and has been a top speaker at resorts and spas, RANCHO LA PUERTA, THE GOLDEN DOOR, CAL A VIE, RED MOUNTAIN, OJAI, as well as conferences, private and corporate settings. Natalie mentors all ages which includes how to say what you want to say so you expand rather than contract a conversation and how to discover what matters to you now and turn that into creative work.
Natalie is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and has been featured in top media, including Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, MariaShriver. com, Better Homes and Gardens, N. Y. Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald.
She is looking forward to participating at The GLOBAL WELLNESS SUMMIT in Italy, sharing that learning with you, and visiting friends and family over the summer months.
You can always find Natalie cooking, re- arranging the furniture, walking in nature, writing and reading in bed, where she just doesn’t want to give up pretzels and mustard.
Natalie loves chatting about movies that freaked her out or brought her to tears. She starts her day looking out the window excited to see the beauty. Her inner world is a daily practice, as well as, analyzing her sleep dreams.
Happy moment is when her daughter calls to share a night dream she had! She is voted by her friends the most likely to get it done, let it go, make you laugh, and feed you well. She is not the one they ask to go skiing unless that means sipping and sitting by the fire with you.
Her motto is be a kind role model. Her pet peeve is people who double park blocking a lane.
She wants to hear from you. Email Natalie or call to be a part of this Virtual Gathering and for registration. Everyone gets uplifted from each other because they realize they aren’t alone.
Posted in the Palisadian Post Aug 31, 2017
I drove to Santa Barbara to be with my friend who I have known for twenty-five years. We don’t get enough face-to-face time because she no longer lives in California, as I do.
Isn’t it the best knowing you are going to be with someone who gets you, who carries your HISTORY, who could care less if you wear MAKE UP? We know we LOVE each other. We have been able to mend the hurt we caused or the blind spots that kept us from really “SEEING” and “BEING” with each other. Both of us have been through struggles and pain as well as celebrations and joy. LIFE, we share it…
It is fun for me to pack treats for her that she can’t easily access: apricots, peaches, blueberries, sierra gold potatoes, California Rose and Red wine, Los Angeles local yogurt, cheese and crackers. with a side of olives and homemade hummus. Of course, there is always room for desserts, orange zest pound cake; yes, it is full of butter, and macaroon drop cookies.
Our RHYTHMS are so similar. We are early risers who like to chat over coffee at home and then get out the door to explore. NEGOTIATING is effortless; CHANGING the plans doesn’t cause TANTRUMS, and the one listening more than TALKING, doesn’t feel being USED nor self-centered.
We wouldn’t be FRIENDS this long if we DENIED how each of us sees things. “That didn’t happen, that’s not how it came down,” nor do we NAME CALL when sharing feelings, “Oh you are so SENSITIVE.” We don’t feel SUPERIOR to the other and we don’t change the SUBJECT to lead the other off course.
Each of us has learned how to SELF-CARE, “Sorry, I have to go to bed. I’m tired.” “Ugh, I am spinning that disappointment in my head that I told you about yesterday. I can’t stop re playing what happened. I know we talked about it already. Would you remind me, again, what might help me right NOW and wait until I get PAPER and PENCIL to take notes?”
Our EXPECTATIONS are in check. I need to eat more often than she does. I like being outside, so she knows that request is coming her way. I know she likes to have directions ahead of time of exactly where the hike, museum, play, restaurant, etc., is located. Relying on apps isn’t enough security for her.
Laughing and made up words always arrive. The SCHMONGON SISTERS will be there for LOUPINOFFS. Then we get into stories that can turn our FANTASY IDEAS into playful thoughts that the WORLD just has to have. We talk about our past relationships, projects that slid down the drain, not feeling the AGE that shows up in the morning MIRROR, fun experiences we have had, personal and world dreams for tomorrow, and of course, family. We chat about the UNKNOWN and conclude, sometimes, that for now, this is how it is.
Friendships, at any age after COLLEGE and beyond, seem to be more difficult to CULTIVATE, especially if you live in a BIG city or aren’t part of a face-to-face work or INTEREST group community. Have you noticed that too?
For others, it is not that they need MORE friends. It is that they long for deeper more MEANINGFUL conversations and the COURAGE to say STOP IT to the same old conversations and then be able to head in a new direction for connecting.
Maybe it will be helpful to get a view from above yourself and ponder the question, “WHAT WOULD I LIKE IN A FRIENDSHIP? WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE and WHAT WOULD I LIKE TO RECEIVE THESE DAYS?”
What I learned when facilitating my workshops about friends is that they want more inclusion, they want to be asked questions that maybe they haven’t thought about, and they want less texting. They feel they have creativity and wisdom to share but everyone is hurried or has agendas and they don’t know how to interject what they want to give the friend.
TAKE GOOD CARE,
You know how you have an idea and you are flowing along and then you lose momentum? It happens. What I hope for you is that along with the reality that energy shifts, that you also remind yourself not to allow your inner critic to add fuel to your STOP ZONE.”
You get all these ideas. You start and then as usual, you are all talk and no action. What is wrong with you?” Does that critic voice sound familiar? It happens to all of us in our creative process and in our creativity with our relationships.
IF YOU KNOW it is natural for the critic to arrive, you will be less punishing towards yourself than having blinders on that all will go well every day and that you can always figure it out by yourself. Sometimes you need a sounding board or an expert in the field.
When your inner critic is diminishing you, you can say, “THANK YOU FOR SHARING. I am uncertain about my next step and this happens to everyone. So BUG off.”
You move into a more compassionate, empowering voice. You CAN’T get rid of your inner critic and you CAN give it LESS of your time.
I have also noticed in mentoring others, whether it is re-inventing their careers, re-entering the world after a long pause, or helping them map out a plan for their project that is reality vs. fantasy based, that people feel badly telling me they only have so much money in their budget for me to help them.
My job is to ask the questions for you to pause and then discover what is true for you and what you need. It is vulnerable for some to come to the table with what they think is a “boring dish or no dish at all.” You are still welcome at the table.
No worries, I have been there, so I understand the not knowing where to begin or what to ask for when it comes to being supported.
Take good care,
Adoption or birth of a child, fathers are ecstatic playing with their children. The love they give and receive changes them. Sure, you hear the stories of how they are showing up more by getting time off and taking it from work and how some are happily taking the role of care-taker as their wives drive off to work.
What I have been hearing from couples is the dream come true stories of finally being able to AFFORD to be parents and the TEAMING with their partner from spontaneously figuring out how to parent.
More and more couples are getting dogs first to see how well they do with teaming and getting up and out the door early or after work to walk the dog.
Some fathers have talked about how different they are parenting than their dad did, “my dad was more quiet about asking me questions about my friendships or school. I am more chatty with my eight year old daughter than he was.”
Fathers stare at the beauty of their child and are drawn into the deep automatic love they are feeling. It pauses them from the other roles they carry in the family.
I always hear, “I had no idea how tired we would be and how in love we have fallen for our child. I am changed by this love. I just want to do all I can to be here for them.
I do at times miss the free weekends we had before birthday parties and soccer games, but I will get better at having the grand parents help out and not feeling like I am missing out by not being with my kids.”
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. THANK YOU. THANK YOU, for teaching and being love.
I wasn’t surprised when I asked the women to write a short response to those above questions and many felt stuck. They said, “I don’t know what to write.” Part of the stuckness is we focus on the problem solving that is needed for the day or the TO DO LIST, don’t you think?
Who shares during a walk with a friend or dinner or at work, what is awesome about them or what compliments people passed to them during the week? My guess is not too many people. You know why that doesn’t happen; bragging, self- centered, so what, and the thoughts in your head go on and on as to why not talk about the JOY of YOU.
Do you think it is self-centered? Do you think it is boring? Do you think it goes nowhere so you don’t bring it up where as “issues” ignite more of a back and forth conversation? What do you think?
Well, I invite you this week to share the JOY OF YOU. Share and ask your friends, colleagues, kids, parents, partners, what they enjoy, what they are good at, and what acknowledgments people have given them over the months?
PS – The last one might be the most challenging. Awkward is normal, so go ahead and be, “normally awkward.” People get to PASS if they don’t want to respond to the questions when you ask them, just a heads up about that happening because it could happen.
Share with us. Leave a comment or email. We will listen and even get inspired by the JOY OF YOU.
They can’t believe they are viewing their child, grown, and crossing the stage to receive that diploma. For some families, it hasn’t been an easy relationship and today they are choosing to celebrate the milestone.
Parents shared how much they love having family together, creating more happy memories. They miss those who have died and aren’t in the room. Some feel their discomfort of being divorced or widowed. A range of feelings and thoughts quickly visit parents during graduation ceremonies and parties.
Among the hugs, gift giving, and pass the salad, parents are wondering, NOW WHAT? How often will I hear from my kids and who will I become now that my children need me less. Honestly and embarrassingly they share, I STILL NEED THEM.
I should get over it and make a better life for myself. I should be grateful my kid graduated and are more independent. I should have been more fun and not just have been the disciplinarian or worrier. I should have let them have more sleepovers. The SHOULD list goes on and on.
What I have noticed is we all spend time listing lists of shoulds and coulds. Those lists occupy our mind, keep us busy so to speak, and also help us reflect.
When I asked the parents, WHAT WILL YOU MISS, the feeling in the room changed. When I asked, WHAT WON’T YOU MISS, laughter arrived. When I asked, WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT YOURSELF AS A PARENT, few hands rose to share. It took a bit more time to dig in and find what values and meaning they feel they add to their child’s life.
Complementing ourselves gets buried because we judge it as bragging. BRAG ON. It was easier for parents to chat about the loneliness they feared and some anxiety about what their relationship with their kids would be like NOW. What’s the new role for the grads and the parents?
CONGRATULATIONS PARENTS. You have been the teacher and the student on this journey towards graduation with your children. LOVE, oh what it asks us to be and do!
Take good care,
Last week I was feeling disappointed. I could not muster up forgiveness or compassion to shift my funk. No matter what I was saying to myself, I was not feeling any better. So, I coached myself to throw on my leggings, big t-shirt, and drive to one of my favorite neighborhoods. I let go of taking my camera since it was one more thing to do and what I really needed was to get out the door and not change my mind.
Harder to coach myself out of bed since it was 6:00 am but the love of beauty and silence in the world at that hour, got me in the car. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going but I knew the homes and landscapes in that neighborhood made me feel like I was on vacation in paradise. I parked the car, taking my keys and cell phone. Neither people nor cars were moving for about twenty minutes of my walk. There were unexpected ravens sounding as they flew above and squirrels crossing on fences. Then a man and his black dog, then two guys on their bikes, and one male runner. No women.
Roses, hydrangeas, birch trees, magnolia leaves and buds, big house gates, modern and contemporary. I stared at the roots of trees bursting through lawns and sprawling beyond their home. HEAVEN FOR ME to be an early walker in this BEAUTY. The beauty easily held me. Nothing but what I was seeing was on my mind. Sadness was gone.
You know I talk about how we all have an orchestra within us and it helps to have access to more than the drummer or violin voice. Thank goodness, my beauty seeker VOICE got the attention that morning. I don’t know about you but I have this loving habit of saying THANK YOU, often. “THANK YOU FOR GETTING ME INTO BEAUTY. THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME WHAT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER.” Can you relate to bad moods and so wanting them to end?
My friend invited me to come join she and her six friends for a brunch at her house and lead a discussion about UNCERTAINTY.
I began with a story about a woman I know. She wanted me to share this story, not her real name. Nicole has two children and lives solo. Actually, her husband is in the same house she lives in but in separate bedrooms. She has lived in separate bedrooms for two years. Most of their interaction is data based about work, schedules, finances, and health in the family. They attend “events” together but not always.
Nicole does not have her head in the sand. She knows this is not an ideal way to partner. She also knows this is what she can HANDLE for now. She has gotten advice from lawyers, therapists, family members, friends, colleagues all wondering what is she waiting for when she knows this is a dead end partnering?
WAITING. There is always an orchestra of voices within giving advice of what to do. “Just pull the band aid off and get it over with. It will never be the right time. Oh, but there is so much that the two of you had that was great. Find that again. You aren’t getting any younger and soon you will have slim pickings. You are just stuck in fear choices rather than love choices. Did you meditate on it or ask for a night dream? You made a commitment. You need to keep it.”
Uncertainty can birth new parts of you to help you through the not knowing yet, like living with DISCOMFORT, being extra KIND to yourself rather than the critic or PUSHER buzzing in your ears, and LOYALTY to self, meaning make time to PAUSE and check in with you: How are you? (I’m scared and lonely). How else are you (I’m so mad at him and can’t stop thinking about that and then I am mad at me.) Those are examples of how to check in with yourself. Also ask yourself, WHAT do I NEED TODAY? “I need to take a drive with good music playing and then get out of the car for a walk in the city. Stimulation around me that is uplifting. “What else might you need today, “to brave up and ask my partner what he is thinking about our future.”
I hope I stay curious about why someone is doing or not doing what they are doing and not jump to fixing or advising. When asked what to do by a friend, I hope I take the time to BE with them, listen, bring some questions to the discussion, and ask if they want me to offer some thoughts that I have right now. Yes, to engage with them and participate in their pondering. When you love someone, you just want to MAKE IT ALL BETTER and better might be not having an answer, saying that, and sitting with each other in that energy of not knowing yet.
Take good care,
Can You Relate To This Story?
“If I tell them that I feel anxious, I am afraid they won’t include me. It just seems easier to be in the cult of wellness that is talking about cycling, juicing with added turmeric, organic food, meditation, getting into nature. Right now I am going through BIG CHANGES and I want to talk about how anxious I am. I want to talk about how I don’t like change. I get irritable and feel angry.”
Articles and books talk about, “SEVEN TIPS TO PEACE,” Tips, this is my life, not a how to make a flowerpot. I am deep in the dirt about the uncertainty of where my life is headed.
Honestly, I don’t want tips or tools. I think if I had to name what I want, it is comfort from another. Focus on ME. Well, that was hard to say out loud. FOCUS ON ME. Sounds selfish. Listen and then maybe say something like,” Wow, that must feel horrible today. I too would be so disappointed, anxious, if I were living that right now.”
I think I would feel less embarrassed and more able to speak up about my anxiety if others talked about being anxious at times. Story time about anxious experiences. I can’t be the only one who walks around feeling uncomfortable about entering a room, making a phone call, shopping, going to a wedding. Yes. I not only am so uncomfortable with these changes I am living, but just ordinary social life can spin me at times.
My friend shared, “Maybe we all lack the practice of forgiveness. Maybe we could add stories of how we had to forgive ourselves to the topic list of true stories we share with each other.
Take good care,
Natalie Caine, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310