Whether empty nest, divorce, new career, re-locating, illness, loss, grand parenting, friendship, etc., there were common questions asked in my groups, one on one and by my friends. I wonder if you can relate?
1. I have done all I can do to make this work and it isn’t. I feel frustrated, sad, and defeated. I thought if we had open, listening, asking, responding, discussions that we could work this out. Why doesn’t talking about it and negotiating our differences lead to a happy solution? Why? Could it be you are asking for something where the skills aren’t there in that person and the person is telling you that they don’t want to work at making those new skills happen?
2. I am always the one who reaches out to get together. We have fun. Then I don’t hear from that person. What the heck is that about? Maybe another question is, “what would happen if you asked that person why you haven’t heard from them?” Vulnerable I know.
3. I can’t believe how sad I am about my son leaving for college. Really, this is a reason to be sad? We have been preparing for this for years. What’s up with me? When you love someone and they aren’t going to be around as often, of course you are sad. Who wouldn’t be?
You may be dropping into the deeper grieving that the role you loved as parent is changing and you don’t know what the new role will be? They lead more now and you might be feeling a little more in the background of their new journey. What are you feeling and thinking about at this stage of your life? What are you longing for and what had to go dormant that now wants to surface?
4. I am anxious, depressed. It is not only the chaos and changes in our country, it is in my life. I don’t enjoy my relationship anymore and my job is boring. Too many changes at one time? One of the changes you are feeling is that you don’t have answers today. You are sitting in the unknown and that is uncomfortable for sure.
Our mind always wants answers. The unknown offers new perceptions, asking for help, patience, and trial and error. Daily practices, like being in nature, prayer, candles, music, asking for guidance from something or someone larger than you, recording your night dreams, are a few ways to receive when answers aren’t available, yet. Up your curiosity and compassion by saying something like.” I am not going to be forgotten and within me is a safe harbor, let me go there, sit, take deep breaths, put my shoulders down, and BE. You are loved.
This year and it is not over, I attended to DOING WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW I MIGHT BE GOOD AT. I know the parts of me that shine, rise up, fall in: leadership, listening, pausing, spiritual practices, communicating, problem solving together, cooking, photography, care-taking, writing, changing, weeping, silliness, and being still.
What I didn’t know was that I could accept what is for a longer stretch of time, rather than spinning in my active mind because life wasn’t as I wanted it to be that day. I am better at keeping false verses realistic expectations in check. I could enjoy the moment fuller and not have it lead to something else which discounts my joy.
I traveled more back-to-back schedules out of town and felt fantastic. I think drinking more water, carrying more protein in my purse, going for quick walks, and increasing my meditation, as well as, saying out loud to the energies that I know want to help, “walk with me, keep me aware and grounded.” As some of you know, I have an inner library of things I can try to ease pain, fear, and doubts.
You also know from our sharing stories together what spins me, what comforts me, what brings me to my knees, and how I LOVE CHANGE.
Take good care and share some of the questions you have these days. You are welcome to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. As you noticed, I didn’t go paddle boarding. I didn’t write a book with brilliant lifesaver thoughts and helpers. I didn’t learn to code, yet.
My GIFT from making the choice to MOTHER ANOTHER is, it took me out of my rapid MIND and into my wiser HEART. That is ongoing for me. My daughter is my teacher of what love IS and ISN’T. Love is complex, a mystery, and worth it.
Mothering sits me in the unknown and invites me to shift gears. It calls me to dig for parts of me I haven’t met yet that have been waiting and waiting to be heard. Other times, it’s a fun, easy day, or gratefully, an ordinary day.
I have sacrificed, chosen, and deeply cared for another, which of course I thought I could do, and yet, do you really know that until you are with that person day after day, year after year?
Many mothers have shared with me their happiness, regrets, and tears of parenting. Thank goodness we have each other, even when we live cities and countries apart. We need the village. We need to share our stories and ask for help. We need to ask questions and hear suggestions. We need to talk about what we are good at, what hasn’t arrived in our lives that we thought would by now, what we lost.
What might we be open to adding and what painfully do we need to hug goodbye. Deep MEANINGFUL questions about our precious lives. I know some struggle with, WHERE IS THAT TRIBE OF PEOPLE? I HAVE BEEN LONGING TO BE WITH THEM.
I want to acknowledge that some of our mothers are gone now, and some mothers weren’t very good at mothering. We feared we wouldn’t be either, maybe by not being available or being the “helicopter mom.” We weep about that loss. We weep about PARTNERING that doesn’t happen as you thought it would. We weep about NOT GETTING the kind of child you wanted. I am beyond grateful for the COURAGE and time women sit together, call together, be together to dive deeper into conversations that add meaning to their life and ours. We feel the belonging.
PS – How many of you have had to remind your kids SUNDAY IS MOTHER’S DAY AND YOU WANT A HAND WRITTEN LOVE NOTE?
Natalie was interviewed for the UC Observer article “Empty nests, broken hearts” – How today’s ultra-engaged parents suffer when their children take flight by Anne Bokma.
Here’s an excerpt:
“It can crash a lot of people. I see symptoms in parents like deep depression, immobilization and not eating,” says Natalie Caine, a Los Angeles life coach who offers specialized counselling for empty nesters. “People get angry when empty nesters feel sad, and they’ll say things like ‘Why don’t you just go volunteer?’ But their grief is real.”
I had the joy of returning to THE GOLDEN DOOR RESORT and SPA to present “Navigating the Unknown, Life in Transition,” for a week. I know some of you were sitting at dinner during this interview and others couldn’t attend.
I was interviewed by Kathy Van Ness, COO/General Manager of the Golden Door as part of their Speaker Series. (Click the link below to view the interview)
Change is possible, especially when we make time for ourselves to be nurtured and to gather new insights. I have sweet memories of laughter and heart-felt sharing, as I joined with you at The Door. You were open to diving deep during our sessions to discover parts of you that had gone dormant or were never seen. Those parts fed you new possibilities. You brought more curiosity to me from the questions you bravely asked.
Thank you for taking your time to connect with me for NAVIGATING THE UNKNOWN, LIFE IN TRANSITION.
My wish list, as you might remember, is to have A PAJAMA PARTY together any time of year. What is on your wish list?
Happy Holiday Season. Click here for the interview.
Take good care,
Natalie was recently interviewed for an article on Next Avenue. You can read the entire article here.
Below is an excerpt:
But Natalie Caine, an expert in empty nesting and other life transitions, tells me this phase is more complex than simply missing the family dynamic. Like the children who have just exited, we adults are entering a new developmental phase that hits everyone a bit differently, and it’s important to make space for vulnerability. No “shoulds” here.
Caine says when our kids leave, new emotions and thoughts emerge that catch us unaware. The most obvious is the wake-up call that you don’t have forever anymore. While our kids are adjusting to new beginnings, we are at the front end of the long letting go.
Natalie was interviewed for an article at the MetLife blog. You can read it in its entirety at blog.metlife.com.
Below is an excerpt:
“I didn’t think I would have my phone velcroed to me in hopes of hearing from her even though I love my career and have friends, family and a marriage. I found that dealing with an empty nest is about grieving what will not return and allowing yourself to weep as needed,” says Natalie Caine, an empty-nester who also founded Empty Nest Support Services to help others through the transition.
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
Natalie Caine, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310