“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” Pema Chodron

I don\’t want to live isolated but people drive me crazy with saying they will change and they don\’t. This is what I hear from empty nesters and they go on to explain. Crazy for me is when they act like they hear me, nod, and then say they understand the disappointment, so sorry, and still show up using the same behavior. Crazy making.

Can you relate to the above words? I often hear that story from empty nesters whether it comes from their children, partners, family or friends.

We can support each other with the reminder that we all know and forget, YOU CAN\’T CHANGE ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. I, too, need the reminder. Post it by your computer. FOCUS ON MYSELF FOR CHANGE

You think, “If I just say what I am thinking and feeling and teach them, they will get it.” That is a false message you are giving yourself. What helps me is I know how often I have been taught about how to do an activity on my computer, but there are times it doesn\’t stick for me. I forget because of old fears about technical learning. I fear I will break the machine.

The younger generation uses a pen and writes a note on their hand when it comes to things they have to do or say when they are practicing changing behaviors.

The point is to find what works for you when you are changing behaviors. Knowing what doesn\’t work is also learning.

New learning and new rituals are part of change. Write what you want to learn in 2009. What new practices/rituals will you be able to try, like ending your day, as you climb under the covers, by saying what you are grateful for and beginning your day with one kindness you can extend during the day. Here is an example; catch yourself when you are negative or isolating.

– Habits take practice.
– Make a list of what you are proud of that you changed or did in 2008.
– What do you appreciate about yourself?
– What would put a smile on your face during the days of 2009?
– Where can you de-clutter your life style?
– What words do you need to catch yourself saying and therefore change, example, “I can\’t catch up. Everyday, I feel behind.” Change would be, “I am making changes because I planned ahead and wrote down my schedule for the week and actually checked off what I accomplished.”
– How are you going to focus more on yourself and not your children?
– How will you build a community of like people?

I am very hopeful about 2009. Hopeful because that is who I am by nature and because I am connecting with people who are of similar hearts and minds in order that we make the change and be the role models we want to be.

One of the practices that helps me is breathing from my belly. I take seven deep breaths. I also make the time to close my eyes and be quiet. I walk in nature with no cell phone or I-Pod. I journal.

Email me
natalie@emptynestsupport.com

What ways you are going to practice having a more meaningful life filled with kindness to yourself and then others.

We are building a community so no one has to go through this major life transition alone.

Now go out and have some fun…go play this month and carry your smile into 2009.

Wishing you peace within and happiness to share with others

Natalie
www.emptynestsupport.com
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Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.