It is 2007. Do you dash, stroll, or crawl with changes you want to reach for this year?

Some of your kids have gone back to school or home. Some have gotten on your nerves because they are still at home and doing it “their way.” Other parents are savoring the best- friend- feeling until the kids return to life without you.

Empty Nest shows up, again, and the pressure of setting goals and getting it “right” this New Year weighs on your back or lifts you to “I\’m ready. I am sick of_________.”

Doesn\’t it seem we are always trying to change something, or figure something out about our behaviors that aren\’t working? What about time for reflection. What about re-grouping after the holiday of care-taking others?

Well, first things first, how are you doing in the empty nest? How was your time with your kids and grandkids?

Second, what do you appreciate about yourself?

Third, what would one prayer be that you would say to yourself and want answered; for example “Please help me stop running around just to keep busy, and not feel my pain from this changing role of parenting. Help me find the courage to cry when I need to and a joy that will satisfy my hunger since my kids left home.

We all have things we don\’t like about ourselves. We parts of us that we have said we will change for years. We connect believe it or not to those challenges each of us has because we have the values of being compassionate and kind to others. I think that is part of what parents miss on a daily basis…a person to give that unconditional love to in an effortless way. The kind of love parents feel for their children is uniquely effortless and sometimes that loving is not felt in other relationships.

I am not saying parents don\’t get infuriated and disappointed in their kids, but love easily returns when it comes to parent and child and stretches us to return when it comes to parent and adult children.

My prayer for you this year is:

May you give effortless love to yourself. May you unwrap what gives you meaning in this stage of your life. May you drift inside yourself and float there. Wisdom speaks in stillness and prayers are answered in whispers.

Branching out to you, Natalie

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.