If we have done our job properly in raising our children, each child should eventually one day fly from the nest and out into the world to create wondrous independent lives, relationships and experiences of their own. While it is easy to understand this intellectually and logically, it is a bittersweet moment in the lives of parent and child alike. At the moment that a child leaves for college or moves away from home due to job or marriage/relationship, something irrevocably energetically changes in the parent-child relationship. The young vulnerable prince or princess that was born into your life is now a self-sufficient young adult with talents and gifts to share out in the world as they learn more about who they are through their relationships with others away from parental influence. Yes, things will never be the same… for child or parent.
When a child leaves home for college or other reasons, it is natural for parents to experience a mixture of emotions: pride at their child’s accomplishments, anxiety over their child’s safety in the world at large, joy and wonder to see their child spread their wings to fly, sadness over a sense of loss of nearness of a loved one, and occasional overwhelming rushes of bittersweet emotions as you reminisce over your child’s major milestones in life (birth, learning to walk, first day in kindergarten, learning to ride a bike, birthday celebrations, accomplishments, graduations, etc).
Young adults also have their own mix of emotions over making the transition from home to college or self-sufficiency. It is common for children leaving home to experience excitement over anticipated new experiences and friendships, fear of possible failure, angst over being away from parents who have been their in support of them emotionally and financially, sadness over distance from and loss of siblings/friends/significant others, and thirst/desire for knowledge or expanding their talents/gifts.
What can be done to ease the transition for both parent, young adult and siblings as the nest becomes less crowded?
Tips to Ease the Stress of ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’:
1. Almost all college students today are required to have computers on campus and virtually all campuses have internet access in dorms, classrooms and libraries. Download a free computer program like Skype so that parent, child, siblings and other loved ones can have scheduled contact with each other. Skype is a program where you can talk and see each other in real time as long as your computer has a built-in camera/video capability. It can be easier to feel less distance between parent/child when you can see each other as you chat about news of events going on in your lives.
2. Loved Ones Meditation: This is a great meditation to use when you are missing a loved one or for those times when you are feeling unlovable. It can be downloaded on iTunes now!
Hint- This meditation will be more effective if you have a friend read it with feeling to you or you record yourself reading it with heart on an audio tape and play it back to follow as you meditate in a quiet private space. This meditation can also be found on a companion CD that accompanies our book Shift: 12 Keys to Shift Your Life or downloaded (for details see meditation page at shiftyourlife.com ).
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and as you exhale feel all of your tension releasing from your body. Take two more slow deep breaths and each time you exhale, feel your muscles relaxing more and more.
Feel yourself walking on a soft, green, mossy path in the countryside. It’s an enjoyable spring day filled with the sounds of nature. The warmth of the radiant sun fills the air and your eyes delight in the beauty of nature. You are on your own special journey and it feels so nurturing to have some time for yourself. As you walk on the path, you are guided to a gently sloping field with wildflowers and every imaginable variety of colorful, vibrant butterflies. They are everywhere, fluttering, floating and alighting on the wildflowers. Feel the perfection of all this beauty.
Stop for a moment and allow yourself to fully absorb the scene. Allow it to permeate all of your senses. As you observe the scene more closely, one special butterfly will draw your attention. (Pause) Focus on this one butterfly. Take in its brilliant form and color. As you marvel at its beauty, the butterfly begins to transform. While you continue to watch the butterfly, it transforms into one of your loved ones. Your loved one is now standing there in the field surrounded by beautiful butterflies. Feel your love gently streaming towards your loved one and feel their love flowing toward you. The gentle peace of their love embraces you and feels so good. Be aware of the love flowing back and forth between you, healing and dissolving any and all past relationship strife, which has come between you.
As you remain focused on the field and all of its vibrant beauty, the butterflies begin to transform into all of those people dear to your heart. There are so many butterflies and they continue to transform. Now they are transforming into all of the special people in your past that have brought inspiration into your life. Watch in wonder as they appear before you. Express your love and gratitude to them all for enriching your life. Feel your love expanding outward and enveloping them all, and feel their love flowing toward you.
Know that your loved ones are constantly sending you love at every moment. You may return to this field at any time to feel the warmth of love and to spend time with or communicate with those who are dear to your heart. When you are ready to return from this beautiful meadow filled with loved ones, feel yourself slowly returning to your body and gently open your eyes.
3. Loving Benefactor Exercise: (This meditation can also be downloaded at iTunes and is from our 2nd companion CD for our book Shift: 12 Keys to Shift Your Life - (for details see meditation page at shiftyourlife.com ). This meditation is great for sensing/feeling your Loved One immediately.
Find a comfortable, seated position on a chair or cushion and allow your body to settle into position. Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention on your breath, following your cycles of inhalation and exhalation. Notice the rising and falling sensations in your belly as you breathe in and out and follow this for a few cycles.
Now try to bring to mind a heartfelt sense or visual image of someone whom you believe embodies the qualities of unconditional love and compassion. This person can be a friend or relative, a religious or historical figure, a spiritual being or just someone who embodies these qualities. Picture this person as if they were sitting or standing right in front of you.
Look into their eyes and feel the absolute unconditional love and compassion flowing from them towards you. Now, radiate feelings of love and gratitude back towards this person. Whenever you feel your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to the image of the loving friend, historical or spiritual image and once again practice radiating love, empathy and compassion towards them. Feel their love, empathy and compassion radiating back towards you.
Stay with your Loving Benefactor and feel their love flowing to you and your love flowing to them for up to 20 minutes. You can also have your Loving Benefactor move slowly around your left side and stand behind your left shoulder to be with you as you go about your day. You can still feel them present when you open your eyes! Know that this Loving Benefactor is sending you love every minute of every day.
4. The Mountain Meditation – When you are feeling helpless, powerless, inadequate or have angst about meeting a challenge that is facing you in your life, the ‘Mountain Meditation’ can prove to be a transformative experience. If you are ready to feel your inner strength, click on the meditation above, sit back, close your eyes and prepare for a journey (led by ‘The Shift Doctors’) back to vitality and your powerful inner nature. Listen to The Mountain Meditation by clicking here!
Hope these tips and tools are helpful – they certainly have helped me with dealing with my own children leaving the nest.
Loads of Light to parents, siblings and children as they continue on their journey and create wondrously in their lives!
Tracy Latz, M.D. (a.k.a. “The Shift Doctor”)
**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on Energy Medicine personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about their books, DVD’s, CD’s and tools for personal transformation at www.shiftyourlife.com.