I’m one of the people who never really thought that there was any truth to Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS). Turns out that ENS is quite real for many of us. There are different degrees and symptoms attributed to this label, and many ways to reframe or heal from it. While commonly associated with a child leaving for college, ENS can show up in a wide range of other life situations. Through my Intuitive Energy Coaching practice, I have discovered that ENS surfaces for a myriad of reasons.
What is ENS anyway? In a nutshell, it is a term used to categorize feelings when there is a loss or significant change to one’s life that includes the absence of someone close. The routine of life is upset, one may have more time on hand, new coping mechanisms for life may be needed, or there might be greater daily challenges to be faced without that person’s presence. The feelings that typically coincide with ENS are worry, grief, sadness, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, frustration, and fear. A common characteristic of ENS is the greater the lack of satisfaction in one’s life, the greater the degree of ENS. For example, using the college example, if a parent has their own identity wrapped up in their child for 18 years - putting the “self on the shelf” as I call it - that parent will most likely experience a greater loss or void when the child leaves home.
Why do we experience ENS? When there is a significant change to one’s life a void is often created. This emotional transition gets magnified because life is “different” now, and one pays closer attention to what/who caused this void. And because where your attention goes energy flows, the person experiencing this new void tends to focus on what is wrong with their life as opposed to what is right. Here are some other examples of ENS, beyond the stereotypical child going off to college.
Empty Nest Syndrome is totally normal, whether your child is off to college, or you miss your pet after a few days. What we focus on expands from an energetic perspective, so it’s important to work through ENS and create a new environment for yourself. Using the examples listed above you can: anticipate the reunion with your pet, talk to your partner about your fear, honor the good times in your friendship, talk about your grief, reframe the time without your children, and choose to feel empowered living on your own. And, if your child is going off to college, decide to keep in touch in a way that honors each other’s boundaries. You can also start a new hobby, find a support group, volunteer, travel, reconnect with your partner, keep in better touch with family/friends, create a side hustle, get back into shape, or journal to name a few. Most importantly: start creating new, meaningful experiences, and memories and look toward your future with momentum!
To Your Freedom!
Triggers - What Are They?
A trigger, or a “trigger response”, means to re-experience symptoms of a painful memory, feeling, or event. For the person being triggered, they are remembering a trauma; a sense of being marginalized, uncomfortable, offended, or ill-at-ease based upon a past event. A trigger could be a reminder of anything: an argument, event, smell, sound, sight, or physical sensation. Someone who is triggered and provoked is experiencing not just the event in the present moment, but the heightened memory of a past traumatic event as well.
When we experience a traumatic event, our minds hold onto the emotion that comes from it and stores it as a memory. If we encounter a trigger years later, even if from other people or events, the mind is reliving and reactivating the same emotions associated with the first trauma – it gets triggered. In most cases, the trigger response is sharper now because it is an amalgamation of the original trauma in addition to any other traumas similar to it, plus the event now. Most of the time, people are unaware of their triggers and why they show up.
When someone experiences a trigger event, they are reliving some prior trauma. While the present-day aggressor might not understand or even know about the trigger response, the recipient is mentally reliving and experiencing the traumatic event over again, but now with more emphasis. Because a trigger is deeply personal, it is highly emotional, and the reaction usually is in excess. Triggers are highly catabolic reactions and are tremendously draining because you lose valuable energy when triggered. Others may trigger us, but they didn’t create our triggers.
Triggers – General Examples
Triggers - Specific Examples
People don’t trigger you - they activate your trigger, and you react to that trigger. Your trigger can still be triggered because it has not yet been healed. You are responsible for all the triggers that you currently have, and you are responsible for healing them too.
So how best to heal, or manage your triggers? I’m a believer in turning and facing any challenge. Triggers are no exception. As we learned above, they are old patterns of reactions that need to be healed.
A few options for managing your triggers would be to identify where you trigger(s) came from. You can also choose to dissociate from the trigger, to not be in the trenches with it, but rather see it from a 10,000-foot view for greater objectivity. Communicate the emotions that you associate with your trigger. Finally, practice self-love, patience, and grace with yourself as you learn to dial down your response to the trigger, so it no longer owns your present-day reactions or behavior.
To your freedom!
What exactly does it mean when you hear someone say, “your thoughts create your reality?” It seems like a simple concept, but it’s much more complex.
What you tell yourself matters. Our thoughts create our future experiences. It’s like placing your order at a drive thru – you speak into the squawk box and order what you want (what you are focused on), and then you drive to the next window to pick up that order. Well, the Universe operates in a similar way. And the Universe is so literal, it will feed us back experiences based upon our thoughts, whether they are negative or positive. It is thoroughly objective and very responsive.
When you think a thought, that thought creates a specific frequency. It is as though the Universe hears that frequency by way of vibration and gives it back to us in the form of a future experience. What you are thinking right now will show up in your life, in the future. At any moment the thoughts you think are creating your future experiences which will show up tomorrow, next month, next year, or in a decade. That’s the rub: there is no specific or designated time in which the Universe will hand you an experience to match what you are currently thinking or focusing on. That is why it is critical to your transformation and future to be mindful, always! What you are saying to yourself right now will show up in a future experience whether you want it to or not.
So, what is your current inner dialogue? What do you say about yourself and others? Is what you are thinking or saying an experience that you would like to show up in your future? For example: if you are thinking or saying, “My life is terrible.” Literally, the Universe will energetically hear that and bring you more life experiences that reflect that your life is terrible. The flip side of that is if you are thinking “I love my life,” the Universe will energetically hear that too, and bring you life experiences that reflect more of what you love. Your outer world reflects your inner world. What you think, whether it’s negative or positive, shows up outside of you in the form of an experience ergo: Your thoughts create your (outer) reality.
But the great thing about thoughts is that they can be changed. And they can be managed. You and you alone have the power to change the way you think. Nobody can do it for you. You can choose differently, you can choose to monitor your thoughts which in turn, will create a new (future) reality. By monitoring your thoughts, you can choose to accept and allow only thoughts of a high frequency such as love, freedom, compassion, joy, fulfillment, and creation. Only thoughts of a higher, more elevated frequency will propel you into a future of your own design.
By practicing mindfulness and being aware of your thoughts, you can start to challenge them if necessary, or reframe them into an experience you would like to have in the future. The key is to become aware of what isn’t working in your life or what you don’t want in your life and choose to think differently. Most people have no idea that their thoughts create their reality and let harmful thoughts go unchallenged and unanswered, until ultimately, those thoughts show up in the person’s reality.
Since everything in our Universe is energy and all energy emits a vibration and frequency it is important that you become aware of the different vibes your thoughts create. If you are thinking survival or stress thoughts of anger, shame, guilt, impatience, frustration, hatred, greed, etc. those carry a very low frequency. In fact, I call them the “low and slow” gang of frequencies. If you are thinking more elevated thoughts of love, gratitude, compassion, freedom, and joy etc. those carry a much higher frequency. And elevating your frequency is the first step to creating sustainable change in your life.
To your freedom!
You might have heard this phrase, but do you know what it means? It means different things to different people because it is ultimately a deep and largely subjective question that has a myriad of definitions. In this article, I offer to you a basic understanding from a spiritual perspective.
During an awakening one may notice they feel sad or depressed without knowing the true cause. They might feel like their world doesn’t make sense anymore or they may feel detached. A person may feel a void within themselves, as if something is missing or that they are “off” in some way, yet they don’t know why. One may start questioning their soul and ask questions like: Why am I here? What is wrong with me? What is my purpose? Why can’t I just be happy?
It might feel as though there is a longing within you - a desire for a better way of being and a better life. To awaken means to become familiar with or to become conscious of how you have been living your life passively. Awakening is a process through which one becomes a different person - a person who is more aware and in control of their thoughts and behavior. It is becoming aware of how your subconscious is impacting the course of your life.
An awakening usually starts within a person as a quiet rumble – when the person realizes that their life isn’t working as they intend it to. Maybe they are angry all the time, or in fear. Maybe they complain about others or judge themselves constantly. Perhaps they overeat, overdrink, or find other ways to escape and distract. Maybe they hate their life or have questions about how they got to where they are, their relationship with themselves, and their relationship with other people. Maybe they are starting to remember some of their dysfunctional childhood and how it has affected the course of their life and development.
When an awakening comes on strong, it is typically on the heels of a life changing event or trauma. Examples of this may include a negative health diagnosis, divorce, job loss, trauma, betrayal, addiction, death, depression, anxiety, abuse, car accident, mid-life crisis, etc. In this stage, one is likely to “wake up to” their own negative energy from inner thought patterns. These life changing events spur one into taking inventory of their life, its events, and the people in it. When one awakens, they realize that something in their life is not working well.
One might think, feel, and behave within survival and stress emotions like fear, anger, resentment, frustration, impatience, insecurity, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, etc. They may find themselves in repetitive, familiar situations and relationships that are unhealthy and draining.
Before an awakening, one may feel like their life is just another version of Groundhog Day- the same negative patterns recurring every day. However, as their heart and soul gently nudge them into a new state of being - an awakened state - they begin to understand who they have been, how they have been behaving, and what needs to change.
For each of us, there comes a time when we must
awaken and become what we were born to become.
~Seth Adam Smith
Awareness or self-awareness is the ability to identify what drives an individual’s thoughts, beliefs, and patterns of behavior – or how one shows up in life. The practice of self-awareness allows one to see their life and behavior from an objective perspective. They learn to identify reactive patterns of thought and behavior, to self-regulate, and identify where they can make changes in their lives from an empowered stance. An aware person takes control of their life instead of being victimized by it.
People are programmed early in life to react to certain situations in a specific way. A negative event such as abuse, trauma, or betrayal occurs and an emotion from that event is generated (fear, anger, resentment, frustration, impatience, insecurity, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame). These low frequency, negative emotions leave a chemical residue that is stored in the body.
For example, if a child experiences negative emotions on a continual basis, these emotional reactions become part of who they are, part of their unconscious programs or patterns of thought and behavior. While a person cannot change what happened to them, they can change how they react to it from an energetic perspective.
Being self-aware allows the space to correct thoughts, beliefs, patterns of behavior, and start making incremental changes in life. Awareness allows one to regain control of their lives and chart their own course instead of living passively. An aware person starts to focus on people, emotions, and things outside of themselves that engage and elevate their heart and soul. This new relationship with themselves typically leads a person to deeper and more meaningful connections with others.
To be self-aware allows one the freedom to course correct: to disinvest their energy and attention from old patterns of thought, beliefs, and behavior and create a new way of being in the world and a new way to show up in life. It allows one to live a life of their own choosing according to their own elevated values and perceptions. In this higher vibrational state people start to pick up on others’ frequencies and start to trust their intuition more. They begin to recognize what isn’t working for them any longer and who isn’t an energetic match. They also begin to understand that they are at the crossroads of choice every moment of every day, and that this gives them control of their lives.
I am not what happened to me.
I am what I choose to become.
In my practice I see many clients who are experiencing their own awakening. They initially come to me because they think they are going crazy or losing their mind because nothing “feels” the same anymore. They feel lost, anxious, or sad at the life they currently have and how they behave, and they want to learn to make changes once and for all. Believe me, I get it.
However, when clients start to understand this natural waking up process, they learn tools, techniques, and concepts to become aware of who they have been and why. They learn to course correct and elevate their frequency to make sustainable, positive changes in their lives. They learn to stop being a victim and step into their role as permanent creator of their future.