You are a mother of a high school student, and you are freaking out about the empty nest ahead? Together we will channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! You will THRIVE as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college. ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
In this episode, I introduce you to a concept/analogy that came to me as I drove home from She Podcasts Live — conceived in my effort to keep the momentum from the conference going for days, weeks, and months ahead.
I utilized my long car ride homeward to work through the struggle that I knew had the potential to remain in my life had I not processed it in this way. I share this with you with love and hope you find the motivation and inspiration that I found in it the next time you experience an event in your life like this.
When you honor who you are, the universe responds.
I am living this now. It is three months out from the conference, and this analogy continues to serve me well. I am savoring the simmer as I return to the giant fish tank.
Take a listen or read the full transcript below.
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Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 58: Fish Tank Empowerment. … Today, I want to talk about those moments in life when you attend an event of some sort, an incredibly inspiring event.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 58: Fish Tank Empowerment.
I work with mothers of high school students and beyond, who are in the trenches with sad and possibly, overwhelming thoughts about what their life will look like when their baby heads to college and begins to leave the nest. My clients’ big question is what will I do with my time? Is this you? I’ve been there, and I get it. Empowering you to write the next jaw-dropping, amazing chapter in your life is my passion. I am energized by leading you in the process of exploration and am thrilled when you unlock the power that lies within you. This podcast is my gift to you.
Hi, my beautiful empty nest friend. Has this new decade begun with a bang for you? Have you adjusted to your resolutions already? Are you ready to take over the world? I am so ready. I’m ready not only for my journey but for yours as well. I can’t wait to see what you and I do this month, this year and in this decade.
How did you like my first Quick Tips bonus episode? Aren’t they great? If you find a tip helpful or useful, please share it with friends and let us know, I would love to show this fabulous team the impact they have.
Thanks! Thank you! It’s time to thank our sponsor. This episode is sponsored by my community, The Green Popsicle Sticks. Ready to find the GPS of your life? Then sign up for my Thursday Thoughts About email, where you will gain immediate access to the GPS life principles document, and will receive a link to join our community, and it’s all free! See the link in this episode’s show notes, or head to my website: YourEmptyNestCoach.com and click the Thursday Thoughts About button to get started. See you there.
Today, I want to talk about those moments in life when you attend an event of some sort, an incredibly inspiring event. The type of event that when you are there, you feel like you are surrounded by people who “get you.” That you don’t need to explain yourself to them. The event energizes you, increases your creativity and allows you to make connections that you know will be part of your life moving forward. It is that good.
It might be a large conference. It also could be the moment you find a parenting group where the women have similar parenting beliefs and you don’t have to explain your why, they just know. Man, I loved those moments. Or it is that group of friends you see once every few years, that remind you who you were before kids, and you feel they might be the only ones who really know you.
Can you imagine this? Take a moment to go back to a moment like that in your mind. If you’ve never experienced it, take a moment to imagine it. Press pause if you need to, because this episode will impact your return home from something like this in a positive way. At least it did for me.
Do you have it? Can you imagine the energy there, how motivated you feel? How empowered you are? Okay, now, I want you to imagine leaving the event. Going home where those in your life don’t automatically “get you” or get that part of you. How are you feeling right now? What are your thoughts? This. These feelings, these thoughts, they have everything to do with the next steps you will take in your life.
If you are not a new listener, you know that I attended the She Podcasts Live event this past fall. I had a long drive home after attending the incredible conference. A long drive that originally started with thoughts such as “Wow, that was amazing, if only I could be around these amazing women every day,” or “Now, I’m heading back to the “real world” where when I say I have a podcast and have a coaching business, people look at me like I have three heads.” Now when I say, “Wow, that would make a great podcast” there won’t be three other people agreeing with me and jumping in with their perfect idea of the host of said podcast.
Yes, being truthful, I sat in those thoughts for a bit of the drive. This is how my mind management works for me. I will still have the thoughts that bring up feelings that I don’t particularly like, and I’ll notice them. Sometimes it takes me longer than other times for my awareness to kick in. Then, I decide if I want to keep feeling the way I feel or if I want to make changes. My answer, during this drive, was that I want to feel that energy that I had at the event even when I am back home. Resenting my “Now” certainly won’t work. I know this. My Now is how I become my future, and then that will be the Now, so I need to make friends with my Now, big time.Episode 44 is entirely about making friends with Now, if you want to take a listen or re-listen.
Back to my car ride. The best thing was that I had a lot of time to think about how to change up my thoughts. I’d like to share with you where I ended up, and yes, my friend, it comes with an analogy. You know how I love analogies.
I’d like you to imagine that my first initial go-to reaction is as if I’m a fish, a small fish. A goldfish. No, a betta fish. Let’s say I’m a green betta fish. Is that even a thing? Because, I do love green! Oh, yes, it is. Thank you, Google. Great, so I’ve learned I’m a lime green betta fish. My home is a small fish bowl. Swimming around with a few pebbles in the bowl, and maybe a decorative item to peek out from. I’m imagining blue and yellow pebbles, and a bridge. That’s going to be my decorative item. I can hide under it if I want, but with my bright green, there is no complete hiding. Most of the time, I feel extremely exposed, vulnerable and if I were to focus on it, could feel all alone.
Can you picture this? Now, imagine that I find an event to attend that has other fish like me. I have the proper time to adjust to what will be my temporary surroundings. This is a large 300 gallon tank. This tank has filters, bubbles, castles, fake plants, and yes, other fish like me. Yes, they may look different on the outside, but we all are fish.
We initially all swim in excitement, checking out everything, and then we begin to swim in schools. Learning from one another and creating more power when we are together. We even swim faster when we are together. While initially feeling overwhelmed by the huge change, it becomes my new normal. It is exciting, it is refreshing, and we do our best to meet all of the other fish and explore the tank, but it is impossible due to its size. Just as we are finding our groove, we might even have found a life-long fish friend, we’re transferred back to our other tank. Ouch!
This moment here is where I was on my drive home. Resenting where I was heading, before I did thought adjustments. Thinking how much faster I could grow, if I were only around the other fish regularly. If I wasn’t all alone in my vulnerable fish bowl, all by myself. But, what if…. This will take a bit of imagination. I’d like you to imagine that the fish bowl that we are in, back home, is actually sitting inside of the larger tank; so are the other fish bowls. We hadn’t noticed that before. That when the larger tank is emptied of fish, the water level goes down, and your fish bowl is sitting in it. You still have everything you learned, all of the connections you made, and you know you’ll see your other fish friends again. Some of them, you can see through the glass of your bowl, the water and then their bowl, but you can’t just swim over and chat during your next feeding.
So, you have an option. You can either spend time in between the water level rising, being resentful of your fish bowl, or you can believe that by using what you learned, by creating stronger connections, you have the power to raise your water level. That larger tank, with the other fish bowls, has your back. It is surrounding your bowl. Granted, you may not be able to jump out, swim to your friend and take a walk, but knowing that for everything you do, from this moment forward, can honor your time together in the fish tank, you create an energy that allows the water in your bowl to rise. After enough time, you’ll work your way back into the large tank with stronger connections, with more knowledge.By taking what you learned last time, and increasing it exponentially, by consistently choosing the thoughts that make your fish tank friends proud, by choosing thoughts that allow you to make changes in your life, to choose thoughts that remind you that you can’t go right from the fish bowl to the aquarium with no leveling-up. After all, that’s toxic for you and you will die.
You need the work in your fish bowl. You must be able to do the work when you are alone in the fish bowl, it is the only way you get from there to where you are meant to be. So, next time you leave a place that you wish you could stay in, try imagining your fish bowl in the larger tank, and begin to figure out the best things for you to do to reach the tank in a safe, powerful and impactful manner. Impactful for you, and the other fish. Maybe next time, you’ll be asked to lead a school around for an hour or so because you didn’t spend time resenting the bowl, because you knew that bowl is your necessary simmer. That is episode 29, of mine. You need the time to become the beautiful fish you are meant to be.
The questions I have for you in this episode are, number one, have you experienced the after event energy drainage? And, two, how are you feeling about your fish bowl now? I invite you to fly on over to our Facebook Group to share your answers to these questions with our amazing flock. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website: YourEmptyNestCoach.com/community for links to join our flock. We look forward to seeing you there!
Thanks! Thank you! A huge shout out to my GPS Execs. The Executive Producers of my podcast. Visit my website, or see my show notes for a link to learn how you may become a GPS Exec, where you will gain bonus access to me and more. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this, and every episode, on my website.
My next episode’s title is: Why I Don’t Have a Side Hustle. I would say my answer might surprise you, but if you’ve been a regular listener of my podcast, you may have this figured this one out already, so you have a week to think about it.
Are you able to screenshot this episode right now? If so, take a minute to do that, and then to share it on social media to help others find it. That would be incredibly helpful. Be sure to tag me @emptynestcoach so I may personally thank you.
If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a moment to subscribe to this podcast. It is free! My wonderful empty nest friend, remember, you are amazing!
I not only survived my very first retreat, but I had an amazing time, too! It exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait to do it again. What crazy idea do you have that you should try? This one was mine, and I’m so thankful I stepped out of my comfort zone and did it.
In honor of my crazy idea, this episode is also an experiment for me, so if this is your first time listening, know that this is not my usual format. It is more of a narrative and an audio journey. Whether you are a first-time listener or not, thanks for giving this episode a try. I open with the sounds of nature that I heard as I laid in my tent during my very first GPS Reset Weekend Retreat.
I’m thankful to my first retreat attendee, who took a chance on my idea, signed up, and uncovered how brave she is.
00:00:00 [Background nature sounds] Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 42: My First Retreat: An Audio Experience. … Hello, my future empty nest friend. This episode is an experiment for me. If this is your first time listening, know that this is absolutely not my usual format, and more than likely will happen very rarely. It takes a lot more work. Whether you are a first time listener or not, thanks for giving this episode a try.
00:00:00 [Background nature sounds] Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 42: My First Retreat: An Audio Experience. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:40 Hello, my future empty nest friend. This episode is an experiment for me. If this is your first time listening, know that this is absolutely not my usual format, and more than likely will happen very rarely. It takes a lot more work. Whether you are a first time listener or not, thanks for giving this episode a try.
00:01:01 [Background nature sounds] These are the sounds of nature as I laid in my tent during my very first GPS Reset weekend retreat. The event exceeded my expectations. I am so incredibly thankful of my very first retreat attendee who took a chance on my crazy idea, signed up and uncovered how brave she is.
00:01:24 Okay, so I’m walking home and some of my friends asked if I would do some vlogging, so I will put this all together at the end, but I’m about to go on my very first retreat, and the night before I’m staying all by myself, camping. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, so yeah, I’m a little nervous. But it’s an emotion. I’m going to work through it. I’m going to build my own freaking fire, and it might rain on me, and I will let you know how it goes.
00:01:53 Look at that sky. That’s the direction I’m heading, and the torrential downpour that I just drove through, could be an interesting evening.
00:02:02 Yes, I do all of the set up of my campsite the night prior to my attendees arriving. My site is kind of the home base, so I have a covering for the picnic table. My tent is huge, in case it rains all day, we can hang out inside there, with our chairs and still do our coaching. I do that the night prior. It also allows me time the morning before arrival that I can recharge myself, so I may serve them best.
00:02:31 Look what I did. I’m almost done. It said drape rainfly over the tent. Okay. Tent and me. It’s like, taller than me. I’m like, how am I going to do this solo? Slow and steady. Being present. I’m really proud of myself, and I did notice after getting this far, that all the poles I put in upside down. That was fun.
00:02:55 Wow, that took twice as long as the tent. But I did it, so now, if it rains, I can run from one to the other and cook.
00:03:04 In case you are wondering, I stay where there are modern restrooms. No pit toilets for me. I draw the line there. And, I look my best late at night in campground’s restroom. If you’re listening to this and not watching it, yes, I have a picture.
00:03:20 [Background nature noises] That’s like a creepy movie. I have my solar lamps in the tent. I am in the tent; I did a fire. It lasted more than 10 minutes.
00:03:29 [Background nature noises] It’s 6:30 in the morning. I made it through my first night all by myself, and if you watch the rest of this video, you’re watch my hair get worse and worse.
00:03:38 [Background nature noises] Hey, so it’s about 9:30. I just finished reading a book. It’s the Dalai Lama, and what’s it? “An Open Heart.”
00:03:48 I’m charging all of my solar items, including my phone right now. Well, using the solar panel to charge my phone, before I go on a walk. Just in case.
00:03:59 Well, I made it to the trail. I cleaned up the campsite a little bit. I have water. I have everything I need, and I will show you the falls, maybe a little bit of the trail, too.
00:04:19 [Background running water noises] As I walked along the trail, I stopped to listen to the water a few times. It’s so interesting, I’m trying to just focus on nothing, nature, without labeling it. That’s really tough. I only make it a couple minutes, if I’m lucky, and then I catch myself thinking about all these things. I just came upon a wedding in the woods. That was pretty cool, by the falls.
00:04:57 [Background running water noises] So, here I sit, and I think I made a little progress on my own. When I was on that spot, I should be no less peaceful than when I’m sitting here. Tough work. Really tough work. There was one moment where I slipped on a rock, and my foot fell into mud. The focus and energy and presence that I had at that moment, you know, it’s like it pulls you out of everything else you’re thinking about and all that you’re focused on is that moment, is moving your foot from one place to another. I had no anxiety for the first time in my life over it, so I’ve made progress, but that focus and determination is what we want in every moment of our lives. Whether it’s sitting at our desk, whether it’s sitting here in this beauty. You know, there’s beauty everywhere. Sitting at our desk, driving in the car, and those thoughts and the presence of being where you are in the moment, is what you take with you in every moment of your life. The environment has less to do with it than our thoughts, and I already know this, but I was thinking of the irony of I say that as I’m sitting here in nature. But sometimes we need these moments to reset us, to regroup us. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to walk through, to go through life and really stay present. Oh, my. But it’s worth it.
00:06:32 I felt led to keep my hands together, kind of like, thank you, praying position. It keeps me balanced and little more focused on my thoughts. There’s some bug on me. Excuse me. What I noticed, is when my thoughts trail into other things, like when my guest comes in a few hours, or my day job, my pace changes. It’s not as peaceful. It depends on the emotion brought up. I just found that interesting.
00:07:03 [Background rushing water noises] I made it to the bottom of the falls. Interestingly enough, the top of the falls is not well marked, so you easily could do this whole trail and miss it. So, my voice-over you might not be able to hear, is that sometimes the most beautiful parts, just like life, are off the trail.
00:07:23 Two hours and 45 minutes later, I’m back to my car. I really took my time. The purpose was not to be fast. It was for mental health, and it was good. It was worth it. It was what I needed. Off to get back to the campsite, and get ready for my guest.
00:07:43 Yes, I provide a covered picnic area for my retreat guests, as well as a two-burner camping stove. I brew a lot of hot water for coffee. I need coffee. I don’t pack elaborate meals for myself, and go for ease, lots of raw fruits and veggies. Kind of what I eat at home, too, to be honest. If you were to join me, I provide water and coffee for you. You bring whatever you want to eat and any coffee additions you like. One of my favorite moments before my guest arrived, was when I bought an axe. Isn’t this how horror movies start?
00:08:22 I bought an axe, chopped some wood, and I made that fire. It’s legit. It’s a real fire. I’m just going to move a little back here. Look at that.
00:08:34 [Background nature noises] Once my guests arrive, I am available for encouragement and assistance as they pitch their own tent at their site. We then have time to meet one another, and chat through dinner. We end the evening with group coaching and some introductory discussions about presence, around the fire.
00:08:51 [Background camping stove noises] Hi, so it’s Saturday morning. I got up early, prepped the stove, so water will be hot for coffee, and we’ve got about an hour, and then we’re going to go on a silent hike, or a place to just sit, and work on presence. So, good work.
00:09:11 [Background fire noises] My retreat guest built this. I’m super proud of her, and we just roasted marshmallows, had smores, and we are working on finding our future selves. Fantastic.
00:09:32 Christine: Yes! Oh, my God.
Retreat Guest: Did you get it?
Christine: I got so excited, I moved the…
Retreat Guest: Okay, now we need to get more. I want the bottom cotton balls to light.
Retreat Guest: Oh, got them.
Christine: All right. We’ll come back, show you how we did.
00:09:48 Christine: Oh, that’s video. Hey, say “Hi.”
Retreat Guest: Hi.
Christine: Here’s our fire.
Retreat Guest: I did that!
00:09:53 [Background nature noises] I’m going to bed early tonight. We earned it. We did a lot. It was great. So much work and came up with the idea that, if you are on this retreat, you will leave with three action items that you can implement over the next 30 days, and I will check in with you, 30 days or a little after, not necessarily that day, to see how you are doing, and see if you need to assess, address, change them up, or if I just congratulate the heck out of you, which is what I want for everyone.
00:10:32 [Background camping stove noises] Good morning, it’s Sunday morning. I cannot wait to drink my coffee, which is heating up right now. We had rain last night, and looks like everyone did okay. I’m waiting for check in shortly. It was a great day yesterday. This is super exciting. I’m so glad I did this. Whatever crazy idea you have in your head, you need to go do it, because this was one of mine, and I am so thankful I did it. I can’t wait to do it again.
00:11:06 We took a short hike to a lake, and worked a little bit more on presence. We also worked a little bit on staying on the not-so-well-marked trail. While my guest looks like a walking advertisement for REI, I’m kind of jealous, I am layered with whatever is in my closet to get me through the day. Both levels of hiking gear and camping preparation are perfectly acceptable for these GPS Reset weekends.
00:11:35 On this, my very first retreat, I had just listened to Brook Castillo’s podcast episode titled, “Giving It Up.” It hit me Sunday morning that we have the perfect opportunity to list things we are ready to give up in our life. Write them down, and burn the paper in the fire. So, we did that. Now, my guest’s ready-to-give-up list is not mine to share, but mine, for this trip were gossip, afterwork TV watching, doubting myself, and talking to fill quiet. Yeah, I gave myself one extra. Always the over-achiever. Go away, I’m done with you. Yours catch? Yup, yours caught. Okay. Done with them.
00:12:24 Hey, red cheeks an all. Oh, by the fire. My client just left. We had a fantastic first retreat. It worked out really well. She was kind enough to leave some words about her time here with me, and I am about to pack up my things, and I’ll let you listen to them. Here you go.
00:12:49 Christine: If you look at your goals for this trip, do you feel as if you’ve reached them?
Retreat Guest: So, one of them, I reached. It was to go home refreshed and reset, and I definitely feel that I’ve reached that goal. The other one was more far-reaching, but I definitely feel like I have a direction and some clear ways in which I can work every day on achieving that goal.
Christine: Did you get anything else out of this retreat?
Retreat Guest: I think I’m going home feeling a little bit more confident in my own self-reliance. Even though Christine was at the site next door, it was the first time I ever pitched a tent and slept in the woods by myself, and that felt great. It was the first time I ever started a fire, even attempted to start a fire from a spark, and I did it. The fire was great. It burned for hours.
Christine: My last question is, what message do you wish to give someone considering this retreat?
Retreat Guest: Just do it. Just sign up. Find the courage to sign up and then you will find courage through the weekend that you never knew you had.
Christine: Thanks for joining me and I hope to see you at one of my upcoming retreats. Bye!
00:13:52 [Background nature noises] The questions I have for you in this episode are: have you ever done anything like this? And, would you ever do anything like this? I invite you to fly on over to our Facebook group to share your answers to these questions with our amazing flock. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. I know the adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:14:30 [Background nature noises] Okay, we’re going to get back on track, and my next episode’s title is “Are You Living Your Life as a Victim?” If my episode has helped you in anyway, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
I couldn’t agree more. I recently returned from a camping trip, and while preparing for it, I realized that I enjoy these trips tremendously because of the inability to use my cell phone.
It makes a few days feel like a week – I attribute that to the fact that I’m more present in my life when my phone has no service. Isn’t it crazy that by connecting ourselves in this way (online), that we disconnect ourselves from the life right in front of us?
I do a lot of coaching about living through your emotions and finding future you, but attempting to make significant changes in your life without being fully present is an uphill battle: a vertical rocky cliff type of battle.