Ask Astrid Fridays ~ The Rabbit’s Corner: Struggling vs Thriving is a Choice
A huge theme playing out on the collective scene right now is that of struggling versus thriving. There is a huge dichotomy of very distinct and extreme opposites playing out in the world that showcases both people overcoming obstacles and really experiencing beautiful, freeing, and incredible lives and the complete opposite where the worst is at hand. Of course there are always shades of every kind of in between, but more of the contrasts are really at the forefront.
Astrid knows this experience of dichotomy, as she came from a survival-based life to now a thriving life and has been doing the work to open to living her best experience ever by being willing to reprogram her conditioning to a more heart-based rather than instinct-alone based approach.
She came from a background of fear that programmed her to live life as a fight, protecting herself and basically mustering up her assertion to survive. She hadn’t been shown love until she landed at SaveABunny, where eventually I took her home from, and she learned to live the fight, rather than surrender to the love within her. She then utilized this technique as a way to test people, as if someone couldn’t see past her protective barrier, then they weren’t worth her time.
Not only had her survival mode served her in keeping her alive through unhealthy and bad circumstances she found herself in, but it became her signature for now protecting herself until true and unconditional love could penetrate that wall.
In her case, her efforts ended up serving her and did draw me to her, but that isn’t always the case for everyone, as living in this mode makes it very difficult for others to care even when they want to, and it has the possible tendency of becoming permanent even when someone does show up that really does “see” you. It can become a forever mask taking over your nature – much like that episode of The Twilight Zone titled “The Masks” where the family’s hardened hearts become forever their “face” to the world.
So, it’s a risk to take in continuing in this vein.
It wasn’t her nature, or anyone’s nature really, to live this way. And with the right love, kindness, patience, and nurturing, Astrid has been able to flourish. Yet, it isn’t solely because I loved her – no, that is just opportunity’s hand outstretched. It is because she had the courage, commitment, desire, and trust to move through it that allowed her beautiful heart to open once again, where once it was closed.
It’s incredible how much she’s changed since first we met and she came home. She is so joyful, playful, demonstrative of love, and even asks for love now. There is no more fight around showing and sharing love. She has even changed her reactions around food time where she used to fight for her food, sometimes hitting it or her bowl out of my hand. But now she lets me put the food in her bowl and pet her without a grunt or paw punch.
In fact, alongside loving me to snuggle with her and coming to nudge me or nip my pant leg for love, she will give me her front paws in my hands and surrenders to me.
That is HUGE! Nestor used to do this with me, but Astrid always wanted all of her feet planted on the Earth, making her feel safe, solid, and in fight or flight stance mode. And now we hold hands and she trusts her paws in mine.
She has embraced thriving versus surviving and wanted me to share her evolution with others, as she knows how tough this is, but not impossible. Especially so, as we have had direct experience with others experiencing the same thing and how this is reflective of a collective unfolding across the globe.
In the end, it’s each individual’s choice and the best way to help is to live our lives as consistently an example as we can.
We each have different life experiences that condition us, but many have been taught and learned to accept that “life is hard” and that becomes their motto for living.
It becomes so ingrained that you may even get to the point of measuring your success or how well your life is going by how you fight through the challenges and curve balls life throws to you.
Even if you never get past the point of survival, if you struggle and maintain that status quo on the edge, then you feel accomplished. This is what life has become for you, because it’s all you’ve ever known.
You identify with the struggle, being a victim, and that only survival is necessary.
You may become so accustomed to living on the edge with instability and things always just about to fall apart, that it almost handicaps you from accepting anything different – and definitely not an easy life, let alone that people care or that you could ask for help.
It becomes a vicious circle so that when you get through the fire, you can’t even enjoy it or accept it, as a part of you is always waiting for, anticipating, and in essence magnetizing the next struggle.
You believe something’s wrong when life is suddenly okay and believe something must be on the way, which is self-fulfilling and self-sabotage at its finest.
You become accustomed to feeling that life isn’t worth it unless you are struggling and even though consciously you may not want to really think that, the subconscious has much more to tell you and begins to dictate the show. It believes life isn’t worth it unless you struggle. You identify with the fight and it becomes your self worth. Fighting against something is more comfortable than flowing. It is your defense mechanism and life value becomes dictated by struggles to overcome.
It’s almost like this way of life becomes your high and if it’s not hard you look for the next fix.
Whether your parents or family lived this way and instilled this kind of thinking, or you were forced out on the streets at an early age, or struggled silently trying to survive in any kind of abusive, oppressive, scary, or lack-based environment, chances are you might identify with some of this on some level. Many degrees of this kind of belief system, conditioning, and self-dialogue is running the show inside for so many of us.
“Life isn’t easy. Life is a struggle. Everything is hard. I don’t deserve to have it good. I’m not worthy. It’s not worth it if I don’t work hard for it. I haven’t accomplished anything unless it is a fight I struggle to win. I don’t deserve it easy. I don’t deserve love. I don’t deserve to thrive. Suffering is spiritual. Suffering is of service. Giving is more noble than receiving. Abundance is wrong when others have nothing. Others have it worse, so I can’t have more because that’s not fair and is dishonorable,” and the list goes on of inner dialogue connected to this way of being.
It’s not a dialogue we want to have, but have learned to adopt it as the “norm” because we don’t know a different way is possible, were taught to believe anything else is not for people like us, and/or had no one to mirror an example of another option.
Identifying with the struggle and being a victim is self-perpetuating and can be super hard to get out of. Especially when you add in feeling bad about yourself, anger, resentment, inability to forgive, defensiveness, and self-preservation needs at the basic of levels. It can become your form of measuring accomplishment and worthiness for everything.
The rush of walking on fire feeds the burn.
Struggle is comfort food that feeds a collective disorder keeping many in different forms of slavery and survival modes.
It’s hard when that’s all you’ve known from childhood or perhaps even from other lives of destitute.
And from that struggle and suffering, it’s easy to see why so many identify with others who are experiencing the same.
This can lead us to want to help others and work with supporting people and creating services that help those in need because we have been there ourselves and either made it through or still identify in part with that.
I’ve seen it also in the form of projection and if unable to shift it within, then some people will start identifying with certain people or children, a cause, animals, and the environment because we can understand the suffering. If you don’t have a healthy grasp of this dynamic however, it can lead to your creating more suffering for yourself in order to try to save one or all of these. And so the vicious circle continues.
If you don’t have a deep well of nourishment, you will never have enough to help those you identify with that are suffering.
Survival becomes the focus rather than thriving.
A way of validating being a victim, without having had an example for empowerment.
That is until you burn out, hit rock bottom, or maybe worse.
Astrid and I don’t want to see you hit rock bottom, although we both know from personal experience it may be the only way out and through.
A willingness to open to a healthy understanding of this dynamic at work within can help start to make shifts, draw in possibilities, support, or the right people that can make a difference.
It’s not necessarily simple and easy, but it also doesn’t have to be hard. We can start by changing this dialogue we have around everything and catching what and how we say things, as our words carry power. Manifestation can be instant these days in both the ways you may want or don’t want, and the belief system that you speak will magnetize its mirror.
The more each of us are willing to look within with curiosity of why we believe the way we do, why we act out as we do, why our behaviors conclude in the same kind of outcomes, why we have tightening in our hearts….the more we open the gateways to shedding light on change.
Taking small, more easily attainable steps to shift toward a different approach to life is easier than trying to tackle the whole thing all at once. These small steps pave the way for momentum into larger ones and starts to retrain us to a more natural way of well being that leads to thriving instead of surviving.
In the end, we each must choose to want to change, but being willing to is the first step.
If Astrid hadn’t been willing to be open to me and slowly trust, with my consistent efforts, then she may never have experienced living a more peace-filled life.
As a prey animal and rabbit, she is already conditioned to live by instinct and survival, so it’s even more of an amazing challenge that she overcame, compounded by her early life struggles. But it wasn’t her desire to be that way. She found a way to survive, yes, but she also found a way to hope when hope seemed impossible.
She had more to give and wisdom to share, but it may never have come through without willingness meeting opportunity’s hand.
How many times has opportunity knocked at your door in some form and you were too afraid to accept it?
Sometimes it just takes that one offer of your hand, or paw in Astrid’s case, to make a difference.