The Business of Bonding
Alternate title: Lies My Rabbits Told Me
How do you best admit struggle when you’re the leader? How do you exhale and admit, “It’s getting tough for us over here!” when you’re the one people turn to when the stuff gets tough for them?
Confession: bonding got tough this week, out of seemingly nowhere (but not actually nowhere when I stopped to think about it). Quick catch-up for those of you who haven’t tuned in before: lived side-by-side for 5 years, moved to a new home one month ago, started official bonding the day we moved, all was going very well. Then, I guess middle of this past week, the little bits of circling or chasing that would happen occasionally but diffuse quickly and on their own started to pop off into near-fights or actual fights. And I couldn’t tell anyone, besides the Bunny-daddy of course. I’m the one who gives bonding advice or at least connects you to the people who can give you the best advice—how could I admit that the relationship-building took a turn for the tough in my own living room?
Drop the ego. Get it together. But in the thick of it all, I wasn’t paying attention fully. I wasn’t using my “toolbox” of mindfulness and personal development that I teach about! If I was, I would have realized that Tater stopped grooming Peanut, a loving and lengthy ritual that Peanut began to expect at the beginning of and periodically throughout the exercise time/bonding sessions. Of late, Peanut had even begun to reciprocate the grooming—it was a freakin’ miracle in this house. Maybe that milestone distracted me. I can see clearly now that last Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever this mayhem started, that the lack of the grooming ritual was causing the conflicts. But I wasn’t fully present. I was coasting on last Sunday’s amazing 14+ hour bonding session. I was coasting on the Nothing In The World That I Can’t Do mentality that all too often leaves me with blinders on to the indicators of change or of changing needs. I was getting ready for bestie to visit, I was getting ready for a holiday that I celebrate for tradition, I was still trying to unpack and settle, all while cruising through bonding.
The realization of the root of the issue came when I finally sat with the bunnies and was fully present. I sat with the intention to sit there, not with the intention to make sure they were ok then throw in laundry, wash dishes, finish Christmas cards, unpack a box, answer Rescue emails, etc., etc., etc… it was ONLY when I sat there with the intention of being there and there only, that I realized the grooming had stopped, thus the course of their relationship-building shifted. Duh. But in running the house, one day job, two small businesses, one non-profit organization and a beautiful family group, I let my true presence be absent. I really thought they were good, that they were bonded! Look at how they were behaving! Yes, I had been pouring on the Stress Away when the fights started—now I knew what else I needed to add.
So, this morning, after bestie left, I dripped Peace & Calming into the diffuser, I sprayed myself and the living room with White Angelica, I put Valor II over my heart and some drops of Surrender and Highest Potential in my hands. Yes, I know, one drop of one oil would have been enough but in typical B-fashion I had to go over the top to ensure success. Being fully present, I sat with the boys for 30ish minutes this morning. There were some scuffles, but I get it now. And when I’m fully present, the sessions may be shorter but they are more purposeful. I tell my colleagues in business and Rescue and my learners at the day job that my success comes from my laser-sharp focus. And here I was, not using it, one of my greatest tools.
Lies my rabbits told me—more like lies I tell myself! I let their progress delude me. I let it fuel my tendency to take on too much at once. Now, my options are clear: I am where I am, fully present or I am shut off. I cannot ensure their progress (or safety, for that matter) while simultaneously working on three other things. Or one other thing. See how even my diction reveals the pressure I put on myself… get it together.
I’ve often toyed with idea of having “Be Here Now” tattooed on my wrist. I think I’ve hesitated because it rocks my Type-A intense achiever personality to admit that I need such a reminder, especially for something that seems so basic. Also, I need to donate blood again before I get my text tattoo. But anyway, the lesson here: Bonding is a business. And just like one of my mentors-in-my-head Bethenny Frankel (love her or hate her, I don’t care!) says, “Everything is your business” and when you treat every task you take on like it’s your business, the care cultivated and the success sustained is remarkable.
Be here now. Do one thing at a time. Pay attention on purpose to what’s going on in front of your face and in your heart. Much love.