Surviving and Thriving

A dear friend and I connected recently about sometimes feeling like we are surviving, but not thriving. She asked me to muse and write about this. And so I have. This here is for you my darling friend, and for anyone who needs to read these words right now. 

Since our conversation, I have sat and meditated on this feeling of surviving, not thriving. I have let the feeling swish around in my body as I gently breathed in. Welcoming it to settle where it needed, as I sat, with eyes closed, and softly exhaled.  

Being curious about the idea, the questions arrived. What does it mean to survive? What does it mean to thrive? How are they different? Are they different? These questions walked with me throughout the days. Gently moving in my body as I moved through the world. Sat with me on a warm afternoon as I admired the light of the sun and our beautiful garden. 'Are these plants surviving or thriving?' I asked up into the vast blue of the sky. 

To begin with I questioned why we are always seeking? Why we always feel the need for things to be better than they are? With an open heart I realised one way of looking at it is to see surviving and thriving as intrinsically linked. Our desire to thrive is what enables us to survive. It is what drives us. It is what gives us energy to seek comfort, love, food and joy. It is what moves the plant to reach for the sun. To open its flowers to the buzzing of bees and beautiful birds.

I sit with this for a while, and then the plants in our garden, the blue hue of the sky and my heart tell me, surviving and thriving are more than linked, they are in fact the same. To survive is to thrive. When we are surviving we are thriving. To create the duality and separate them, to make them opposites of each other, is where the imbalance begins. It is in their union that we can once again find harmony. It is in the yoga of surviving and thriving, where we find peace.

When we have this shift of perspective, we lift the idea of surviving and we lower the expectation on thriving, and they come together. Surviving is no longer a state of 'mere' or 'just' and thriving is no longer something elusive we are seeking to achieve. We come to understand we are already there. 

We come to understand we are doing our best in this moment, and our best is enough. That we are enough.

Perhaps, with this realisation we feel the warmth of gratitude fill our hearts. Maybe this wisdom lifts the corners of our eyes and mouth, and we walk into the world smiling.

Image: a beautiful pink flowering gum surviving and thriving in the gardens of the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples.

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