In today’s episode we talk about Survival Mode. We explore what that looks like in our own lives. We discuss some ways to move out of it and also steps we can take to not go there in the first place. We hope you enjoy <3
Dani: Hello ladies.
Dani: Hi, how are we today?
Natalie: So good, thank you… So well, thank you.
Dani: So glad to hear it. I’m glad we’re starting at a good place because our topic today is a little bit, uh, a little bit challenging. Our topic today is survival mode. And, and so, uh, let’s pull a card. Natalie, let’s see what our card says.
Natalie: Okay. So this one was surrendering.
Candace: Oh, are you serious… Ooooh! Because in the heat of survival mode, exactly what you want to do is surrender.
Natalie: As I surrender, I release the urge to fight, push and resist, and I open myself to the design and wisdom of the universe. My surrender holds truth and dignity. It holds it in a knowing that everything will be okay. Relief washes over me when I accept things just as they are, knowing that change is just around the corner. My True Path shimmers before me, when I relinquish control of what I should be doing and where I should be going. My surrender is not an act of defeat or denial of my needs but an act of great healing and an opening to divine grace. This grace bestows many gifts, joy, patience, compassion, strength, courage, and of course a stronger connection to the limitless flow of love.
Candace: I love it.
Dani: That is so beautiful.
Candace: Can you read the line again where it says my True Path Shimmers before me?
Natalie: Yep. If I can find it. Yeah. My True Path Shimmers before me, when I relinquish control of what I should be doing or where I should be going.
Dani: Oh everyone. Just take a deep breath and enjoy that for a minute. Oh my gosh. That is so perfect. Natalie. The wonderful, amazing card puller. So that’s it, right? So survival mode just for everybody who isn’t in on it on the many, many, many discussions we all have, because it comes up a lot, is that survival mode is anytime you just feel like really stuck, pretty low vibe and in a lot of fear. So a lot of times we can react to survival mode differently. Sometimes it’s really, really stuck in inaction. Other times it can be stuck in action and doing and spinning. I’m spinning those wheels so fast and it’s still not fast enough or for me, I’m like a, I’m a puller away. I’m a, I’m a pull back and protect kind of person. So survival mode for me looks like inaction complete withdrawal. For Natalie, I think for Natalie, for you it’s a little more, I’m spinning my wheels a hundred miles an hour and I’m still not ok. So we can have different modes but it’s still…
Candace: You can use, you can use both. I tend to bounce between both extremes so I either totally withdraw and do nothing or I’m crazy and frenetic trying to, you know, just spinning my wheels.
Dani: That’s one of the things I love about having all three of us in the podcast is that we just bring up different aspects of the same thing and we’re all such beautiful mirrors for like exactly what’s going on. And uh, it’s so I think it’s just beautiful to have three perspectives on things Okay. So, so one of the things about survival mode, a couple of things about survival mode is number one, it sucks. Okay. Survival mode is just whether you’re going 100 miles an hour or you’re completely pulling back and withdrawn. It’s a terrible feeling. It’s a terrible feeling to be in survival mode to feel like your survival depends on this thing, whatever it is accomplishing this or getting it done or having this happen or any of it to feel like if I’m going to survive or be happy, I have to have this and right now it’s not coming to me. So there’s always this feeling of lack and a feeling of fear, um, that are identified a lot, uh, with survival mode.
Dani: We can always talk about what we learned, how to get out of survival mode. But before we do that, I really want to take time. You guys are going to want to hit me in the throat, but… To appreciate it. Okay, and to like Natalie said, surrender to understand that every single thing we go through is part of the greater unfolding. So we don’t have to get so upset, beat ourselves up, try to get out of it super quick, not allow it at all just because we have this pressure to be high vibe or we’re convinced that this is all our fault and we shouldn’t be feeling this way and it’s wrong and all of that because all that’s going to do is push us further into survival mode. I really feel like resistance. If there’s an enemy to survival mode, it’s resistance. Resisting it is is the worst thing that we can do and so I just almost want to…. do I want to go as far as to thank survival mode? I don’t know if we’re there yet, but looking back on survival mode, it is a gift. I can see all the times in life where I was really in survival mode and kind of the lessons, but that’s the thing about hard things that we go through and look back and we think, oh, that was a lesson, or Oh, I got here, I got this gift from that. There was the silver lining in that. And so there’s always that.
Candace: I though, I think that the gratefulness and the lesson comes from the experience, not necessarily going into survival mode. So you could learn the lesson. You could get through that experience without actually taking yourself into crazy mode.
Dani: Yeah, that’s a good point. You can, you can do it either way and even going into survival mode like it’s so funny. Look at times when I went into survival mode with the story like, well of course I’m in survival mode of, you know, logically and you have all these reasons why. Well, of course I’m in such survival mode. Why wouldn’t I be in survival mode? I need to survive and like, justify it. And it just kind of fortifies your story.
Candace: So like I had mentioned earlier, for me, survival mode can look two totally different ways, you know, it’s a total retreat or it’s total craziness recently it’s been the total craziness and I’m working to try and, and find some balance. So I realize that I’m in survival mode and I know I’m how detrimental it is to my body. So recently I’ve been doing a lot of acupuncture and I was talking to my acupuncturist and she said, you know, this x, y, and z thing that you’re experiencing in your body is directly related to fight or flight, which is what happens with survival mode. Um, and the adrenaline in your body and all of the stress hormones and everything like that is actually what’s creating these physical issues. And I was like, oh, because I’m in that sort of fight or flight slash survival mode from the time I wake up. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, I’m like, oh, I need to hop out of bed because if I don’t hop out of bed I’m going to fall back to sleep. And if I fall back to sleep then I’m, I’m not going to have time alone. And if I don’t have time alone then I’m going to be miserable and I’m not going to get enough work done. And Oh my God, I still have to do that client thing and I have to do this. And like that’s my brain from the moment I wake up.
Candace: And so where I struggle is because I, I bounce between those two extremes. I struggle with how do I get to a place in the middle without going all the way to the other end? Because it’d be really nice just like lay in bed and be like, oh, I’m just going to go back to sleep and sleep until 9:00. And then, you know, slowly go about my day and not care about any stuff going on not be constantly worried about my work stuff like how, how do you, how do you find that middle ground, how do you find that balance where things, not only things that come up and like the experiences and like the big things like you were talking about a few minutes ago that take you into survival mode, but just like the little things in life. You know, as a society, most of us are conditioned to react with fight or flight, you know, it’s this constant adrenaline and stress hormones and you know, coming at us all the time. So how do you overcome that? Because I think from my perspective anyway, overcoming that piece is how you keep yourself from falling to the extremes in survival mode.
Dani: Okay, great. So, so what can we do? So I really think the best thing we do, the first thing we have to do is accept the present moment as it is. Just as it is. I really do think that is the first thing. And again, people will say, well, if I’m in acceptance then I don’t change anything, which is such bullshit. Just set that aside for a minute. When you accept in the present moment it doesn’t mean this is going to be how it’s going to be forever. When someone says accept it in the present moment, it just means this is what is. So in this moment I have two options. I can accept what is or I can resist what is. Resisting what is, is insanity, when you think about it, because it already is, it is so resisting. It is the worst and silliest thing we can do, but everybody just walks around doing it. So we tell ourselves it’s normal and it’s not. It’s insanity. If we accept the moment first, then by consciously choosing it, by taking a deep breath and saying, okay, this is what it is. Then your place, your level of consciousness from which you take your next action is everything. Are you taking that action from fight or flight? Are you taking that action from you can reset your whole state of being the neuroscience inside of your whole body and go to a deeper level of consciousness with three to 10 deep belly breaths, like literally just reset things with breathing. So I think one of the, one of the big things about survival mode is what you do in those first moments, whether we accept it or fight against it, whether we just acknowledge it and be there and breathe. I think that’s the first beautiful couple of steps thing to do. And Natalie, did you have something come up?
Natalie: No, I agree. I absolutely agree with the breath thing because it’s amazing how shifting that can be because it just kind of resets your whole system. Um, but um, what kind of came up to me with the question? That question is kind of like, it’s really identifying like what’s the trigger? What is the thing that’s pushing you into fight or flight? So for example like I’m trying to think of like Candace’s situation where you wake up in the morning and you’re like, or just anyone, like any given day, like what is the trigger? So then try and find out if there’s a consistent thing. So like one of my things that keeps me in survival mode is like the story I have around not having enough time. So I end up just being, (rattled) I need to do because I don’t have enough hours in the day. And then that story perpetuates itself to a point where like I cause myself to have less time. So I had a situation awhile ago, where one day I was working away and I had so much to do, my to do list was so long, and I heard my husband and he was about to go on a bike ride with the kids and I was just like, I don’t have enough time. Was what the story came into my head right away. And then I was like, I’m making time. So I went, I got up, I went and had the bike ride, came back and I got way more done than I would if I had of sat here, like going, I’ve got so much to do, I’ve got so much to do. Because in that zone I was not helpful. And so actually by giving myself less time, I created more time. Do you know what I mean? It’s like a totally different thing. So if there’s, if there’s an equivalent of you for that. So whether you’re story, you know, where there is a time trigger or something that’s triggering you into that, that response. It’s like finding that theme and then looking at what story you have around it or what about that is affecting you. So you can try and remove that story. I mean I still play the whole time thing, like it’s not fixed or anything, but that’s one way I can, you know, try and get out of it in that situation. And, and that’s, that’s like a bit of is it feels like a really light one in terms of like survival mode. Not enough time, but just with my life, my business, my kids like this stuff I have on like it feels like I’m in survival mode where it’s just like all I’m doing is surviving by getting all the things done and then I wake up to a new day of all the things again, you know, and it’s just like there is no balance. It’s just constant. Ding Ding Ding on my diaries, like Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding. All Week. Like, no time.
Dani: I think another thing in the moment, and that’s a version of what you’re talking about, Natalie, is so when we are in this survival mode in the moment, if we can catch ourselves in the moment, it’s wonderful to practice acceptance, the deep breathing, and if we want to study it a little further, go into questioning and okay, so why am I so striving right now? Why is my jaw clenched right now? What? What is the story behind this? Tim Ferriss actually has a really great process that’s called fear setting and if you google you can find the exact thing, but it is really, I found it really effective for, especially for people who really like to work things out, like they really want to work it out. They need to intellectually walk through everything, figure it out. This is a great process. So what you start by doing, you know, sometimes what, what typically happens is we get a thought, we get more thoughts like it that glob on, before you know, it, we’re in the whirlpool and there’s no getting out because there’s so much momentum going around all that negativity and all that fear that we keep ourselves in fight or flight for hours, days, weeks, months at a time, which is so bad for us. But then thinking, oh, it’s bad for me and I should do something and guilting ourselves is just, only adds, you know, add speed to the momentum of the whole thing. So that’s the worst thing. But um, but he has this process called fear setting. Anyway, what what we can typically do is we get into the thing, we spin around, we get worse and worse, our emotions follow our thoughts down into the whirlpool and we just get stuck and stay there and it’s just a continual way of being. There’s a couple of different ways we can get out of it. Number one is to start intellectually with someone who’s very intellectually driven, this is the fear setting process that Tim Ferriss has. And you start by writing down your fears. You just write them down because you know how it is. One fear leads to another fear leads to another because it’s not just like, oh, I fear I can’t pay my rent. It’s like, well then if I can’t pay my rent, then I’m homeless. Well then my kids are homeless, then I can’t. Right? So there’s all these fears behind every single fear that are more fierce behind it. So dig for every one fear, ask at least four times. What’s the fear behind that? What’s the fear behind that? What’s the and and so or you can say, and so what if that happens? And so what if that happens, like where is it leading and do it all, like get it all and it’s kind of like this thing where you do a brain dump to your every dark thought, fear you ever had. Get it on the paper. And then for every single one of those you write down three things you can do to prevent it from happening. And again, this is a very intellectual process, but it’s beautiful for some people who really want that, that level of thinking answer. So write three things you can do to prevent it from happening that you could do to mitigate it. Number three, go through and write three things for every single one of them you can do. If it does happen, if this happens, I could live in my mom’s basement.
Dani: That would be the step before the homeless shelter. You know, what would …
Candace: Not that you’ve thought about it before but…
Dani: Not that I’ve ever been there before… So funny. Yeah. Theoretically, theoretically, someone else saying, yeah. Um, anyway, so I could live with in my mom’s place? Like what would you do if it actually happened to take your thought process through and write it down. And then he has this thought, this thing where he goes on to do like now what could you gain if you actually do do it, face your fear and actually do this, what could you gain? And he has all of that. But actually these first three steps I have found life changing for those people who really want that intellectual. Like how do I deal with my fear? I want to face my fear, what it, what is that I’m really dealing with here. What is the triggering thought? Because otherwise we just get into so automatic that we don’t even get into that stuff. You guys have any thoughts about that or ideas of your own or whatever?
Natalie: My friend uses the same kind of thing. But um, rather than like, well, the fear behind that, she asks what’s the worst thing about that? And I think that’s a really. It’s the same thing, but just like, I feel like if I was like, I’m scared of this, it’s like asking what’s the fear behind that I’d be like, I don’t know. Whereas like, what’s the worst thing about that? Like I just think if it helps people try and dig deeper. And that has been really interesting and a lot of the things that I’ve done, something like that, a lot of the fears that I have like all like stem from like emptiness, so like I didn’t know like emptiness was a thing for me, but apparently it is because every fear is like what’s the worst thing about what that was the worst thing, but that was the worst thing that will feel empty and like, and if we do it to the other extreme, like most things where it’s like what’s the best way I’ll feel full. Like, so it’s like I have that like paradigm that I live in where those two things. So it’s interesting like what belief it often leads down to that kind of thing, which maybe that’s why I fill my life with so much stuff.
Candace: You’re so busy because if you have the space you will be empty…
Natalie: Yeah. Mind blown.
Dani: Yeah. It’s also…
Natalie: How do I stop though? What’s the answer?
Candace: By creating more space and facing that fear and realizing that you are still okay. You are still full.
Natalie: Sitting in emptiness.
Candace: No not sitting in emptiness… Sitting in spaciousness.
Dani: Yeah, because you are all about space too and that is like Candace was saying, it’s having the spaciousness, but a lot of times also we do things where we start other little fires so we don’t have to work on this fire over here that we don’t want to look at. So there’s a big fire over you’re burning and we’re like, uh, maybe I want to look at that, but you know what? I’ve got all these other little fires. I’ll do that first.
Natalie: These ones are closer, I can get them out quickly. And then there’ll be more fires when I’ve finished with those, and then a few more. When I deal with THIS fire THEN ….
Dani: Yes! Back to the last podcast episode. If this then that. That’s right. Love that so much. Okay, so one of the other things that we can do in survival mode is the going into the body, and I know we have talked about this in previous episodes, so I’m not going to go into it in detail, but in brief what it is is that when we already notice we’re already in the funnel, we’re in the funnel we have all these deep feelings and we feel the fight or flight. Sometimes we’re in it and we don’t even feel it because we’re so used to it. We’re, we’re sitting there working and our jaw is clenched and our shoulders are tight, but we’re. We’ve been that way for three hours and so we’re even aware of it anymore.
Candace: Or three years…
Dani: Theoretically… Not that you’re doing that…
Candace: Not that, not that I’d know about that…
Dani: And if you are in the full swing of it and emotionally you just don’t have control emotionally to even sit down, write your thoughts, to take a moment and breathe. You are way past that time. Then what people can do is actually kind of lean into the feeling of it. Turn their thoughts from all the stories to inside their own bodies. So they sit down, they close their eyes, they turn their thoughts inside their own bodies and feel where this emotion is trapped in their body, wherever that is. And so the emotions trapped in their body. That’s another episode, look it up if you want the whole thing, because Candace lead that episode, it was beautiful. Um, I think it can be really helpful for people. So go into the body and stay with that feeling in the body and you only really usually have to do it for even a couple of minutes before it will start to dissipate, start to change, start to whatever, and just stay with the sensations in your body.
Dani: So that’s another way. So all of these ways, what we’re doing is we’re really just kind of interrupting that pattern. We’re not letting the automatic ways of being just get a good foothold and continue on at 90 miles an hour. We’re just interrupting these patterns that we have. And so the more we interrupt these patterns and the more we introduce peace, introduce breath, introduce relaxing, introduce questioning, noticing then then the more free, the more space we have to observe, the more space we have to build awareness, the more space we have to be effected, a little different the next time around.
Candace: And I think too, it’s really easy to forget to do those things in the moment. And no matter where you’re at on your journey, it’s not something that generally comes easy. It’s something that you start to remember more frequently and you start to notice more frequently and it just slowly becomes a way of being rather than beating yourself up for not being good enough. So like that’s a place that I tend to go is I should know this. I should know this. I should know better. Why am I doing this again? Rather than just, Oh, I’m remembering more frequently now. And appreciating it in that way. Which I think is…
Dani: That’s such a beautiful point. I think it’s just been a misconception in self help and development of all kinds for so long that, you know, we have to criticize ourselves in order to get better and it really is that we just have to accept ourselves on deeper and deeper levels and because wherever we are is where we are. We are always doing our best and that person across the room or next to you who’s pissing you off is still always doing their best. Or that person who does the really annoying thing or the really hurtful thing they’re doing their best.
Dani: Like that perspective helps, helps me so much just in day to day of just recognizing. And I think because uh, like a lot of us, I’m very hard on myself and I’m all like, Oh, you know, whatever will be will be man. But at the same time very, very hard on myself, especially about these things like, well, I wouldn’t be suffering so much if I were more evolved. If I had this deeper understanding, I would be able to allow peace or I would be able to allow a message from spirit right now. Or I would be able to do this and it’s just the last, just the last thing that we, that we want to do. We just breathe in and out and accept this present moment as it is. So then we can, we can keep choosing it or we can choose something different or we can just take a little bit of a break and just pull back a little bit for a little bit of perspective and it’s, it’s so good Candace because we’ve been practicing these other ways of being our whole lives. So give yourself grace, give ourselves grace, give ourselves understanding. This is it’s, you know, it’s still all new and it takes time to develop these, these habits and it still is just start by interrupting, start beginning a few moments of peace and, and you can just keep building and it happens naturally because I really believe that, you know, the, the tendency, the movement of the universe is naturally toward wholeness, naturally toward awakening, naturally toward growth. So if we just kind of allow it to kind of be that way. We don’t have to always have to force it. Just let it let us be how we are now accept it and kind of keep moving on. Keep doing the dance. Anybody have any final thoughts before we go?
Natalie: I don’t think so, very helpful.
Dani: Okay, beautiful. Thanks ladies. Love you
Candace: Bye girls.