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We started the bonding process with our two bunnies in the middle of February. And we chose to follow a plan where, every third day of 4+ hours each day involving no negative behaviour, we could expand the bonding pen by half a fence panel (about 30cm).
We started with a pen consisting of 4 panels, aiming towards a pen made up of 12 panels. If you give a few extra days at the start of the process for the bunnies to settle in, it should take about 55 days to reach the final pen size of 12 panels.
We have surpassed day 55 and are currently closing in on day 70 with a bonding pen that is only 9.5 panels in size. So, we’re way behind schedule.
Just after we had started the bonding process, friends got in touch wanting to come visit us at the beginning of May. I love it when these particular friends come to visit as we get to show them around our home city and other parts of our current home country, and they love to explore with us. We tend to disappear and explore for a full day every day.
I had calculated that our bonding process would be finished before they arrived and, so, we would be able to do whatever they wanted, see whatever they wanted.
However, their visit is only a couple of weeks away now and it’s looking very slim that we’ll have finished the bonding process before their arrival.
This means that every day they are with us, we shall have to bake in time for bunny bonding, as taking a break could easily set us back to the start of the process.
Thankfully, our friends are animal-lovers, like us, so they’ll be more than understanding and supportive. However, my plan just didn’t fall sleekly into place as I had wanted.
Because things rarely do.
It took the bunnies longer than expected to settle and trust each other. So, it took longer than we anticipated to get our sessions up to 4+ hours (one of the requirements for expansion).
Then Spring fever kicked in and hit Bobo particularly hard (as it does every year) which has led to quite a lot of humping. Humping isn’t deemed a negative behaviour as it’s important for bunnies to determine their hierarchy. However, the chasing and circling that always followed is deemed negative behaviour. And this meant we couldn’t expand the pen for some time because you can only expand after 3 consecutive days of no negative behaviour.
Even if we had been able to expand the pen, controlling the humping would have been impossible with a larger-sized pen as we need to easily move around the perimeter to intervene when necessary.
So, the bonding pen stayed the same size for about 2 weeks, instead of our planned 3 days.
When the Spring fever kicked in, I initially felt frustrated because I so want to have the bunnies bonded so they can live side by side 24/7, rather than just spend up to 8 hours a day in a pen. Plus, I wanted to have them fully (or almost fully) bonded before our friends arrived.
However, as soon as I began to feel frustrated, I did something that I have started doing when things don’t run according to my plan (which, in fairness, they rarely do… something always crops up that I haven’t thought about). I looked at the situation, smiled, and yelled “plot twist!”.
Sometime ago I adopted this ‘phrase’ when things aren’t running as smoothly as they should. It’s something I had read about many moons ago. And I have found that it brings a lighter air to the situation, removing my frustration. It also helps me to keep moving forward instead of giving up. And it usually enables me to see the situation in a different and new light.
After my “plot twist!” I relooked at the situation and found I should actually be grateful for the Spring fever that had kicked in.
You see, if it had kicked in not long after the bunnies had been bonded, their bond being still very delicate, could have been easily broken and we would have found ourselves back at step one of the bonding process.
This way, the bunnies will have at least 6 months of living side by side, fully bonded and getting to intimately know each other’s triggers and reactions.
And this means that when Spring fever kicks in again next year, there’s a better chance that they will be able to work with it, react to the negative behaviour in a positive way, and their bond will remain firm.
This whole experience has got me thinking about life, in general.
How often in life does everything go exactly to plan?
No matter what you’re doing, something will go a bit pear-shaped, someone or something may throw a spanner in the works, or something goes off-kilter. And, inevitably, you need to re-adjust your plan and timeline.
Whilst I think plans and timelines are great for keeping us focused, I do think our adherence to them should be flexible. Because, here’s the thing about plans and timelines: they’re set according to our human ideas. And we, as humans, tend to be slightly impatience, wanting everything yesterday.
When we set plans and timelines, we tend to forget that we’re not alone in creating our reality; we’re actually working in partnership with the Universe. And whilst the Universe wants us to live our best, happiest, and most abundant life, it doesn’t mean to say that we can do so according to our often short-sighted and impatient timeline.
It’s impossible for us to see the full picture and when we can’t see the full picture we can never account for everything that will come to pass. Which means that a timeline may be quickly blown out of the water. There may have been a lesson you didn’t know you had to learn along the way, you didn’t foresee the obstacle that you created further along your path… and so on.
What does all this mean?
Does it mean you should never again create a plan or timeline?
No, I don’t believe it does. However, I believe it means that we need to be more flexible for things to take longer (or shorter) than we believe, for plot twists to happen and for us to adjust accordingly, and for us to be kinder to ourselves when things don’t go to plan.
When we’re more open to being flexible, to learning from the lessons, to accepting the plot twists, we tend to look at life with more open eyes and greater curiosity. And when we’re more open and curious, we tend to find that the right thing happens at the right time, that the Universe has had our back all along. We just need to trust and have faith.
And that’s the concept of Divine timing – the belief that everything in your life, from the mundane and ordinary to the exciting and unexpected, occurs exactly when it's meant to be.
Divine timing challenges the human belief that we are in control of our lives. Rather it alludes to the idea that absolute control, by us, is impossible. Despite our very best efforts, something will always turn out differently, following the flow it was meant to follow, not the one we designed for it.
When we embrace this concept, it can and does greatly (and positively) impact our lives.