“Be the buffalo. Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee nation, once told me how the cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges directly toward it–and gets through it quicker. Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo.”
~Donna Brazile, rules to live by.
There are a number of people in my world right now who are going through some challenges: challenges in growth, change, health, emotional difficulties, and the like. While I’m no poster child for living wisely, this subject in particular is one upon which I can speak, and maybe it can offer a little guidance or encourage someone who’s on one precipice or another and is afraid. In a nutshell, the fear you feel will not go away until you face it head on.
The quote above from political commentator/campaign strategist Donna Brazile is something I read in Oprah magazine. Its organic truth struck such a chord of authenticity within me that I tore the page out of the magazine. It’s been sitting here next to my computer for many weeks now, while I wondered how I was going to use it. Today it hit me; sharing the example of the buffalo might help some of my friends who are struggling. If you are reading this and know someone who needs to read this and share this post, maybe someone you know can turn a challenging situation into an opportunity to grow, to live honestly, and be finally free of the prison that running from challenge can become.
It took me a long time to become a ‘buffalo gal.’ Before I began to live authentically (which means allowing myself to feel the unpleasantness that discord often bestows), I was not myself. I was afraid of conflict, so I held in feelings that should have been shared. I was afraid I had nowhere to go, so I stayed in a place where I was not safe. I was a broken spirit and spent many a year locked in my room with a beautiful cat (see a previous post), my books, and my stash of Virginia Slims Menthol. I literally lost much of my teenage years to nicotine and self-imposed solitude. Came out of the fortress to go to school and work. I married a man who helped me through some ‘interesting’ times while I was becoming me, supported me as I started counseling, and also let me know that I wasn’t crazy to have the feelings I had. The marriage didn’t last, but my gratitude for his understanding at the beginning of my healing process endures to this day. As well as for the child who resulted from our marriage (see another previous post). I was well into adulthood by the time I first charged into the storm (even though I’ve always loved thunderstorms).
Here’s what, in continuing with the Oprah theme, I know for sure: