Be the Buffalo and Ask the Turtle

Be the Buffalo and Ask the Turtle

I was reading a magazine the other day…well, reading might be a stretch since most of my reading takes place in the only room I can get a few moments of peace and quiet – the bathroom – but my time in there has to be limited (or else the 5 yr old starts to search for me) so scanning is more likely to take place than actual reading. (TMI?  I know you other moms out there totally understand and probably have your own book, magazine, or catalog stashed in there somewhere.) Anyways, I was flipping through this magazine and this article caught my eye:  Smartest Advice I Ever Got

Hmm this might be worth a read.  I mean, I could always use smart advice, if nothing else, so that I had good tidbits to pass on to my friends and family, some of which would be totally lost without my constant if-I-were-you opinions sound advice (whew… barely got that typed before the belly laughs erupted – trust me, I am in no position to be giving advice to anyone), and I tried to think of any smart advice I’d received lately but couldn’t so this was truly a timely article as my reserves were running low.

The advice came from Donna Brazile – author, political commentator, and veteran campaign strategist.  I didn’t know of her (I try to stay out of politics), but the picture of her seemed charming, and l really liked her hair cut, so I read on…

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 via LYBL, June 2010 page 38

Wow.  OK, that was good.  Be the buffalo, huh?  I’d like to pretend that I am a buffalo more often than I am a cow (OMGosh!  Did I just call myself a cow?? Although to be fair, neither a buffalo nor a cow is really all that attractive.) but lately I’d be lying to myself and you if I did.

This past year and a half has been one HUGE storm for us, and it feels like I start charging at the storm to get through it faster, but suddenly the storm changes direction and force and suddenly, like the cow, I am running away from it… or at the very least chasing after it but getting no where.

Every night, I go to bed determined that “tomorrow” I will be the buffalo… I will forge on, focusing on the problem and not the distractions (my favorite line so far from this season’s Leverage), seeking to fix the things that I can fix and leave the rest to God (although I reserve the right to explain to God what I think the fix should be…I am a buffalo, not a saint).

Each morning, I wake up and by about 9am, I’m done trying… I’ve become so overwhelmed with bills, collection calls, legal notices, children, pets, “work”, dinner plans, yard work, housework, etc. that I often times don’t know where to start – what to charge at – that I curl up in the fetal position (figuratively most of the time) all the while clicking my heels and chanting, “There’s no place like home!”   It should be noted that I do that more in an effort to comfort myself than to actually get transported back to Auntie Em.

Continuing on with the article….

Go help someone. My mother wasn’t a very patient woman.  If I complained about being lonely or bored, she’d tell me to go help someone, anyone.  To this day, when I start feeling sorry for myself, I look for a good deed to do.  But I keep in mind one thing…

Ask the turtle. I’m proud to call Gloria Steinam a friend, and this advice came from her.  While on a field trip in college with her geology class, she discovered a giant snapping turtle that had climbed out of the river, up a dirt path, right to the edge of a road.  Worried it would be run over, she wrestled the enormous reptile off the embankment and back down to the water.  At that moment, her professor walked up and asked what in the world she was doing.  With some pride, she told him.  He said that the turtle had probably spent months crawling up that long dirt path to safely lay its eggs in the mud on the side of the road and that she had destroyed all that effort with her “rescue.”  Gloria tells this story to illustrate the most important lesson (political or otherwise) she ever learned:  Always ask the turtle.” – Donna Brazile via LYBL, June 2010 page 38

Snapping Turtle

Two more good nuggets back to back.  I might be on “good advice” overdrive.  No, really, I do get these two points… helping others often makes me feel better about my own circumstances, if for no other reason than it takes the spotlight off of me and my issues and directs my focus onto something/someone else for a while, but before I rush out and help the first John or Jane Doe I see, I need to make sure they WANT my help otherwise I might be setting them back and making things even more frustrating for everyone.  It’s good advice to keep in mind and in practice.

What about you?  What good advice have you received lately?


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