The Wisdom of the Buffalo

From the intricate details of the brain to the complexity and mystery of the universe, God’s creation never ceases to amaze and awe. There is much insight we can observe and glean from God’s innovation and design. For instance, while cattle are similar in some ways to buffalo, there are some significant differences in their responses to stress.
Imagine a scene of a threatening storm approaching—lightning illuminating against dark thunderclouds, forceful wind, and unrelenting rain. Cows will understandably scatter and attempt to outrun the storm. Buffalo, on the other hand, will instinctually gather, face the storm, and even sometimes charge straight toward it. Why would this be the wiser choice? Don’t the buffalo’s actions go against all innate survival instincts? 
The buffalo’s response makes sense when you consider that by attempting to avoid or run away from the elements, cattle will reach the end of the property line, having nowhere else to run, and experience the brunt of the storm when they are dispersed, exhausted, fearful, and vulnerable. Yet by coming together and dealing with the threat directly, buffalo minimize their exposure to the storm, and they encounter it when they are at their strongest. 
What an insightful view into two contrasting approaches to the storms that happen! There are a couple of valuable takeaways we can apply in our lives. 
  • The power of community and connecting with others—God said in Genesis 2 that “It is not good that man should be alone.” We are created for relationship—to be seen and known by others. Relationships can provide tremendous comfort and support.

  • How do we react when a crisis occurs?—Will we flee and exhaust ourselves attempting to avoid discomfort? Are we to do nothing, expecting to wait out the storm? Perhaps we face the storm head on by preparing ourselves through seeking support and resources. 
*Oftentimes, the fear of the storm is a lot scarier than the storm itself. To a greater degree, the fear of feelings is a lot scarier than the feelings themselves*
If you are feeling overwhelmed by a hardship, you don’t have to go through it alone. If you are wanting to take the next steps in your path toward mental wellness, I would be honored to come alongside you. Please contact our office and ask about scheduling with me or another ALCS counselor. 
Elizabeth works at our North Austin location with children (4-7) experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, ADHD, and trauma. In addition, she works at both North Austin and Georgetown locations with adolescents and adults dealing with anxiety, depression, life transitions, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, sexuality, body image, trauma / PTSD and overcoming addictive behaviors. For more information about Elizabeth's practice click here, or feel free to email Elizabeth at [email protected].