As long as I can remember cows have always played a special role in my life. A long time ago, while we were still leaving at the house of my grandmother, all together with my cousin’s family, one dark afternoon in February, I came home from school and my cousin was there and frighten me with a cow mask she was wearing, which impacted me for the rest of my life.
Some years later, my brother and I we decided to go and pick up some mushrooms. We were told to go to this specific field well known for having a lot of mushrooms. What they did not tell us, was that there were also a cow herd on that field spending time on pasture.
Well never mind, we would go anyway, and so my brother and I, we entered the field from the lower part, the opposite part from where the cow herd was, thinking that they would not notice us or that by the time they would notice us we would be already far away with a basket full of mushrooms.
So we entered the field, passing a barbed wire fence, going into our knees and paying attention not to get stuck at the barbed wire fence. Our efforts got rewarded, soon we found quite some mushrooms and could fill up our basket. We, of course, completely forgot about the cows until that very moment, where I heard them starting to run into our direction. I must add that I was wearing a red jumper, so while the legend is saying that cows don’t like the red color, searches has shown that they can not really distinguish colors, but that they are more intrigue and get irritated by sudden movements or somebody yelling around.
And believe me, I was running around and also yelling!
I suddenly remember my fear of cows, I remember the fear I felt being boggled by my cousin with the cow mask so I yelled at my brother ordering him to move and to get out of the field.
My heart nearly stopped beating, I was in cold sweat, I could not think clearly and all I wanted was to find the best and quickest way how to get out of this field. I really thought my brother and I we were going to be beaten up by a cow. I guess this was my second scariest moment of my life.
By escaping the field, I ruined my favorite jumper and still have a scare on my back from the barbed wire. Off course in the heat of the moment, we also lost all the mushrooms. The 2 of us we went home empty handed and with an even bigger fear from cows at least for me.
From that moment on and putting these 2 episodes together, I had decided that I would never be friends with cows, to the contrary I thought they are huge, stupid, frightening, massive dangerous and ugly. And I would never put myself nearer than 500 meters to a cow or cow herd.
This been said, I forgot that life can put you in tough situation where you rather say try me than why me.
Life was testing me in September 2018 while I was walking the French part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. During that path, I was walking by myself and oh my god had to cross a field full of cows. There was either the option going back or walking across the cows passing them like 20 meters apart. Going back was not an option since I really wanted to reach Santiago de Compostela so the only option was to start walking slowly, keep on breathing, finding my posture, being smooth in my gesture and grateful for this situation I was trying to master. What I did I crossed the field adopting a moderate pace, breathing regularly and trying to have a least a distance of 5 meters between the cows and me (the field was really narrow). I only looked back once I was out of the field and the cows at a fair distance.
This is when I realized that it had not been that difficult. I was just conscious of what was going on, tackle the situation with a lot of respect. Prepared myself and enter the challenge with a peaceful mindset, a good posture and a calm approach and thought I had done a great job.
I guess the universe was not really convinced by my performance and decided to make me retake this challenge, and soon after that afternoon, I had to cross again a field with a cow herd all by myself. And guess what my heart was regularly beating, I had no cold sweat and even a smile on my face. I mastered the challenge in a very serene way and I am really proud to say that I achieved it with bravery.
I overcame the fear, forgot about the cow mask, the cows running toward my brother and me and started to look at cows from a complete different angle. Still finding them massive and huge, however not that ugly anymore and being grateful for the big lesson they have thought me in my life.
I have told this story to one of my best friend Paulo, who recently reminded me of it, while I was being afraid about a particular situation I had to go through, he just said do you remember the cows, how you walk through them with grace and dignity, so find that feeling again and just have the same attitude of serenity, calmness and gratefulness and walk through that challenge your head up. What I did.
Do you remember such an episode where you had to overcome your fears, you had to find your inner strength, and power to help you to overcome a stressful or frightening situation?
Share it with me!
Be curious, be courageous, be bold and be yourself!