If any of you have ever seen the movie “The Horse Whisperer” you will remember the part of the horse whisperer being played by Robert Redford.
The actual horse whisperer, the one that the movie was based on, is a man named Buck Brannaman. A documentary was done on Buck recently, appropriately called Buck, that told his life story. I watched it and my life will never be the same.
This is a man who has allowed his less-than-perfect past to push him into becoming something great.
Growing up, Buck was a trick roper and traveled with his brother and dad entertaining people with their roping skills.
Buck had a nightmarish home life, however. His father would beat him and his brother routinely. He would drag them out of bed at night just to beat them. He would beat them if they didn’t do a perfect show. Buck grew up in constant fear of his father.
Then, his mother died. Had he not been pulled from his home in the middle of the night by local authorities, Buck says his father would have beat them to death.
Why am I sharing this story?
Watching this documentary made me realize the importance of letting our struggles propel us forward.
You have two choices in life. Either you let hardships make you stronger, wiser, and let them bring clarity and forward momentum, or you let them handicap you and leave you wasted and lifeless. A shell of a person.
I see those people everywhere and it makes my heart sad.
Buck let his pain drive him to forgiveness and then onward. He let his past shape him in a healthy way. He changed. He became a person he wanted to be. He also pursued work that resonated with his heart. For him, it was horses.
He is now a highly sought after trainer and travels the country doing horse clinics. He trains horses, or people, depending on how you look at it.
After watching his story, I thought about my own life and the lives of countless others.
For a long time I talked about why I “couldn’t” do something. I was depressed at who I had become. I didn’t like myself, but yet, didn’t change. I blamed my circumstances, I blamed my upbringing, I blamed my husband and I blamed myself. I was always waiting for someone else to change first.
I finally realized I was where I was because of me, not because of anyone else. I needed to accept responsibility, learn from my past, and change myself. At that moment, my life changed.
This documentary reminded me that life is too short to blame. It is also too short to stay where we are and not change. We know we have bad habits, but we don’t change them. We know we should ask someone for forgiveness, but we don’t. We usually also know what is in our hearts to pursue, but we don’t.
Buck’s story made the message resonate loud and clear for me that I am most effective and will make the most impact in the world when I forgive, move forward, and do something that I am already passionate about.
It is already in us, that gift, that something that comes natural. It just needs to be pursued!
We get tripped up on such small things in life and then it passes. It is over before many of us get to sing the song that is really inside of us.
We get stuck blaming and waiting. We cripple ourselves by focusing on the past and the immediate pain or hardship in front of us. There is more, and we are more than our minds lead us to believe.
Buck is leaving in his wake healing, perspective and clarity. Here is a man using his past and his gifts to lead a life of impact. He pursues it with pride and excellence.
I want to lead a life no less impactful, and I have no doubt that you do as well.
“Be gentle in what you do, firm in how you do it” -Buck (tweet that)
Question: What song is inside you? Are you pursuing it?