I was running for my life. Sure, no one was chasing me, but I was running for my life nonetheless. They had water-stops stationed along the race route and my goodness; let me tell you. I’ve never been so grateful for a cup of unidentified black liquid from a stranger next to a street.

Yes, I’m being overly dramatic here. It was just plain old coke, but to a girl who had recently developed and worked over next to every type of fear of basically anything and yes, everything outside of her comfort zone, this? This here was an unlabelled, uncovered, ‘they say it’s coke’, suspicious ‘who knows if they even washed their hands’ cup of cramps-for-later. ’Would you like some ginger to go with that?’
Here I exercised my new found ‘power over my mind’ in reminding myself that it wouldn’t kill me so whatever ‘juice me up.’ I helped myself to two cups.

I once heard someone say that we are so used to losing things that when we hear the word ‘keep’ we interpret it as ‘to not lose’. As a result, we fail to exercise the keeping that involves tending to something to make sure that it does and continues to do what it was intended to do. I didn’t keep my mind. My something special.

I thought I was fine until I reached to hold my thoughts the way I was so used to but they would move in such a way as to let me know they weren’t my own anymore. Like that split second before you lean into a piece of furniture, which has been where it’s always been until now; only to stumble into a quick recovery when you’ve met nothing but air. The thing whose function was to process, analyse, formulate, sort, plan and assist in directing me efficiently and effectively was disintegrating.

It was like suddenly not being to able walk. Some days this translated to a sensed inability breathe. No, my mind wasn’t all that made me, me, but it was the skeleton upon which my spirit was held up in my soul. The medium through which my spirit functioned and exercised my soul. The structure I built was clearly not up to code. The structure collapsed and my spirit was crushed.

My mind is a muscle to be trained in habits; a building of mind-sets (‘houses of thoughts’) to be established through learning; and a garden with potential to grow and reproduce.

Before my breakdown, I had only ever seen my mind as a really cool storage device that required the occasional reboot. ‘I don’t know how to do this.’ ‘Did you try turning it off and back on?’

My mind is no longer some form of mule I would ride to get a degree and job. My mind is my special something now. My mind had to collapse for me to learn that it can change, grow, develop and in this dynamic way provide an engine to take me wherever. Yes, even out of my comfort zone into say a 21km race.

Situated right after a turn I had just taken was this particular water-stop. Now this one had posts with quotes on them, in what I could only assume was some stranger’s best effort to inspire a mob of people; who had, I feel the need to point this irony out, already willingly both signed up and paid to run this race. “That’s a lot of effort for a free banana.” I laughed lightly in agreement as I ran past the post.

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