Memories and minds are turbulent and terribly torturous things, or they’re terrifically tantalising and tenacious.
Just a spoonful of alliteration for breakfast, now let’s talk tents.
One of my previous posts (Mindful Adventures) introduced some new characters to this adventure story, all of whom are significantly inspirational women who do things because they can, and/or because they feel they must. Whichever your style, or story, it’s what comes out of the experience that needs sharing, because these stories put the fire in the minds of others — young, old, middle-aged, and neither young nor old (depending on which way you’re looking at it).
The phrase that everything happens for a reason may be overused sometimes but it really does encapsulate how extraordinary things can occur as a result of seemingly innocuous situations.
We’re (the royal we) about three months into this current adventure of deciding to train for a run from one end of Britain to the other, and back again. That’s really not very long, and yet it feels like this has been my existence for many years! So much has happened in such a short space of time, whereas the previous six months were a drugged, sleepy, blurry fuzziness with only a few brightly coloured spots that I fortunately captured on camera to remind myself of. It’s been said that if you want a true memory, you need to look with your eyes, and not with your camera lens. I wholeheartedly agree, but on this occasion, I’m so glad that I dismissed that idea and made a point-and-shoot song-and-dance of the good days.
What I mean is, that my memory is not so good now. My Tom will probably argue the toss on this one, but actually the disrupted sleep, the fatigued brain, the emotional stress, the chronic fatigue, the paranoia and the anxiety probably all contribute to a memory bank that hasn’t worked particularly well for a while. I used to have a fantastic memory for numbers, licence plates, birthdays, faces, names. I think I scared quite a few former police colleagues when I could reel off case numbers from memory at 2am whilst travelling in a car because I’d overheard on the police radio the name of someone who’d been stopped on the street, in a different town. How that was possible (on reflection) isn’t obvious; I was still particularly stressed from a broken marriage, single-parenthood and full-time policing career whilst studying for a Modern Languages degree and training for triathlons. Perhaps my age? Has my mind-mapping capability diminished due to pharmacorps? Who knows!
(probably a neurosurgeon)
Our memories are wonderful when they remind us of wonderful things. The feeling you get from a wonderful memory can inspire you to go on and achieve; though they have been perhaps a speck on your life’s chartered course, that speck was there for a reason, and made all the difference. Always be grateful for the specks! Cue Dr Seuss…
“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
But our memories can also help us to remember that we have prevailed in turbulent times. And whilst the images invoked may not appear cosy and warm, we are still able to feel grateful for the strife because through it we triumphed by focusing on some form of affirmation, routine or exercise that got us through the torture. For Felicity Aston, it was a simple phrase of “just get out of the tent” that helped her to focus on the one thing that would get her going in order to complete her solo mission across the Antarctic ice sheet. Being in situations that call for the mind to respond, adapt, learn, review, and leap, whether we put ourselves there or we find ourselves there as a result of external forces beyond our immediate control, it is still down to us to take the next step. As Dr Seuss puts it, “You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
We can set our course. Invictus (the movie if you prefer) by William Ernest Henley tells us…
“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
On life’s high seas we can’t set the waves, the wind, the rain, the storms, the temperatures or the rocks and icebergs in our path, but we can steer towards and through, around or over.
My current memory is lacking in quality, I admit. I’m still sure I’ve misplaced some emails from people who wrote to me (sorry if that includes you!).
My current mind is still doing the loop-da-loop as I settle with medication, or accept it. I’ve been reflecting as to why this past month was pretty much awful compared to the first two, where motivation, training, mileage and energy were much higher. I expect that a fuzzy mind mixed with the swooping cycles of hypomania and depression is hampering my motivation to be able to run, and the confusion is feeding my body with funny signals, perhaps resulting in my stomach aches. Rather than fight that, I have to let it pass, like a rocky outcrop on my mind’s map. But in my mind…somewhere deep down…there isn’t a shred of doubt that this isn’t the right course for me, because…
- I have completed this challenge in my head and my heart many times
- Supporters are purchasing and sharing my inspired product designs on RedBubble and my ethical Vegan personal care on Arbonne so that they can walk with pride knowing that 100% profits have been donated to the fundraising effort
- Runners young and old (and the rest in between) are being inspired to get out of their tent to make a difference to someone else’s lives, and their own
- I’m visualising the celebrations of joy and hope from delivering five cheques worth £10,000 each to five incredible mental health charities, and the outcome of that fundraising will be undeniably magnificent for the service users who reap the benefit
Today, my just get out of the tent, is to simply get out of bed! I’ve never been a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m struggling to start in order to keep going. Focusing on getting out of my bed today started a chain reaction, which led me to writing this…