11 March 2019 was not an ordinary day in my life. Against my true nature of being a night owl and waking up late, I suddenly woke up to a morning when I wanted to make changes in my life.Many people, the example they set and the advices of others had not fallen on deaf ears afterall; it only had taken a long time to move me to act.
I had begun to experience mild pain in my legs and feet when I woke up every morning, felt sleepy and lethargic during the day needing tea or coffee to make me remain alert, at times I felt dull and bored, my belly fat refused to go inspite of adopting diffrent diets which raised an alarm within me. Though I was enveloped on all sides by media, advertisement, fitness freaks, healthy food, social activities, events and even fashion centered around health and lacked no dirth of information or opportunity living in a metropolitan city of Bangalore, I just could not get myself to alter my sleep patterns.
I would have thought a 'night person' can never possibly become a 'morning person' had it not been the reality of my life since the past seven days.
On the first day I was the least coordinated; I did not have the right clothes to go for a walk, and the only pair of running shoes had caught a lot of dust just sitting there, unutilised. When I left my building, the security guard was taken aback to see me this early in the two years he had known me.The street right outside the building I live is in the main market of Bangalore and on other days I have to wait for the traffic to clear before I can cross the road but today there were no vehicles. I sprinted across the street looking at my neighbourhood which looked different, all because I was seeing it at a different time of the day.
I came across many people who were taking a walk and majority of them were either accompanied by a spouse or friend or a pet dog. I started to enjoy the tall trees along the foot path on the sides of the main road that offered me shade as I walked, little flowers that had fallen down, the cool wind on my face and the quietness of the time as the traffic had not started yet. I struggled with my clumsy steps, so unaccustomed I was to waking up early and taking long walks. My legs started to hurt a bit; I did not know if it was good to continue the pace or halt till the pain subsided. I also felt breathless only after walking 500 metres.
I wondered if it was afterall a good idea to walk all by myself or if I should wait and collect few friends or interested neighbours to join me because walking alone comes with challenges of not being sure about routes, wanting conversation and so on.Then again I had waited for a group to get organised in the past and the delay coupled with my lack of inspiration had only served to keep me from starting a new life.
When I got home I told Karen Quiñones Axalan, a World Pulse sister from Philippines city of Tacloban about my first day of waking up early and walking. In the course of our conversation I might have also mentioned my own apprehensions of the possibility of giving up along the way and about walking alone.To my surprise, she offered to walk with me everyday ( oceans apart but united in spirit) around the same time though where she lived she was two and half hours ahead of my time.
Next morning waking up early was easier than the first day.Half an hour into my walk, I received a picture from Karen of her morning walk in Philippines. I sent a picture of my walk to Karen. I was bonded to Karen through our exchange of pictures, of walking together at the same time, in different parts of the world, Karen walking in Philippines to extend support to me and make me believe I was not alone.
I felt strengthened, like I had got reinforcement.
Everyday Karen and I walked together in spirit, building each other up, sharing the events in our lives, current challenges and our goals.
It maybe a little thing to hear about but it was a big thing in how it played out for me, my situation and the phase I was in.
I have started taking baby steps towards waking up early, getting good sleep at night and introducing regular exercise and body strengthening activities; I am alone but not lonely because my World Pulse sisters are with me.
I bought a MI Fitness band which helps me monitor the distance I have walked, the steps I have covered, my heart rates, sleep hours and so on greatly helping me to stay focussed and feel happy with each little milestone. I listen to music on my earphones, have more appropriate clothes to walk in, more stability in my feet and senses and above all, my days are active, alert with more stamina that lasts me the whole day. I have cut down my tea intake to just one cup in the mornings because I do not need them anymore to remain awake. Most of all, I enjoy waking up early and I never want to go back to where I was earlier. It is not as much about the weight that I have lost but having the satisfaction that I am slowly gaining control over my health and my life.
The annual impact survey of World Pulse discloses that World Pulse women are impacting 5 million lives every year! These lives that are impacted are not just people or women we reach out to but also within our global sisterhood, among us friends on World Pulse just like Karen from Philippines cared about my goal for a healthier version of me, World Pulse women care for each other's vision and support them.
One out of three World Pulse women are reported to be changing behaviours in their local community but women like Karen, Tamarack from Canada, Paulina from Philippines and Busayo from Nigeria are not just bringing change in their local communities but much beyond. Their presence in my life across continents is real, their impact felt is in how I live my life.
We may be from any country but we have common attributes- We lift up those around us, We speak out for what we believe in, We are a connector, We use technology, We listen with empathy and without judgement, we seek personal transformation, we are trustworthy and we are passionate about making a difference. We are the World Pulse women!
Change starts with a story.