I wake at 5.45 – it is just getting light, the grandfather of the house has begun his day, unlocking the gates and putting the dog, Olive back into her house – her guarding job over for another night. It is time to get up, time to don loose clothes and light walking shoes and leave my safe haven.
I had been promising myself for days to begin walking again in the morning. A very easy thing to do in my home place of Perth – places to walk to the beach, to the coffee shop, in the park – around the quiet morning streets. But here? In India where always I stick out as the foreigner. I have to again gather my spirit to move outside my comfort zone and find out how it is to join the rest of the healthy folks who also ‘walk’ in the morning.
I live very close to a ‘ground’ the place where cricket and other games are played, and sometimes even concerts are held. It is in the huge compound of the BVB College – where our offices are .. and the locked night gates open at 5 am.
“No, you don’t need to take anything with you – just have a big drink now and leave the bottle at home. Mobile phone – forget it.. just your keys slipped in the pocket and off you go.”
The street outside is quiet – a couple of early morning dogs prowling near the rubbish bins on the corner – a young man cleaning his motorbike. I walk to the gate and enter – picking up speed as I go. It’s cool this morning – the air still fresh from the evening’s rain. There are lots of people around the ground – jogging, walking, striding it out – I too stride along – starting to feel the warmth of the exercise coursing through my sleep soaked body.
The trees here are special – some – the ‘sky jasmine’ having strewn their prolific night blossoms as a carpet below them. I walk the path through the campus buildings and do a ’round’ then head down to the ‘ground’ to join the morning enthusiasts. One lap is enough for me now and I head back to my place… the body feels good – a little stiff in my right hip but that will easily pass. I have walked for a good half hour. Ahh, time for a meditation – this time in front of the fan as I am sweating and hot.
And then my morning coffee. Thankfully the power is on this morning so there is no wait for my ‘coffee fix’ so I sip the hot strong black brew and write.
What did I learn on my walk? That in keeping my promise to myself, there are far-reaching consequences that go way beyond ‘exercise’.
My ‘being’ rejoices – it ‘gets’ that I stand by my values for myself – for no one else.. simply for myself.
And as I do this – my values hold and are reaffirmed, I have put another building block of integrity in my life – just by the simple act of going for a morning walk.