Day 20 - Kollegal to Ellemalla
Another ripping sunrise - today the goal of reaching the top of MM hills was ever closer as I walked into the hill range. Certainly provided that initial motivation - being my fourth consecutive day of walking 30 plus kilometres - I need all I can get.
Physically I am feeling fine, but certainly beginning to feel more mentally fatigued. To combat this - I break the day down into small segments - initally 5km blocks - this turns into picking an object in the distance and walking to that. Focusing on the object and breath to not get caught up in my own thoughts. Looking back over the past few days I have been guilty of getting sucked into the vortex of thoughts and haven't been in the present and enjoying the walk as much as I should be doing.
Be patient, confident and positive are internal mantras I repeat to myself to get the most of the day - there is no reason to complain. I believe if you look hard enough around you there is endless inspiration you can draw from - and this helped me get through a tough day on the road.
Something has been bothering me a little on the walk. Here I am drawing so much personal inspiration from experiencing the kindness and genoritsity of Indians - but what am I giving back in return?
It's one of the most confronting aspects when you first arrive in India - the number of people begging you for money and food. As unfortunate as it is, you can't meet all their demands of desperation. The longer time you spend here, the more insensitive you become to the ordeal as you casually walk past and pretend to ignore their requests. Some days it is impossible to ignore as your heart is pulled apart with imagery that you know will be imprinted in your memory for life.
I had one of those incidents today as I was greeted by the friendliest of farmers - as I took my sunglasses off and shook his hand he became overwhelmed - beaming with happiness. This contagious energy pulled my heart. He didn't ask for money or food - but I knew I couldn't walk away and turn my back on him for some reason. I gave him a small gift of money and he gave me the biggest bear hug - the type of embracement typical of an emotional return of a loved one.
As I walked away with a cheeky little tear in my eye I was drawn to thinking about giving back and small acts of kindness. I believe that these acts of kindness can provide you with more satisfaction than anything you can ever do.
Volunteering is a way I believe people can help their mental health - feeling more socially connected. By simply lifting someone else's spirits it sends a trigger to your brain reward centre to make you feel positive about your own self.
These acts become hugely addictive! Humans often mimic behaviour. When you witness or hear about an act of kindness you may be inspired to do something on your own accord - find where your heart lies.