My mom was a petite 16-year-old school girl when she celebrated Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah’s Diamond Jubilee in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. She has vivid recollections of the magnificent event, from travelling by boat from Mombasa to Dar-es-Salaam, to watching the jubilation on the Imam’s face when murids would come forward with their offerings. Despite her youth and inexperience, she describes a defining moment during the Diamond Jubilee ceremony – when she made a pledge, or a solemn promise, that she would dedicate her life serving the Imam and his Jamat.
I am inspired by my mom’s story and how the commitment that she made in that one moment, some 70 years ago, became her life's purpose. On July 11, we kicked off Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee year. A key priority for Hazar Imam is improving the quality of life for his Jamat. And one of the most critical ways of doing that is by taking care of our health. The Imam's Diamond Jubilee is a fitting time for us to reevaluate our lives and reflect on what we can do to improve our health and vitality. Perhaps, this can be our pledge to the Imam on his Diamond Jubilee.
To help us start thinking about ways we can move toward a healthier lifestyle, The Ismaili Nutrition Centre has developed some thought-starter pledges that you may want to consider, depending on where you are in your health journey. Take your pick, or create one that is appropriate for you, and then share yours on social media, using the #DJHealthPledge.
As a serial pledger, I have learnt that for pledges to be sustainable, they must come from a place of acceptance. Too often we make goals from a place of fixing all the things we're doing wrong, or on things we feel we should and must do. The pressure we place on ourselves to 'fix' all our shortcomings ultimately leads us to a place of frustration.
But here's a thought - what if we started with acceptance and saw ourselves as complete, whole and resourceful? What might be possible for us if our pledges spoke to things we choose to do because we want to do them?
Over the years I have also learnt that too many superficial pledges can dilute what you are trying to achieve, and too few uninspired pledges might not give you the momentum to move forward. Two to three thoughtful promises seem about right. It takes discipline, courage and commitment on a daily basis to make a pledge a part of our everyday life.
A great question to ask yourself is, “How will my life be in two years if I do not make this change?”, and then visualize how you will feel in two years when you have achieved your goal. When you have a compelling enough “why” to make a change, it becomes easier to commit to it, particularly when you get discouraged in the early days.
What lifestyle changes are you going to make today for your optimal health? What will you do to make your health and vitality a priority? What commitment are you willing to make to move forward to the life you desire? Share your pledge using #DJHealthPledge.