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Elevation

Elevation is something I actively seek every day, and it comes in more than one form.

Elevation is to distance what height is to breadth. I like going up, unlike Treebeard in the Lord of the Rings who said he liked going south, as it felt like going down hill. As an aspiring Appalachian Trail thru hiker, if you don’t like going up hills, you’ll probably be miserable. As a person who also likes riding his bike into the wind, I didn’t even struggle to convince myself that going up is good. After all, I want to go up after I die. It beats going down, hands down. The converse is that what goes up must come down, and as a general rule it is true.

But the type of elevation I am speaking of is an attitude instead of altitude. It concerns not physical geography, but the geography of the mind. We are sentient beings, which means we are self-aware. Our internal dialogue with ourselves is unique on the planet. Some say that we gained this miraculous gift shortly after deciding that standing upright was better than going about on all fours. Our horizon expanded and for the first time we noticed the stars. Something of a meteor flashed across the synapses of that first “man” and we were never the same.

With all of this rich geography both internal and external, why do we allow ourselves to get bogged down, in ruts, passively letting life pass us by?

I fight that. I think most people do. Those people stick out in our minds who even amateurishly set about doing something about the malaise. The pros can truly astound us. I’m not suggesting that our whole lives can be a string of thrill-a-minute adventures.  That would get old quick, wouldn’t it? I’m talking more about mindfulness, living life as it comes in such a way that we savor our experiences, even experiences like picking fresh basil to prepare a meal. Listening to a friend talk. Sitting in the rays of the morning sun.

Elevate your thoughts today. Elevate them to the level of the moment. Be where you are. Listen to yourself breathe. Touch your carotid arteries and feel the blood coursing through you. Ride the moments that carry you through the day.

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