Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s message finds you enjoying your altitude ;-)
My Grandfather, the Pentecostal Preacher for 53 years, who had a significant influence on my life, apparently had a habit I wasn’t aware of until recently. I had asked my Aunt, when memories arose for her related to my Mother or Grandfather, to please share them with me; looking to learn something new that I didn’t know about them yet.
A few weeks back, she shared my grandfather’s habit of saying “altitude” in place of the word “attitude” like in the following context: “sounds like you could use a change in altitude”. His reasoning for this interpolation is fascinating and made me appreciate, yet again, his wisdom.
One day, immediately after my Grandfather made such a comment to a young woman in a store, my Grandmother stepped in to explain that her husband often gets the words mixed up and used the wrong word. But this time, PaPau spoke up and said he actually meant to say altitude. “It’s not attitude that changes our altitude, but rather the altitude that changes the attitude.”
As a preacher, he went on to share the insight one might gain by trying to see things as God sees them, from a higher perspective. Apparently, my Grandmother was speechless. She was very well read and book smart but was humbled by the observation.
When we’re low, how might we get high without the use of drugs?
How might we shift our attitude?
No doubt a higher altitude can change our perspective. This may be one of the reasons I love to climb.
As a little kid I was always in a tree. In recent years I’ve had opportunities to climb glaciers, vertical rock faces and even Mt. Kilimanjaro. During and after all of these climbs, my attitude has been significantly shifted by the altitude I experienced.
Why do so many depend on substances to get high? What do the chemicals do if not shut down our preoccupation with the past and future, shut down our fears and anxieties? It is often not the climb itself that is so difficult, but the thoughts leading up to the climb, a mind preoccupied with what can go wrong. We so desperately want to be free from our fears; many choose that which will shut down their circuitry rather than train the mind to focus in ways that can lift their spirit to new heights.
Attending to what we think about is paramount; it starts with hard work, training and perseverance. It is not a mystery that what we think about expands and can fill our world- it’s true for both positive and negative thoughts. If we don’t like what we see, it’s time to observe more who we be - who we are being.
To live higher, we must develop the disciplines of thought and action that will get us up and out of the valleys of despair. Literally how we get up out of bed and get going in the morning can largely determine how our individual days will unfold.
Note the ways you get high without the help of substances: exercise, music, meditation. Notice how a higher altitude can lift your attitude. The more we attend to our own altitude, the more capable we become to lift others to new heights. Remember the lows do serve a purpose - we can learn a great deal during a low; and they also serve to make us all the more grateful for the highs we get to experience - but consider the training, developing the discipline, to help get ourselves up and moving toward new peaks in our lives.
Consider all the activities you love to do, those that bring you more into the present moment, lifting your spirit and empowering you to be more of an example to others. Make note of how you get high in healthy ways, be more intentional to raise your altitude, and no doubt you’ll make it a great week!