Reaching Higher Elevations


“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.”  ~Thoreau

I love this quote as it does not allow our day to fall prey to blame, force or pity. It puts the onus on us to look within, find our strengths, shift our perspectives where needed, to make the most of each day.

How very challenging, but what could be more empowering and rewarding?

All of us have experienced times when we are gliding along on a fairly flat terrain then


A gigantic mountain blasts up out of the ground right in front of us.

We feel so small and powerless, looking up at this huge thing glaring down on us. What is happening? Just moments ago we were simply sauntering along, minding our own business.

We might get angry. Hey, who do you think you are? I don’t deserve this! You can’t do this to me!

Ever try to move a mountain? Or kick a mountain? All you end up doing is hurting you. Unless there is another cataclysmic event, that mountain isn’t going anywhere, so we may as well get climbing.

We may climb the same mountain, but have a very different experience and outcome depending on our perspective. We can choose to climb the mountain stuck in blame or anger, seeing only the barrenness, or choose to alter our perspective as we go.

Even through the steepest and most barren of places, there is always beauty to be found on the mountain if we look for it.

The air is clean, crisp and energizing, if we lift up our heads to breath it in, flowers impossibly flourishing through the smallest of crevices, fresh springs of water trickling through narrow passageways.

Recently, we had Wil’s goal setting meeting at school, called an IEP. His teachers, therapists and I all sat down to write out Wil’s goals for his next school year.

Well, he didn’t achieve many of the goals we had set the previous year. He has personally improved so much over this past year, and I have such high hopes for him, that this reality hit me hard.

But, then, after I let that sink in, I started to focus on all the achievements he did make. He’s beginning to read, knows all his sight words, is starting to count by 10s, and so much more!

Hey, I just spotted a flower peaking through the barrenness!

Funny how when you see one flower, you start seeing more.

Sitting around me at this IEP meeting, I saw the great dedication Wil’s team has to his success. He also has classmates that adore and encourage him. I’m also very involved in a Ds support group that I can turn to for advice and encouragement.

Hey, look, there’s another flower, and another! Wow, isn’t this air so clean and refreshing?

Yes, there is the barrenness I could focus on, like the unmet goals and create a lot of blame on myself on others. But, what quality am I producing there? To affect the quality is to focus on what we can do to move forward in the best way for Wil to achieve his goals.

I didn’t ask for this mountain, but its there. I can begrudge this mountain, and the continuous changes it will bring to my life. But, instead, I have found so much beauty on this mountain, and the air so invigorating, that I have become very thankful for it.

By changing our perspective, we have the power to affect the quality of our day. This is a great challenge but its also a great gift. Accept it and make the very best of what you have been given.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Little Bird's Dad
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 15:08:48

    I had a friend who used to say that there are only a few ways to deal with a mountain: go over it, around it, under it, turn away from it, live on it, or blast through it with dynamite. : )

    I like your post … it gets rid of the idea that we should “feel sorry for ourselves because of the mountain”.

    Keep posting…love your writing!! Peace, LBD.


  2. Kodiak My Little Grizzly
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 17:18:40

    Well put!


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