As we approach Christmas and my birthday, which is the day after, I’ve been having a mental cup of cocoa with one of my favorite philosophers, Abraham Maslow. His work was my first memorable meeting with philosophy, and his eloquent hierarchy of needs has stayed on a sticky note in my brain for so long that that it is curled and feathered around the edges. He was one of the giants on whose shoulders I stood for my doctoral research. I didn’t realize until this week how much he knew me when he articulated that hierarchy of needs.
It hit me this week that my journey took a downward path into the lower needs on Maslow’s scale — and that it is alright to be there. In fact, it’s alright to be in two places on his hierarchy at once, although I can only pursue one at a time. No multi-tasking. At times, I am the teacher, the guide, the superwoman-doctor who inspires others to reach for their dreams. Other times, I am the mom who needs to find dignity and financial stability for her family, the woman who is frustrated at the seeming inability to succeed, and the wife who wants dignity for her husband’s endeavors. I also find myself trying to re-capture more of my youthful vibrancy in the face of potentially crushing stress.
Why? I ask myself all the time– Why?
I don’t think I can follow any other path, because this is the one set for me. Yes, it’s rocky, steep, and occasionally terrifying. But it’s the little flickers of hope that draw me forward along the path:
- The hope that my last set of interviews might bring a great job/dream/need to fruition
- The numbers on the scale that usually reflect weight loss success
- My newly golden-brown, sassy-short hair that reminds me of the energy I once possessed
- The belief I see in my husband’s and daughters’ eyes when they tell me that I am good and my efforts are enough
So my cup of cocoa on this rainy, cold winter Solstice finds me at peace. All is well and unfolding precisely the way it should.
- When You Are at the Darkest Point in the Forest, You Are on the Right Track. (elephantjournal.com)
- Notes from a Story Editor: What Motivates a Character to Act? (theindieexchange.com)
- Is Maslow Still Valid? Your Input… Please (incentive-intelligence.typepad.com)